Sunday, June 22

The Beginning of the End

It is the beginning of the end.

That sounds like a negative thing, but it's really the best thing ever.

Tomorrow I start (what I believe is) my last semester on campus at BYU. Hallelujah. After that, I will still have close to 20 credits (about 6 classes) to have 120 for graduation, but I can do the rest through Independent Study. You have no idea how done I am. Mentally, I have already graduated basically because there is really no point to getting a degree anyway when I want nothing more than to stay home with lots of little Gunnell children, but at least I'll have done it. And be the first one in my family. And maybe someday, though probably not for a while, I will fall back on that thing and use it. But in all honesty, I don't really care about graduation or getting a degree other than to make my family proud of me. Everyone acts like it's this super remarkable milestone and I guess it is if you struggle in school, but I never have so I probably take my education for granted because to me, it's just four+ years I spent paying thousands of dollars to get A's and B+'s with very little effort so I can say I have a Bachelor's degree in English, which (as much as I love it because I love to read and write) is kind of useless compared to being a doctor or something. I mean, clearly I can read and write just fine already.

I know I sounded really negative just then and I promise I wasn't trying to be, but I just don't care anymore. I know what I want from our life--Dalin's and mine--and a degree in English is not exactly essential to that goal. I can still be a writer without it. I can still read without a degree. If I were studying to become something that helps people maybe I would have a little more motivation but I want to help my family. They are my priority.

Don't worry, I'm going to finish because my family is counting on me...just realize that it is not the most important thing.

I have enjoyed my last three days off from school (now that spring semester is over!) for the most part--sadly, summer semester has arrived all too soon and I'm still stressing about not having definite plans for sitters for Tenley on Mondays and Wednesdays. Thankfully I have some awesome friends and cousins in the area who will be helping me out as often as they can. I really can't express how appreciative I am. It's already really hard for me to leave Tenley and even more so with so many different people but I trust everyone who has offered to help me and am so thankful for their willingness! Somehow I will get through July and then I only have the first week and a half of August to finish up. And then we have our New Hampshire trip to look forward to! I know I bring that up a lot, but you have no idea how beach/ocean/lake ready I am. I'm not saying I'm a mermaid or anything, but I am saying that living in the desert does not suit me at all. (I was going to say I'm a fish out of water but that sounded lame.) Anyway, I miss the water! Gah, I'm so excited. Plus, the lobster there is fresh off the boat and that makes all the difference.

But back to my current life--it was so nice having time to read and write and just watch movies on ABC these last few days. I even got to talk to my best friend on the phone for two hours today! That never happens. It was so...refreshing. Anyway, the last three days I read Austenland, Midnight in Austenland, and started The Fault in Our Stars at Dalin's suggestion (just the last one haha). I loved Austenland. I like romances like that. Anyway, Midnight in Austenland was very disappointing to me by comparison. But that could be because I found the new protagonist far less interesting in the second book. She was middle-aged, divorced with two kids, and everything she did annoyed me. Maybe if I was 40...But anyway, I would at least read Austenland, (but if I were you, I'd just skip the second--it disappointed me that badly). I haven't gotten far enough into The Fault in Our Stars to give it a rating, but it seems like one of those books that I don't want to read but will end up liking because simply everyone likes it. I am a pretty easy to please reader. And movie watcher. So maybe that means you can't trust my opinion unless you too are easily pleased.

And now, since I've started talking about books, I guess I'll add some other books that I have read that stand out in my mind as noteworthy.

Books I liked (besides Harry Potter and The Hunger Games which are both obvious and I loved them), include:
The Twilight series (yes, I didn't mind it. I mostly liked the first book but I am one of those people who didn't love the series, but didn't hate it)
The Host (I really liked this book on the other hand. Like I said, I'm not picky. I'm totally fine with Stephenie Meyers' writing and I think this book is really cute)
Divergent (This is the first book of three. I have not finished Allegiant (the third one) but I did like the first book far more than Insurgent)
Enclave (This is another set of three. This was just's a zombie apocalypse-type book and not even a great one but I did like the first much more than Outpost and Horde. They seem to get progressively worse but I got hooked enough by the first to read on. I'm still trudging through Horde)
The Maze Runner series. (Again, the first book is very good. From what I recall, I did not like the others at all)

I had some others in mind, but now I feel like I want to read in bed before Tenley wakes up so I guess that's all for now.

But hey, if you have any book series suggestions, please let me hear them!

Happy Sunday,
Oh, and because everyone always wants a picture of Tenley, here's one from today. This was not an hour after she put her hand in the fricking toilet. I obviously washed her hands immediately (while trying not to throw up) and would have felt worse about not stopping her in time, except she seriously ran her little self in the darkened bathroom after pushing the door open and thrust her hand in there in under fifteen seconds. So, there was really no helping the situation. I will probably tell her about this day when she's a teenager and drops something in the toilet before I make her get it out herself. 

But you can see why I couldn't stay upset for very long;)

Friday, June 13

10 months little

I feel really bad that I didn't write yesterday when Tenley ReNae Gunnell turned 10 whole months old! Holy cow! She's so close to one, it's ridiculous! How can I have a one-year old?? I seriously just gave birth to her. It doesn't make any sense.

And for the record, I have enjoyed almost every single minute of it. People love to exaggerate and tell you about how hard parenthood is, and sure, it isn't exactly "easy" but we are created to become parents so I believe it's in all of us to do it (unfortunately, this does not mean that everyone is designed to be the perfect parent, but I do believe it's in our nature to procreate). And truth be told, everyone pretty much lied about babies being SO difficult. Maybe it's just my baby, but I think they are SO much fun and the best part is getting to see them learn everything. Every new thing is so exciting to them.

There are long nights (and days) and moments of crying and chaos, but don't listen to those people who are so negative about the challenge of parenthood. It's a challenge, but a good one. A do-able one. It's scary not always knowing what to do and being in charge, but the good outweighs the bad. Why would people have children if most parents didn't secretly agree with me?

I love being a mom. It's gotta be my calling in life, because I have never been happier than when enjoying those tender moments that happen once in a blue moon (k, a little more often than that...) and watching your child--your child--grow and learn. I love it. It's the best. And don't let anyone tell you otherwise!

And now, for a few recent pictures of my beautiful baby girl. Her eyes are kind of blue;)

Yay for turning 10 months old! Tenley is crawling really fast and could start walking any second now it seems. She stands up against everything but has not quite been daring enough to let go yet. She still loves nursing and even more, (I hope think) solid foods. She eats everything we eat and wants to eat all the time basically. She loves this Alphabet Song app on my phone. It's the only one I let her play with, but it's really useful when she has crawled out of the room--all I have to do is blast that song on my phone and Tenley comes running (well, crawling, but really fast). She loves it. It wasn't annoying the first six million times, but admittedly the volume has gotten lower and lower when I let her play with it in the past couple of weeks. But hey, at least she'll know the alphabet, right? Haha. One would hope. 

She is quite loud when she talks (I wonder where she got that;) and is quick to let me know when she wants more food or if I'm not feeding her quickly enough. She loves raspberries. She used to love strawberries, then we introduced her to raspberries, and now she thinks strawberries are less delicious raspberries. She does not have a favorite toy (I was kind of like that as a child--I was never attached to a particular toy or stuffed animal) but she loves everything she can't have--aka phones, remotes, cords, basically anything electronic, dangerous, disgusting, or poisonous. I think that's common among most babies but man, I cannot wait until she is done with the overly curious stage. 

One thing I learned recently about Tenley is that (like her mom and dad alike) she just loves having her back stroked or tickled. She will just lay on her belly forever if I will stroke her haha. I love it. She is just a sweetheart and everyone who meets her just cannot say enough about her sweetness and beauty. 

Dalin and I are lucky, lucky parents. 

Wishing you a carefree weekend! I, in contrast, will be writing research papers (4!!) all weekend and then bringing my mom to the airport :(. Sigh. 

Wednesday, June 11

Wordy Wednesday (4)

Sorry I haven't been writing as much. Apart from school business, it's hard to write daily when you have things to share that are practically bursting to get out. And sometimes I forget this thing is not my journal and if I put it down here, then everyone (who reads this anyway) will know.

Plus, finals are next week and I have two essays, and two research papers to write. Plus, two exams and two class presentations. It's a little overwhelming. Especially considering all that is due within one week from now. But somehow it'll get done (it always does) then I'll have a slightly long weekend to relax before (hopefully!) my last semester on BYU campus. I will still have about 6 more classes to have enough credits to graduate, but I intend to finish through Independent Study, which, as much as I hate it, is generally a more convenient option. I'll just have to be really dedicated this fall and finish as many of them as I can.

In all honesty, I'm not really sure what else to write about today. In recent days, I've just trying to be a productive person. Trying to do my schoolwork, be a nice mom, be a good wife, keep the house looking decent, and maintain an eternal perspective. I'm not sure I've really succeeded at these things in the last few days, but it has been WONDERFUL having my mother around to help with Tenley, feed us, help me keep the house clean, and do some fun things that we otherwise might not do because of school. Plus, it's really great having a photographer around because pretty much since I got my iPhone in January, that's the only place I've taken pictures. It's kind of sad. But better on there than none at all. 

These recent pictures are of our little family at the Gardens at Thanksgiving Point. It's a fun place to visit!--though I might not recommend going when it's 90-degrees outside. Still, it was a beautiful place and Tenley loved looking at the various gardens the place has to offer. 
Well, I'm pretty tired today and cannot think of much else to say, but here are a few random facts about me. Since it is Wordy Wednesday after all;)

I'm pretty much counting down the days until August when summer semester will be over, and we will be flying to New Hampshire for two weeks. It feels like it will never come but I know it'll be September in the blink of an eye...I'm also counting down to the Fourth of July, my sister-in-law and her husband having their first baby, and December when we can hopefully graduate!

I am so excited for the next year in general, too! Dalin and I have so many plans, among them graduating and moving (can you tell I'm excited?!), maybe growing our family, and traveling when we can. I feel really blessed that we have been able to travel so much in the past year. It's been a grand time. 

Overall, life is really good right now. It is exhausting and a little overwhelming at the moment, but I'm happy with the way things are going. And I'm really blessed to have Dalin and Tenley in my life. They're the best!

Hoping your week is considerably less stressful than mine,

Wednesday, June 4

Wordy Wednesday (3)

My sweet little Tenley has had a rough past week, mainly at nighttime, which means that I, too, have had a rough past week. I'm really tired as a result, but thankful that I have my mom around to help clean, play with Tenley, and cook a little, too. I'm also thankful that her being here means I have a week and a half left of classes, then finals on the 18th and 19th after which my summer semester at BYU will start June 23rd and go to the first week of August. And since I arranged my schedule so I'll have Fridays off, that's only 29 days--no 28 because of Pioneer Day--of class. It sounds like nothing but I still am going to need to find babysitters for every Monday and Wednesday for two 2 1/2 hour periods. Thankfully, I can bring Tenley on Tuesday and Thursdays if Dalin can't take her.

Anyway, that's what I've been thinking about lately.

Now for some randomness--here ya go:

I never had allergies until I moved to the west. When I first experienced them in Rexburg and then in Provo, I thought I was dying. I now have tremendous gratitude that I did not have to grow up with allergies because they are the worst thing and I hope they stop forever when we move back east.

When people say they have never read Harry Potter or don't want to, or--heaven forbid--that they didn't like it), I can't help but find them very obnoxious and think we could never be friends. Unless they decided to repent and read all seven. I love Harry Potter and I don't understand how someone could not love it.

I am basically to the point where I find little to no enjoyment in winter and just want to skip it entirely. Snow is fun on Christmas but that's the only day it matters to me. I do not enjoy being cold whatsoever and honestly think I would rather burn than freeze to death.

I love roller coasters. When I have a bad day, I daydream about going to Disney or Universal or SeaWorld and riding the rides. Just ask Dalin, I talk about theme parks allll the time.

I started my 31st journal two days ago. I will have been writing daily for ten years in August, when I turn 23.

Happy "one-month-until-the-fourth-of-July"!!! I get so excited when the patriotic clothes come out at Old Navy and places! I love the Fourth of July:) Anyway, I hope you are enjoying this hot June day!