this is 31

It’s my birthday (31!), so I thought I’d stick with my tradition (that I apparently skipped last year, oops), of sharing a few facts and tidbits about myself right now! I obviously don’t change year to year as much as the kids do, but it’s still fun to look back on these. I absolutely love birthdays and always make a pretty big deal out of them, and I think I’ll probably want to write these posts no matter what my age is. Here goes!1. I make chocolate-chip cookies just so I can eat the dough.

2. I am still terrible at laundry. I thought I was getting better at it, but then I guess we’ve added a couple of kids in the past few years, and it’s still just all chaos.

3. Going into my late 20s and early 30s has been amazing. I know a lot of people complain about getting older, but I honestly feel like I’ve grown to really discover myself and feel a lot more confident in who I am. I still have some personality traits that I’m learning to deal with, but overall, age has been good to me.

4. One such personality trait would be that I am still painfully introverted… and I don’t see that ever changing. Socializing is really hard, but I try to do it as best as I can. There are probably only a few people who know the “real” version of me, and while I wish that weren’t true, it’s something I think I’ll forever be working on.

5. This blog is still so important to me, despite feeling like I have almost no free time or energy to work on it these days. I’m really writing this for my kids, with the hope that one day, they can look back and see what life was like when they were little. I want them to have kids and be able to come here and glean a little knowledge from the experiences I’ve shared as their mom. I hope that if they ever find themselves struggling, they can read these posts and see how much I have always loved and cherished them beyond anything I ever knew possible.

6. I thought maybe I was becoming less clumsy, but in the past 24 hours, I’ve dropped and broken my electric griddle and a whole jar of strawberry jam. Oops. I think our hardwood floor is not a fan.

7. As of this January, I have given up almost all dairy. If you’ve known me for a long time, it’s probably completely shocking that I’m not eating ice cream anymore. I wouldn’t say that I’m lactose intolerant, but I definitely have sensitivity to dairy, and I wasn’t happy with how I’d feel after I consumed it. It’s surprisingly been a lot easier to give up than I thought it’d be.

8. Right now, I’m really into all the “retro” 1960s television shows: Green Acres, the Andy Griffith Show, Bewitched, etc. I used to watch these shows all the time in high school, so it’s fun to revisit a lot of them via Netflix and Amazon now!

9. I’ve been running for TEN YEARS and I can’t believe it’s been that long. It took me a long time to start racing (my first official 10k was less than 3 years ago), but I’m coming up on my second half marathon! To say that I’m nervous is an understatement.

10. I have been a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for 12 years now, and I honestly don’t know where I would be in this world without it. One of my favorite recent quotes comes from Elder Dieter F. Uchtfdorf

“Those who find a way to truly behold the Man find the doorway to life’s greatest joys and the balm to life’s most demanding despairs.
So, when you are encompassed by sorrows and grief, behold the Man.
When you feel lost or forgotten, behold the Man.
When you are despairing, deserted, doubting, damaged, or defeated, behold the Man.
He will comfort you.
He will heal you and give meaning to your journey. He will pour out His Spirit and fill your heart with exceeding joy.”

I am grateful for our Savior and the ability He has to heal us, comfort us, strengthen us, and love us.

Here’s to 31!

9 for 29

The last couple of years, I’ve started this little tradition where I share a few facts about myself in honor of my birthday. I turned 29 years old on Sunday, so I thought I’d post my list this week! I write so much about the kids on here, but I’d like to think that one day, they’d like to look back and learn something about their mom, too.

1. I didn’t play any sports growing up, but in adulthood, I’ve found that I love running. I’ve been an avid runner for 8 years now, and it seems like the older I get, the more miles I want to do. I ran my first race last year and I’m looking forward to doing at least one in 2017!

2. I eat a big salad every day for lunch, but don’t worry, I balance it out with plenty of ice cream later! 😉

3. I like to pick on Michael for being older than me, even if it is only by 6 months.

4. I am a serious bargain hunter and only buy things on sale or clearance, especially clothes for the kids. If the price is right, I’ll store away items that won’t fit them for two or three more years.

5. Photography is still my favorite hobby. I take all of our own family photos, and although it can be extremely challenging with little kids, overall, it’s incredibly rewarding. I also love documenting other people’s special moments, and although I haven’t been actively trying to grow my business, slowly but surely, it is expanding with each passing year.

6. I was never a baby-crazy kind of girl until we actually had our own. Now I love baby snuggles, that sweet baby smell, and their infatuating little smiles.7. I’ve been working with the Young Women at church for over 3 years now, and I think I’d be happy to do that for the rest of my life. I love those girls so much, and I’m so grateful that I get to learn about life and the gospel alongside them. We really have an amazing group of young ladies who are so valiant and good-hearted.

8. My go-to, oops-I-didn’t-plan-ahead food is grilled cheese. I really like mine with sharp cheddar or Colby-jack cheese, pickle slices, and pepperoni.

9. My current favorite song is “Dirt on my Boots” by Jon Pardi, and my favorite actress is Lauren Graham.

Since my birthday was on a Sunday this year, we didn’t get much time to really celebrate. My mom will be here visiting this coming weekend, so I’m looking forward to having some cake and fun then!

8 for 28

It’s my birthday! Year 27 flew on by… and I can’t believe I only have one more birthday left of my 20s after this. I’m not sad to be getting older, because I can honestly say that my heart just keeps feeling more and more full as the years go on.

Last year, I listed out a bunch of random facts about myself… and I kind of like that tradition, so here we go again!

1. Folding clean laundry is my least favorite chore. I usually do at least one load per day, so we usually don’t have many (or any) dirty clothes. It’s just that they all sit in the clean basket for far too long.

2. I have this weirdly awesome memory for numbers. I memorize people’s birthdays easily and can usually tell you on the spot the specific date that something happened.

3. Country music is my jam. I like some modern songs, but give me some classic Alan Jackson or Randy Travis anytime.

4. I never planned on getting married or having kids, but our babies have brought us more joy than I could have ever imagined. Now I think it could be fun to have a pretty big family.

5. I studied abroad in Europe 7 years ago, and sometimes I still daydream about what it’d be like to go back. One day…

6. I don’t like peanut butter (shocking, I know), and chocolate mixed with peanut butter is even more unappealing to me. I think Michael likes not having to share his Reese’s, though! 🙂

7. I’ve kept a consistent journal since I was 11 years old. I’ve written almost every day since early 2009.

8. I think now that I’m out of school, a lot of people don’t know- I’m a linguist. I have a BA in French and studied a total of 7 years of French, 2 years of Spanish, and 1 year of Italian. I miss having language classes and being immersed in it all day long!

Happy Friday! 🙂

once an animal lover

Growing up, I was always known as the “animal lover” of the family. My lifelong goal was to help animals in any way I could.

I always found that I had some special way of understanding them, as they did me.

_MG_2976They were my safe place. At the end of the day, if I was stressed, hurting, or just needed company, I knew they would always be there for me. There was an inherent trust between us. “You care for me, and I’ll watch out for you”, they always seemed to say._MG_2870 Losing Jax was hard. The trust and security I had relied on throughout my whole life was suddenly shattered, and for a short time, I wondered if it was gone forever. I loved him, but his hurting of my own human child felt unforgivable.IMG_20140729_191344We are without a pet for the first time in the six years we’ve been married. A little time has passed since the dog bite incident, and Jax officially has a new home now. While I am so happy that he received a second chance and the best possible future, there is definitely an aching void in my heart for my puppy.

My furry buddies are such a huge part of who I am, and I’m sure now that nothing can change that.

Once an animal lover, always an animal lover.

7 facts for 27

No matter how old I get, I think I will always be so enthusiastic about my birthday! I can’t say this year is as exciting as the last (when we found out we’d be adding a sweet baby girl to our family, and then were snowed in by the biggest blizzard I’ve ever seen!), but 27 is looking pretty good so far.

Since it’s my birthday, I figured I get a free pass to talk about myself a little (instead of posting cute baby pictures, as always!), so here are a few fun facts:
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1. I got my first DSLR four years ago, and I’m definitely a photography nerd! I’m often asked if that’s what I went to school for… but the answer is no! I’m all self-taught!

2. I actually went to school for Animal Science and French (a dual degree). (And everyone always seems to make the same joke about me speaking to French animals… what?)

3. I never thought I wanted to be a mom, but I’m glad I took the plunge because I had no idea how much I would love motherhood and how much it would change me.Processed with VSCOcam with g1 preset

4. I love love love to run and I go out (in almost any weather, but not single-digit temperatures!) five days a week.

5. Blogging is a great outlet for me and I love how it can connect people in so many ways, but in real life, I’m actually pretty introverted.

6. I am definitely a morning person (married to a non-morning person… which is funny, because he’s the one that got called to be an early-morning seminary teacher)!

7. I’m also just kind of an all-around goofball (especially when I take test shots for photoshoots)!_MG_6117

if you really knew me…

If you really knew me, you’d know that…_MG_4108

… I’m completely obsessed with chocolate-chip cookies and I have my favorite recipe for them memorized.

… I was born a Jersey girl, but I love country music, horses, trucks, and all that other countrified stuff. Michael thinks I wish I was country and he just might be right.

Laundry is my least favorite chore, and I usually have a big mountain of clean clothes waiting to be folded (which I could totally be doing right now, but am obviously avoiding… at least the clothes are clean, right?)!

… I keep tons of baking supplies in my pantry at all times. If you came over and wanted to make something, I probably already have the staples to bake it right then and there.

… My heart beats with a love for my two little girls like nothing I’ve ever known. They are my everything, but when I was younger, being a mom wasn’t even part of my “life plan”.

Michael and I actually met for the first time on his birthday. I said hello and he completely ignored me!

… I call my dad-in-law my “twin” (not that we look alike) because we have all the same favorite foods and love to have daddy-daughter cuddles when we visit.Processed with VSCOcam with a5 preset

I love to run and currently go about 20 miles per week, but I’ve never entered a race! I think I’m just a little intimidated because I know I’m not very fast.

… I’m a great baker and a pretty decent cook… but for some reason, it took me a really long time to learn to make pancakes without burning them on the outside or having them still be raw on the inside. Whoops. (notice how many of these facts are about sweets…)

… I’m a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and as far as the gospel goes, I know it, I live it, and I love it! 🙂

What’s something I don’t know about you?