Wednesday, December 30

Our (3rd) Home Tour: The Bathroom

I feel bad I haven't blogged for a while, but with moving from Utah to Wisconsin and Christmas (never mind having no internet for a week), things have been a bit crazy around here. Anyway, a few people have wanted to see what our new home for the next couple years is like. I absolutely love it. After living in the tiny space of Wymount, our Birch Street home feels "so spacious!" (as Tenley declared when we asked her if she liked our new home). Anyway, it may not look like much, but it's home and we love it dearly (so much so that we've already scribbled on the walls in pen...I guess we'll be painting the hallway eventually). 

The front of the house is basically complete (meaning the kitchen, living room, bathroom, and even the hall closets) but our bedrooms aren't what I'd like them to be, mainly because we do not have enough furniture yet (which translates into not enough storage for our many clothes). 

I started with the bathroom because it was an easy space to tackle, so here it is (sorry for the absolutely awful phone quality photos). 

Basically, the unintentional theme became a very distinct ocean and garden theme, which I find very familiar and comforting. 

This photo doesn't nearly show how wide the bathroom is from wall to wall. There is so much space! It's like twice the size of our Wymount bathroom at least. Maybe 2.5x.

The sink area is still a bit more cluttered right now than I'd like it, but I'm continuously sorting through our millions of decorations and old containers to dump things. That thing on the left is full of makeup for me to go through, organized by eye makeup, blush, skin creams and foundation, and lip stuff. 

I love having an étagere behind the toilet. It is so helpful for storage. The Peter Rabbit bins on the middle and lower shelf contain each of our individual items that we most often use. The white towels are for guests, and the towels below are the kids. I put them there so Tenley can reach them because she's my little retriever. 

Last, a sign that reads "Beach Rules" (which Dalin gave to me one year) and our basket with literature (aka The Far Side and Calvin & Hobbes comics mostly). 

I am not pleased with how poor the photos look on my screen, so I'll see what I can do about that. In the meantime, enjoy that brief tour of our ever so spacious bathroom. ;)

Friday, December 11

A couple of things I've learned about breastfeeding

My blogger friend, Julie over at A Hopeful Hood mentioned that I should do a post on breastfeeding and I finally have a little time to do so. Therefore, I am sharing just a few things I've learned (though there is so much to cover!) in the last two years of nursing two babies. 

To start, I'll just share my experience so far. Be warned that I say the word "breast" like a thousand times so if that makes you uncomfortable, I'm quite sorry. 

With Tenley, I struggled to keep her latched as a newborn at the hospital. I later learned this was because I was so engorged when my milk came in that her tiny mouth could not latch. I resorted to using a Medala nipple shield, which was so useful and comfortable for me, I used it for four months. I was SO grateful for the shield which, in my opinion, saved my breastfeeding experience. This length of time using the shield is not typically recommended as it can supposedly affect the amount the baby is taking in, but Tenley was gaining weight and I was comfortable. When I grew tired of it, I weaned her off it within a week. I had never had any nipple soreness or redness until then. Tenley had no issues switching directly to breast, but boy, did her hard sucking hurt! And she already had a tooth or two by then. Once my nipples "toughened up" (and I used lots of lanolin), breastfeeding was great. It was easy for me, and I even stopped using a cover most of the time because I learned to feed discreetly with just my shirt or a little burp cloth. I felt comfortable and the bond with her was truly a joy. I fed her on demand mostly because it was easiest, but I now realize that was possibly the key to my "success." (I was also EXTREMELY lucky that she only woke up once or twice a night to nurse, I've now realized. She was an angel baby, I swear.) My milk began drying up when Tenley was eleven months. I had gotten pregnant again when she was nine months. I had planned to try and breastfeed through pregnancy since I'd been told it was possible, but with Tenley eating solids daily, my supply quickly diminished by eleven and a half months. I was sad at first, but happy that I'd lasted so long and looked forward to having an even better experience with my next child. 

Enter Declan. Declan also had a hard time latching on my very milk-engorged breasts as a newborn. So I used the nipple shield (for about two months this time) until he could handle nursing without it. My experience nursing Declan has been about the same. At ten months, I still feed him on demand (including at nighttime, which stinks because he loves to nurse way more at night than Tenley did) which makes breastfeeding a real sacrifice. I still go out without him occasionally, but I make sure to nurse him beforehand and I can't go longer than about three hours before I need to nurse him (for both of our sakes). He's ten months! I thought (or maybe hoped) we'd be slowing down by now. That said, he is also eating fewer solids than Tenley was at this time because I've realized it's just faster to feed him milk and I know he's getting the nutrition he needs. I will also add that breastfeeding Declan is certainly less of a sacrifice for me as a second-time mom who also stays at home, but if I were still in school or working, it would be an incredible challenge. 

Now onto my little tidbits of advice: 
  • We've all heard that "breast is best," whether you believe it or not, but did you know that your body is capable of making exactly the milk that your baby needs? Besides being nutrient-rich, your milk will adapt to your individual baby! I read this great article about how your baby's saliva actually alters the composition of your milk! If your child is sick, the saliva also helps create antibodies to help fight the illness. Our bodies are simply incredible. 
  • Once you get past the initial discomfort or pain that breastfeeding can cause (read: major soreness and dryness for some women) one of the biggest struggles I hear from other nursing moms is the complaint of not having enough milk. While a mother's milk can easily dry up from certain medicines, with pregnancy, and other causes, low supply is not all that common. Often around two or three months, nursing moms notice a "dip" in their supply. Usually, this has nothing to do with the baby's weight gain or number of wet diapers, but solely with how full their breasts feel. They also might be judging their supply based on the amount they are pumping, but pumping is not an accurate way to measure milk supply! Direct mouth contact with nipple is much more effective at procuring milk than most any pump. What many women do not realize is how effectively our bodies regulate our milk supply. Babies that feed on demand may seem to be feeding at random, but our bodies adjust to their unique pattern and supply milk as needed. This can result in a less "full" feeling breast, but it's actually just producing more efficiently. Babies also learn to nurse more efficiently as they get older. Some can drain a breast in five minutes and still have received all the nutrients their body needs. Other babies nurse slowly and the mother's body accommodates that. 
  • Low supply can also be caused by pumping, scheduling feedings, and supplementing (among other things). I read another great article about why moms should stop scheduling their baby's feedings or worrying about how often they nurse. The average baby will nurse when he or she needs it. For some, that's every couple hours, even at a few months old. For others, they can go long stretches (like Tenley used to at night) and be perfectly okay. Expecting a newborn to feed on your schedule is not the way to keep your supply up. There is nothing wrong with trying to plan feedings to some extent, but if your "ideal" spacing of feedings is interfering with your baby's need to eat, then that will affect your milk supply and most likely your baby's weight gain. Which brings me to my next point. 
  • Breastfeeding is a huge sacrifice. Having a baby in general is a sacrifice of course, but breastfeeding is a truly BIG sacrifice if you're determined to continue past six months. There are rules you have to follow. Feeding on demand is key (this part is purely my opinion--I haven't done research but it makes sense to me). Your baby doesn't eat for pleasure at this point. When they get older, they may enjoy nursing for comfort but your baby, especially in the beginning, should eat what he or she needs. 
  • Breastfed babies tend to be longer and more slender than formula-fed babies. This is not always the case. Some moms have super amazing fatty milk and their babies have rolls to spare, but both of my babies were on the lower end for weight-gain. Tenley was in the 10th percentile or less for a while. Declan has been consistently in the 30th percentile. If your doctor is concerned about your baby's weight-gain, recognize that they are going by national averages and charts. Tenley never looked skinny. She was very proportional and even a little chubby. My doctor was never seriously worried, but he did want me to nurse her a little more often to make sure she was at least gaining some weight. Eventually she caught up (she was just on her own curve) and my doctor said she was fine as long as her weight-gain was consistent for her
  • Nursing is messy. Milk squirts everywhere, it's sticky, you might wake up at 4am with your bra and t-shirt soaked, and if you've ever spilled a full bottle of pumped milk, you will know how tragic that is. You have to have nursing pads, which can be expensive if you don't get reusable ones, and it's painful to pay the price of good nursing bras. You may get a breast infection (mastitis is just awful and starts with a fever), or a clogged duct (which will make you try anything to fix it (cabbage leaves, hot showers, rubbing the spot, a compress, hand expressing milk, you'll try it all), and you're more than likely to get some redness or soreness, dryness, and possibly even cracked or dried nipples. You might begrudge your spouse a few times in the middle of the night while you're awake with the baby and he's snoring away next to you with a valid excuse as to why he can't help you out. You will probably be bitten at least once which will make you question if you'll ever breastfeed again. It's not easy, and for some people that's the hardest part of having a new baby. 
  • But it can also be wonderful. Your baby will snuggle up against you and you'll be able to cuddle and smell his or her hair as long as you want. You'll spend hours (and I mean hours) staring at your baby's profile memorizing it. You'll get really good at accessing your bra quickly through many layers of clothing. At some point, you'll cherish those long but quiet nights with your little one pressed against you. You'll love when your baby's older and reaches her hand up and strokes your chest lovingly or stares into your eyes with so much love for you, their mother. That physical bond with your baby will be priceless. 
I love breastfeeding quite a bit. Besides that it's free and convenient in some ways, it forges a very tender bond with your child that is hard to replace. Even though there are times when I long to have to freedom to get up at will or have my body "to myself" again, I remember how quickly this time passes. Even just looking at Tenley, I find it hard to believe that she isn't a baby anymore who needs and depends on me for everything. These trying times are fleeting and I've already found that I look back on them with longing. Whether you breastfeed or not, enjoy your time with your baby. You will see soon enough how short a time they stay little. 

I hope that this helps at least one mom out there have an easier, and even enjoyable breastfeeding experience. Any questions are so welcome! I'll do my best to help you if I can (though I am absolutely positively not an expert)!

Good luck, Mamas. Hang in there this weekend! 

Please pardon my frumpiness here. I had just had a baby and was quite tired and swollen from the I/V. 
Clarifying note: Let me just quickly add that I know their are exceptions to everything. There are babies who wean early and women with special conditions that lead to more difficulties or lower supply. I am only sharing what I have learned from my experience and by talking to other moms who have breastfed successfully. No matter what you choose, making choices as a parent is not easy. 

Tuesday, December 1

Brief Reader Q&A

For a simple post tonight (amidst packing, sorting, and more packing), I thought I'd answer some questions from one of my sweet readers:

a.) Do you still want your February baby, since your little guy was born in January?

Yes, I'm a little disappointed I didn't get my February baby (my doctor wasn't available for an induction on the 1st or 2nd) but the good thing is that January, my once least-favorite month, is a little better now that I get to celebrate the birth of my favorite son.

b.) Do you still think that 18 months apart is the perfect age gap? (This isn't an attempt to find out whether or not you'll be having a baby in August or September haha, it's just a question about what you now believe to be a good age gap after experiencing what it's like to have two kids). 

Yes, I would totally do 18 months again if the stars aligned! And sadly, that will not be the case for me (though there have been quite a few pregnancy announcements lately which is so exciting and I'm so happy for my pregnant friends!) this summer. If things go according to plan (though when do they ever?), I will be shooting for spring babies from here on out. I've had a summer baby and a winter baby, and right now I think that spring is the ideal time to give birth (especially because I do not want to be in the third trimester of pregnancy in the summer ever again!). But I still love the 18 months gap. I would probably not do anything less than that though--just for my body's sake--pregnancy takes a toll on a girl.

c.) Have the baby names you liked changed (especially since Declan is so close to Lachlan)? Have the ones that you would name your future children changed?

A little. I still love the same names (including Lachlan and yes, I've thought about how similar it sounds to Declan...I have yet to decide how much that matters to me) and I'm still convincing Dalin about the names I love. I have found a new variation of a boy name I like, but for now I'm saving it because I'm still "testing it out" to make sure I love it. But, as of this moment, if our next baby was a girl, we are pretty sure we know which name we'd use.

d.) Would you name future children with names starting with T or D? What's your stance on that?

It's very possible! I am not as opposed to using the same letter for all my children as I once was. I do like variety though and it's just a coincidence that our next top girl name also starts with a T. If anything, our "theme" is still Irish names. It's also just a coincidence that Tenley and Declan both have some allusion to the number ten. It's unlikely we'd stick with that pattern, however, because I'm not sure we could find three to five (or however many) references to the number ten with names that we still love. But if you think of any which also have that hint of my Irish heritage I'm looking for, let me know!

Thanks for the questions, Lynna :) If anyone has some to add, I'll be happy to answer sometime.

Hope your week is going smoothly, everyone! I've just been sorting through clothing lately, trying to eliminate some of our things person by person so we can pack what we use, and donate the rest! We have way too much. I wish I could afford to donate clothing to those that really need it in other countries but have you looked up the costs of international packages?? It's slightly ridiculous.

Anyway, my more regular updates happen on Insta, so follow me there if you care about that stuff ;)

Happy times! ;)
P.S. The photo is pre-children at Dalin's sister's wedding. I was like 4 months pregnant with Tenley.

Saturday, November 21

And the Verdict Is...

We have decided to move to Wisconsin!

Dalin is accepting the job at Northwest Passage. It seems like a wonderful workplace and a great opportunity for our family to have a new experience in an outdoorsy area (lots of trees, lakes, rivers, and ponds which is a yay for me!) and also save a lot of money with fewer expenses and better pay!

Tuesday, November 17

Decisions, decisions

We got the job. In northwest Wisconsin, right by Minnesota.

We're thrilled, and the pay is good.

We just need to decide if it's the right move for us because, as enticing as it is, we need to make the best choice for our little family. We've been praying about it so much these days. There are pros and cons to staying and going, but we will determine what is right and it will all work out:)

Please pray for us! I'm feeling scared to move! I've been nothing but excited but now it's real...

Sunday, November 15

Questions to Ask My 24-Year Old Self

(First off) Things I think the little Gunnell family is doing right: 
  1. We are firm in our faith, our marriage, and our family. 
  2. We have plans, future goals, savings, Bachelor's degrees, and no debt! 
  3. We travel a few times a year and live comfortably in our little apartment. 

Things we could improve on (so we're in good shape when we're forty or fifty): 

  1. Are we feeding our bodies properly? We have mostly healthy eating habits, but we could probably stand to cut down on the sugary snacks and drinks. My reasons for wanting to do so are simple: in our twenties, we've been blessed with pretty amazing metabolisms so far, but when we're forty, I don't want to be feeling all those Cocoa Bean Cupcakes and sugary drinks (like my Tropical smoothies-->insert crying face emoji) that we splurge on weekly in all my flabby areas. At least we only drink soda about once every month or two which I think is reasonable. But yeah, snacks are still an that's hard to avoid when you keep snacks around for your little kids. 
  2. Are we taking care of our bodies in other ways? We could definitely exercise more. Or in my all. It's just soooo hardddd to care! Sadly wearing cute exercise clothes isn't much of a motivator for me. I used to wear athletic leggings all the time and if anything, I'm more lethargic than before. Somehow, I've got to back on track with my old exercising routine in high school. Why I cared so much then? I don't know. I guess I was playing sports at the time. But I wish that I had saved all that youthful teenage energy for now because I've never been more tired than since becaming a mom (and mostly since I became a mom of two). 
  3. Are we preparing well for the future? We could save more. We have a good emergency savings but it'd be nice to start saving for stuff like specific trips we want to take (read: Ireland/Scotland), a downpayment for a home, and for far into the future (like college and mission funds for the kiddos and retirement for us).
  4. Are we removing clutter and unnecessary stuff from our life? We could simplify more. I have way more clothes than I actually wear. And I have collected so many decorations (mostly packed in boxes) that we'd need a mansion to fit them all. So it'd be good to purge more (which I hate thinking about but love to do) especially with a move coming up!
  5. Are we worrying too much? (Like I've told myself a bazillion times) Stress less/worry less! I'm sure when I'm forty or fifty I'll still be reminiscing about that one Sunday when I didn't do any dishes and completely let the apartment go...or not. Bottom line, things that seem to matter now will not matter in twenty years and stressing or being uptight doesn't make those things better. Just relax and embrace the mess--or at least embrace the ones making it;-)
  6. Have we made spiritual things a priority? We need to make Family Home Evening (FHE) a priority each week. We read our scriptures and have family prayer but I'd like to start doing more lessons for our little Tenley now that she can actually understand us. 

Anything else to add? I am especially looking at any older, wiser, and consequently more beautiful readers that I may have;-)

P.S. Best pics of us ever, I know...I just thought they were applicable because they show we love our kids a whole lot. 

Saturday, November 14

Our Family Favorite Snack

This is an accurate depiction of what happens every time I open a Chobani Flip...Tenley invites herself over.
A while ago, I was asked by someone from Chobani to review their product. I declined because at the time, I was not a huge fan of yogurt in general (I just have never liked it very much!) and at the time I had only tried Chobani once and found it kind of sour and weird.

Well, last week, my husband brought home Chobani "flip" in Almond Coco Loco and my thoughts on yogurt were forever changed.

The first bite I had was like "eh..." 
It was still kind of sour like I'd remembered Chobani being in the past. 
But as time went by, I started thinking about how I wanted more. 

Finally I opened one up for myself. I mixed in the almonds and chocolate chips (as shown in the first picture)...

And I was in love. It was like eating a delicious dessert for a healthy-ish snack. I don't count calories or anything so I don't really care that it has 230 calories--(that's less than 1 cup of chocolate ice cream though!) I just care that it's yogurt (healthy) and tastes good (dessert). If you are a yogurt fan, I bet you'll love Chobani's "flips"! My favorite part of this one is the soft crunch of the almonds and chocolate chips in my teeth mixed with that subtle coconut flavor. Mmmm! I need to go eat one right now.

It's our family's new favorite snack. We buy 5 at a time and I have to fight Tenley and Dalin for them (Tenley will get one from the fridge at 5am and bring it to me in bed and say, "Open this" over and over until I say, "No, go put that back right now!" because I don't want her eating my snack and especially not at 5am. She loves them). I have found I prefer to eat them when the babes have gone to bed, otherwise I have two little beggars baring down on me the entire time and I have to share my spoon with them.

Anyway, I haven't tried the other flavors (because I'm a believer in "if it's not broke, don't fix it";) but once I get sick of this one (IF that happens) I will totally try the others because I am sold on Chobani.

And I don't know about Chobani's commercials, but Yoplait's irritate me so that's another win in my book.

Let me know if you've tried these before and tell me your favorite!

P.S. If you hadn't noticed, I changed my comments thing below in hopes it would make it a bit easier for you to participate. Just sign in through Facebook or if you have a Disqus account, that's great! (And if you want one, it's a quick thing to sign up for). I love reading your thoughts and opinions! 

Thursday, November 12

My Greatest Flaw & A Whole Lot of Honesty

This post is not written to gain pity or to be self-critical, but it is to share a bit about what I'm learning about myself recently.

I'm not going to draw out the part where I tell you what I believe my biggest flaw is--it's pride. I feel pretty confident that in the next life that's going to be the biggest topic of discussion.

I am so prideful and boy am I grateful for repentance and an Elder Brother who teaches humility by example. I have to work hard at overcoming this flaw daily. I can't blame anyone for it (I wish) but I think that growing up in the northeast didn't help make me the humble servant I should be. And you all should know how rarely I discredit my youth in New England because I really, really love it there.

But I was raised to have pride in myself. That includes my background, my beliefs, my family--really I was taught to be proud of where I come from. And I was, and still am.

I have always taken pride in growing up with all brothers in a small town with an excellent school. I take pride that I grew up in such a beautiful place with four distinct seasons, the most beautiful autumns, lakes and ponds everywhere, access to the ocean, and freedom to explore the woods. I felt safe there.

It wasn't just that though--I took pride in my membership in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I had some false sense of superiority over my classmates because I had high moral standards and they, to my immature perception, did not. I liked being different and I liked that people knew my positions on various subjects. I stood firm for what I believed in, whether it was truly accurate or not.

Wednesday, November 11

Two Updated Posts

Well, I feel like I'm cheating by not writing about something new like I normally do, but today I decided to edit and add to my two most popular posts (which are only popular thanks to Pinterest...but thank you, Pinterest--I owe you;). But I think they are both quite a bit better and hopefully the new information is useful to some of you.

So here they are:

Tips on flying with a one-year old (I wanted to make it two-year old and under, but I thought changing the title might mess the link up)

Dear Pregnant Ladies: 15 Things You Ought to Know

See? I kind of cheated. I really wanted to write today but had no ideas. That's me being frank with you.

Is there anything you'd like to read about in particular? I have a post about yogurt coming up, but that nearly puts me to sleep just typing it.

Tuesday, November 10


I just put in our notice at Wymount Terrace for December 19th. I truthfully didn't think I'd feel as sad as I do. I'm not devastatingly is getting colder here and I don't care for the laundry arrangement...but the community here is wonderful and the grounds are clean, safe, and perfect for children. Apart from the ward and the outdoor area though, I am looking forward to something new (main things are having a bigger kitchen with a dishwasher I hope and a slightly bigger bathroom)!

It has been four+ years that we've lived at Wymount. Almost three years in this specific apartment. Both Tenley and Declan joined our family here. There are a lot of memories contained in these whitewashed cinderblock walls.

Equally pressing is the necessity of finding an affordable place to move our family to since we need to be out of here in about a month! Dalin's been applying to jobs all over the country (really, all over) and has been hired at several...the trouble is the pay hasn't been high enough to tempt us (mostly because it's been less than our current income and if anything, we need more to afford housing elsewhere).

Another matter is our lease on our car is ending at the end of this month, which I've mentioned before, and we have no idea what vehicle we'll be replacing it with. We were initially looking at mini-vans, but now we're thinking a smaller car and a shorter lease might work just fine for a little while longer (since it seems unlikely that I would have two babies in the next two years).

So, we are waiting and praying. We've also been searching for affordable housing in Utah County because we may be looking to stay here a few more years so Dalin can move up in his job. Basically, we have no idea what our plans are but it's okay because we have faith it will work out:)

Hope your holiday season is less confusing than ours at the moment!

Monday, November 9

Easy Taco Soup

I like easy recipes. And this is pretty stinking easy. It's a lot of canned ingredients, but as long as you have a functioning can opener, it's a piece of cake.

1 package hamburger
1 can whole kernal corn, rinsed (with)
1 can kidney beans, rinsed
1 can red beans, rinsed
1 can pinto beans, rinsed
(basically, any type of beans will work so you can use black or white or chili beans if you have or prefer those and you can just rinse them all together in a collander)
1 can sliced green chilis
1 can Ro-tel tomatoes with green chilis (or just diced tomatoes with chilis)
1 can "Mexican style" stewed sliced tomatoes (the ones we got were okay but sliced bit bigger than we'd expected)
1 can chicken broth
1 packet taco seasoning
1 packet ranch dressing seasoning
1 tsp+ cumin
1 tsp+ chili powder
dash of salt

Optional ingredients:
1 bell pepper, sliced
1 yellow or white onion, sliced
1 can sliced black olives

sour cream
Frito's or corn chips
shredded cheese (garnish)
sliced green onions (garnish)
cilantro (garnish)

1. Cook the hamburger in a pan with the onion and bell pepper if used.
2. Once the hamburger is cooked through, scoop into large pot and add all other ingredients (besides garnish items) and a little water if needed.
3. Mix thoroughly.
4. Bring to a boil on the stove, then simmer anywhere from half an hour to an hour, stirring occasionally.
5. Eat with a glob of sour cream (my husband likes to stir his into it to cool it down and make it more creamy), corn chips, cheese, and other garnish items as desired.

Serves approximately 8 (we each had two+ bowls and had plenty of leftovers).

That's all I have for you, for now. But it's a delicious and very basic recipe we will be making again. (And it heats up well in the microwave the next couple days in case you're wondering!)

Enjoy! Comment with questions or substitute suggestions for me below. I always want to make a recipe even better if I can:)

Wednesday, November 4

12 Non-Classic Christmas Movies

I know it's only November, but I am really excited for Thanksgiving and Christmas this year and one of my favorite traditions around the holidays is to watch cheesy Christmas movies. Most of them are produced by the Hallmark channel. I can't help it, I love them and the cute little romances that always seem to happen! They aren't all about the true meaning of Christmas, which is Christ, but they do have nice messages to take away. I probably wouldn't rate them higher than 4 stars compared to other movies, but they just make me so happy that I watch some of them every year.

I still love the Christmas classics, but here are twelve clean Christmas movies that are just fun to watch (the synopses included below are my own):

A Christmas Kiss. A wannabe interior designer learns that her spontaneous kiss in an elevator was with her snobby boss's boyfriend. She secretly falls more and more in love with him as her boss unwittingly forces them to spend time together planning a Christmas party. (It's really cute and one of my favorites).

A Holiday Engagement. A newspaper writer's fiancé breaks up with her right before Thanksgiving causing her to hire an actor to take his place to temporarily satisfy her crazy mother. 

A Princess for Christmas. A story about a sweet woman who is guardian to her orphaned niece and nephew. When her royal brother-in-law's family invites them to come stay at Castlebury Hall for Christmas, a romance is sparked between she and the son. Katie McGrath is stunning in both appearance and disposition in the lead role. 

All I Want For Christmas. A boy writes a letter hoping to find a husband for his mom and a toy company grants his wish by setting her up with eligible bachelors. In the end, they find what they've been looking for in an unexpected way.

Christmas Lodge. A romance blossoms when paths cross in the woods around Christmastime. (I loved the cabin in this one, even if the romance wasn't quite what I imagined).

Christmas with a Capital C. This is not a romance, but if you celebrate the true meaning of Christmas, this one is wonderful and modern. When a high-profile lawyer returns to the town where his high school rival is mayor, he tries to stir things up by petitioning to remove the town's nativity display. The movie has a great message and isn't too cheesy until the credits. I would definitely recommend this to other Christians. 

Dear Santa. A wealthy young woman about to be cut off financially from her parents must make a change in her life when fate drops a letter to Santa asking for a new mom in her path. The woman finds she is a great match for the girl's father but she must compete with a nasty girlfriend. As she falls in love, she ultimately becomes a better and more caring person. 

Holiday in Handcuffs. A desperate waitress kidnaps a customer to bring to her family's cabin as her boyfriend for Christmas. Though he does not want to go along with the charade, he ends up falling for his crazy kidnapper. 

Love at the Christmas Table. Two friends, Sam and Kat, have sat at the kids' table every year together at Christmas. They only see each other one night a year, but their friendship develops into something more as the years go on. (This is absolutely adorable and I thought it was funny, too. I would definitely watch this one!)

The Christmas Card. A soldier returns home and seeks out the woman who had written him a letter that had lifted his spirits in Iraq. She tries not to fall in love with the soldier (despite her family's encouragement) and out of love with her fiancé, but finds true love in the end. 

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year. A stranger with a delayed flight ends up in the home of a nearly engaged single mother and her uncle and brightens up everyone's Christmas. (I love this one! It's one of my favorites).  

12 Dates of Christmas. A selfish woman must repeat her day until she gets it right and learns to let go of lost love and fall in love with the right person. She learns valuable lessons and ultimately becomes a kinder person. 

Have you guys seen any of these? Any that you like, too? Maybe not, if you aren't a fan of cheesy romances, but they have sweet endings and they're fun to watch this time of year to help get you in the Christmas mood.

I also have these on my list to see:
A Royal Christmas
A Very Merry Mix-Up
Angels and Ornaments
Back to You and Me
Let it Snow
One Starry Christmas
Snow Bride
Surprised by Love

The Christmas Ornament

Are there any other Hallmark Christmas movies I ought to watch? 

Wednesday, October 14

Reflecting, a Testimony, and My Hopes for the Next 5, 10, & 20 Years

When I was a girl (and that doesn't feel that long ago.......because it wasn't), I always dreamed of being married in an LDS temple, a mother of many children, an amazing cook, and having a beautiful, peaceful, and welcoming home where friends and neighbors felt welcome (on the ocean or a lake...minor details;). Those were my main goals. I also wanted to be an editor or writer and to graduate from BYU with a degree in English and travel.

In one of my last high school English classes with my favorite teacher of all time, Mr. Hutchison, we made poster boards with our life goals depicted on it. I can still picture my poster, and I'm pretty sure it is buried somewhere in my old room (the room which now belongs to my brother, Donovan).

Today, as I was considering where I hope to be in the next 5, 10, 20 years, it occurred to me that where I am now, at 24, is pretty much right where I had hoped to be six years ago as an 18-year old young woman (including the goals/hopes that I didn't have a lot of control over, like getting married).

I attended BYU-Idaho, was set up with my wonderful future husband while there, married him in the Boston temple, worked as an administrative assistant in an office (I'd always wanted to work in an office...I loved it more than any other job), learned to cook well (still improving daily), started my family (and have been so blessed by my darling girl and boy), graduated from BYU with my bachelor's in English, traveled quite a bit within the U.S. in the last four years (I've been to New Hampshire six times since leaving home, Florida twice, San Diego, Arizona twice, Las Vegas, and Idaho many times). We have no debt, a reliable car, a great ward, and Dalin has a great job. We haven't had any major health problems, financial problems, or issues in our marriage. Sometimes (okay, quite often) I wonder when the Big One is going to hit. The big trial that will seriously test my faith and that we will struggle to get through as a family. (If you know me, I'm a pretty optimistic person but I have my negative (or as I prefer to say, realist) moments).

I share this in awe because I feel so immensely grateful for the blessings my family has received, and which I have received personally. I do not know why or how I've been so lucky but the only thing I can attribute these things to is my daily choice to live the gospel of Jesus Christ.

My life is by no means a cakewalk. I have trials that test me personally, and I have doubted before. Questions have entered my mind and still do sometimes and I've felt my faith tested. But when those doubts have come into my mind, I've recalled the words of a wise apostle: "Doubt your doubts before you doubt your faith." I've prayed for strength. I've prayed for knowledge of the truth and for answers. And through my own pondering, prayer, and scripture reading, I have found answers. I did not sit idly by and hope for a vision. I have sought out answers or the peace to accept things as they are without my full comprehension of them, trusting that someday I would be provided with an answer. These thoughts have crossed my mind before: I don't want to go to church today, and What if I just stopped going? But during these instances, in the back of my mind I have felt the gentle reminder that the gospel has never led me astray--instead it has only guided me to true happiness whenever I have let it.

Sometimes the gospel feels complicated. There are so many responsibilities and things I should be doing that it's overwhelming and my sights and desires are not always aligned with that of Heavenly Father. But it's me who is making it complicated, because really, the gospel is very simple, and our Father does not expect perfection. He knows we will make mistakes and loves us for it anyway. We just have to be the best we can be and that is enough because of the sacrifice of our loving Brother, Jesus Christ.

I feel fervently that my efforts to live the gospel have been key to my happiness. I have strived to live the gospel throughout my life and I truly believe I have been rewarded for it. I know that this does not mean those who have had trials--trials which I cannot even fathom facing--have done less or more poorly than I have. In many instances, they've probably done better to demonstrate their immense faith. I also know that hard things may be ahead for me and my family. But I believe that Heavenly Father does not give us more than we can handle. He knows our limits and He tests us to strengthen our faith, which, like a muscle, will grow the more we endure.

I have joked that I must not be able to handle very much because I have not been given any significant trials, just lots of little ones. But Heavenly Father knows me, and I trust in Him.

With that shared, my goal in the next five years is to have more babies, continue to travel and take vacations as a family (hopefully, Ireland and Scotland, but I can wait if need be), read more, worry less, play with my kids more, paint more, be happier, and more grateful for what I have. I hope in the next five years we will be settled in a home and that Dalin will have completed his master's and have started a career he will love. I hope we will all be healthy and be able to visit our extended family often. I hope I will have found an enjoyable means of contributing to our family income that will not take me away from my children.

In the next ten years, I hope we will have completed our family, moved to the east coast (ideally;), and settled in a home we can remain in for many years to come. I hope we will be close to the ocean or a lake and that we will be able to travel often to visit family. I hope my children will be strong in the gospel and be healthy and smart and active in school activities.

In twenty years, I hope we will be sending Tenley and Declan off to universities and missions and preparing them for eternal marriages. I hope my other children will continue to be strong in the gospel and excel in school and whatever interests they pursue. I hope we will have traveled as a family to Europe and been excellent examples of service to others, both in our community and in other places in the world. I hope I will have taken on a job as an editor or writer or teacher (or something else I'd love) and be able to support our family. I hope we will have taken some risks, like flipping a house, or traveling cross-country with our family. I hope Dalin and I will continue to nurture our marriage and our love for one another will grow even stronger. I hope we will look back on the last twenty-something years of marriage and be proud of all we have accomplished. I hope we will have created the beginning of a family legacy that our parents, grandparents, and ancestors would be proud of.

Those are my hopes for the little Gunnell family. I don't expect them all to happen, but I know that we are in good hands and in the end, everything will work out.

Monday, October 12

Catching up in October

+My wonderful in-laws were in town for our nephew's baby blessing and though it was a quick trip, we had fun eating yummy food, playing Sleeping Queens (have you heard of it? It's fun), watching football (not by choice on my part;), shopping with Grandma for baby clothes, and sharing lots of laughs. We also watched the movie "McFarland, USA," which almost (almost) made me miss running cross-country. But no matter my feelings toward running, it was a really good movie! I loved it! It was cute, funny, and meaningful and I would highly recommend it, even if you have no interest in running.

+We are still getting in the swing of things after returning from New Hampshire and not having school. It's awesome, but weird. I kind of have this annoying nagging feeling that I'm forgetting something all the time. It drives me crazy. But I love being able to relax and enjoy the kids and offer them my full attention when they need it. I am way less stressed and miraculously getting a lot more sleep for the first time in a long time. Basically, the kids go to bed between 8 and 8:30pm and then I do a quick clean sweep of the house and join them--because laying down to snuggle your babies at bedtime will pretty much put you into sleep mode--especially if it takes a while.

+Our lease on our 2012 Toyota Camry will be up at the end of November and I could not be more psyched (especially after attempting to squeeze a third carseat into the back row and finding it will I ever have more babies with so small a car??). The trouble is knowing that we have to make a down payment on another car (we plan to lease again because we don't feel ready to commit to a particular we like getting a new--CLEAN--car every few years and having all oil changes and maintenance taken care of for free), an increase in monthly payment amount, and there's the matter of choosing the car. We are currently deciding between the Toyota Sienna (I've relinquished all antagonism toward minivans, realizing that wanting five or more kids means sacrifices must be made...even if it means driving a hideous car) and the Mitsubishi Outlander. The thing is, either way, we'll probably only have the car three years tops so if we mess up it's not the end of the world. If you happen to have an affordable alternative or opinion about these cars, please--I'm all ears! My priorities (and I've really slimmed down the list) are easy accessibility to all rows/seats (since we're going to have sooo many dang carseats), trunk space (at least enough for a double stroller), and ideally, A/C and heat in the backseats. I don't want our kids to be hot/freezing, but also I have to sit in the backseat a lot during road trips and I don't want to suffer either! Also, dark interior to hide spills, but that's unrelated to the car type.

+We have two and a half or less months until we have to leave Wymount because we both will be done at BYU. I am excited, but also we have no idea where we're going or what we're doing. I'm a planner, so that's really unusual for me. Are we staying in Utah a few more years or taking a job somewhere else? Your guess is as good as mine. I am leaving it in the Lord's hands and hoping I don't have to figure that out (poor Dalin may be in charge of that one)!!

+In that same vein (talking about moving and houses), I've been watching so many home improvement shows lately on HGTV. House Hunters is one of my favorites. I love getting inspiration. I've also been checking homes on Zillow almost as frequently as I check my other social medias. I am just dying to have an idea of what our home will be like so I can figure out projects for it. I'm trying really hard to be patient in the meantime. Trying. Really hard. Dalin may disagree with that, but that's really me trying, dear! I'm so sorry you have to put up with me.

+I am the worst blogger ever. I am so sorry to you guys who regularly read (or want to). I pretty much use Instagram more than anything else because it's fast and I only have to find one picture. Anyway, I'll do my best to work on that.

Happy October! Fall is my favorite! Have the best day ever.

Friday, September 11

NH Living and an Update

+New Hampshire is to die for right now. I am loving every second of being here. The weather has been beautiful and actually kind of cool with the last few rainy days, which I've been very grateful for since the weather was ridiculous in Utah (90s+ is WAY too hot for me) and (surprisingly) only kind of hot in Arizona (though we were inside in the A/C or out in the pool most of the time so it didn't seem that hot). We intend to visit the ocean tomorrow if the weather is as nice as the weatherman claims it will be. Both babies have been to the Pacific ocean, but Declan has yet to touch the Atlantic. We ate steamers yesterday and I had a lobster roll for lunch. is good. 8-)

+I've been dying to sleep under the stars with the kids but fate stuff keeps getting in the way. We were all gung-ho to sleep on the trampoline in my parents' backyard tonight (it's surrounded by a net in case you were concerned about us rolling off or getting mauled by something) but my naughty little brother apparently threw a water balloon on the tramp earlier today and it is SOAKING wet and COLD (which I found out as I hauled a pile of quilts out there to prepare our bed). Quite disappointing, but there has to be one dry, warmish night in the next two weeks, right?

+I miss Dalin. Like so much. He's my best friend and my heart has this constant little ache while we're apart. I'm counting down the days (5) until he's back with us. I know the kids miss him, too. Tenley keeps telling me, "Dada working at the house," which is actually true because he works at a house. I can't wait to give him a zillion smooches. 

+We don't own a bathroom scale, so whenever I come home, I check my weight on the one in my parents' bathroom. Apparently, I am back to exactly my original weight pre-Tenley, which is 105lbs (remember, I'm 5'0--the ideal weight for my frame is 98-116lbs). That, however, was with muscle and everything else pre-baby. At 9 months post-partum after Tenley, (which is when I got pregnant with Declan and the only reason I know my weight) I weighed 96lbs. While I am happy about being back at my original weight, (especially when I've literally made the effort to exercise two times since birthing Declan...I hate it) I certainly don't feel back to my old self. Of course there are stretch marks, and my hips are a little wider from birthing two babies in two years and stuff, but what really bothers me aren't those things (I actually like my hips now) but the bulge. If you've had a baby, I bet you know what I'm talking about. It's like the muffin top that doesn't stop. And it feels like it can never be fixed (though exercise would probably help...). Besides that post-partum bulge around my jeans line that I have a hard time coping with (especially since I plan to get pregnant again so what's the point), I'm feeling pretty good--I think I might start exercising though and maybe I'll even try doing the whole30 routine...who knows? Miracles happen. I think it was today when I ate two packets of fruit snacks, 1/4 of a loaf of Parisian bread, and a shocking amount of thin mint Girl Scout cookies that it hit me that I should probably start eating better. So I'm telling you people this so I can be held accountable, because accountability is the only way I get things accomplished around here. 

+Cute moment today: I was at TJMaxx with my mom and the babies and I tried on a black cat ears headband in the Halloween section while wearing Deckie in the wrap and when I looked down at him he started laughing. It was hilarious. Every time I looked down at him so he could see the ears he'd get a big smile and start giggling. I was about to record it on my phone when, of course, it died. But it was the funniest, cutest thing!

+Tenley just crawled up next to me on my mom's bed and randomly hugged my neck and kissed me and said, "I love you, mama." Then she started touching my eyebrows and said, "I like your bo-brows, mommy." She just told me, "Mommy, I'm gonna fix your hair...I like your hair" as she starts laughing because it's messy. She's the best. 

+That reminds me, I got my hair cut today. It feels great. Claudia thinned out the hair by my neck a lot. It had been a huge mess. Thick hair problems. Sidebar: Why do girls either have thin hair or thick hair? Is there no in-between? Just wondering because everyone seems convinced they're one or the other. 

Well I wish I had the motivation to blog more, but I am enjoying life too much! You can follow me on Instagram @lilgunnellfam if you want to see more of us (and by us, I mean my kids;) though. I go on Instagram more than any other app by far. Note to self: Use my digital camera more. Even though it's a pain. 

P.S. Hopefully  Ideally...I'll add pictures later. 

Friday, August 28

My Truth About Being a Mom

I'm a part of a mom group on Facebook. A few, actually. They are fun and useful, especially when I have a question about something my child is experiencing or if I just need advice on mothering techniques. I was prompted to write this post after reading many a negative or depressing comment on a couple of these motherhood forums about various subjects that I do not want to get into individually in this post, but which made me feel sad for the negative depiction of motherhood that many women choose to communicate.

Being a mom is often a roller coaster ride. There are so many fun and thrilling parts, but, as with anything in life there are also jolts, sharp turns, and usually uncomfortable portions. (That "as with anything in life" part is important--I'll come back to it).

I have my fair share of challenging days in mommy-hood. Unless excessive screaming, crying, gigantic messes, bodily fluids, and not being listened to leave you feeling calm, patient, or invigorated, hard days for the normal person are inevitable. Unfortunately, each of those things get to me, especially in large doses.

It's okay to have a bad day or two. It really is. It's okay to have a bad week even.

But when the complaining to others (and by others I'm mainly referring to other moms) becomes excessive, it just becomes annoying. It really does, and it puts an unfortunate and negative lens on motherhood that isn't entirely accurate. And then, when you--a complaining mother--stimulate that image, society believes you. Because society as a whole is not as intelligent as they may seem (or may not seem--you choose).

Why is motherhood so challenging? Is it because we as moms want to do it so well that there is pressure and stress to be the best we can be at it, and then there's the added pressure of comparing ourselves to the image of perfect motherhood we see portrayed around us? I think it is stressful because it is sacred. There is a weight of responsibility behind the act of creating a child. We know in our hearts the tremendous burden and sacrifice that it is to make and care for and raise a child. Then we let our doubts in our abilities as parents creep in and tell us we are doing a poor job. We aren't patient enough, fun enough, loving enough, happy enough, good enough. Those feelings are not of God. They are Satan's attack on mothers--shaming, degrading, demeaning us.

When I was pregnant with baby #1, there were so much advice being offered from several directions and I became frightened and felt overwhelmed by the confusing and often conflicting advice I was receiving. Do this; don't do this. If you do that your baby will become this; if you don't do this your baby will never whatever. It's okay to do this; under no circumstances should you do this. Plus, there were many, many things I had absolutely no idea about in relation to pregnancy, labor, delivery, motherhood, and I felt quite dumbfounded at the prospect of what was to come. Why would anyone want to become a mother if those things were true? I wondered.

But it's been about three years since the time I found out I was pregnant with Tenley. I have grown in more ways than one, especially in my understanding of my divine role as mother. The prospect seemed daunting to me at first (particularly the delivery part, which I feared most of all) but in the couple years that I've been a mother to two precious children, I have learned a few things. The biggest, maybe most important one of all is to TRUST YOURSELF.

That sounds silly but it's so important. You have maternal instincts. You must strive to be in tune with them and listen to them and trust them. YOU will know better than anyone else what your baby needs and don't let anyone tell you otherwise. I start with this nugget of wisdom, because my next suggestion is DO NOT TRUST EVERYTHING YOU HEAR FROM OTHER MOTHERS (myself included, though I am doing my best to be as honest and open with you as possible).

Mothers, no--women in general are funny. We think we know everything there is to know about a thing when we've had only a little taste of it. I, myself am guilty of this on many occasions. I have only been a mother to one daughter and one son, for two years and less. I may feel like an expert on what children of these ages are like, but I'm not. Many parents will do things quite differently with their own children and they will be just fine. But I hope (and pray and wish) that I am doing what's best for my own children. Sharing stories and advice is useful because it provides other mothers or moms-to-be with ideas or tactics, if you will, that they may not otherwise have thought of or been aware of. All good mothers are trying to choose the best for their children, and it's helpful to gain more knowledge about how we can do that for them.

But I feel that very rarely is excessive negativity conducive to teaching another mother. Isn't that what we want to do with other mothers, teach or instruct them? Guide them? Encourage them? I don't know how being told I'm never going to sleep well again gives me any boost of confidence or hope in the future. Especially when, surprise, surprise, SO MANY of the things I heard were wrong. They were plain wrong, and some inaccurate, but most just did not apply to me. To name a few:

  • For one thing, my children are mostly (and surprisingly) great sleepers. I feel very blessed in that regard. I actually sleep pretty well unless I stay up late or screw up my kids' schedules. 
  • Breastfeeding was a pain at first with BOTH babies (I thought by two I'd be an expert), but it was great when I got the hang of it and now I love and cherish it very much. 
  • We co-sleep with our babies and I love it! I don't have to get up at night, breastfeeding is convenient because they're right there by me, and most importantly, our babies are happy and I love snuggling and kissing them through the night. They are only little for a short time and I cherish that peaceful time together. 
  • Despite believing my child wouldn't dare try to get away with misbehaving (read: running screaming down the aisles of the grocery store or through the maze that is IKEA) with me for her mother, I was introduced to harsh reality (kind of like getting a cold bucket of water in the face) when I found out, Wow, children don't do exactly what their parents want them to when they want them to...even if you raise them "right." Fancy that. 
  • Feeding toddlers can be, and in my case has been very stressful. Tenley seems to like every food--but it depends on the situation and the day. She'll love one thing one day and have zero interest in it the next. On the other hand, she'll refuse to try something and then eat a plate of it when she sees another kid eating it. I'm constantly worrying about her getting the nutrients she needs and I would tentatively say I have a choosy eater. 
  • Potty training--don't get me started. It's not a race, okay? The only part of it that is a race is racing to get your child out of diapers so you don't have to deal with that anymore. 

There are a lot of things (like these) that ended up being so different than what I was told they'd be like and I'm quite certain your children and experiences will be different than mine. (Hopefully, for your sake, your children sleep well, nurse easily, and your babies never throw a tantrum in public.)

I share these things with you, because it is important to me that future mothers understand that they don't have to be afraid. There will always be moments of fear in your life, whether you become a mother or not. And if you do become a mother, frightening, upsetting things will happen. Your heart will drop in anguish at your child's cries of fear or pain. Life is full of hardships and disappointments, regardless of what path you choose. One thing you can be sure of, life rarely goes according to plan. BUT (and this is a big but), I believe in a loving Heavenly Father who has planned for all of these things to work out for our good if we choose to use them to make us better. Like the joyful and positive LDS prophet, Gordon B. Hinckley stated when he was alive: "I am asking that we stop seeking out the storms and enjoy more fully the sunlight."

No matter our life choices or circumstances, we can choose to seek out the negative or look toward the positive. Would there be no hard days for the mother who chose a career? Or for the woman who chooses not to become a mother? Absolutely not. Trials will come regardless of our decisions. We must decide how we will manage them, whether with a heart of positivity or the alternative. I choose to seek out the good and try my best to bring hope to women who are scared of what is to come in the journey of motherhood.

Finally, when you look at the conflicts in the world, motherhood is the least of our problems and probably one of the last things we should be complaining about. There are women whose hearts are aching to become mothers but have no opportunity, whether because they have remained single, cannot afford adoption or other means of having children, or because they are physically unable to. As touched on before, every one of us has bad days--difficult parenting days are unique to no one. But I think it is an unfortunate thing that society is satisfied to dwell so much on the negative when the joys are much sweeter. The task of motherhood will seem daunting to those who are venturing in, but I have confidence that you can do it.

I'm writing to tell you that motherhood is a wonderful thing. It is special and tender, messy and stressful, tiring and emotional, but above all, it is wonderful and important. Do not be afraid, young women, ladies, moms-to-be. You, like trillions of women before you, can do it. Have faith in yourself and be excited for what is to come. The immense joy you will experience will outweigh the fear and frustrations, I am sure of it!

Love from your mommy friend,

If you have questions, or want to share anything you felt while reading my thoughts, I'd absolutely love to hear from you:)

Thursday, August 27

Life as a Postgrad

Life is so great. I still feel weird, like I must have homework that I'm forgetting or something. I'm glad I walked for convocation or I wouldn't feel done at all.

Today was a nice day as I finally have begun to embrace the great amount of "free time" that I now possess. It is so nice to be able to take my time doing things and truly enjoy my time with my children. In other words, I'm trying very hard not to let time restraints stress me out because--aside from appointments--I don't really have any. I'm working hard to avoid stress in general now that I actually can.

So we take our time...getting ready in the mornings, eating breakfast, playing outside, eating lunch, reading books, going on long walks in the rain, making spontaneous trips to the Creamery and Bean Museum, talking about the temple, making dinner, taking naps (not me--I wish), watching The Middle and then Harry Potter as it plays on ABC Family for the millionth time, visiting my cousin and her husband's new apartment after dinner, cleaning up the living room, getting ready for bed, reading a few verses of The Book of Mormon together, saying a family prayer, calling daddy at work to say goodnight, snuggling in the toddler bed, and singing primary songs after using the potty many times. You could say it was a good day. I was patient with the kids and we had fun together even though we missed Dalin a lot.

Fun fact: Miss Tenley wears underwear all day now. She has pretty consistently had about one accident per day now the last week and it's almost always when she has played outside for an extended period or when I have forgotten to ask her for a long time inside. But she does great out in public! She's used the potty at Target, Seven Peaks, TJMaxx, Macey's, the Bean Museum, and BYU campus to name a few places...I just hold her sideways over the potty and tell her not to touch the toilet seat (or ANYTHING) with her hands and she is pretty good about it! I know though, that because I am publicly complimenting her success we'll most likely have an accident in public pretty soon, but so far so good! She basically wears panties all day except naps (if we remember) and bedtime. And she puts her undies and pull-ups on pretty much by herself (except sometimes she takes forever to put them on...she's a dawdler...) which means I basically change one baby's diapers a day (though wiping butts kind of feels like the same sort of business...)! Anyway, I am so happy and proud of my smart, little two-year old.

Well, I really should have gone to bed two hours ago when I put the kids down but it has been so nice to have a little time to myself. I gotta enjoy it when I can;)

I wish I had pictures for you, but look me up on Instagram and you'll get the gist. We're @lilgunnellfam

Good night!

Wednesday, August 19


Friends, sound the fanfare--I've finished!

I attended commencement and convocation last week for my bachelor's degree in English!

It was a crazy week all around with my 24th birthday on the 9th, my last final, Tenley's birthday on the 12th, and graduation stuff at the end of the week. Now I am left feeling undecided about how to spend my extra time now that homework is not a concern!

My diploma holder and white Humanities' tassel are just patiently a-waiting the arrival of my diploma and my white orchid lei from graduation is still sitting inside the fridge door and I'm not quite sure what to do with it. It doesn't seem like the type of thing that will dry that nicely, but who knows. It's hanging on our family portrait in our living room and every time I see it I pretend it's from our imaginary trip to Hawaii.

Anyway, my mom leaves Friday morning and we have been doing a whole lot of organizing and purging while she's been here. It's nice to finally enjoy being at my apartment!

Now I've got to figure out what to do with my time (besides being a mommy of course;)! Maybe the reading and painting I've wanted to do for two years!

We did, however, celebrate our FOURTH anniversary yesterday (even though it is actually today, the 19th:) because Dalin has to work this evening. It's okay though. We had an AWESOME time in Salt Lake and the sirloins/filets were just incredible. I wanted to do that little "perfection" hands emoji from Instagram just then but, alas, I can't.
We had a $150 giftcard and my mom was around to babysit on our anniversary. No brainer, and it was so much fun!
Tenley dressed herself today. Can you say divaaaa.
This was mid-fake laugh at the splash pad today.
I was so happy Tenley enjoyed it eventually. It was boring until other kids showed up. 
Anyway, this is just a tiny little update so you know what's going on in my life. I am alive though. Just enjoying my post-grad life. I'll try to post more (though possibly brief) posts more often!

Enjoy the last of your summer!