Monday, May 26

A Quiet Memorial Day

Happy Memorial day! I hope everyone is able to spend time with their family or friends tonight, enjoying the freedom that America's veterans have helped to preserve for us. I kind of wish I was back in New England, going camping at the Joseph Smith Memorial in Sharon, Vermont with my family and ward members as we have traditionally done in years past, but instead I'll be spending the evening alone with Tenley because Dalin has to work all afternoon, evening, and night tonight. Sigh. At least he has a job.

At least I may be able to visit with my beautiful cousin, Whitney, who recently moved to Provo. I'm so happy about that! I finally have one of my family members nearby!

Other than that, I have some homework to do and some papers to write this evening. One (and a half) for my short stories class, and two for my literary theory class. Both are even less fun than they sound. But at least I spent all Saturday and Sunday cleaning the house so thankfully I have a nice clean environment to work in.

Anyway, that's all I have to say for now. If you didn't see it on Instagram or Facebook, here's a photo of my cute daughter from this morning. Eating her bananas and bacon;)

Again, have a happy and free Memorial day!

With gratitude,

Saturday, May 24

Fresh Bread and One Productive Saturday

I made fresh French bread today. It was fun, delicious (most important thing here...), and super duper easy. Like, it was seriously one of the easiest things ever and made me wonder why I haven't been making our bread forever. If you don't believe me about how great it was, just check this picture out. The only thing I could have done better was taking it out after twenty minutes like the recipe said instead of waiting a few more, which, with a busy little baby accidentally turned into 9 minutes way too quickly. So it's a little crispy on the bottom. But it's what's on the inside that matters anyway, right? ;)

Anyway, if you're wondering how I did it, you just need flour, water, sugar salt, yeast, olive oil, a tiny bit of butter and a tiny bit of milk. Pretty much who doesn't always have that stuff in their kitchen?

This is the recipe I used. I got it from Pinterest of course. I didn't do the egg bit. And while kneading the dough I used a little olive oil to keep it moist.

You bake the risen dough at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. If it is just a little light (like I thought it was) remember it will cook a little more on the pan once you take it out!!

So now you, like me, can make your own bread and be like WHY HAVE I NEVER DONE THIS BEFORE?

Apart from bread-making, the day has been busy with cleaning, organizing shoes (and shifting my winter ones into the storage box...kind of delayed over here), doing dishes, and worst of all--lots of laundry. With a baby, it's killer. It's killer anyway, but especially when you are lugging an overflowing laundry hamper from Ikea and a 16 or so pound baby. You have to get creative. Like wearing the baby in a carrier, and balancing the laundry hamper thing on the seat of your tiny umbrella stroller to wheel it all the way to Laundry Building 2, which (I hate) is across the quad and beyond the parking lot. Sigh. Someday I will have a washer in my own house. And that will be the best thing ever.

But for now, I am getting my only exercise, lugging a 50 lb thing of clothes across Wymount.

I also walked to the BYU Creamery today and hated Wymount even more than normal because all the sidewalks are blocked by fences which seemed to be arranged in a sort of haphazard maze around quad 7 which is being torn down any day now. So I pushed Tenley in her stroller to the end of the Church parking lot only to find the construction fence has no opening (I seriously considered tossing Tenley over and climbing over but then I thought that might be a little risky) so I had to go back across the lot, down the blocked off Wymount road, around building 6, and down stairs with the stroller, across the other side of the church parking lot to get down the dumb street. And it was hot out, by the way.

Basically I was pretty frustrated after this occurrence, but when I got home, I popped the bread in the oven, made a delicious grilled cheese for dinner (which Tenley ate tons of...including my crusts which was an accident, but I guess I'm glad that she liked them) and a container of raspberries which, I will admit, were definitely worth the $4 we spent on them.

Now Tenley is in bed, I've folded half the laundry, I have some more dishes to do (I just had to eat today...), but for now I'm sitting on the couch by our open back door breathing in the cooled off night air and excited and thankful that Dalin will be home from work (8am-11pm today and tomorrow:[ ) in an hour.

Now the goal is to have all our Sunday stuff laid out and ready by bedtime so Tenley and I can actually make it to church tomorrow. I need to go. It will be like giving my mind a vacation from school and responsibility.

Well, I hope you had a fun, productive, and relaxing Saturday and I hope you have an even better Sabbath!


Wednesday, May 21

A Moment of Reflection

There is something about having the round little head of a baby against your chest that absolutely must be the coziest thing in the world. I was always wary of holding babies until I had my own and wow--there is nothing like knowing you made that tiny precious thing. He or she is yours. I love the feathery hair and the warm, fragrant skin, and the tiny fingers that cling to your clothes and skin. In case it wasn't obvious, I'm slightly (okay more than slightly) enjoying this unexpectedly long snuggle with my sweetest daughter. Her cheeks have just the right touch of pink in them, her lips are as perfectly shaped as can be, her small round nose is the cutest thing ever, and her little eyelashes look long and golden on her perfectly complacent face. I could just stare at her forever.

But honestly, it's been like twenty minutes and I just keep staring at her in her brilliant perfection.
So here is a little letter to my Tenley.

My Sweetest Girl,

I am thankful for the gift of motherhood that was only possible because of you. I honestly cannot imagine doing anything more meaningful in my own life. I always wanted to become an editor. But so what? Sure, I might enjoy that to some extent, but what could be better or more important than spending my days with you, my compact little best friend? Way too often I take the moments I share with you for granted. Sometimes you're just being a little stinker crawling after me and whining because I am doing dishes or wiping the counter and stovetop or simply not giving you the attention you crave. But I am going to do my best to play with my baby girl more. I will forget about those hard moments of kissing bonked heads, and rescuing you from becoming unexpectedly stuck under a kitchen chair. I know I will because I know mothers who already have. They remember motherhood being a challenge but not always the reasons why it can be so hard. So the way I see it, there is no point in dwelling on those things now.

I am sorry, Tenley, that I am already inadequate as a mother. Sometimes I yell at you to "STOP!" when you're about to bite into a random cord, or put something dangerous in your mouth, or crawl toward the edge of the bed. I am only yelling because I am scared for you, and because I love you so much that I never want you to get hurt. So please forgive me. I will try not to yell. I will try not to get frustrated when you whine or cry for me. I will do my best to cherish that time where you need me and want me more than anyone else. I cannot even describe how much I love you. I didn't have any idea until I became a mother what a parent-child love was like.

You are better than my best painting. I have never even come close to making anything else as perfect and joyful as you. You make everyone around you happy. I can't even remember my life without you. What was it like not having this perfect little angelic being around every day to give me perspective about the most important things in life? Your dad feels the same way. We wish we had had you sooner so we could enjoy more of you, sweetie. I never thought I would think of my daughter as a princess but you unquestionably are the lovely little princess of our lives. You rule our lives but only in the best way. There is not a single thing I would not do to protect you, little one.

I just want to remind you that you are a daughter of God. Your Heavenly Father loves you and I hope to teach you to love Him more than anything else in your life. If you always love Him first, you will always be blessed. Remember that just because you have trials and moments of sadness and anger does not mean He has left you. He never leaves you. He will let you experience these moments to test you, so you must do  your best and always try to choose the right. I will always be nearby and ready to help you.

Thank you for coming into our little Gunnell family. Thank you for having the light and joyful spirit that you do. Know that your mother and father have never been happier since you entered into our lives. We love you beyond description and will no matter what.

With love,


Thursday, May 15

Wordy Wednesday (2)

For those of you who don't know, I am in school right now and *boy* is it a lot of work going to school with a baby. I have brought her to class with me a handful of times and I wouldn't call it a disaster, but it was by no means easy.

Thankfully, I have a group of wonderful friends who have happily watched Tenley along with their own children. I am so grateful to Rachel, Elaine, Hillary, Shaina, Cammie, Emily, and Sara for their help with Tenley so far this semester. And thankful to those who are willing and have volunteered to help in the future. I wish I could express how much it means to me that you take care of my Tenley like you would your own daughter. Also, without a doubt, I could not have done this semester without your service to our family.

Well May is already flying by, is it not? Dalin and I had some plans in mind for this month which I was telling someone about recently when suddenly I realized we're already halfway through the month! So darn, but our plans may require some adjusting at this point. At any rate, I am glad May is going by so quickly because it means school is getting closer and closer to being completed and it means we are almost to June, which is when my mother is coming to visit for two weeks to help me take care of Tenley! Right after she leaves, I have finals, then the following week summer semester starts! This spring/summer is just crazy but at least we have our trip to New Hampshire to look forward to at the end of August! Plus Tenley turns one (one!?!!?) on August 12th and we're excited about that!

As you can imagine, I have some homework to do now, so I'll just share a few fun facts about us real quick:

1. I love birds. You should see Tenley's room actually. That's kind of the theme. I think for me it's kind of an artistic thing mostly because I love painting and drawing them, but I do love listening to birds singing, too. I used to love waking up to that sound every morning in New Hampshire. Anyway, I love them all (except crows--I could live without them and their ominous presence) but especially hummingbirds, cardinals, chickadees, owls (Harry Potter...), loons, flamingos, peacocks, etc. I attribute my love of birds partly to my mother, who always loved photographing them when I was growing up and who always had several bird feeders on our back porch, and also to my Grandpa French, who would often take us bird--or more specifically, hawk--watching and teach us about types of birds, their appearance, flight patterns, their calls, and so on.

2. I hate running. It's like that Pinterest pin says: "If you see me running, you should start running, too because something's probably chasing me." I kind of run to class sometimes because I hate being late but that's a little different. And even though I feel like a complete fool when I run, it's worth it to me to be on time. And honestly, who is going to remember some crazy girl running to class on a random day? Probably no one. There was a brief, brief time when I enjoyed running back at BYU-Idaho when my roommate Rachel and I would run 3 miles a day each weekday, but that was because I had a buddy and it was a regular thing so it wasn't an inconvenience. At this stage in my life, if I should happen to have an hour of free time (which pretty much never happens anyway--I'm always multi-tasking as it is), I sure as heck wouldn't waste it running. I'd rather read or eat. I don't have time for either of those things much anymore...

3. (This is more of a confession) In relation to the last thing I said, I have been simply awful at eating lately. It's not that I'm not hungry--I feel starved constantly, but for one, no matter how many times I go grocery shopping, we never seem to have any snacks. So I have only been eating a spinach salad each day, with an occasional dinner, frozen taquitos, and lots of water and juice. At least I drink a lot. And two, I just don't have time to eat! My priority in the morning is getting Tenley well fed and ready to go to a sitter's while I'm in class. Then I go to class. Then I go get Tenley and have to feed her and give her attention because she gets clingy after I've been away from her for 3 or 4 hours. Then I have homework. I try to make something decent for dinner, but I'm so exhausted by this point, that anything edible will do. I very much wish I had time to cook again (partially because I enjoy doing it), but school has kind of stolen that from me...especially since I'm gone so much on weekdays. Anyway, it's taking a toll on me and I've had very little energy lately so I need to eat more.

Well that's all for now. Gotta do homework and grab little Tenley.

Have a great weekend! It's almost here!

Wednesday, May 7

Wordy Wednesday (1)

So we've established that my life is too busy to blog much in recent weeks, but to try and improve, I'm hoping to at least be consistent once a week.

Here are a few facts about me, just for fun:

1. I love almost every day of the week. 
I love Mondays because to me they represent a fresh start.
I love Tuesdays because Dalin is home with me in the evenings for once.
I love that Wednesdays are halfway through the week because I like to look back on the last couple of days and see what I've accomplished and I also like to look forward knowing that I have a few days to finish any tasks I've missed.
Thursdays are great because (no matter how much I adore every day) it's always nice to know that a week is coming to a close.
Fridays are one of my favorite days because Dalin almost always has Fridays off so it's our special family day and combined date night:)
Saturday is a special day ("it's the day we get ready for Sunday" ~Primary Hymn;) because I feel as though I generally get a lot accomplished around the house. Dalin works Saturday evenings so I have to distract myself nights by being productive.
And of course, Sunday. Sunday is a day of rest, relaxation and spiritual rejuvenation. I absolutely love going to church (though not so much at 8:30am) and feeling the spirit and trying to grow closer to my Father in Heaven. Plus, after we get to eat a yummy meal that I've carefully planned and then relax together, watch a family movie or show, and take family naps with our little Tenley.

2. I could listen to and smell rain all day. And sometimes I do (listen to it anyway). I like to play YouTube soundtracks of rain while I'm studying or writing. It makes me feel calm and happy inside.

3. I eat a lot of spinach. I'm not sure why some kids hate it--I've always loved spinach cooked or raw. Tenley and Dalin like it, too.

4. I stopped eating ranch dressing for about seven years. I threw up after eating a salad with ranch dressing in middle school and I've always attributed it to the ranch being old so I was afraid it would happen again. Just recently I realized that this was stupid and now I'm happily eating veggies with ranch again.

5. I stare at my engagement ring and wedding band every day. I love how delicate they are and they are always so sparkly rain or shine. Thankfully, Dalin's tastes have always matched my own.

6. The other day I suddenly got a huge crush on Dalin all over again. It has been known to happen from time to time ;). I don't even remember what it was this time exactly, but we went on a really fun date to a Peruvian restaurant (if you haven't tried Peruvian but want to and don't know what to get, try the "Lomo Saltado"--Can't go wrong) and I just had the best time with him.

7. I love children's books. I read Nancy Drew a couple weeks ago for fun (I like that they're clean, easy, and fast-paced, too) and I watched "Magic Beyond Words: The JK Rowling Story" yesterday and it reminded me how much I love a) J.K. Rowling, b) Harry Potter, and c) how much I enjoy reading and writing.

Anyway, that's all, folks.

Sorry for the lack of photos. (Like those even matter, right? Pshh...)

Have a splendid (wet & rainy, some of you!) day.