Monday, June 27, 2016


Guys. I love being a mom! There are so many reasons I love it, but one of the biggest reasons is the vicarious excitement I get watching my daughter as she grows up.

I don't know about all you other grown-up folks that are reading this, but for me, one of the hardest parts about growing up has been doing all the things I did when I was a kid and not feeling as excited. I'm talking about those moments where you get super stoked to be somewhere or do something because you loved it when you were a kid, and then when you arrive at that place or that moment of doing it again... it just feels kind of... meh. From watching Mary-Kate and Ashley to waking up on Christmas morning, things just don't feel nearly as exciting as they did when puberty hadn't come yet and when wearing princess underwear was the bomb. com. (Or when saying the bomb. com made you super cool.) But there is a way to feel excited again! I'm talking unadulterated euphoria, not the pseudo-happiness people seek from substance abuse. The solution, my friends, is being a parent. And if you can't be a parent, (my heart aches for you), then the solution would be taking care of a child that you care about deeply.

For me, watching a tiny human, that I love (AKA Lily), experience the unadulterated euphoria I spoke of, is SO rewarding. It is through those moments that I vicariously get to be a kid again! And I love it.

Last Friday Ammon and I took Lily, who is now 14 months old, to the aquarium. My favorite part? Watching Lily, of course! I absolutely loved her enthusiasm and excitement as she exclaimed, "wow!" over and over again. The camera, of course, loved her. (That's code for: Brace yourself because I couldn't help myself and took a lot of pictures and videos. And yes, I'm posting all of them.)

Looking through the shark tunnel

Ammon hated these creepy sea wormy things

I kind of liked them. :)

Lily loved splashing in the water

These dopey fish are my favorite! Just look at that face!


Lily loves hugging soft things-especially stuffed animals!

Thank you for having us! It was worth the whopping $30 we spent to come! 

Thursday, June 23, 2016

family pictures // rock canyon

Hi there! It has been eons since I have written in this blog! The last time I posted something was when Lily was 3 months old. That was back when I thought I had a difficult baby that never slept. Now I have a baby who sleeps like a champion and who I think is the sweetest, happiest, and easiest baby. Well... at least for the most part. Yesterday was a different story. She was hardly sweet nor happy, and she was definitely not easy. I'll explain in a bit.

Yesterday we went and got family pictures taken by a professional. I'm going to write that sentence again: Yesterday we went and got family pictures taken by a professional. That sentence might not seem unusual for some people, but for us, it is a BIG deal. Ammon and I have never paid for professional pictures before. Just friends and family who have... you know... really good cameras. Okay, I guess you can count our wedding day, but even then, we could only afford someone for a tiny portion of our wedding. So you can imagine the anticipation and excitement I experienced when we decided to hire a photographer to take our family pictures.

Because we don't do this very often, we weren't very smart in planning when and where to get our pictures taken. June 22nd at Rock Canyon at 6 p.m. Seems pretty harmless, right? It did to us. I'm not teaching for the summer, Ammon didn't have school or work that day, we didn't have any vacations planned, and it didn't interfere with Lily's bedtime. As our date got closer and closer, I started to worry. I knew that our photographer, Kristina Bills would do a good job, so I wasn't worried about that. I was worried about how we would look. What if our outfits didn't match? What if they matched too much?  I spent hours of searching and rearranging outfits for us. I couldn't fall asleep one night because I was brainstorming outfits! Outfits! Who does that? Me! That's who. {insert sighing emoji here}

The day of our session arrived and I was still trying to find outfit pieces. Goodness, was this just yesterday? Yeah, I guess it was! Man, it feels so long ago! haha. Anyway. Thankfully, with the help of h&m, Target, and JCPenny, I found everything we would need. By the way, as a side note... I only went and got new outfit pieces because when you're trying to coordinate outfits, even if you have a lot of cute clothes in your closet, and so does your baby, you might not have items that match each other. That was us. Before getting our pictures taken, we made sure to leave ourselves plenty of time to get ourselves and Lily ready so that we weren't stressed trying to get there in time. Nailed it. We got out the door on time, smiling, and with everything we would need! Boom baby!

Now... what we weren't prepared for was the heat. You may have seen this meme recently:

Yeah that's what if felt like for us. It was in the high 90s and we were on the side of the mountain. Which you'd think, "Oh, higher elevation, cooler temperature." Yeah, no. It felt more hot there than it did at the bottom of the mountain. And to top it off... no shade. Okay, fine, there was some shade. Like, the size of my bed! And it aint no California King!

The whole time we were getting our pictures taken, I just kept picturing my make-up smeared, my hair matted to my face, beads of sweat on my forehead, and my cheeks bright red. I did not feel pretty whatsoever. I don't know about you guys, but for me, it's hard to pose for pictures when you don't feel pretty. So, I just focused on listening to Kristina's guidance, keeping Lily happy, and smiling. Even if we looked like a complete wreck, I'd at least be smiling! :)

We weren't the only ones who noticed the heat, Lily did too. Our usual happy, babbling baby turned into a booby, cranky, whiny baby. Taking pictures with her was what made it especially challenging. She didn't want to be held and cried if we did, and she hardly smiled. (Which, when you feel like Two-Face, who can blame ya?)

After our session, Ammon and I drove home in despair. Okay, I was the only one in despair. I had been looking forward to these pictures for so long and I had pictured us all looking beautiful and smiling. And to make things worse, Lily's cheerfulness on the way home confirmed that is was the heat that made her so cranky, so I blamed myself for choosing a hot month, a hot time, and a non-shady location. Oh. And I also felt so guilty because I didn't feel like I was nice to Kristina at all from the stress of Lily. And I was worried because it wasn't like this was just a family member with a nice camera, this was something we were ya know... paying for. Luckily, Ammon was really good at cheering me up. Plus we went to Swig and got some cold drinks so that helped as well. Plus I texted Kristina afterwards to apologize and everything she said made me feel so much better.

Before I move on, I just want to clarify that I was not at all worried about Kristina's abilities, nor did I doubt them. I just thought there wasn't anything good to capture because we were all so hot and Lily was so grumpy. Krstina's abilities=not worried. How we looked=worried.

Today I got the pictures. Today! Holy cow, that was FAST! I'll be honest, part of me was like, "She's already done with our pictures because there weren't very many good ones to work with." I thought that! You guys, it was really hot. I'm normally not this pessimistic, I promise. :) But then I got to see the pictures, and here's what I think about Kristina. I think she's a magician. She has to be. I'm pretty sure she graduated from Hogwarts and was hiding her wand inside her camera bag because our pictures turned out PERFECT! I teared up when I saw them. And I'm not even pregnant! I don't know how she did it. Lily had smiled for less than a second and Kristina somehow captured it! And it wasn't because she was holding down her camera button the whole time, just hoping she'd get something good. She knew exactly when to take a good picture. But that's just the beginning of her amazingness. Not only was she precise in snapping a picture, she was also so sweet and upbeat the WHOLE time. Which we needed because I think we were all on the verge of losing our minds.

Kristina's Instagram home page says, "Turning your chaos into beauty through my lens." I've seen that quote on her page a million times because that's how many times I've been to her page to look at her pictures. I happened upon that quote again after looking through our pictures and got goosebumps and teared up again! It's because that's exactly what she did. She truly turned our chaos into beauty.

Alright my friends,without further ado, please enjoy the beauty she has provided as you scroll through our family pictures:

My baby girl has green eyes!

I absolutely love this picture
Every mom wants a picture that captures the love she has for her baby and this one takes the cake! 
Although, these next two might be it. Lately she has loved touching noses. During the entire session she only touched her nose once and my nose once. And it happened randomly. We didn't even ask the usual, "Where's Lily's nose? Where's mamma's nose?" She just did it. And Kristina got it! I'm telling you... magician.

Okay, this picture just might have made it all worth it. Look at that gorgeous mountain!

My two loves. Wow, I love this picture!

Playing with mamma's watch

That sad face breaks my heart! 

Probably my favorite one of us. Ever.

Oh, but I do really like this one as well! 

And this one!!

Aren't they amazing? If you're ever wondering, "Is it really worth it to pay that much for a photographer?" the answer is "Yes! Yes times a million!" That is, if your photographer is Kristina. Let me just recap all the reasons why:

1. She is so easy to work with. She is the perfect balance of getting to know you more and getting things done! And I never ever once felt awkward.
2. She is so great with kids. Even the really sad ones.
3. Her pictures are amazing. They speak for themselves.
4. She gets them to you quickly! And it's not because there weren't very many good ones to choose from. (I can't believe I ever thought that!)
5. When she sends them, you get more than what's on the blog. Much more! And they are all SO good!
6. She sends every single picture to you both in color, and in black and white. That way, you can choose which ones you want in color and if you want any of them in black and white... she's already done that for you.
7. There are no glares on anyone's faces. Even when you're standing in the bright sun.
8. She makes you feel so good when she blogs about you.
9.  She will stay positive, upbeat, and nice no matter what. Even when she is in the sun the entire time. (We got to stand in the shade, but not her!) And you KNOW that if she can stay that way through the heat and a cranky kid, then she will be like for any other circumstance you can think of.
10. Reason number ten? She's a magician.

Thank you, Kristina! We will for sure be coming to you for the rest of our family pictures!
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