Sunday, March 1, 2015

The Humble Beginnings of Photography

I decided that I needed to be able to take better pictures of my children than my SLOW cell phone camera. And seriously, it couldn't be that hard. I'm creative and artistic. And photography is just another outlet. So I bought a refurbished Cannon for less than the cost of one photography session with someone else. I was given a beginning photography book. 

I am a photographer.

I have no idea what I am doing still. It is a work in progress hobby. I'm learning.

And learning means blurry pictures....

And learning is not even sure what these are pictures of...

And learning is realizing that you need a tripod...

And learning is not even sure what happened here... (that is Devin in the middle and the brown thing in the upper right is our wood fence in the backyard)

But learning is great! Goodbye auto-focus camera. 

I'm learning to control the focus.

I'm learning to center on details.

I'm learning to take action shots.

I'm learning to see from different angles.

I'm (still) learning to shoot night scenes.

I'm learning to remember regular life.

I'm learning about flower shots.

And I'm learning about wind and light and exposure and etc. (Sure wish that tree was in blossom... this picture would be that much better...)

Yup. I am a photographer.
And I am learning.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

January 2015

Seeing how February is almost over, I figured it was time to post about January. haha.

I have to say that it was so nice having Casey home on paid holiday on both Jan 1 AND 2. His job is amazing and he was given Friday off as well. It is always so nice to have him home! :) And Jan. 19 was a holiday as well. We spent a lot of the holiday time working to clean the basement. I don't know how you can move from a two bedroom apartment to a two bedroom house with an unfinished basement and suddenly the entire basement is filled with who knows what. I really don't know. But somehow it happened! In order to finish the basement, the junk that we obviously don't need, has to go. D.I. trips and full garbage cans are a regular these days.

We ate at Chick-fil-a FIVE times this month and paid $7.38 total (meaning most of the time we ate their for free!). That my friends was awesome to let Devin play inside their playground, eat yummy chicken and not have it affect our budget!

Heidi was blessed on Fast Sunday.

We went to the Grand Opening for Sprouts. No where near as exciting as the Grand Opening of Smiths was. But it was still fun to go. And speaking of Smiths, our friend Bruce played the trumpet for Devin and gave us icees. And like Chick-fil-a, we frequented Smiths a lot. Free smoothies. Free soda bar. Free coupon class. Free cookie decorating. (My favorite--seriously I am in LOVE with their frosting. Strange because I normally hate frosting. But love the frosting on Smiths sugar cookies. So when I got to decorate it myself, you better believe I made the frosting count!)

Devin has fallen in LOVE with Bruce. Devin frequently tells me that he plays his "trumpet."
He hums random songs while holding his screwdriver to his mouth.

Casey and I won BYU basketball tickets from the car dealership where we bought our car. It was fun being back on campus--even if it was briefly. We enjoyed the game. BYU totally won--my favorite type of game, I don't like suspense! The Marriott Center is known for holding A LOT of people--not having much leg room. So the people sitting directly behind us, like his knee was in my back, but there was nothing to be done about it unless I leaned forward, were SO LOUD. Like, both of our ears were ringing the whole drive home and then some.

I was able to attend Stake Women's Conference! Such a treat. An absolute delight. Carole Mikita was the guest speaker and it was absolutely fascinating listening to her stories of traveling the world with leaders of the Church.

Our car dealership sponsored a free dinner. I'm sure it was a marketing gimmick. But oh. my. yumminess. It was catered from a local Italian place. And the orange creamsicle cake was just to die for. My mouth is watering. We also won a free blanket with their logo embroidered on it. I guess it is meant to be the car blanket! But during the dinner, we learned how much it would cost to redo the locks to make it so they are power instead of only having one manual lock that opens. It was actually cheaper than we thought. So we saved our pennies--and basically used the "bonus" pay check that we got on the 30th and the car is actually at the dealership being upgraded right now. Awesome! So can't wait to drive it by myself with kids--I will actually be able to get them in the car instead of running around/ sitting on the parking lot.

I took advantage of free Hoggle Zoo day on the 28th. It was the first time that Devin has ever been. He liked seeing all the animals. But his favorite part? Walking across the train tracks that went on the sidewalk. Seriously... I wondered why I even bothered taking him to the ZOO instead of just going to ride Trax.

Totally forgot to bring Heidi a hat. I cinched up my Olympic beret and we made it work.
These pictures barely show the animals. Oh well. 

We had the opportunity serve at a funeral in my ward. Because Casey home teaches the family, he wanted to be there to help so took off work and it became our awesome "date" (aka no children event) for the week. I snuck a few brownies and got to hold hands with my sweetheart. The totally inactive family was so appreciative so it was worth it. 

I worked and worked on updating our 72 hour kits. I didn't think it would take nearly the amount of time or money that it did because we already had good 72 hour kits before I started this project. But it is done now. I made one giant bag for all four of us. Because even though it is heavy, I see me being able to manage ONE bag and two children all by myself way better than 4+ bags and two children. Bring on the natural disaster. Knock on wood. I would actually be good if I never had to use our oversized-I-can-barely-pick-up-no-idea-how-to-carry kit.

Devin had so much fun helping with the first aid kit in the 72 hour kit.
Thankfully he found and used the old one that I was replacing because bandaids were no longer sticky.


1. I love Heidi's shirt ("Loveable like Mommy")
2. I love how Devin is holding her hand
3. Devin also wanted to make sure her headband was in the right place
4. I never got the cute/ non-blurry/ posed picture I was after. 

Friday, February 6, 2015

Eating Rice Cereal

Today my baby girl ate for the first time with a spoon. She loved her cereal so much for lunch that she seemed to ask for a bedtime cereal snack. I sat Heidi down in her chair and put the bib on. She immediately opened her mouth wide. She definitely wanted more--glad I am beginning to understand her language. Part of me is so excited watching her learn... try new things... grow.... And that same part is so grateful she did so well with eating her cereal (surprisingly, she did way better with it being thicker like a pudding instead of the super thin consistency the box suggested for first time eaters). 

But part of me cried. My baby is growing up. And for some reason, I'm really struggling with the piled up yesterdays that mean she is not a little baby any more. Maybe that part of me will always struggle as she continues to grow. 

Maybe that part is still longing for my newborn/ hospital experience where you cuddle right after birth and then eat countless Lora Doone cookies while the nurses check both your vitals. Maybe that part still wonders what would have happened if I would have only asked for a different nurse. And wonders if Life Flight and NICU could have been avoided if I would have only been admitted the first time I went to the hospital instead of being sent home. And wonders if she would not have swallowed so much meconium if I had not been bullied into getting an epidural when I should have given birth. 

And maybe that part of me longs to have my baby nurse--even though I was never a fan of it with Devin. Just maybe I'm missing that closeness that neither of us get with a pump. And maybe that same part is longing to have a "first baby" experience where I can focus on just her instead of them together.

Whatever that missing part is, I'm going to hold her close while she sleeps. I'm going to press kisses to her hair. I'm going to laugh when she giggles. I'm going soothe her when she cries. I'm going to cheer when my little Heidi grows and accomplishes new things. And although it will never make up for the loss I experienced at the hospital, it can heal the now.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Heidi's History: FOUR Months

I have a hard time catching smiles on camera....

Heidi's Favorite Things: Heidi loves chewing on her hands (I'm thinking she is teething but nothing has broken through yet). And her favorite toy is a large circle with baby chew beads on it--she loves trying to stuff this in her mouth. She also loves her radio!! The music helps calm and soothe her. She likes to be in the same room as me and enjoys sitting in walker chair--she can't reach the ground to walk but just enjoys sitting up.  

Most Memorable Moment(s): Heidi can now roll from her tummy to her back. She hates tummy time and works so hard to roll over to her back. As soon as she is on her back, she is happy and smiling again. And I love hearing her and Devin giggle together--cutest thing ever!

Nicknames: Missy Moo, Sweet Pea, Happy Heidi.

Dislikes: She really hates tummy time. And she hasn't been the most pleasant ever the past week or so--guess is teething. (The reason for the guess is because she likes having her gums rubbed with our finger and calms down after teething tablets.) She doesn't like playing with her toes. She seems to know they are there but dislikes having them up to her mouth--it is almost as if she is not flexible enough.

Clothing Size: Both 0-3 and 3-6. I'm beginning to think about packing up smaller stuff but it is still a thought process.

Diaper Size: One.

Personality: Heidi is extremely happy. She smiles her adorable gummy smile with a sparkle in her eye at almost everyone. She likes to be included in family activities and squawks to come join us if we left her in a different room. She is very patient and puts up with a lot of love, smothers and playing with Devin. Heidi wants to feel included and a part of the family.

Milestones: Heidi imitates our voices and thinks she talks. She says "hi" a lot but I don't think she know what it means but rather simply copying us. She is working so hard on sitting up to sit by herself. She can't do it but she sure tries hard! Heidi has definitely started to mouth everything. One of her favorite things to "taste" was her dress made out of mesh. She can concentrate on various objects extremely well (including watching TV with Devin).

Sleeping: Normally, Heidi will go to sleep at night around 10 pm. She then sleeps until 5-7ish. I put a binky in her mouth and she goes back to sleep. Some nights, we don't have to do the binky routine at all--love those nights!! She normally drinks her milk around 8am. Then takes a good nap until 10 or so. Play time and lunch around noon. A good couple hour nap or so. Snack time and Mommy time (Devin is sleeping--sometimes this is called she plays by herself and I sleep in my room). Dinner and a quick nap. Then she is up until bedtime normally. She does like to catch quick cat naps here and there.

Eating: (see above for schedule). She is still only on pumped milk. She does not really have an interest/ hunger for more food so she until she wants more/ acts more interested, I see no reason to start foods yet.

Communication: Heidi is a quiet baby. But she does love to talk and carry on conversations. If one of us babbles at her, she will take turns "talking" with us. Devin has a way of making her laugh. She smiles a lot to let us know she likes it. Her eyes will start to cloud over before the tears actually come if she doesn't want it. She definitely has distinct cries. Her cry for "I'm lonely--don't forget me--I want to be in the same room with you" is more of a squawk. I hear this squawk fairly regularly because she loves being my little companion. So my left arm is used to hold her and my right arm does everything else. Or she sits in her chair beside me and I tell her everything I'm doing.

The hardest part: Growing up is hard. She doesn't seem any different today than she did yesterday. But all of the sudden you stack up a whole bunch of yesterdays and she is becoming my little lady instead of brand newborn baby. And I'm not sure when the change happened because yesterday she really was the same as today. It is also hard trying to get two kids in and out of the car (no power locks) by myself. 

My favorite part: I love that she knows who I am. Her eyes just light up when I come rescue her from the lonely squawk. I love seeing that sparkle and excitement and love shine through her. I love holding my baby and just long to keep her in my arms.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

"This Is Sacred Ground"

Yesterday I had the opportunity to attend my Stake Women's Conference. I wrote it down in bold on my calendar to show how much I was looking forward to it. And let me just say, "looking forward" would be an understatement. I was so excited to be able to get out with other women and take a Devin break. I was eager to listen to Carole Mikita (Channel 5 News anchor/ religion specialist) and was hoping she would share stories from all over her travels--she did. I invited my mom and I just love spending time with her!

I know I have heard the it said before that you could have a room packed of people listening to a presentation and everyone will get something different out of it. I think this is especially true when the presentation is that of a spiritual matter because the Holy Ghost will touch each person with what they individually need to hear. I really saw this yesterday during the soup luncheon and constant chattering. All the sisters around me were each sharing what they liked. As each shared their little take home gem, I was like "Oh yeah, she did speak about that." and "That was an interesting story." But their tiny little gems didn't mean much to me other than it being such an interesting story--Carole Mikita has truly traveled the world and interacted with so many LDS people/ temple dedications/ etc.

I wanted to share my gem, the thing that I took home and inspired me to become better. Because I have this hope that sharing it might touch someone else.

She shared a story about a family from Tonga. While I definitely do not remember the names (I don't even think I could have repeated the Tongan family name immediately after she said it--lol), the message was written in my heart.

A girl was able to come to Utah for General Conference. She returned home to her family disappointed to relay the message that no temples were announced for Tonga. The father (maybe grandfather??) of the family said that from that day forward they would treat their five acres of land as a sacred place. The land was thought of as sacred ground to that family. A good time later--like years, Pres. Hinckley (and Carole Mikita and others were with him) was touring Tonga to look at the land. Many different places were presented for where the temple could be built but Pres. Hinckley kept asking to see more options on the island. Then they came to this five acre spot and Pres. Hinckley did not even hesitate. It was immediately decided on the place to build the temple.
She went on to talk about how we likely won't have a temple built literally on our own land (definitely not us... we have a huge backyard but not temple size! haha!) but that we could still make it a sacred place. That thought stuck with me and I have chewed on it over and over.

Our home is sacred. According the the Bible Dictionary, "Only the home can compare with the temple in sacredness." I love that--the stake center with the baptismal font is not mentioned. The chapel where we have the opportunity to take the Sacrament each week is not mentioned. No, it is the home. I realized that I have definite room for improvement for treating our home as the sacred place that it should be. And using the sacred voice that I should.

Within the walls of my home, I'm raising a future missionary (maybe two)--plus the goal of serving a couple mission with my sweetheart. I'm teaching a future father and mother (the most important calling). I'm changing daily trying to better myself so I can be ready to live with Heavenly Father again. Ignore the fact that there are patch jobs and scribbles on walls, stains in the carpet and lumpy carpet pads, an unfinished basement, only two bedrooms, etc (sidenote... someday these will be fixed/ finished... love our HUD home! Someday...) this truly is a sacred place.

Our home is the place where we put on the armor of God with prayer & scriptures.
Our home is the place where we show our faith as we face trials.
Our home is the place where we unite as a family for meals.
Our home is the place where we build our testimonies & feel the spirit.
Our home is the place where we truly can live on Sacred Ground.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

December 2014

December was lovely! I enjoyed the (crazy!!) warm weather for the entire month and then the snow falling on Christmas Day. The weather motivated me to take Devin out and about. We really have not gone on field trips since before Heidi was born. I was just exhausted being pregnant. And I couldn't figure out how to be a mommy to two. I'm not 100% certain I have figured out the balance of life and mommy-hood yet. No idea how to exercise, clean my house, take care of my little loves, read my scriptures, go on field trips, teach Devin preschool, make dinner, fold the laundry, etc all on the same day. But I decided to just let the not-so-important things get ignored. "Making dinner" is now something as simple as opening a can of soup or macaroni and cheese--both count as me "making dinner". And my little loves will only be little for such a short time. They are most important. Other stuff just has to wait.

Yes this is long. Read if you want. Skim if you want. Glance at pictures if you want. I would love comments and responses if you actually end up reading. :) And just a tip... if you click on the pictures, they should become much larger so you can actually see everything in the collage!

  • We started the month off by looking at cars. If it seems really random, it was. We had talked about getting a new car (well, new to us) for awhile and decided that we each needed a car before it started snowing. I needed freedom to leave the house instead of going absolutely nuts with Devin inside. And we needed Casey to stay healthy instead of standing in snow, freezing to death, waiting for a bus. We looked at one old used van. And I decided that I couldn't do used because I would just be buying someone else's problems. Unless we bought a much newer used car that still included a warranty/ guarantee. We looked at new cars. Because it was still "Black Friday Weekend" there were several AWESOME deals. And with the killer low prices, we found that we could buy a brand new, completely basic model car for the same price as a 2011-ish with around 35,000 miles on it. Brand new 2015 versus used 2011. It seemed like a no brainer. And so we went forward and bought a Nissan Versa. It seemed like the most impulsive buy of my life but we also felt really blessed and guided.
    • As a side note... I'm not kidding about basic model. It is totally stripped down of anything fancy/ extra cost. We love our new car! And are truly grateful for it. But it is SOOOO annoying having two kiddos and manual locks. And it gets better... only the driver door unlocks from the outside. So that means Devin runs around like crazy and Heidi sits in her car seat on the ground while I climb through the car to unlock doors. It is great fun. ;)
  • Smith's grand open near-ish (sort of...) our house. This was the earliest I have ever managed to get two kids out of the house by myself. Both kids were still in pjs--yes, I became a pj mom at the grocery store and I don't even feel bad. I was one of the first 100 customers at the jewelry store and was given a beautiful, real, multi-colored/ strands, pearl bracelet. I LOVE it. All the grief of trying to get the kids ready by myself and having to feed Heidi while walking around the store was completely worth it because of that bracelet.
    • It has since been a blessing/ curse with a store closer to our house. It is now easy to make way too many trips to the store.
    • However, with a pharmacy promotion they had going on, we have been able to earn Smith's dollars. HUGE blessing!! Even with my rather frequent trips, I haven't spent very much money!
    • We saw the Oscar Mayer Hot Dog truck. I was so excited because I have never seen it. And you can only imagine Devin's excitement. He still asks about it every time we drive to Smiths now.
  • Casey and I went on the Jingle Bus for a date night. We also saw the "ZCMI Candy Windows."
  • Devin went to his first friend party by himself. We dropped him off. I'm not totally sure what he did other than eat macaroni and cheese and chocolate cake but seemed to have fun.
  • We went to a Living Nativity in Alpine. I felt like all we did was stand in lines. I'm not kidding. Casey and I got sick of it. Devin's feet got tired. There were so many people. But it was completely worth it in the end. Seeing Baby Jesus meant so much to Devin. More than sitting on Santa's lap or other parties we went to. He constantly talked about seeing Baby Jesus.
  • Devin enjoyed sitting on Santa's lap several times. He was not shy or nervous at all. He told Santa what we each wanted. 
    • (Devin= computer/ laptop. Heidi= Heidi movie with Shirley Temple. Mom= Jesus Calendar. Dad= work clothes.)
  • Devin played at Jungle Jim's twice. Once with his grandparents and cousin. Once with his aunt. He has loved having a free pass to it. Too bad the pass expired at the end of the year. He has had fun playing there for the past year!
  • I went to my RS Christmas Dinner Party. The program was amazing. Different women read a "journal entry" from each of the women in Christ's life when he was born. The one that touched me the most was the Mother of Mary.
  • Devin enjoyed "library school." He wants to participate but is nervous to do so without me. He at least sat on the rug instead of my lap. He made a reindeer mask with his handprints. So cute!
  • Enjoyed "Christmas rides" in our new car. I just love driving around to look at Christmas lights. And Devin's excitement made it even more magical this year.
  • We had dinner at Kneaders with my family and saw Santa again.
  • Casey worked insane amounts of overtime. He was super late coming home. One night came home late, ate dinner, then started working on his laptop. Only to get up early the next morning to keep working. Thankfully his job is normally not this demanding. The developing team was trying to get the program/software/website (I'm really not totally sure what exactly. I think it is more web stuff?) ready for a huge update. The giant overtime check will be so nice though!
  • Heidi got her first cold. Probably passed from me. No idea where I got sick because I live in a germ-phobic/ constant-hand-santizer life. We both survived.
  • We went to our ward Christmas Party. Loved the hot chocolate bar!!
  • Date night to Taco Time and Gingerbread shakes from Arctic Circle.
  • Watched "The Little Elf" puppet show at the library. Devin loved watching the elves. He took our elf, Tinsel with.
  • I attempted to go to another Living Nativity with Devin and my sister. But the line was way, WAY too long. Instead I took them both on the Jingle Bus. Devin loved the bus!
  • We decorated a gingerbread train.
  • I tried to take Devin to a different "library school." We were late and missed all the stories/ preschool part. We made paper mittens though. I traced Devin and Heidi's hand onto each mitten and then glued their pictures on the mittens at home.
    • Heidi really does have LONG fingers!!! Skinny and LONG!!!
  • Devin and I went to my parents' ward Christmas Party. They had a Live Nativity for the program. Devin LOVED seeing Baby Jesus again!
  • We went to my cousin's wedding. And drive-thru fast food date right before the sealing. I loved hearing the counsel of the sealer. It applied to Casey and I just as much as to my cousin and his new bride. We can't go wrong when following the prophet, attending the temple and remembering to love.
  • With kids all bundled in the car, we delivered cookie mixes to our neighbors and friends. And once again enjoyed looking at Christmas lights.
  • Casey took Christmas Eve off and then had Christmas Day AND Dec 26 off as paid holidays. I LOVED having him home for so long!
  • Celebrated Christmas Eve with Casey's family and Christmas lunch with mine. It was wonderful being with those we love so much. It has taken time but I completely love my in-laws just as much as my own family. I feel so blessed to have so many amazing family members (which really I consider friends) in my life.

  • I absolutely loved watching Devin open presents. He pretty much unwrapped everyones. It was a simple Christmas. But seriously, it was enough! I don't want to have so many new presents that they all just blur together and he becomes ungrateful. I would rather it always be simple.
  • One reason it was so nice for Casey to have the 26th off was because I could go clearance shopping by myself. :) We absolutely had to get some wrapping paper. We used up one roll and only had one partial roll left. I also was so excited to find several wood Elf on the Shelf puzzles for Devin next year. And a Baby's First Ornament for Heidi.
  • Date night was one of our Christmas gifts. A gift card for sushi and babysitting. We also enjoyed cookies from Hungry Bear. Best gifts ever are ones that allow us to go on free dates!
  • Heidi and I got sick AGAIN. Ugh. She started coughing and it made us nervous. But with countless prayers, the coughing stayed mild and she never developed breathing problems.
  • Devin and Heidi now have savings accounts at our credit union. They had a promotion going through the end of the year that would give the kids free money. Done. We love free money. LoL! The goal is to teach our kids to be savers. And I pray that my future children-in-laws are being raised to be savers as well. That is a whole different blog post though. One that I may never write....
  • We went to bed on New Years Eve. I slept with ear plugs. It was bliss.
  • And here are the rest of the pictures that we can't forget but I don't feel like writing about.... Haha. Click on the picture to make it larger!! And then you might be able to see everything. One of my favorites is in the bottom/ left -ish. It is above Devin's blue snowman pjs and Heidi's red/ pink heart pjs--both my boys are each feeding their baby!! :)

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Her First White Dress

Sent to this earth

You were saved through the ages for this day

and time

Child of great worth

Child of promise, daughter of the Divine

Pure and holy in a little, white dress

You were held in a circle and you were

And the Father looked down

And the angels surrounded that place

They knew the truth, all that you could do

And you will, too, if you have eyes to see

What heaven sees in you

Lyrics are from "What Heaven Sees In You" by Doug Walker. One of my very favorite songs!!