Tuesday, July 17

Bear Lake Adventures


     Well hi again! Right now I'm sitting in a blue canvas chair on the shore of Bear Lake in Utah for the very first time. My toes are buried in the warm sand, there's a bottle of ice water to my right, and after spending a really long day playing here with our good friends, to be calmly typing now today in this serene spot brings a whole lot of much-needed peace.
     Evie is happily digging away in the sand under the shade of a pop-up tent, seagulls are flying overhead (and trying their best to snatch Sophie's chips), and their caws easily remind me of so many different and fun memories from since I was a little girl. I might be lucky to only have really great memories associated with seagulls and waves, sand underfoot and the smell of sunscreen haha, but I think many of you are probably the same.

    Last May, once we realized the kids only had a week or so left before Summer break, we all sat down and started forming the ultimate activity list of things that we'd love to do at least once before school started again. We laid down on our stomachs in a circle, a pad in front of me, adding to the bullet list whatever anyone could come up with that seemed possible from simply making a wish on a dandelion to flying on a plane together. We reach nearly 400 items I think? haha With their eyes and their smiles getting bigger with each suggestion, and with some cheers and even jumping up and down at the best or them:) Our biggest goal was to reach the end of our Summer knowing that we had put our family in that circle first before all else, and to feel satisfied with the experiences and adventures we'd had whether they were on the list or not.

     Today, I felt that satisfaction for the first time, like if school started tomorrow I'd be semi-okay with it.haha It hit me before right before we left after I bought our first sand toys that this would be the first proper sandy beach visit most of the kids had had or would remember, and I couldn't wait to see them see it. Our Oregon coast trip in February was the first time most of the kids had ever seen waves and walked on sand, but here at Bear Lake they didn't have to wear coats and they could play in the warm water and dig for little shells, and it's been even better than I hoped for!

     Visiting here was something that Richard had done often when he went to school in Logan and bought his house, so we added it to the list and hoped for the best. We've accomplished so many little and big things on our list (maybe I should share it here sometime and mark off what we've done?), but it took some great new friends inviting us to join them on their family trip for us to jump in the car and head for the hills.haha We ate a yummy dinner with Amber and Drew and their sweet family the night we arrived, and have spent the last couple of days on the beach watching our kids all play together, enjoying some treats and some frisbee, and just lots of good conversation in the calmest and quietest atmosphere. Also, you can see in the photos that the water closest to the shore is cloudy from being stirred up, but even still I'll never get over how beautifully turquoise the water is on a clear day. Really though! Amber and I laughed about how I should put a disclaimer in here to say no, the color in the pictures isn't an exaggeration or an over-edit, but that it's actually that dreamy much of the time.haha

     So I guess I could wrap up by saying we're officially hooked! Growing up on the east coast, Bear Lake was never really an option as a family vacation spot, but I'm really happy about making this a new favorite spot for our family to visit. It's only a few hours to drive here, but it feels like something we'd have to travel far to get to, so I know we'll be counting down the days till we can come back again! Life has been pretty up and down lately, but it's been all up after we added fresh mountain air, a campfire, sandy shores, and a bunch of peace and quiet.

     Well today I'm so grateful for good friends who let us share in their fun even on their birthdays, who encourage and uplift, who treat our kiddos like their own, and who show us where the yummiest fries and shakes come from!

     Have you ever been to Bear Lake? If so, do you have any recommendations of places to visit or foods to try or things to do? Does your family or friend group have a special spot they visit annually? I really love hearing details like that from you guys so please pass it on!


P.S. to those of you that have stopped us to say hi, I just need/want to say thank you once again! It means so much to put beautiful faces and personalities and voices behind some of the numbers and handles and tiny profile photos here on the blog and my social media. Some of the things you've said have been incredibly encouraging and will stay with me. That goes for the rest of you friends out there too, even if we never run into eachother. ♡♡♡

Friday, May 11

Friday Finds #105

     Well, I'm bringin' back the old Friday Finds feature after nearly three years, and I'm feelin' good about it:) Many of you might remember these posts from the old days, but if not it's merely a little collection of recipes, articles, wishlist items, etc from the previous week. Enjoy!

     And that's all for this Friday, and I really hope you have a Mother's Day weekend exactly as you would love to have whether it's a slow and peaceful one or one with lots of people and music etc, etc.haha Actually now I'm curious, what DOES your ultimate weekend look like? I mean excluding vacations and such:) 

     Share in the comments!

Thursday, May 3

♡ Ten things to do before your baby arrives ♡

     Morning mamas! Seeing as it's the month in which we celebrate Mother's Day, I thought this could be the first of a bunch of motherhood-related posts that I've been excited to share. Maybe it's a selfish notion, but I think we moms deserve to be celebrated for at least the whole month of May, don't you? haha

     I really adore these photos that my sweet friend AJ took a few months before Alice was born, and remembering back to this moment takes my mind to such a calm place. It really is a pure and unconditional love we have for these little humans that we've never met, and we would do just about anything to keep them safe and happy. I look at that belly now and see Alice all curled up in there, her eyebrows furrowed like she does so often, her little feet peddling an invisible bike (aka constantly jabbing me in the ribs.haha), and her little head with all that hair she was born with. I'm so glad she's with us now!

     Anyways, here are 10 things that I always try to get done and have ready before I have another baby, and whether you're expecting yourself or you know a friend or family member that could use some help preparing for their little sweetie, I hope this list is helpful!  

♡ Ten things to do before your baby arrives ♡

      1. COMPLETE: Use the last couple of weeks to officially complete packing your hospital bag and/or preparing your home-birthing space, down to the last tiny detail. At least for me, there were always just a couple tiny things left to set up or stick in the bathroom for postpartum care that I kept putting off thinking I had time, and then all the sudden I didn't.haha Get 'er done!
      2. FOOD: Stock your freezer with meals that can be easily reheated or cooked in the weeks after you give birth. Time moves so fast and it's way too valuable for naps or showers if you get any to spare, you'll be so glad for those casseroles and soups (frozen pizzas, pot pies, veggies, fruit for smoothies, etc) that you can just pull out and have prepped in no time at all. Also, something I've never done (but have been told is amazing) is finding a fresh grocery delivery service. Sounds worth a look to me!
      3. SELF-CARE: Maybe I'm biased, but I think if anyone ever deserved to 'treat' themselves, it's a woman about to bravely deliver a watermelon-sized person out of her body.haha Getting your hair done, or going with friends to get a manicure and a pedicure is a wonderful way to get in a little R&R. Oh man, I can almost feel that massage chair on my back with my feet in that hot water, and think, then you'll have cute toes and fingers going into labor! haha In all seriousness though, sometimes we don't really have the budget for extras like that, so don't forget you can look on Pinterest for loads of great at-home pampering ideas.
      4. CLEANING: Enlist a couple friends or family to help you clean your house from top to bottom, or better yet, find a good cleaning service to do it for you! This is a tip I got from a friend before Evelyn was born, and it was SO worth it! The little cleaning service  she recommended was nowhere near as expensive as I thought it might be, and I cleaned up all the items and things before they arrived and then they just did all the deep cleaning (bathrooms, windows, floors, walls, baseboards, cabinets, etc) It was SUCH a blessing and relief to be able to rest while that was all getting done, and to know that I wouldn't need to stress about mopping while snuggling my newborn.
      5. NECESSITIES: Make sure that you're all set with basic living necessities because it might be very difficult or even impossible to get to the store for a little while afterward. Make a list of items for your bathroom, kitchen, cleaning closet, laundry room, and pantry that you'll want to be sure and have on hand. Also, I highly recommend Amazon prime if you aren't already a user, as you can easily have any of those items delivered right to you in a day or two:)
      6. LOGISTICS: Prepare your birth announcements as much as you can beforehand, empty your phone storage and camera cards, stock up on thank you cards, make sure you're all caught up on bills and deadlines, and have a photographer already picked out and ready for your call to action. You'll be SO glad you did!
      7. SLEEP: Oh man, I can't express how important it is to stock up on sleep as much as you can before your baby arrives! I was lucky that the older kids were in school when I was due, and then Richard willingly took the younger girls out to the park and such in the afternoons so I could just pull the covers over my head for some Zzz's. Those few solid nights of sleep and daytime naps were SO vital to have more clarity of mind and less fatigue going into the labor and delivery. 
      8. BABYSITTING: Meeting all the needs of your other children and/or pets while you're adjusting to your new norm, trying to relax and heal, plus meet all the demands of your precious newborn can be really overwhelming. Having a couple willing friends or babysitters on hand will be such a relief for after your baby arrives, so you can have the peace of mind knowing your dog is getting regular walks and your other kiddos are getting their baths and story-time.
      9. EMERGENCY: Besides getting the car seat properly installed and adding a window shade, I highly recommend having a little emergency box or bag in the back of the car or under the seat. I get such fuzzy mom-brain with a newborn, and more often than not I'll forget to refresh the diapers in the baby bag or forget it altogether, and I've been saved so many times my emergency box. Pack it with diapers and wipes obviously, but also a couple extra outfits for baby, some fruit snacks or granola bars for other kids, a couple water bottles, infant tylanol, an extra pacifier, some ointment or lanolin, a few breast pads, an extra shirt for you, hand sanitizer, you get the idea:)
      10. DATE-NIGHT: One thing that a lot of people don't think about until it's too late, is that you probably won't be able to go on dates without your new baby for a long time after they come. Not that those trio dates aren't fun in their own way, but they're quite a bit different in many ways. Fitting in a couple extra nights out with your sweetie while it can still be just the two of you will help you recharge a bit and really be on the same page going into the birth.

     And that's it for today!

     Thank you so much for visiting today, and I truly hope that this is useful to you in some way! I would really love to hear if there are any tips listed here that stand out to you, and also please share any special ways you prepared for your baby that I didn't mention.

     Have a great rest of your week friends:)

Monday, April 23

Changing Seasons


     Hey guys, thanks for visiting:) It's that time of year where the weather decides to play jokes on us alternating from sunshiny to stormy every other day. Friday I'll grab my laptop and sit in a lawn chair while birds sing and the kids play, and then Saturday I'll put on a big coat and brace myself for the wind and rain to hit me square in the face.

     It was a long, cold Winter, and I think most of us that are coming out of it have been really anxious for the warm weather to stick, to hear the birds sing and to feel the grass under our toes. I know I've been so looking forward to the farmers market and paddle-boarding, and I've been dreaming of evening bonfires and the little family adventures that will come with Summer. It's pretty natural to look forward to the freedom and excitement that comes with the light I think, especially after such a long stretch of bitter cold.

     While the flip-flopping of the temp has been frustrating, I realized today that it's been kindof a metaphor for life and my mindset in particular lately. I don't want to go into a bunch of detail in this post, but April has been a harder month than the last few. There have been many days with more light than we've seen in a long time, but there have also been days with more chill and dark. The simple lesson though is that just like the weather, life is unpredictable, and I need to learn to be more patient with the different seasons of my own life.

     There will be times of amazing progress and productivity, when we feel awesome and light with the happiness that comes from accomplishment. Then the next day the shadows will creep in and the light will dim, and it often feels like the sun will never come back. I have been having more of those darker days for sure, but I'm working hard at appreciating what I can learn from those days while I'm waiting for the season to change again.

     Here's to a brighter day tomorrow and crushing our to-do lists, but if not, cheers to leftovers in our sweats and kiddo snuggles amid piles of unfolded laundry. Deep breaths:)

P.S. This trench coat from ASOS is sold out now, but they have a whole new batch of light colors for Spring and Summer that you can check out here