Sunday, December 22, 2013

Warm Fuzzies

Christmas is just a few days away... yippee! This has always been my favorite holiday. Everything about just makes me happy inside.

Unfortunately, it seems like there hasn't been enough "warm fuzzies" going around the interwebz lately. I don't know about you, but I'd much rather be thinking about happy, Christmas-y, festive goodness than all the controversial topics that have become the focus the past couple weeks. Thus, here are some of the things that have been giving me the warm fuzzies recently, just in case you need something to get you in the Christmas spirit too. 

1. Dallin sung in our former ward today so I went as well. In that ward, there is a sweet boy who has Down's syndrome that was ordained a deacon not long before we were called to the Spanish branch. One of the duties of being a deacon is passing the sacrament, and it melts my heart to see one of his fellow deacons gently guiding him around the chapel with his arm over his shoulder so he can participate. It always makes me think of Christ and how he helps me handle things that I can't do alone. I love it.

2. This video. If this doesn't make you feel warm and fuzzy inside, you just might be the Grinch himself.

Life is so much better when you are kinder to people around you, whether you think you deserve it or not, and is there any better way to get in the spirit of Christmas than that? 

3. Ingrid Michaelson's version of "I've Got My Love To Keep Me Warm." It's chock full of happiness. (I'm not sure how legit this website is, but you can listen to it here)

4. Baby boy's wild movements are becoming more recognizable, like maybe there is actually a baby in there instead of an octopus (whew!). It's starting to sink in that he is coming very soon, ready or not. I'm so excited. Whenever I think about this wee babe of mine and how blessed I feel to be pregnant (something I wasn't sure I would get to experience), I get overwhelmed with happiness. Life is so very good. I can't wait for next Christmas, when there will be three of us instead of two.

5. This, which might be my very favorite Christmas song.

I especially love these lines:

Chains shall He break for the slave is our brother
And in His name all oppression shall cease
Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we
Let all within us praise His holy name

I'm so thankful for my Savior. He means everything to me, and I owe all the happiness, hope, and peace in my life to him. Even though I know I could never repay him for what he does for me, I know I can at least try to help those around me and become a better person, and isn't that what this season is all about? (That, and cookies. Always cookies. The end.)

Have a merry little Christmas! 

Saturday, December 21, 2013

On letting yourself mess up

The past few weeks I've been working hard to learn a new Christmas hymn to play in church this Sunday. I think I've mentioned it before, but I'm not a very good pianist, and I promise I'm not just being modest. I'm mostly self-taught, besides a handful of piano lessons years ago. Somehow I got called to be the pianist in the Spanish-speaking branch of our church that we attend... and it's a struggle. I'm trying hard to learn more songs so we can have a little variety. We pretty much sing the same songs over and over. It's a good thing everyone in the branch is so sweet and patient!

Anyway, while I was practicing said Christmas song a few days ago, I finally got to the point where I was pretty sure I will at least keep the melody going for the whole song when playing in church. I thought to myself, "Hopefully I'll get better, but even if I don't it's okay since it doesn't have to be perfect."

And then I had an epiphany: I think I'm finally learning how to make mistakes. 

I don't think I've ever made it through an entire church service playing every song perfectly. Not once. I make mistakes every week, and that used to bother me so much. I would come home from church feeling like a failure because I couldn't even play familiar hymns perfectly, thanks in part to the anxiety that flares up when I have an audience. 

I've always been a bit of a perfectionist. Now, this is rather problematic. Being a perfectionist means you are just setting yourself up for a lot of frustration since, in reality, life is messy and imperfect. You're never going to have everything go 100% your way. I've beaten myself up too much in the past because of failures, both real and imagined.

Personally, I tend to be at one extreme or another on the perfection spectrum. Either I throw myself into something wholeheartedly (going a little insane in the process) with perfection as my only acceptable result, or I let myself get discouraged and don't even try. I haven't been good at finding a happy medium. At least, not until recently. 

Maybe it's a combination of being pregnant and having a couple of derriere-kicking church callings that have forced me to have more realistic expectations of myself, yet also don't allow me to give up trying. I'm grateful for that.

Moral of the story: Don't set unrealistic expectations for yourself, and be nice to yourself when you mess up.

Be Nice to Yourself Print

Friday, December 20, 2013

I made it!

Today was my last day of seminary. Yippee! As much as I loved (most of the things about) teaching seminary, it is really nice to know that I don't have to wake up early or spend lots of time preparing lessons for the next couple months. I just get to focus on getting ready for this little babe to get here, and that is a big relief. I know I will miss it though.

Still, I sure felt happy sitting next to the fire after I got home, eating homemade bread and jam, sipping hot cocoa, and watching the snow fall. Very happy indeed. 


Here are a few things I learned this semester:

1. Teaching seminary while pregnant, especially when you're in your third trimester, is much more difficult that when you're not pregnant. 

2. It's really hard to tell if/when anyone is getting anything out of your lesson, but often -- even when it doesn't seem like anyone is paying attention -- there is still progress being made. And that is both exasperating and relieving. 

3. Teaching is the best way to learn, by far, and the lessons you learn go way beyond stuff that has to do with the curriculum.

Like I said before, I know I am going to miss seminary, and even though I whined about it quite a bit I'm so thankful to have had the chance to teach. It was really good for me to get out of my comfort zone every day. And even if I often doubted whether my rascally students ever learned much from me, I think they did, and that makes it worth the work.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Two short stories, one wiggly baby

Apparently baby boy isn't a big fan of sharing his mom. Every time Dallin snuggles with me the little goose starts going berserk, almost as if he thinks he can get his daddy to leave if he kicks him hard enough. 

It hasn't worked yet. I just start giggling which wiggles him around and probably gets him even more excited. 

(30 weeks, 4 days)
Silly, silly baby.

In other news, I had a bit of an adventure yesterday. Baby's heart rate was a little high at my doctor's appointment, and since it didn't go down after a couple of minutes my OBGYN sent me to the hospital for a non-stress test. Everything seems to be fine, thankfully. It was probably a combination of my lack of a good breakfast (maybe having appointments so soon after seminary isn't a good idea) and the fact that he was very, very wiggly. His pulse would go down to a good rate, then it would go up when he was kicking at the monitors, and then it would go back down again. I wasn't having any contractions and everything else looked good so they discharged me pretty quickly after giving me something to eat and drink.

Even though everything was fine, being strapped up to a bunch of monitors in a delivery bed wasn't my favorite. My imagination started running wild and when I considered the possibility of delivering my baby so soon (an irrational fear, but a fear nonetheless) I got so anxious. If anything were to happen to this little babe of mine... I don't even want to think about it. I'm so thankful for a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby that seems to be a-baking just fine. I hope he keeps on doing just that for a couple more months!

Monday, December 2, 2013

Five quick takes

1. I wore heels to seminary today and nearly fell flat on my face when I tried to bend down to pick up a marker I dropped. Bending over is getting hard enough lately... I should have known that trying to do it when I have an extra 2-3 inches to go and a shifted center of gravity would be a joke! Silly, silly Mikaela.

2. I wish all Christmas songs made me as happy as the Hanukkah Song. Pure gold that never gets old. The end.


3. If you need a laugh, check out the reviews for these gummy bears on Amazon. I've never really liked gummy bears, but I don't think I'll ever be able to eat one again. Ever ever ever. (Oh, and lest you think I was shopping for a 5-lb bag of sugar-free gummy bears, lemme clarify that I found this because someone shared it on Facebook simply for the comedic value of said reviews, just saying. Haha!)

4. Most of the food I consumed today was peanut butter kiss cookies. I feel like I should be ashamed. Unfortunately, I'm ashamed to say that I'm not ashamed. I blame my husband for not coming home for lunch today, thus sending me into pregnant-couch-potato-with-no-motivation-to-make-food mode. ;)

5. While baking said cookies yesterday I managed to burn my wrist on the edge of the cookie sheet. It's shaping up to be a nice scar, so that's great because what better place to have a scar than on your wrist, right? I promise I'm not depressed, just remarkably prone to accidents lately. Promise.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

I'm going to miss this

My little man-child has been getting bigger and stronger the last couple of weeks. That silly boy seems to be under the impression that my bladder is a trampoline, my ribs are monkey bars, and my innards are punching bags. But not all the time... usually just when I'm trying to sleep or in urgent need of a restroom, of course. 

It's lots of fun. And while that sounds sarcastic, I sincerely mean it. I love feeling (and sometimes seeing) him wiggle around, especially as he gets bigger.

While I was sitting on the couch this morning feeling him do his morning workout, I started thinking about how quickly February is coming up. My due date is 11 weeks from tomorrow, or 78 days, or 2 months and 17 days... not that I'm counting. ;) That's not that far away, not at all.

Part of me can't wait to meet him, but at the same time I'm going to miss this.

I'm going to miss trying to figure out what the heck is going on in there when he is really squirming up a storm inside my belly, and wondering if I'm actually going to give birth to an octopus. 

I'm going to miss having ultrasounds and trying to see what (and who) he will look like. 

I'm going to miss the quiet moments when I can't help but stare at my belly, overwhelmed with awe at the miracle of life that is happening inside me and how blessed I feel to be a woman and a mother. 

28 weeks, 6 days today. I may or may not have changed back into my PJs after my
shower and have absolutely no intention of changing into anything else all day. The end.
And that makes all the unattractive, uncomfortable, and unpleasant parts of pregnancy (and there's plenty of all three) worth it, one hundred percent. 

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Obligatory Thanksgiving Post

Yeah, I know this is what every blog post written yesterday, today, and tomorrow is about... but whatever. Happy Thanksgiving just the same! I spent the day stuffing my face with the people I love most, and while that sounded rather cannibalistic I think you know what I meant. Good food and good family... what else do you need in life, really?

I have a love/hate relationship with certain holidays such as Thanksgiving and Valentine's Day. I mean, gratitude and love are both great things to feel and express. We should do that all the time, right? Not just one day out of the year. Yet I guess it is good for us to be reminded.

I've been trying to be more grateful lately. It seems like the older I get the more cynical I'm becoming, a trend I'd really like to reverse as soon as possible so I can avoid turning into a crusty, irritable, grumpy old lady someday. One of the ways I've been trying to remedy my cynicism is being grateful for my blessings, not comparing my life with others, and looking for the uplifting things in life. I believe that is how true joy is found -- by feeling and expressing gratitude. I know I'm a lot happier when I take the time to think about the blessings I've been given instead of wishing for more. Now I just need to practice what I preach more often.

Monday, November 25, 2013

28 weeks down, 12 to go

I can't believe I'm already in my third trimester. How the heck did that come up so quickly? 

Everything is still going well! I've been feeling really good lately, which has been nice since I have gotten a lot done on the nursery. It's all painted, the crib is set up, I've finally figured out how I want to arrange all the furniture, the four bags of clothes my mom gave me have been organized and put away in the closet, and now I just have some decorating and a couple projects to finish up before it's just right. 

I've been nesting like nobody's business lately, so I'm really thankful that we live in a house where I can paint, decorate, and fuss over baby things to my heart's content, although that means I've been spending a lot more time messing with the nursery than doing the dishes the past few weeks... Oh well. ;) 

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Don't be too jealous of my incredibly attractive men's sweats from Walmart. 
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He's still really wiggly and has been getting much stronger. It's crazy to be able to see him move instead of just feeling it. I caught it on video when I was waiting for a doctor's appointment last week. Glad he cooperated!

On an unrelated note, school is on break for the whole week so I got to sleep in until 7am. I woke up feeling happier that a bodybuilder directing traffic. It was glorious. Annnnd I get to do that all week. This pleases me very much indeed. The end.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Storytime: Mikaela's (lack of) adventures in Zion

This past 4th of July we went to Zion National Park, a trip we had planned for a long time. We love going there; this was our 3rd time since we got married. It is such a beautiful place with lots of great canyoneering and hiking opportunities. 

The first time we went, around the 4th of July in 2012, I had the misfortune of cutting off the end of my thumb the day we left while chopping up some cabbage in a hurry. It was pretty bad and there was lots of blood and tears. I have never passed out before (knock on wood), but when I saw what I had done and then felt the pain start to shoot up my arm I thought I was going down. No fun.

This greatly limited my allowed activities since I wasn't supposed to get my heart rate up (it would start bleeding again when that happened) and I had to keep it dry. I don't know how much you know about canyoneering, but there is always a lot of getting your heart rate up and usually some swimming in stagnant, dirty water. And it came to pass that I was thus uninvited to all canyoneering excursions.

I did still get to see some beautiful stuff, though, like this amazing view. 

But I spent a lot of time just hanging out with my poor thumb, which wasn't too bad since Zion is so beautiful, even without doing any "real" hiking.

Still, there isn't anything quite like canyoneering. When we went later that year I had so much fun. Here are a few shots from that trip.

Rappelling into the Narrows from Mystery Canyon. See the tiny people down in the river?
Birch Hollow
Orderville Gulch
Orderville Gulch
Not so bad, eh? ;)

After getting a taste of what Zion can hold for those without open wounds, I was really happy when we planned another trip for July of this year. Dallin scored a few hard-to-get permits for some of the best spots and it was going to be a sweet trip. That was the plan, at least...

But... as luck would have it, I ended up getting pregnant (yay!) and was a nauseated, emotional mess in the midst of some intense pregnancy fatigue (boo!). In other words, since just walking to the shuttle stop right next to our hotel made me tired, canyoneering was out of the question. 

I spent my time sleeping at our hotel, walking short distances, finding comfortable places to relax, and sipping on cold gatorade since that was one of the few things that made my queasy stomach feel better. 

I also took a few pictures, partially because it was a good opportunity to work on figuring out my camera settings. Still need plenty of work in that department...

Meanwhile, here's what I missed out on: 

On the bright side, if this pattern keeps up I should be healthy (and in one piece) for our next trip, right? 

I guess we shall see...


(P.S. If you haven't been to Zion yet, you are missing out! They have a good shuttle system that takes you into the canyon from the cute little town of Springdale which makes it easy to get around, plus there are so many things to do whether you are the hard-core hiker type or not. Heck, you can even have a good time if you are missing part of your thumb or are in the miserable first weeks of pregnancy. ;) It's pretty child-friendly, especially since you can take a stroller on quite a few of the shorter trails, and this burger joint really hits the spot after a day of adventures. I highly recommend checking it out!)

Friday, November 15, 2013


I haven't always kept a journal, but over the years I've collected quite a few of them. Today I was organizing a bookshelf that mostly has my books on it, including quite a few of those journals. I ended up doing a lot more sitting on my haunches reading through them than organizing.
Annnd... I'm okay with that. 

These particular journals cover bits and pieces of my life from when I was 10 years old until just before I left for Russia at age 19. Those nine years held a lot of adventures and challenges that shaped me into the person I am now. I started out as a stubborn tomboy of a 10-year-old, then stumbled through my difficult (and very character defining) teenage years, discovered what a wonderful place college can be, and then fell for the man I would later marry, all in those nine years.

Flipping through the pages of the journals took me back and reminded me of what a surprise my life has turned out to be. I would never have guessed that I would be where I am now. It's quite a bit different than the plans I made when I was a little 18-year-old. I thought I was so wise then, but little did I know what was in store for me, namely a dashing young(ish) man named Dallin and a game of ultimate frisbee that would end up taking my life in a different direction that I planned.

My life has not turned out as I expected, and every day I'm thankful for that.

I'm thankful for the prayers that were not answered the way I wanted, the life plans that fell through, and the unexpected changes that landed me where I am now. I know I owe my happiness to failed plans and letting myself take chances.

During lunch today, when I was snuggled up to that husband of mine with my head on his chest and our little son kicking in my belly, I couldn't help but feel grateful. Grateful to be here.

Here, with a husband that is my bestest friend and makes me happier every day.

At the Mesa Temple a couple months ago.
Here, with a wee man-child that we get to meet in about 13 short weeks.

26 weeks
Here, living a life that is perfect for me. 

I think this picture that I posted on Instagram a couple days ago sums life lately up pretty well.
Here's the caption:

"I wanted to take a "baby bump" picture and started moving all the clutter out of the frame, but then I realized that sometimes "clutter" tells a story. So... here I am with le bump wrapped in my favorite comfy sweater, paint samples/masking tape on the wall, the one closet door (of four) that has made it back upstairs since I refinished them, a bunk bed waiting to be moved downstairs, bags of baby clothes from my mom, and the ipad I was using to prepare tomorrow's seminary lesson. 
Life is messy and imperfect, but oh so good."

(Most of this was written yesterday but didn't have time to post it until today, just FYI)

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Happy snippets

Seminary went better today than it has in a while. At least, I was more satisfied with my lesson than I have been lately, like I wrote about here a couple days ago. I'll never know whether my sleepy students got much out of it (#holidayweekendproblems) but at least I felt I did my best. To me, that is a victory, and I'm so thankful. I hope things keep improving from here on out.

I'm making big progress on the nursery! We should be ready to paint in a couple days (at the latest) and I've finished painting the ugly brass sliding closet doors. They turned out SO well and I'm really relieved! I was a little skeptical, but they look really nice and it's an enormous improvement on the whole room. Now I just hope that the thrifted glider I'm working on will turn out well too! We should be getting our crib and some other furniture this weekend and I can't wait to set it all up.

Dallin and I made pizza last night and it was amazing. I forgot how much I love that stuff. After a failure of a squirrel hunting trip with Marc and Becca (Dallin's brother and his wife) in which we didn't see one single squirrel, something I didn't think was possible, at least we ended the night with a big fat win. And yes, we are rednecks... and proud of it. ;) (Also, don't tell Dallin... but I'm slightly relieved we didn't get any because eating squirrel meat is definitely not something on my bucket list. I know I'll have to try it though!)

My sister is expecting twin girls due next month, and my youngest siblings still refer to the "babies" in my belly since they seem to think I'm having twins too. It seems like they think I've been gypped because they give me such a funny look when I tell them there is just one in there, not two. Pretty sure they are thinking, "You only got one? Geeze, what a ripoff." If it is a ripoff, it's a ripoff I'm okay with, thankyouverymuch. ;)

On a somewhat related note, Marc, Becca, and their little 2-month-old baby Levi have been living at our house while they work on getting moved into my in-law's empty house (they are on a mission in TX right now). I was facetiming my siblings the other day when my 4-year-old brother Luke saw Levi and ran off yelling, "Mikaela has her baby! Mikaela has her baby!!!!" The whole herd came a-running and were sorely disappointed to find that it wasn't actually my baby. Sorry, kiddos... He still needs to bake for about another three months! ;)

Lastly, please tell me you love this video as much as I do. Hahahaha!

(P.S. All the Captain Literally sketches they've done are excellent as well... if you haven't watched them, DO IT NOW. You're welcome.)

Happy Tuesday, errbody! Hope your holiday weekend was a good one!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

On failure (and doing your best anyway)

You know that exhausting feeling of failure that sometimes comes when you put in so much work and still don't see results? Have you ever poured all your energy, time, and attention into something and wondered if you made a difference at all?

This semester of teaching seminary has been very, very challenging for me. I'm sure a lot of it has to do with the fact that I'm pregnant, since apparently making a human being kind of affects you juuuust a little bit, both physically and emotionally. Who would have thought? ;) My class is also very different this year. I switched from the seniors to the sophomores and it's been an adjustment. Things that worked last year just don't work with this group of students; they have very different personalities, needs, and levels of understanding. 

Whatever the reason, I've been struggling. Big time. Multiple times I've driven home from class in tears, feeling like a failure when my lesson went poorly, seriously considering the possibility of playing the "I'm a pitiful pregnant lady card" to get released early instead of sticking it out to the end of the semester like I planned. I've tried different things to get myself out of this funk, but so far nothing has worked. To put it simply, I guess I'm a little weary of putting so much into this calling when I never seem to see any results of my hard work.

This weekend I spent a lot of time mulling over all of this, trying to figure out what I could do to fix things, and searching for comfort, motivation, and the excitement I used to have about teaching. While I was sitting in church I thought about it some more and felt like it would be a good idea to read through the chapters I'll be teaching in the next few weeks to get myself ready to teach it. While skimming through the upcoming chapters, I came upon the story of Abinadi, which is one of my favorites. 

If you aren't familiar with the story or need a refresher, here's the very condensed version. (If you're interested, the whole story can be found in Mosiah 11-18)

King Noah was a wicked king that didn't follow the good example of his father, King Zeniff. Instead of taking care of his people, he taxed them heavily so he and his groupies (wicked priests that he picked to replace to righteous priests his dad had chosen) could afford to live extravagant, lazy, extrememly immoral lifestyles. Things were heading downhill quickly, so God sent the prophet Abinadi to call him and all the wicked people to repentance. King Noah didn't take too kindly to this (big surprise) and ordered his people to bring Abinadi to him so he could kill him, but they didn't find him and Noah kept on a-doing his thang. 

Fast forward two years. Abinadi comes back, in disguise, calls them to repentance again, prophesies of their destruction if they don't, and is imprisoned where he continues to teach them about many things including the Ten Commandments, Christ, and the atonement. Again, Noah is not impressed. Nosiree. He tells Abinadi that unless he recalls his words he will kill him. Abinadi, being a righteous man with integrity that I admire so much, refuses to take back his words, so he was then bound, scourged, and burned alive.

I like to put myself into Abinadi's shoes here. Can you imagine how he must have felt after doing his very best to help these people mend their ways, not only to have them refuse to listen, but end up killing him too? If I were him, I would have been so discouraged the first time that I'm not sure I would have gone back... but he did. That blessed man went back, knowing that they wanted to kill him, and tried again to get them to understand that they needed to change. What love he must have had for them to still try, even when he never saw the results of his efforts.

It gets even better though! Get a load of this... One of the priests, a young man named Alma, listened and believed. Although Abinadi probably never had any idea, his words sunk deep into Alma's heart. He knew they were true. He pleaded with Noah not to be angry with Abinadi and let him go in peace. This made King Noah extremely angry, so he cast Alma out and sent servants to kill him. Alma managed to hide from them, where he wrote down the words of Abinadi and went around secretly teaching those words to anyone that would listen. Many people (around 450!) began to gather to listen to him teach and they ended up being baptized, organizing themselves into a church, and then fleeing from Noah who was none too happy when he discovered them.

The part that really amazes me is that those 450 people are only the beginning of the the influence Abinadi had. Check this out, taken from this article in the February 2005 New Era:
Abinadi’s testimony to wicked King Noah cost him his life (see Mosiah 17:20), but changed the life of one of the king’s priests, Alma the Elder (see Mosiah 18:1), who at the time was “a young man” (Mosiah 17:2). 
Alma the Elder
Alma helped bring into the Church about 450 of King Noah’s people (see Mosiah 18:35). They joined the Nephites at Zarahemla, where Alma became the high priest of the Church and baptized many more (see Mosiah 25:18). His son was Alma the Younger (see Mosiah 27:14). 
Alma the Younger
Alma was the Nephites’ first chief judge and high priest of the Church (see Mosiah 29:42). He helped convert more than 3,500 people and converted many more during later missions to Nephite cities. Alma’s sons served missions as well. His oldest son was Helaman. 
Helaman, Son of Alma
Helaman kept the records and was one of the high priests of the Church (see Alma 46:6). At about 73 B.C. and again about 54 B.C., he reestablished the Church after years of war (see Alma 45:22; Alma 62:46). He led the 2,000 stripling warriors. His son was also named Helaman. 
Helaman, Son of Helaman
Helaman kept the records of the people as well. He became chief judge of the Nephites. During his righteous rule, “tens of thousands” joined the Church (Hel. 3:26). He had two righteous sons, Nephi and Lehi. 
Nephi and Lehi, Sons of Helaman
Nephi was chief judge before leaving to preach the gospel with Lehi. These brothers were such powerful missionaries that most of the Lamanites were converted to the gospel (see Hel. 5:50). Nephi turned the records over to his son, Nephi. 
Nephi, Son of NephiNephi became a great prophet. He taught and baptized many in the wicked days before Christ’s coming, even raising his brother from the dead (see 3 Ne. 7:15–26). He was chosen as one of Christ’s 12 disciples when the Savior appeared (see 3 Ne. 12:1). The disciples helped convert all the Nephites and Lamanites after Christ’s coming (see 4 Ne. 1:2). 
Isn't that a little mind-blowing? Although he may never have been able to see even the smallest success, Abinadi had an incredibly far-reaching influence. Plus, each of those people converted by Abinadi, Alma, and Alma's posterity certainly affected others, who in turn affected even more people. Not to mention everyone today that is blessed by learning about it by reading the Book of Mormon. The impact of Abinadi's message was and is enormous, even if he never saw any of it while on earth.

I love that. 

Re-reading Abinadi's story today gave me the comfort I needed by reminding me that just because I may not see results doesn't mean that I'm not doing some good, whether in my calling as a seminary teacher or other aspects of my life. You don't always know when you are making a difference, and sometimes it's the simplest things that have the greatest impact. I will probably never have the kind of influence Abinadi did, but I can still do good in the world in my own little way, and that might make all the difference to someone.  

Also, even with its challenges, teaching seminary is one of the best opportunities I've ever been given. I wish I could explain how much I have learned, how much I love my students, and what an impact teaching has had on my testimony of the scriptures. The blessings far outweigh the challenges, and even the challenges are often blessings in disguise. And even though I'm looking forward to sleeping in and passing the stress onto someone else, I am going to miss it when I'm released next month! 

Saturday, November 9, 2013

5 facts about yours truly

Also known as "I have writer's block." Let's be honest here. ;)

1. The mountains are my favorite place to be, and I'm happiest when I'm outside enjoying them. The picture above is from one of my favorite spots to do so, taken a few years ago.

2. I have come to accept that I will never understand Google+. Please tell me I'm not the only one that can't figure it out! Although it's not like I need any more social media in my life, so in the end maybe that's a good thing.

3. I'm not very picky, but I do not like shrimp, meatloaf, cream soda, or dark chocolate. I will still choke them down though, with the exception of shrimp, which is where I draw the line. Yuck.

4. I can count the caffeinated drinks I've had in my life on one hand. The only times I've had it were either accidental or because I really needed to stay awake while driving at night, partially because I'm really sensitive to it and it makes me feel very weird and leaves me with a headache. Probably a blessing.

5. I don't particularly enjoy cleaning, but I love organizing. Having everything in its place makes me really happy!

Friday, November 1, 2013

Why hello, November!

Is it really November already?? This year is slipping away so quickly. I hope things slow down a little bit though because November and December with their cool weather, holidays, and the abundance of delicious food that goes with said holidays make me really happy. I don't want it to slip through my fingers before I have a chance to thoroughly enjoy it. 

Today I wanted to put up some more fall/Thanksgiving decorations and I made these printables to frame. They aren't particularly festive so I can leave them up all year. Also, I couldn't decide which quote I preferred so I just made them all. :) Which one is your favorite?

(Click image to enlarge and then right click to save and print)

What are you doing to get in the Thanksgiving spirit? I have been nesting something fierce lately, so I plan on decorating my house, drinking lots of apple cider, and baking goodies in the next few days... All while wearing my favorite comfy, warm clothes since it has been pretty chilly here and I am hoping to avoid turning on the heat for as long as possible. In other words, I will be living in sweatpants, fuzzy socks, and my oh-so-cozy Hello sweater for the next 6 months.

I think I'm okay with that.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

U Can't Touch This

As of Sunday, I'm 24 weeks along! 

This baby boy is growing bigger and stronger every day! He is very wiggly and seems to enjoy sending big kicks my way whenever I'm trying to fall asleep. In fact, a couple times he kicked so hard that he woke me up when I was fast asleep. Stinker. Good thing I love him.

I finally caved and wore my new maternity pants yesterday for the first time. I've been using a hair tie wrapped around the buttonhole on my normal jeans to make them work for a little longer, but I've grown enough the past week or two that it just doesn't work anymore. Not comfortably, at least! They still fit me kind of weird, but they are so comfy I don't care. It's like wearing pajamas, and that, my friends, is something I can get behind. Yes sir. 

I've been feeling a hundred times more energized lately. I still have to rest a few times during the day, but that's a huge improvement. Yesterday I had a much-needed burst of energy and motivation and I got a lot of cleaning done that I've been putting off. My kitchen (especially my stove) is in much better shape than it has been my entire pregnancy, and it feels oh so good! The nesting urge must really be kicking in because I still have the itch to clean and organize today. Hopefully that means I'll make good progress on getting the upstairs bedroom ready to paint!

Besides what I mentioned already, everything is going pretty well! I only have a couple complaints. 
The main one is I'm not a fan (AT ALL) of having my belly rubbed my strangers like it's some magic lamp or I'm their pet dog. I'm already not a very touchy person, so having random people invite themselves to touch my belly is not my favorite thing about pregnancy. Not even close.

I have one thing to say to those people.

Just kidding... but seriously

Also, I'm glad I found a use for one of the ever-so-lovely outtakes from the pictures we took yesterday. 
So very attractive. ;) 

Have a happy Tuesday!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Crock pot chicken curry

I have yet to try a curry I didn't like. I love that stuff. Since I've been pregnant, I've been craving Indian and Thai food something fierce, so when I found this recipe on Pinterest I knew I had to try it out. It looked so easy and delicious, and it lived up to my high expectations! 

I will absolutely be making this again, and maybe experimenting with turning it into a freezer meal. I really want to stock up on those before this baby comes along in a few months.  

All you have to do is puree the sauce, throw it in the crock pot with some chunks of chicken breast, stir in some cornstarch an hour or so before it's finished cooking to thicken up the sauce, and serve over some good rice. I used jasmine, my favorite. 

Does it get any easier than that? 

I followed the recipe exactly except for a few minor changes. Since I like a lot of flavor I added some extra garam masala, curry powder, and salt. I also substituted a bit of cayenne pepper (somewhere between 1/2 and 1 tsp) for the dried red peppers, just because that's what I had on hand. Last of all, I didn't end up cooking it for the entire 6 hours. I put this in around 8am and the chicken was done (And smelled amazing. Seriously.) when I got home from church a little after 12pm. I added the cornstarch then and let it cook for another hour or so until Dallin got home from his meeting. It's a good thing it was done a little early because we were both really hungry and the smell was tantalizing. 

Click here for the recipe! Also, if you have any other favorite Indian/Thai/curry recipes you should do this pregnant lady a favor and send them my way. ;)

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

23 weeks down, 17 to go

My pregnancy has been going really well lately! I feel good most of the time (although I have a pretty hard time getting going in the morning for seminary) and my doctor's appointment this morning went smoothly as always. I'm big enough to be obviously pregnant, but not enough to be uncomfortable... unless I am silly enough to try to wear something too constricting. I've already got a lot of clothes I have had to put in the back of my closet for at least the next 4-5 months because there is just no way to comfortably fit this growing boy in there. It ain't happening! 

I wonder how much longer I'll be able to see my toes...
People often ask me what I've been craving. Uh, what have I not been craving? Now that's the real question here! ;) I just want to eat all the food. I can't eat very much a time, but I am constantly snacking all day errryday. I do have a few things I've been hungry for lately, namely pomegranates, tomatoes, salad, waffles, chips & salsa, and Ben and Jerry's pumpkin cheesecake ice cream. 

I've been fulfilling most of those cravings, especially with deals like these that made me so excited I did a happy dance in the store...

...but unfortunately I have yet to see a single carton of pumpkin cheesecake ice cream anywhere, and this is a very sad thing indeed. I MUST HAVE PUMPKIN CHEESECAKE ICE CREAM. It's October 22... shouldn't that have been out with the Halloween decorations two months ago? Also, if you have not tried it, you are missing out big time. I've had some other pumpkin ice creams, but this is simply the best. Perfectly creamy, pumpkin-y ice cream with slightly crunchy graham cracker crust swirls... 

Oh man. We need to change the subject. 
This is making me want it even more, which I didn't think was possible. 

People have also been asking me what we're going to name him. I have two answers: (1) We're split between Hagrid Bartholomew or just giving our kids numbers instead of names, and (2) I'm not telling. ;) You'll know when we officially name him... after he is born.

In other news, I'm currently working on turning our other upstairs bedroom from the canyoneering/hunting room into a nursery. It's taking some time though since I've been so indecisive about what the heck I want to paint the walls. I picked out a really light blue I liked and painted a couple test spots, but now I'm having second thoughts. I think I probably like it, but gosh... I just don't know for sure and I'm worried I'll paint the whole room and then end up not liking it, which wouldn't be the end of the world but I only want to paint once if at all possible. I might end up going for some kind of neutral instead, like a light tan or something that would be a good base for colorful pictures and things on the walls. We'll see.

I'm anxious to get it done though so we can get a crib, decorate, and put away the four big bags of cute boys clothes my mom gave me! My nesting urges are starting to kick in big time so hopefully that will help me be more motivated to get 'er done already. Or maybe I can just convince Dallin that he wants to do it. Right babe? ;)

Although I am a bit impatient to meet the wee man-cub that is growing in my belly, I have to remember to enjoy this waiting, anticipatory period. I know I am going to miss the quiet evenings with just my husband and me, being able to sleep/eat/go to the store/shower/use the bathroom whenever I want to, and feeling our baby kick... even when it is aimed at my bladder. ;)

Pregnancy is one of the weirdest experiences I've ever had, but also one of the best. I love it. I'm so happy to be at this stage in my life. 

Friday, October 18, 2013

I love Sister Hinckley.

Yesterday, I had a quote in my head from Marjorie Pay Hinckley, who is the wife of my church's previous president, Gordon B. Hinckley. She passed away in 2004, and he was reunited with her in 2008.

I absolutely adore them both. They are such beautiful examples of happy lives and a happy marriage. 

Ah! I can't handle it. They are too adorable.

Anyway, as I was saying, I had this quote come to my mind, and I looked it up so I could share it on instagram. 
While I was looking it up, I found a plethora of quotes by her, some that I had heard before and some that were new, and I spent some time reading through them. I have some things on my mind this week that have been stressing me out a bit, and some of the quotes by her were just what I needed to hear. I love her way with words and spunky personality. Here are a few of my favorites:

“The only way to get through life is to laugh your way through it. You either 
have to laugh or cry. I prefer to laugh. Crying gives me a headache.” 

“We women have a lot to learn about simplifying our lives. We have to decide what is important and then move along at a pace that is comfortable for us. We have to develop the maturity to stop trying to prove something. We have to learn to be content with what we are.” 

“Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming, “Wow what a ride!” 

“We are His children, and if we ever got that through our heads thoroughly, understood that completely, we would never do a small thing, we would never say a cross word, we would not use bad language, we would not criticize anybody, we would love everyone the way the Savior loves us.” 

Isn't she the best? I want to be just like her when I grow up.

P.S. Please tell me you thought of The Three Amigos when I used the word "plethora". If not, you should click here to be enlightened. ;)

P.P.S. Happy Friday! Yippee!