Monday, April 28

Coconut Bars and Babies

When she first laid eyes on it, her face looked much like this. (It wasn't almost gone when I first showed her though)
You have no idea how happy she is right now. Baby heaven.
It's so good you can let it drip all over your face and not even care
This is her reaction to the sugariest snack mommy gives her.
This post is gonna be short because I have to go grocery shopping but I just had to share how obsessed I am with the Outshine Creamy Coconut fruit bars lately. Basically, if you love coconut as much as I do, you will love these things. I could easily eat four a day, but I usually try to limit myself to three. Just kidding (but seriously...)

They use real fruit and I love that they have little coconut pieces in them. YUM, they're so good!! I would seriously give them 10 stars out of 5 if I could.
*Note that the coconut fruit bars are different than the coconut waters bars. 
Since they don't have any milk/dairy in them, I've let Tenley try them and unsurprisingly she loves them as much as me if not more (though I doubt it;). Basically, if you love coconut, you should try these because they're like eating creamy, frozen, amazing, delicious (okay I'll stop) coconut meat and basically you'll probably be addicted.

They cost close to $4 which stinks, but sometimes there are sales on them (which you can use to price match at Wal-Mart of course) like 2 for $4 at Smith's or 2 for $7 at Target. Obviously the Smith's deal was way better, but you take what you can get.

Anyway, there are other fruit flavors of these bars if you don't like coconut, but coconut is by far my favorite. Anyway, if you're curious about them, there is more info right here. I apologize in advance for getting you addicted to these amazing things.

Your coconut-lovin' friend,
So have you ever tried these Outshine bars?
Do you love them as much as I do?

Friday, April 25

Back to Work For a Day

I think it's ironic that having a job is called "work" and being a mom isn't. What do people think motherhood is, a hobby?

I went back to work today to help out with checkouts (I worked for over a year at an apartment complex in south Provo) and sure, it was work, but it was nothing less than I do every day as a mom and homemaker.

Entertaining and feeding an 8-month old while trying to clean and organize a home is a lot harder than it seems. If it wasn't, then why would parents hire people (as in, give them a job) to watch their children? Plain and simple, it is a job--unpaid and vacationless--and one that is crucial to the success of society. (That is, the moral success of society. So few people have morals presently that I felt it necessary to clarify). So then why did I leave after 8 hours of work today feeling so unfulfilled?

Was it because I didn't get to see my daughter learning like I typically do? Was it because I missed her pulling herself up into a stand multiple times (something she has tried to do many times but hasn't fully succeeded at until today)? Maybe it was because I missed teaching her new things and giving her new foods to try? Or was it even because I just missed holding her close and comforting her and smelling her soft hair?

Probably all of the above.

I am grateful I was able to work today and make a little extra money, but mostly, I was grateful because it helped me realize that I already have my dream job. And I will not let it be taken for granted.

Why are you grateful for your job (whether it be mommy, daddy, or another job)?

Much love,

Thursday, April 24

Some good news and some bad news--not in that order

As of yesterday, Tenley is fully vaccinated for the flu (and she was awesome like usual, unlike crybaby me when I get shots) and she weighs 15 lbs, 12 oz. and is 26 inches long. Haha I know that babies are obviously smaller than that when they are born, but doesn't 26 inches just sound tiny haha? I just want to be like, "Hi Tenley, you're just a 26 inch tall little person." Haha that's small. Anyway, she's like in the 15th percentile or so but she has a perfectly consistent head shape, so that's good. We brush her six chompers every night with her gross apple-banana flavored toothpaste (I am a mint person all the way...) and can see her little top canines poking through so she's almost an eight-toother! She uses her teeth on her toys and to chew every type of food we give her (which is like everything minus egg whites, shellfish, nuts, and milk). She's a great baby. Super active all the time lately. She wears me out some days!

So bad news. While in Caldwell, Idaho for Easter break, I somehow lost Dalin's set of keys which SUCKS because it had our Wymount key, our other car key, and his work keys on it. I am really ticked that we realized it the morning we were leaving too because, while I lose things a lot, I always find them when I look for them. But now they're just sitting somewhere in Idaho and I am back in Utah, unable to search for them. It's really been stressing me out the last few days, not because we can't get replacements, but because I don't want to pay for a missing key when we leave Wymount or when we turn in our car at the end of our lease. Ugh. So if you could, say a little prayer that they are found, preferably soon.

But then good news--we booked our tickets to New Hampshire a week or two ago and I am elated. Obviously. All I ever talk about is New Hampshire. Anyway, I'm stoked and we're going the last couple weeks of August. Dates are still subject to change but I'm hoping we'll be there at least for Payson's 22nd birthday on the 22nd, Gilford Old Home Day on the 23rd, Donovan's 15th birthday on the 28th, and a Red Sox game or two;) And of course I'm excited about the ocean, Lake Winnipesaukee, seeing family, and eating a boatload of lobster lobstah. For real. We might even be in NH for our third anniversary on the 19th. I can't believe Tenley will be one year old by then (her birthday is August 12th, three days after mine on the 9th). This year has literally felt like three months to me.

Anyway, I can't wait for New Hampshire! Just 68 days of classes to get out of my way.

Do you have any exciting plans for summer?? :)

Wednesday, April 23

Guess What? It IS Okay

I just love being a mom. I cannot say it enough. I am still far from being the type of mother I'd like to become, but I'm learning and I'm very happy with how things are going right now. I feel confident in my mothering abilities and I know I will continue to learn and improve. I really feel like I have the best job ever and I can't wait to have even more wonderful babies.

A few months ago, I saw an article which essentially scolded parents for using the phrase, "It's okay!" to attempt to comfort their child when he or she gets hurt. It claimed that using this phrase belittles the child's feelings or pain. And for those who watched Juan Pablo's season of The Bachelor, we know how annoying "Ees okay" can be when used at the wrong time. But this phrase has been on my mind since I read the article. Every time Tenley tips over or bonks her head, I remember the article and though my natural instinct is to tell her that everything is okay, I instead would try to ask, "Are you alright, sweetheart?" even though of course she can't answer me yet. But while this has happened several times in the last few months as Tenley learns to sit up, reach, crawl, etc., my feelings about those words have started to change. I have started to realize that it is okay for her to get hurt. As much as I want to protect her from everything that could ever harm her, it's simply impossible and it's not meant to be that way. She needs to experience pain and sadness to know joy. That is why we are on this earth. That is why we have our agency. We are supposed to fail. And that is why we have been given and must rely on our Savior. Jesus Christ atoned for our sins so that we can return to live with our heavenly parents and family after we leave this life.

Now let's be clear--that does not mean Tenley's sorrows do not affect me. I am the biggest empathizer and any time she is hurt or sad, I feel hurt or sad too. When she cries, I want to cry with her because she's my precious baby and I want her to be healthy and happy always. But I have decided that it is fine to comfort her with "It's okay," because it is okay. She will be okay and it's okay for her to be a little sad sometimes. I'm still going to ask her if she is alright and see what I can do to help her get through her pains once she is able to convey that to me, but for now I will continue to remind her that things are okay. She is safe and her mother and father and her Father in Heaven love her so much.

I imagine how our Heavenly Father must feel when He sees any one of His precious sons or daughters hurt. I know that He values our feelings and because of that, I know that ultimately, it is okay to get hurt. It is okay to feel sad. It's part of having trials and testing our ability to get through struggles in this life. We have to be tested in order to become better. Those tests help us improve and teach us to become more polished and more like Jesus Christ.

Anyway, I've said it before and I'll say it again, being a mom rocks. It's so fun, so challenging, and so rewarding. It makes my heart happy and I can't wait to feel that love grow as our family does.

With lots and lots of love,

Monday, April 7

8 Reasons Why Modern Dating is the Worst

Ok, I realize this subject doesn't really apply to me since I'm a married girl, but the topic is still important to me. And yes I still date my husband and all that, but you'll see in a moment why this post no longer applies to me.

I am really glad that I met Dalin when we did. It seems like even in just the last few years, technology has erupted into everyone's daily life, and ever since, the dating world has changed. The world of romance has changed. I'm glad to say that it is not completely gone, but with the way things are going, I wouldn't be surprised if it continued to get worse. What do I mean? Here are some reasons why (in my opinion) modern dating is the worst:

1. Meeting people via technology is lame. What happened to meeting at a dance or social activity and falling in love? Or meeting someone in a college class or at work or at the checkout counter? I mean, obviously that can't happen to everyone, but I feel like meeting online is kind of lame. And I can say that because the first time my husband and I spoke was through Facebook. We were introduced through a mutual friend and she had us start talking through Facebook. Even I think that's lame. And by lame, I mostly mean unromantic. Obviously, that is just how it's going to be for some people nowadays (Dalin and I, for instance. First spoke online, and now still happily married with a baby three years later), but I think the majority of the online dating world is choosing this method out of laziness, desperation, and fear. These people just need to grit their teeth and courageously introduce themselves to people in person. Technology has made people increasingly reclusive and that is plain silly. Are you truly happier browsing the internet all day than interacting with human beings or enjoying the beauty of the world? If so, then you may be really, really painfully shy or a hermit. Either way, you probably could be happier.

2. Asking people on dates through text is the WORST. Interaction in person is by far the best choice, but even a phone call is better than getting a text that could be meant for anyone. Especially when it reads, "Wanna go out with me?" No. I'm going to teach my kids to tell their dates to try again if they get asked through text. It is incredibly impersonal and, as exciting as it is to get a cute text, getting a cute call is that much more exciting. Some people say, "But phone calls or person-to-person is awkward." Well sorry, but you're gonna have to get over that. Dating in general is kind of awkward and sometimes (usually), those moments of embarrassment and humility make the best memories later on. Take courage, Single People, and use your words, not your fingers to ask someone out.

3. Dating itself is so different. Gone are the days of courting and fun group dates. In their place are what people call "hook ups" and "NCMOs" or nic-mo's (non-committal make-outs). Half the fun of dating is the process. The nervousness and anxiety are what make it fun and exciting. It's still okay to go to the movies once in a while, but take the time to go somewhere and just talk, too. Read together at a park. Go on a hike or walk in the woods. Play tennis or try something new like golfing. Work on a meal together for yourselves or for someone else. Serve some old people you both know. There is little more attractive (in my mind at least) than seeing a man who loves to help other people. And I suspect many men would say the same about women. Most importantly, TALK. I'm just going to go ahead and say it--you do a lot more talking than kissing once you get married, so get really good at having a meaningful conversation.

4. What the heck happened to chivalry? Is it really almost dead? I know it's not completely dead--thankfully--as the men in my life are excellent at being chivalrous but I am hearing of fewer and fewer young men who are considerate toward women. This may in part be because some women refuse to accept the help of men, and that is sad to me, because respect for women in the form of chivalry does not mean that women are necessarily weaker. It just means that a man values femininity and womanhood and is attempting to be courteous. Ladies, stop taking offense or you're going to end up miserable and alone. Plus, it's super annoying and rude. Don't be that person. I am sure men will always come across some women who will not accept their help, but do not let those women create a standard for how to treat all women. I am pretty sure most women out there are still appreciative of polite gestures, such as opening doors, pulling out seats at the table, being offered a seat when chairs are scarce, among other small acts. Do not let chivalry die, men! Bring it back. Even if you're the only one doing it.

5. Playing games is stupid. Plain and simple--it's the stupidest thing you can do if you want a relationship to last--especially if you want it to develop into a true and lasting marriage. This isn't to say that people haven't been playing games for a while, but I'm sure playing games was much less complicated when our grandparents were dating, and even our parents. For instance, they did not have texting to attempt to convey emotions or lack of them. They did not use emoticons to communicate sadness or frustration or flirtatiousness. I mean, think about it. Those are kind of stupid little faces that young adults use to express pretty deep emotions. (And no, I'm not anti-emoticons. I use them once in a while, but it's not the same thing). I really think that young people need to be a little more tactful in their use of texting. It's fine to write a quick message, send a reminder, or whatever. But be willing to call someone. Send more of these: "Hey, I miss you. Can I call you later?" and less of these: "I love you so much. You're so hott. I can't wait to see you again." This may sound like a harsh condemnation of texting, but I think if it is viewed too lightly, there will be long-term emotional consequences. Also, do not forget the art of writing! It's seriously vanishing from relationships even though it is such a meaningful way to convey emotion. Write love notes and love letters. Share thoughts, dreams, and plans with one another. I cherish everything my husband has ever written or drawn for me. I can't throw away a single note he writes to me, no matter how unromantic because for me, it's a little piece of him that I can hold onto and use as a reminder of him. Notes and letters last, texts can be deleted instantly. Write more.
6. Stop being rude. If someone asks you on a date, don't give them a maybe. Tell them straight up, "I'm sorry, but I'm not interested" or "I actually like someone else" or "I am busy this week, but next week I would love to!" Don't be rude and ignore them completely either. Computer and cellphone technology allow people to be a lot more cowardly than the old ways did. Be honest, but try to be nice about it. Stop being flakey and canceling plans--especially if only because a better--a more "fun"--offer has come along. Here's a wake-up call for some people--that's RUDE. Stop wasting other people's time. You don't need to keep someone on their toes. You don't need to be liked be everyone. Trust me, it's never going to happen anyway.

7. Never EVER cheat on your boyfriend/girlfriend, fiance/fiancee, spouse, whomever. Just don't do it. And if you are cheated on, know that it is TEN TIMES more likely that that person will do it again. Social media provides ample opportunities to cheat on your spouse. Be careful with what message you convey through your actions on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc. Flirting while in a serious relationship or marriage is never okay. Never. Remember that "Trust takes years to build, seconds to break, and forever to repair." If you are entertaining thoughts or doing things that even might lead to cheating, stop them right away. It's better to be safe than sorry. Or alone forever.

8. Take a moment and ask yourself why you're dating. Why are you in a relationship at all? Because it is nice to be loved, comfortable to be cared for, and all-around convenient, right? Are you just dating to fool around? Or are you looking for marriage and life-long--or even eternal--commitment? Make sure you know what you are looking for and what your dates are looking for. I like Christopher Hudspeth's quote on this: "Any person you get romantically involved with you’ll either wind up staying with forever or breaking up with them at some point." It's frighteningly true for some people and well worth considering. Are you wasting your partner's time because you know you never want to get married? If so, then do the decent thing and end it sooner rather than later. Too many people do not know what they want. The world tells you that's okay, but it isn't. The point of life is to make good decisions which will lead to happiness for you and others. Make up your dang mind and commit to it.

I wish I could knock some sense into the young, modern, and so-called "hip" people of today. I may be young, but I am proudly old-fashioned and it has always served me well. Maybe the old-fashioned ways need to again become the new-fashioned ways. Maybe then the world would be a little better.


And here are a few more pics from our "just us" dating days:

Sunday, April 6

Mormon General Conference

If you have any Mormon friends, you may have noticed an increase in scattered inspirational messages here and there, all over Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, and everywhere else.

You may find it strange or neat or a little annoying (hopefully not), but it's with good reason. Us Mormons love spreading our happiness to others, you see. If you haven't experienced the happiness the gospel of Jesus Christ can bring you, then let this be an opportunity for you. You may not even think you want to experience it. Or maybe you have been curious about what Latter-day Saints believe. If that is the case, this is a perfect chance for you to find out.

A brief background:
Twice a year, in October and April, Latter-day Saints (or "Mormons" as most people know us by) sit down on a consecutive Saturday and Sunday in front of a TV at their church or home, or (if they're fortunate enough to be near Salt Lake City where it takes place) gather at the LDS Conference Center to listen to a live broadcast of our modern-day prophet, the president of our church, President Thomas S. Monson and his counselors, Presidents Henry B. Eyring, Dieter F. Uchtdorf, and Boyd K. Packer, and Elders L. Tom Perry, Russell M. Nelson, Dallin H. Oaks, M. Russell Ballard, Richard G. Scott, Robert D. Hales, Jeffrey R. Holland, David A. Bednar, Quentin L. Cook, D. Todd Christofferson, and Neil L. Anderson. In addition, we often hear from female leaders of the church and other men from different quorums. The messages are uplifting, inspirational, and feel very personal to me. I always feel like any concerns I have or struggles in my life are addressed perfectly every time I listen to conference.

If you choose to take me up on my offer, you will most certainly see why Latter-day Saints look forward to Conference weekend and why we are eager to share the messages we have gladly received.

Please realize that when a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints asks you to watch conference with them, we are not expecting you to convert. We are hoping that you will feel peace, hope, and joy in the message. There are so many good things in these talks for everyone, that we do not want anyone to miss out. We are not going to be offended if you do not start going to church with us each Sunday. We won't make you talk to the missionaries. We won't even stop being your friend. We just want you to feel that spirit of happiness that we feel when we listen to a prophet of God speak words of comfort to us.

If you are feeling lost, alone, sad, hurt, broken, angry, bitter, or confused, this message is for you. 
If you think you have your whole life together and love everything about your life right now, this message is still for you. 
If you have been feeling as though something is missing in your life, this message is for you.
Truly, the messages in conference are for everyone.

If you are nothing but curious about what Mormons are talking about, then conference is for you. We won't force you to convert or to keep listening. Turn it off if you don't like what you hear. But if you have a true desire to know, then you will enjoy these messages.

I challenge you to watch a talk or two. They're all so good, but pick a title that piques your interest to start. Elder Holland, Elder Ballard, and Elder Uchtdorf are always favorites.

Here is a link to watch general conference.

Watch one, or even part of one, and then tell me what you think. Ask me questions, share your opinions. Just do it. You might even like it. ;)

And if you are not Mormon and take my challenge, please let me know if you watched any of it! You can even stay anonymous and just say "I did." Make my day and let me know.

Be fed spiritually. You may be starving and not even know it.