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!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Wanderlust, homesickness, and Segovia

There are few things I love more than travelling. I love to explore, especially off the beaten path, and I sure am glad that I married someone that shares my love for adventure.

However, I do have a bit of a problem. You see, every time I go somewhere I get really emotionally attached, and then I miss it like crazy when I leave, but at the same time I am a major homebody. When I'm away from home for very long I start itching to be back. I spent four months in Russia when I was unofficially engaged to Dallin, and every day was a mix of intense homesickness and equally intense happiness and love for that beautiful, crazy, somewhat sketchy place. Every day I crave Russia's colorful architecture and culture, California's sandy beaches, southern Utah's canyons, Spain's vineyard-spattered countryside, Maui's rocky coasts, Arizona's mountain peaks, and my own home all at the same time. I love them all and wish I could somehow be everywhere at once.

Today, however, I'm especially missing the quaint, picturesque town of Segovia that we visited on our trip to Spain earlier this year. This place was like stepping into a painting from a fairy tale. It's a bummer that there is an ocean between me and this... if only going back were easier and less expensive! 

The castle was my favorite.

Inside the castle

View of the cathedral and town from the castle
Looking up at the ceiling in the cathedral

Roman aqueducts, with Dallin standing at the base for scale.
This was so impressive!

Monday, October 14, 2013

Seminary, sleep, and a haiku

Fall break is officially over (*insert dramatic sigh here*). It has been glorious. I slept in until 7 or 7:30 every morning and enjoyed it thoroughly. 

In fact, maybe I enjoyed it a little too much because I think I died a little inside when I turned my seminary alarms (yes, plural) back on this afternoon. 5:45 isn't that early, right? I can do this, right? I'm not going to be a grumpy mess from Hades in the morning, right? 

Ah, hopefully those things are all true. We shall see.

To summarize my feelings, I wrote a haiku. Please enjoy.

How I Feel About Waking Up & 
Putting On a Bra at 6:00am

No no no no no
No no no no no no no
No no no no no

Good thing I love my students so much, eh? Even though this waking up early thing has become much more difficult now that I'm pregnant, I'm happy to do it, I promise. I might whine about it, but I love it. It is challenging but rewarding, and I know I will miss it, even if that is hard to remember at zero dark thirty when all I want is sleep. Wish me luck... I'm going to need it!

Friday, October 11, 2013

Snips and snails and puppy dog tails

I have some exciting news! We had an ultrasound on Tuesday and our little pterodactyl is a... 


We are so excited and can't wait to meet him in just a few months! 

Also, now that we know the gender this is all becoming very real to me. 
I'm really having a baby. A son. A little man-child who is going to bring bugs and lizards and dirt in the house and drive me crazy in all the best ways. I can't wait. 

Thursday, October 10, 2013

"Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower." -Albert Camus

I love the mountains. As much as I love to travel, mountains will always be home to me. 

And although I love my mountains all year long, there's something especially beautiful about how fall turns the quivering aspen leaves to gold. It's my favorite. :)

I made it up here just in time... a cold, wet storm blew in last night and these aspen are probably crusted in snow and ice right now and I don't think they will last much longer. I'm glad I got to enjoy it first! With Arizona's unpredictable weather it can be really easy to miss. Trust me, I've done it many times. I was especially glad I made it this year so I could play around with my new-ish camera. I'm becoming more and more familiar with manual mode and almost never switch back to automatic, although I still need lots of practice. Anyone want to volunteer their faces for me to shoot instead of trees? ;) 
(P.S. I'm serious, especially if you live nearby! Free pictures, anyone?)

Anyway, happy October! Can you believe it is already the tenth? Time is going by so quickly! It's going to be November before I know it, and then Thanksgiving, and then Christmas, and then February will be just around the corner... and we'll have a baby! But for now I am just going to enjoy this beautiful fall weather and not think about how soon February is going to get here... or how much I need to get done before it does.

"I'm so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers."
-Anne Shirley

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Perfect weekend? I think yes.

I used to dread General Conference weekend as a child. It was torturous to confine my energetic self to one room for a total of 8 hours (there's four 2-hour sessions), and I rarely got anything out of the talks. I do remember my parents always making a big deal of the prophet speaking, and even if I don't remember anything he said that did make an impression on me. 

Now that I am older, that has completely changed. Conference weekend is my favorite. It's the highlight of my April and October. I mean, does it really get any better than having an excuse to sleep in, wear PJs all day, eat lots of food, and snuggle with your husband while listening to the beautiful words of our church leaders? I love it, especially since being pregnant makes me want to do all those things even more, which I honestly didn't think was possible. Our weekends are usually pretty busy with some crazy adventures on Saturday and church + meetings on Sunday, so it was nice to have Dallin all to myself for two whole days. It was perfect and (of course) went by too quickly. 

There were so many talks I adored. I can't wait to study them in more depth when the November Ensign comes out. I've been kind of in a rut lately, as you might have noticed from the rather grumpy posts I've been writing lately, and this conference left me feeling refreshed and ready to go. I needed that. 

Last conference, I started posting some of my favorite quotes on instagram, and I did that again next year. Here are some of my favorites:

(P.S. If anyone is interested, I used a combination of the Rhonna Designs app and www.picmonkey.com to make these.)

I think we all need that reminder sometimes.

Fun fact: I once met Elder Nelson and he called me "sweetheart" and told me I was beautiful. In other words, we're pretty much best buds. ;)

One of my favorite talks.

P.S. We will have a 2-month-old baby next General Conference... whaaaaat? In other words, I made sure to soak up the opportunity to listen without distractions since it will probably be a very, very long time before that happens again. :) 

Friday, October 4, 2013

I'm a Mormon woman, I don't hold the priesthood, and I'm okay with that.

There's been an increase of discussion lately about Mormon women and the priesthood, partially because of this group of women who are seeking ordination and to attend the priesthood session of General Conference tomorrow. If you know me personally, and/or have read my blog (especially this post) for very long, you probably know that this is an issue I feel strongly about. Very strongly indeed.

I would really, really like to call myself a feminist. I personally do consider myself to be one, but I hesitate to officially and publicly label myself as one because I disagree with the opinions of almost all of the self-professed "Mormon feminists" out there. I don't want to be mixed up with them. 

Unlike most of these feminists, I do not feel slighted as a Mormon woman. I have never felt like I am less valued or less worthy as a member of the church because of my gender, even though being a woman means I do not hold the priesthood. I don't feel like I need to hold the priesthood to be happy or fulfilled or important. 

I also know that if it were necessary for women to hold the priesthood to be happy or fulfilled or important, then God would never withhold that from us. I know for absolutely certain that if God wanted women to hold the priesthood then, by golly, women would hold the priesthood. It is as simple and profound as that. He would reveal it to our dear prophet, President Thomas S. Monson, and that would be that. The end

In The Family: A Proclamation to the World (a very short but extremely worthwhile read found here), it discusses the importance of gender, the roles and responsibilities men and women have, and how they work together. Here are a couple excerpts:
"Gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose." 
"By divine design, fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families. Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children. In these sacred responsibilities, fathers and mothers are obligated to help one another as equal partners."
I love that. Often "gender roles" are considered to be a bad thing (and sometimes they can be), but if you read the Family Proclamation, specifically these excerpts, then you'll see that God has given us gender roles/responsibilities. I would even be so bold as to say that the Plan of Salvation is built upon the foundation of gender roles because that is central to the family and family is central to the Plan of Salvation. And according to the proclamation and this talk, it means that women's primary responsibility is to nurture their children (if they have the opportunity) and that the responsibility to hold the priesthood, the presiding authority in the home and the church, belongs to the men. And you know what? I totally support that. (Gasp!)

I'm sure that some of you are going to read this and think, "None of this sounds very feminist." You're probably right. You see, my definition of feminism is a little different than most. 

To me, true feminism is embracing the unique, God-given qualities women have been blessed with, and using those qualities to better the world in a way that only women can. It means being feminine. Strong, nurturing, loving, gentle, hard-working, intelligent, sensitive, wise, and so much more. 

As a wife, it means supporting my husband, especially his position as a priesthood bearer and the patriarch of our home. It means being an equal partner with him in our marriage and doing my part to keep our relationship strong and our home happy.

As a mother, it means nurturing, loving, and caring for the spiritual, physical, and emotional well-being of my future children... with the help of my husband as my equal partner, of course.

As a single woman, it meant preparing to become a wife and mother, whether I would end up having that opportunity or not. It meant gaining education (both secular and religious), preparing for a meaningful career, and becoming a better person in general.

Anyway... I figure President Gordon B. Hinckley put it best when he said this: 
“Women do not hold the priesthood because the Lord has put it that way. It is part of His program. Women have a very prominent place in this Church. Men hold the priesthood offices of the Church. But women have a tremendous place in this Church. They have their own organization. It was started in 1842 by the Prophet Joseph Smith, called the Relief Society, because its initial purpose was to administer help to those in need. It has grown to be, I think, the largest women’s organization in the world... They have their own offices, their own presidency, their own board. That reaches down to the smallest unit of the Church everywhere in the world...
 “The men hold the priesthood, yes. But my wife is my companion. In this Church the man neither walks ahead of his wife nor behind his wife but at her side. They are co-equals in this life in a great enterprise.” 
Well said. 

Also, because I can't help myself, please enjoy what might be my favorite Mormon pick up line of all time. You're welcome. 

“Hey Girl. Wanna hold the priesthood? Come give me a hug.”  Anyone who knows their mormon pick up lines knows this one is a classic.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Ron Swanson, I love you

Today I sneezed more than twenty-five times during my seminary lesson. Twenty-five times

It was quite lovely, especially since I sneeze like a man. No really, I do. I stopped counting after 25 because by then my brain was too fuzzy to keep track. I'm not sure whether I am sick or have allergies. Maybe it's a combination of the two because I don't feel like I ever really got over the cold I had a month ago. All I know, is that I've been running on empty all month, I haven't been making any progress on my growing to-do list, and it's a little overwhelming.

And when life gets overwhelming there's only one thing to do. Spend your morning watching The Voice, eating three meals, and looking up funny Ron Swanson gifs to cheer up. Naturally. 

When I remember that I get to sleep in every day next week since there is no school. 


When I think about doing the dishes. Or wearing pants when I get home.


When I remember that I have leftover turkey, mashed potatoes, and gravy in the fridge since we had Thanksgiving #1 for Sunday dinner. 

When Dallin asks me what I did when he was at work.

No answer

How I feel about breakfast food. 
And all food, let's be honest. 

When I don't get anything productive done all day.

When I found my forgotten stash of Reese's in the fridge.

27 Ways To Be As American As Ron Swanson

Last of all, in honor of today's events...