Wednesday, December 21, 2011

It's a WONDERFUL life.

Oh my gosh, can you tell that LIFE has happened to me?! I have been pretty much non-existent on all the blogs I manage. So much has happened in the past few months it's hard to catch up. Obviously we have decided to adopt from Ethiopia, and you can read more about that over at our adoption blog. We have had to put our journey on hold somewhat due to some circumstances that are both our doing and not our doing.

We were notified through our adoption agency that the wait times for children in Ethiopia have been extended greatly, (like 3 years) and that made it difficult for us... I took it really hard and went in to a funk where I didn't want to really talk much about it... because I didn't want to cry anymore. But, we then decided to go forward, but not until after the new year.

We completely controlled the next big change. We bought a house! It's our very first home, and it is quirky, and poky, and older, and we couldn't be happier! We love it. But it was a pain in the tooshy to get packed up out of the apartment (in such a short amount of time) where we lived for almost 4 years, AND sell our lease. We were a little freaked out about it. It came down to the wire, but we sold it, and we are now in our house and loving it. Unfortunately we moved during Z's birthday time, and we haven't been able to have a break in the holidays and hustle and bustle to throw him a proper 4 year birthday party, so we are planning for it after the first of the year.

Husband passed all of his tests for his job and is very happy and relieved. We feel more settled and more secure.

I've made some new friends too.

But this post wasn't going to be all about that stuff... I just wanted to catch up. This post is about this week.

We have the tree up, (our first artificial one in our decade together) and have decorated the front window with lights and snowflakes and garland. It feels like Christmas... or it's starting to anyway. My mom is on her way right now to come out and spend the holidays with us. I feel happy.

I will admit though, that part of my heart feels empty, and feels a sort of longing. This is the first Christmas that we will have another son in our hearts. He is across the world, hopefully with his loving family right now, and I ache for him to be here with us. Though I am happy to have my family here with me to celebrate such a special time of year, part of my family is elsewhere, and I feel somehow incomplete this year. But, I can't be sad. I am trying to be grateful and think positively that he is spending this precious time with family who loves him abundantly. I really hope that there is abundant love in his biological family. I hope I hope.

As for us, we have been talking a lot about charity and doing good things to others, and trying to be Christlike. It has helped so much. This year, I couldn't think of a single thing that I REALLY wanted, which, I'll be honest, is USUALLY not a difficult thing for me to do. This year, it just didn't feel right for ME to make a list of things I wanted... because honestly, all I want is to bring our son home... But, I know that isn't possible. I just didn't want this Christmas to surround me with stuff, like all the years passed. I mean, while I appreciate gifts that I receive, I just didn't want to fill my world with more clutter. So, I asked for donations to be made to my two favorite charities. Charity:Water and A Glimmer Of Hope Foundation. Both have concentrated efforts in Ethiopia... and it felt right... and a few days ago I found out that is exactly what I got... and you know what? I couldn't be happier. I have a real sense of finally figuring out what Christmas is all about. Even though I KNOW what it is about. Even though I SAY it's about giving and not getting... this year, I really REALLY understand it, and I feel so much more gratitude this year.

I am really not trying to toot my own horn by saying, "ooh, I gave up my Christmas to charity." I hope so much that I am not coming off in a holier-than-thou way. It is honestly and truly all that I wanted this year.

So, this week, for Family Home Evening Husband decided to talk about having charity and trying to be more Christlike. Honestly, our FHE RARELY is a spiritual one because Z is always ready to go play, so we have a wiggle worm constantly asking if we can be done... so I wasn't sure how it was going to go down this week. But we were surprised times a billion. He was attentive, and listened the whole time, and we actually had a really spiritual FHE that turned out to be pretty remarkable.

Husband started out reading a story by James E. Faust called a PATTERN FOR LOVE. Here is the story:

Years ago, Jack Smith told of a poignant story of two young boys at Christmastime.
“I didn’t question Timmy, age nine, or his seven-year-old brother, Billy, about the brown wrapping paper they passed back and forth between them as we visited each store.

“Every year at Christmastime, our Service Club takes the children from poor families in our town on a personally conducted shopping tour. I was assigned Timmy and Billy, whose father was out of work. After giving them the allotted [U.S.] $4.00 each, we began our trip. At different stores I made suggestions, but always their answer was a solemn shake of the head, no. Finally, I asked, ‘Where would you suggest we look?’

“‘Could we go to a shoe store, Sir?’ answered Timmy. ‘We’d like a pair of shoes for our Daddy so he can go to work.’

“In the shoe store the clerk asked what the boys wanted. Out came the brown paper. ‘We want a pair of work shoes to fit this foot,’ they said. Billy explained that it was a pattern of their Daddy’s foot. They had drawn it while he was asleep in a chair.

“The clerk held the paper against a measuring stick, then walked away. Soon, he came with an open box. ‘Will these do?’ he asked. Timmy and Billy handled the shoes with great eagerness. ‘How much do they cost?’ asked Billy. Then Timmy saw the price on the box. ‘They’re $16.95,’ he said in dismay. ‘We only have $8.00.’

“I looked at the clerk and he cleared his throat. ‘That’s the regular price,’ he said, ‘but they’re on sale; $3.98, today only.’ Then, with shoes happily in hand the boys bought gifts for their mother and two little sisters. Not once did they think of themselves.

“The day after Christmas the boys’ father stopped me on the street. The new shoes were on his feet, gratitude was in his eyes. ‘I just thank Jesus for people who care,’ he said. ‘And I thank Jesus for your two sons,’ I replied. ‘They really taught me more about Christmas in one evening than I had learned in a lifetime.’” 1

After that story, Z was able to retell the story perfectly. We were shocked and excited. OF ALL THE LESSONS WE EVER DO FOR FHE, THIS ONE IS THE ONE I WANT TO SINK IN. 

We then went upstairs and watched two videos on the computer. Here they are:

We then sang the song, "Because I have been given much." Here is a video with the song being played and sung. This is one of my very favorite hymns. 

With that, we asked if Z could tell us what we talked about, and he told us everything we would have hoped he would get from the story and the videos we watched... Husband and I both wept with gratitude that of all the lessons we have given that he listened and understood this one. We are overcome with happiness at such a giving and sweet child. 

I just wanted to share that experience. It was a truly spiritual and lovely one. 

Much Love, 

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Something you might not know

I have struggled with an eating disorder for a long time now. Some people know about it, but a lot of people do not. It's not something I really talk about. But, maybe I should. I find it embarrassing and humiliating, but maybe others do too, and they are afraid to talk to someone about it and get the help that they need. The truth is, I didn't go to a therapist or doctor to get well. In fact, I don't think I am completely over it. It's still there, like a dark secret locked away in the corners of my mind, but every once in a while it rears its ugly head and makes me feel like a worthless human being. It tells me that I am not good enough. That I am weak. That I am disgusting and that I don't deserve to be happy. It tells me to eat mass quantities, and then tells me to purge or starve myself to make up for my weakness.

It started in 5th grade. I was very unhappy. Our school started year round, and my friends and I were split up between the different tracks, and I started eating. A lot. I ate and ate and ate.

Then in junior high school, my friends from sixth grade were no longer my friends anymore in what happens a lot at that age... people start to think about being "cool" or popular. I wasn't either. I wasn't a rich kid. I wasn't a thin girl, and suddenly became very aware of my looks and when I would look in the mirror I would see a very ugly girl. An ugly girl who would never be loved. An ugly girl who thought about dying a lot. It got worse in 8th grade. I felt worthless. I felt so insecure in every way. I ate. I ate so much that I gained 100 pounds in a year. This, as you might guess did nothing to help my social status or my feelings of inadequacy. I maintained my fat stature until I decided I wasn't going to eat anymore.

My senior year was a time of big change for me. I decided to take control of my life. I had lost some weight from my 8th grade days, and I had made a lot of friends, but I decided to make a lot of changes. I decided to be more positive and to try to make every day the best day. I wanted to be kind to everyone. Perhaps I was finally seeing that I could be a kind, sunny interaction to someone who had been as miserable as I had been for so long. And you know something? It did make me happier. I felt better about being a good person, but I still was overweight and hated that aspect of myself. I took control of that too. Half way through my senior year I stopped eating one day. I had lost my appetite. I didn't want to eat. Then it became a challenge, and I faced it head on. I no longer wanted to eat because I wanted to take control of my weight once and for all. I decided to starve the monster that I had created all those years before, in the hopes that it would go away, and I could emerge different, and somehow better. There were days that I would break down and eat. I would eat an apple or drink a soda... I know. I know. Then there were moments of weakness when the monster would win, and I would binge. And then the guilt would come and I would starve myself again. This time swearing to be stronger... And it got easier. I didn't feel faint anymore. I began to love that empty feeling at the end of the day when I would lie down to sleep. It got to the point where I was unhappy unless I felt that emptiness. It was a hunger of sorts. A hunger to be strong and control something that at times was so out of control... my appetite. The weird thing is, that I felt better and better about myself the longer I would go without eating. That sense of control gave me empowerment. I had a secret that no one knew, and I loved it. No one questioned me about it because I was still overweight. I was losing weight fairly quickly, but instead of the looks of concern, I got praise. I got so much praise, and that only fueled my motivation to continue. I was finally getting attention from boys. I was finally feeling like I was pretty. My confidence soared, but all the while the monster lay in wait. Waiting to pounce. I would go through long bouts (they got longer every time) of starvation, and then binge for an entire weekend, and then the guilt would take over and the feelings of self worth diminished and I would be left a shell again, and my resolve would get stronger to stop eating and deprive myself. And when I would, I felt like I could conquer the world.

By the time I had graduated, it had been about 2 months since I had started this starvation, and I had lost 35 pounds. Over the next 6 months I would lose 35 more. But that feeling of conquering the world didn't last. Instead, depression crept in and my immune system tanked and I got very sick. But all the while people kept praising me for how good I looked. Guys flirted with my constantly, and I loved it, but I always felt like I was covered in a shadow. I had this continual cloud over me, no matter how happy I tried to be on the outside, I was crying on the inside. Worried constantly that I would be found out, and feeling like a failure all the way around the board. I was becoming weak again. I wanted out. I had a room mate who knew my secret, without my telling her, and I was terrified that it would get out to others. I was ashamed.

Over the course of the following two years, I started eating more regularly, but counted calories like crazy, and would only eat once a day. I started gaining weight little by little, and it freaked me out. I had set backs, and would go on starvation binges now and then, but my resolve was thinning. I was tired of fighting the monster.

My battles with weight continue, and even now, sitting here, very overweight, the monster whispers in my ear to eat away my feelings, or just starve myself... just for a little while. I feel my stomach growl and I find myself smiling, but loathing myself at the same time. I realize that I have a food addiction. It all started back in 5th grade when I ate to feel better, and the more I ate the better I felt temporarily. So as long as I stuffed my face full of fattening foods I was happy... until I was made fun of at school... and then it would perpetuate and it became a vicious cycle, culminating in a 130+ weight gain in the span of 3 years.

But my addiction goes deeper. When I starved myself, I was still addicted. There was not a moment where food wasn't on my mind. What I should eat, what I shouldn't, when I would eat, when I wouldn't, bet you I won't eat that even though I want to... Guilt, elation, satisfaction, guilt, elation, satisfaction... over and over and over... until one day, I couldn't do it any more. But food never left my thoughts. It is still very much there even now. I don't think it will ever go away.

I do not starve myself. I don't suffer with anorexia anymore. I don't binge like I did before, though there are times when I do give in even now-to an extent. But I feel like I am winning this battle, even though it doesn't appear to be so from an outsider looking in. I know to others I am just another obese person. Someone who has no self control. Someone who is somehow less. Someone to look at and say, "I'm glad I'm not that big." But, that's okay. Because I have to love myself right? I have to work on me, right? I can't be concerned about what others think about me. Because, I struggle with a very internal, very secret (until now) disorder/addiction. One that has caused me no end of pain and suffering. One that might have caused my infertility issues and my hormone problems. One that still haunts me. I may never be what others think I should be, but that's okay. I need to worry about being healthy, and I am trying, heaven knows I am trying. There are days I win and days I lose, but I have to wake up every morning and keep trying. To hell with the people who look down on me. To hell with those who say I am not good enough. To hell with my own low self esteem. I have to be better. I have to get through this. And I know that if I keep trying as hard as I can, that I CAN beat this. I pray that I beat this.

What's the point in writing this now after all these years? Why now on this blog? I wanted to get it off my chest. I wanted to maybe help someone else out there. You are not alone. So many people battle with this, and it is very hard, and very isolating. Some people, (like me) may not look like they are sick on the outside, because her collarbone doesn't show, and her clothes aren't falling off her body, but she is aching inside. She might not want to be found out, but secretly, maybe she does. Life can be so hard. Why make it harder on someone? I was bullied a lot. A LOT. To the point where I thought about ending my life many times. And I still think about those times and cry. If only someone had known. If only I could have told someone and not felt like a horrible human being. People didn't know how hurt I was on the inside. They didn't know how hard it was to wake up every morning and try to love myself enough not to take 100 ibuprofen just to stop the pain I felt inside. They didn't know. I would like to think that if we could see inside someone else, that we would treat others with more dignity and respect and kindness.

There have been a lot of stories about bullying in the news in the last few months, and I guess this is my own anti-bully plea. Please be careful. Please don't hurt others. Please be kind, even if you hurt inside. Life isn't fair. Life is hard... for everyone. Not everyone is abused in the same way, but everyone needs compassion and love. Everyone needs to feel that they are worth more than what they feel they are worth. You never know what your words will mean to another person, how they can haunt that person for the rest of their life.

Get help if you need it. You don't want to end up a thirty-something adult who still struggles with the demons of her past, and has a hard time some days getting through the muck. Please, if you have an eating disorder, no matter what size you are, get help.

Get help.

With Love,

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Love will find a way

We are adopting. You can read about our journey (which is just in the beginning stages) all along the way at our adoption blog.


Much Love,

Monday, April 18, 2011


I'm grateful. There is so much in my life to be grateful for.

Today I have been feeling a culmination of so many things. There is so much on my mind, if only I could unload it completely on you who are reading. If only I could be so entirely open and vulnerable without worry that I am too exposed.

So, to combat my blues, I am going to compile a list of what I am grateful for, starting with number 1, pictured at the top of this post.

Z, you are so amazing. Every day I get to spend with you, you become more loving, funnier, more adorable, more more more. You grow and I cry because I know eventually I will not be your best friend anymore. And that's okay, but I love being your girl. You bring me so much happiness. So much. For years I wanted you, and in my dreams I couldn't have made you as wonderful as you truly are. You are kind, and thoughtful. You are loving and nurturing. You care so much about others, and you always try to share and play nicely with your friends. You are creative and imaginative, and you love to read and be read to. You are so smart. So funny. Thank you for choosing me to be your mommy. Thank you for making a dream come true that I started to believe would never be possible. Thank you for hugging me and kissing me and for the immense joy you bring to our family. You are beautiful inside and out. Your soul is precious. XOXO Mommy

B, thank you for being such a support to me. I couldn't do half the hairbrained things I do if it weren't for your immense support of me. You uplift me and help me to be a better person. Thank you for loving me, and respecting me. Thank you for making me feel as though I am your partner in this journey. I know things will only get better for us. I hope for all the changes we are both hoping for. I know that no matter what this life brings us, we are stronger together. I love you more than you know. XOXO, Suz

I am grateful for a supportive family.
I am grateful for my health.
For knowing true love.
For not making a life with that other guy (oh who the hell knows what would have happened there)
For the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
For knowing that Families are Forever.
For a healthy child.
For kicking Gluten to the curb.
For dumping dairy.
For understanding finally that I can exceed my dreams.
For the knowledge that I don't need everyone's approval all the time.
For finally realizing that some friends aren't friends and never were.
For recognizing true friends and being loved by them.
For being able to get up every morning and walk on my own two feet.
For the love of my Savior, and my ability to recognize it during my trials.
For my photography, my art, my creative outlet.
For a roof over my head, clean water and plenty of food to eat.
For knowing what it feels to be loved and accepted for just being me, warts and all.
For babies and how close to heaven I feel when I am near them.
For empathy.
For opportunities to serve others.
For chiropractors who want to fix me.
For music, and ears to hear it.
For colors, and eyes to see them.
For the canvas that God has painted purely to please us.
For moments of peace.
For generosity that is sincere and because nothing is expected in return.
For strangers who want to help others.
For witnessing random acts of kindness.
For boycotting Walmart.
For finding my father, and having a mother who supports that decision.
For selfless moments, and being privileged enough to witness them and recognize when they happen.
For knee braces.
For beautiful art to look at. 
For the blogging world.

What is on your list of things to be grateful for? It really helps when you're in a funk to write a list like this. I feel better already.

With Love,

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

6 years ago...

My mother was a single mother. I was an only child. I was the only girl in a family full of boy cousins. I was the youngest for a while too, until 3 more boys were born later. I didn't have a father in my house. But I had someone who filled those shoes quite nicely. My grandfather, Leo.

He was one of those grandfathers who always played with me. We always had a new scheme we would cook up together, and man could we laugh. He loved me so much, and oh my gosh, did I love him. He was my EVERYTHING. I wanted to be nowhere but sitting on my PaPa's lap, telling jokes and just spending time with him. I was fortunate to never live very far from my grandparents.

I spent most days after school at their house, and most of the time I was there I was with my grandpa in the garage or in the yard. He was my hero, and my best friend. My BEST FRIEND.

I feel so fortunate that I had a best friend from birth. There are very few memories of my childhood in which my best friend was not a part. He came to my plays, Oohed and aahed at my art work, always helped me with my science projects and my woodshop assignments, taught me how to play cribbage and beat me constantly at Gin. He read me stories, or let me read them to him, and always held my hand-even when I was an adult. He took me on driving lessons, which is something he NEVER did for anyone else, and drove 750 miles to be there on the day that I got married. I didn't tell him then, but if I could have had a best man on my side, it would have been him.

When I was a little girl, and I was so sick and in the hospital, he came to see me every day. He would take me on "walks" even though I was too weak to walk, and he would push me in my wheel chair and take me all over the hospital to all different floors and then pretend he couldn't remember which floor I was on. He always knew exactly what I needed to cheer me up and take care of me.

He and my grandmother bought a brand new couch after I had a bout with the chicken pox and got a weird rash from their old one.

He hated his picture to be taken, and one Christmas, I was given a gold locket with a formal portrait of my grandparents inside it. My grandmother told me later that it was his idea to do the pictures so that I could have a picture in my locket. He even lovingly engraved my initials in the hearts on the front.

He made me a mirror with his own hands when I was six, and gave it to me for Christmas. I still have it. It's in my son's room. Whenever I look at it I think of the love that went in to it... The love he had for me.

When it was time for me to have a bike, He went to the junkyard and got all these different bike parts and made me a bike. When I told him I needed a kick stand, he asked me to draw him some blue prints, and I did, and when I presented them to him, he made me a kick stand... to my exact specifications.

I remember once, when I was living in San Diego, far from home, I called him to tell him all about my new adventure by the beach, and he told me he loved me... "I love you, Susie." It was a big deal because he never said it first.

I remember too, saying goodbye to him for the last time, and told him I would see him in a week or two when I got back home from Utah. I was called the next week on my trip with the news that he had collapsed and was in a coma.

I remember feeling so much all at once. We rushed home, as fast as we could, and immediately went to the hospital, where he was lying in ICU, on life support. I felt so much agony when I saw him there, because all I could think about was the last time I saw his face, and how excited he was to go to this dance at the Seniors center, (he collapsed while getting ready to go out to this dance). He died April 6, 2005. I felt shame and sorrow for not making him more of a priority in my "busy" life. I was instantly reminded of one day when he told me that he missed seeing my face...

So here is an open letter to my best friend, my father figure, and my grandfather:


I miss your face. I miss your voice. I miss your stories. I miss your laugh. I even miss your teasing. I miss your hugs, and I miss holding your hand. I miss our talks, and our inside jokes. I would give anything to see you right now. I need your advice. I need your acceptance. I need to remember how much you love me.

I know you are with Grandma and Aunt Lola, and with others who are gone now too. I know we will be together again. I know our family is forever. But knowing that doesn't change how much I miss you. I really really miss you.

It was so hard to let you go, knowing that in this life I would never see you again.

I guess that's it. I just... miss seeing your face.

Thank you for loving me.

With Love,

Monday, March 7, 2011

To Kill a Mockingbird

Since the day I finished it the first time back in 1992, it has remained my favorite. I am now reading for probably the 4th time since then, (I assure you there is not another book that I have ever read that many times) and the other day, something jumped out at me. It got me thinking... a lot. Mostly about my grandfather and the relationship we had. It was magic. Have you ever met someone, and just immediately had a special bond with that person? You don't really understand why you are closer to that person than someone else, but you almost feel like you have always been friends. As if you met somewhere before, or in another life.

I used to love it when I was a little girl, (and I have to admit I still like to hear it) when people would tell me that my grandfather was different before I was born. You see, I was the only girl among the grandchildren, which came with it a lot of expectations from some of the women in my family. I was the youngest for a while too. I have 8 cousins and they are all boys. I didn't ever know the papa who only shook hands and remained stoic and somewhat uninvolved. The papa who didn't show a lot of affection was not someone I ever met.

The man I knew gave the best hugs, and loved to play with me. He didn't shake my hand, he laughed at my silly jokes, he read me stories, he climbed on the monkey bars with me, he took me swimming, and let me push him in to the water. He would sit and talk to me, and often confide in me what he didn't in anyone else. He held my hand anytime I wanted to, and he would take me with him to run errands and always bought me an ice cream cone. He came to see me when I was in chorus, and came to every play I did, even if he hated the play, and he always brought me flowers and gave them to me after a show. He was proud of me, and loved me so much. And trust me, the feeling was mutual. He was my best friend all growing up. No one even came close to my papa. He made me things with his own two hands, and they were always beautiful. He drove from California to Utah when I got married, (which is saying a lot, because he hated sitting in a car for long periods of time... not to mention that Utah has weak beer) and what was in the trunk of his car? Fresh California strawberries... because I couldn't have just any old Utah crap strawberries at my wedding, and the best of all was that it was his idea. He did it because he loved me and wanted my day to be special.

10 years ago, I was moving to Utah from California, and he made me a large batch of my favorite cookies for the trip. He even wrote my name in bubble letters on a post-it that he put on the bag... I still have it, and it still brings tears to my eyes when I look at it.

In 1 month exactly, it will be 6 years since the day that I said goodbye to him for the last time. I was there when he left this earth. He left at 5:30 in the morning, and I spent the entire night before with him all by myself. He was in a coma, but it didn't stop us from bonding. He knew I was there, and I knew he could hear what I was saying. I had a few very precious and very spiritual experiences with him that night... Experiences that when I tried to explain them were lost on my family. I just held his hand and talked to him, and when I would stop talking, I would look at him, and his eyes told me he was growing weary of the battle he was fighting, and when it looked as if it were getting to be too much, it was my duty to call my family and inform them they needed to come to the hospital. He left surrounded by us all, each of us sat there and watched as his spirit leaped out of his body and was free.

I miss him every day. There is not a day that goes by that I don't wish I still had him with me.

Everybody tells me that something changed in him when I was born. I know that we were best friends in our other life, and I don't think that the bond will be easily broken. In fact I know that in the next life, it will be stronger still.

I wish so much that I could have seen my son and my grandfather together. I know that they would have been such good buddies.

Do you know what I remember most about him? That he just loved me. He accepted me for who I was and never once tried to change me. I was always good enough for him no questions asked.

I'm going to end this with the paragraph in my favorite book that reminded me of my relationship with him... It goes a little something like this:

"Aunt Alexandra was fanatical on the subject of my attire. I could not possibly hope to be a lady if I wore breeches; when I said I could do nothing in a dress, she said I wasn't supposed to be doing things that required pants. Aunt Alexandra's vision of my deportment involved playing with small stoves, tea sets, and wearing the Add-A-Pearl necklace she gave me when I was born; furthermore, I should be a ray of sunshine in my father's lonely life. I suggested that one could be a ray of sunshine in pants just as well, but Aunty said that one had to behave like a sunbeam, that I was born good but had grown progressively worse every year. She hurt my feelings and set my teeth permanently on edge, but when I asked Atticus about it, he said there were already enough sunbeams in the family and to go on about my business, he didn't mind me much the way I was."

Those few words that Atticus says to Scout in a moment when her feelings were upset because her Aunty had made her feel so badly about herself are words that I feel as if I've heard many times throughout my life from my papa. He has always been that voice for me. The voice that says, "Don't mind them. You go on about your business, I like you just the way you are."

I miss him. Gosh do I miss him.

With Love,

Friday, February 25, 2011


If you don't follow MADE or MADE BY RAE, shame on you! :) Just kidding. But if you are the mother to a boy, and rack your brain trying to find cool creative things to make for him, you need to check these girls out! They are doing a CELEBRATE THE BOY over on their blogs! This is the second annual CELEBRATE THE BOY extravaganza! And it is DEFINITELY WORTH CHECKING OUT! :)


I definitely want to make this. I think my little one will LOVE the messenger bag/car mat.

Seriously, these two ladies are rad. I LOVE their blogs!

With Love,

Some restrictions are good

Well, if you follow me on here, or on one of my other blogs, you probably already know that I am gluten free. I have been gluten free for a while now, (over a year) and am dairy free too. I am also soy free to try to combat my fertility issues. I recently became refined sugar free as well. It was such an easy transition, I couldn't believe it. I am a sweets girl. I love cookies and cakes and cookies and cookies. ha ha. But lately, to be honest, I've found myself not really interested much in sweet things. Who ever would have thought it could be true!

On Valentines day, Husband took me out to dinner. We went to the Texas Roadhouse, (I know, not romantic in the slightest, but we wanted steak) and boy did we get Texas sized portions! I was able to get gluten free options, which was awesome. So many waiters look at me like I have lobsters coming out of my ears when I ask about gluten free... but our server was awesome at the TR, and very helpful and accommodating to my restrictions. I ate about half of my steak, and was almost immediately sick.


I had over eaten, but it was more than that. I had been noticing lately that meat really makes me sick after I eat it. To the point of stomach cramps. The rest of V-day was spent huddled in a ball on the couch totally sick. I am sure everyone experiences an extent of what I feel when I eat meat: Sluggishness, sleepiness, etc. I mean, it takes a lot for our bodies to break down meat!

But my issues go far beyond that. I feel achy, and sick, and as I already mentioned, I get stomach cramps and I am so tired it's crazy.

So after that day, I decided to cut out animal products. Yes. You heard me right. I am following a Vegan diet for a while to see if I feel better. I know that B12 supplements are very important, as well as folic acid and iron. I will eat protein rich foods, (no soy) and I will not forget about my Omegas either. (FINALLY THOSE NUTRITION CLASSES ARE GOING TO COME IN HANDY)!

I have been following a Vegan diet for one week, and I have to tell you that I am not only losing weight faster, I am feeling better than I have in YEARS!

I want to say that I was a vegetarian years ago, and I remember feeling pretty good during that time, (with the exception that I became anemic-something that caused me to start eating chicken and eggs again). But back then, even though I was a vegetarian for over 3 years, I was a complete idiot about it. I didn't actually eat good foods. I just avoided meat. Not exactly a healthy diet. I snacked mostly on breads, (oh if only I knew back then what gluten does to me!) and potatoes and cheese and diet soda. I'm telling you I don't know how I survived that long! I won't even go in to my eating disorder that I developed!

But this time around, I have my health in the forefront of my mind and I am excited to find something that works for me. I can't tell you how wonderful it is to feel good, and not be sick every time I eat!

I think that food is definitely our medicine. If we aren't feeling good, I think food/diet is the first place we should look. Our bodies are wonderful, miraculous things that will tell us when we need to change something. If you are feeling crappy, maybe you should look at your diet and see if it is something you're ingesting.

I am not a doctor or even a nutritionist, but I do know that taking a hard look at my food has changed my life. It has honestly and truly made such a difference in not only my weight, but my overall health and well being. It has also enhanced my mood and I feel like a much happier person. I hope so much that it helps my fertility issues as well, but for right now, I just want to do what is best for my body, and my body is happy that I am following a Vegan diet.

Here's to hoping all of you find your happy foods!

With Love,

Friday, February 4, 2011

Today this post is dedicated to...

Hugh Jackman.

For being the hot face and body of one of my favorite superheroes, but also for being a decent human being.

 Photo courtesy of

I just love that he is throwing a snowball at his daughter in front of the paparazzi. ha! He's awesome.

I'm stoked for the next installment of the Wolverine movies!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

A new little pet project.

Anyone who knows me knows that I have a bit of an attention span issue. So, to combat the winter blues, I have started a dessert page, called Sugarface Bakes.

Sugarface Bakes

It is a blog filled with recipes for gluten/dairy/soy/refined sugar free baking! Yummy desserts. Some are from blogs that inspire me, but most will be my own twists on things, and my own original recipes.

Check it out!

With Love,

Just wanted to say...

I just wanted to say that I feel better today. Yesterday was a rough one for me. But today has been a lot better, and here's to tomorrow being even better! :)

With Love,

Maybe it's me.

Maybe it's the cold. Or the snow. Maybe a combination of the two.

Maybe it's something in my brain that doesn't work.

Maybe it's loneliness. Or being too far away from home.

Maybe it's that I don't know where home is anymore. Or that I don't know where it will be in the near future.

Maybe it's everything.

Maybe I should give up. Maybe not. Maybe I should crawl in to a hole and never come out again. I think I would miss my family too much.

Maybe I need to reconnect with my own spirituality.

Maybe I need to get out more.

Maybe it's him. Maybe it's me.

I am feeling so sad right now. So sad I feel alone and empty inside. So sad that it consumes me. So sad that it's hard to breathe. It's hard to think. It's hard to feel. So sad that I think about too much. So sad that I don't think enough.

How can I be here but not? How can I want to be distant but also want to be close? How can I reach out to others but also recoil when they reach back? How can I want to be alone but feel lonely at the same time? How can I feel so useless?

I just needed to get that out.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Pesto with a twist, and Daiya Cheese

So, being gluten and dairy free, and being the obsessive researcher that I am, I look at lots of blogs on this topic. There is all this buzz about the blogosphere on Daiya cheese... I had never heard of it, and couldn't find it anywhere...

Lo and behold, today, while at one of my favorite fresh markets, (Sunflower Farmer's Market that is) I walked by the dairy ("dairy") aisle and saw in brand new fashion a package of DAIYA CHEESE sitting there... granted, it is a little pricier than regular cheese, but at $3.99 a bag, I thought I would try it and see what all the kerfuffle is about.

Here are some pictures of the package so you can get an idea about what I am working with:

As you can see, it's definitely not NOT a whole food, but it is definitely not something made from scary ingredients either. But does it taste good?

Well, I tasted it, and I have to say it tastes a LOT better than the rice cheese I have used in the past. So, I decided to make a dairy free (vegan) Pesto. And, let me just say, that the finished product is DELICIOUS.

So, I love pesto. I don't know about all of you, but it happens to be my favorite thing at Italian restaurants. But, pine nuts? $19.95 per pound? Yeah, right. I instead use RAW sunflower seeds. Much more cost effective, and just as tasty if you ask me.

I also get my fresh basil at Sunflower Market, which just so happens to be right up the street from me, making my life so much easier... It's about $4.95 for a big bag of ORGANIC Basil!

So, typically, the recipe calls for, (and I want to note that up until the last month, I have been using) PARMESAN SHREDDED CHEESE, but since going Dairy free, that's not an option for me. So, in steps the Daiya... Here is the recipe and some pictures for you.

2 cups PACKED fresh basil leaves
1/3-1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds (or pine nuts)
3 cloves of fresh garlic (or I use the minced garlic, and use about 1 1/2 teaspoons of it)
sea salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup shredded Daiya cheese (or Parmesan)

In a food processor, add the fresh basil leaves and sunflower seeds and garlic and pulse it a few times until everything looks really chopped up. Then add the salt and pepper, pulse again. Add the cheese and turn the food processor on, while pouring in the olive oil fairly slowly.

That's it. Taste it, make sure it's the consistency you like, and then just eat it and enjoy it!

It will stay good in the fridge for about a week, but it freezes really well. I like to freeze mine in individual snack size plastic baggies and then just defrost it with warm water when I want to use it. I don't cook mine, because I like the raw pesto best, but you can definitely cook yours if that is the way you like it.

Me personally? I like to put it on toast and devour. :)

If you are curious about the bread that I use, it is called UDI'S WHOLE GRAIN BREAD. It is SO SO SO GOOD.

I think that I can safely say that Daiya Cheese is now among Udi's Bread as the only product of it's kind that I will buy when I buy it.

With Love,

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

What I've been up to lately...

So, I've been pretty absent from this old blog for a while now... sorry lovelies. I've been trying to keep busy. I finished my last photo session of 2010, and then, it's been quiet. I have a potential new wedding client, but that won't be until March if I get the job. So, what is a (sorta) out of work photographer to do?

(All of these pictures have been made possible by the use of one of my fabulous Christmas presents from husband: My new SPEEDLIGHT! )


I've rekindled my love for knitting,

taught myself to knit in the round,

taught myself a new stitch (the gorgeous HERRINGBONE) by knitting myself an oversized cowl,

began crocheting a new scarf for my sweetheart out of fisherman's wool,

rediscovered my favorite book, and said goodbye to my favorite snack,

found a surprise inside the book that makes me laugh, 
saved an almost perfect train table from an untimely death by trashcan, (and thereby cinching my mother of the year award)... did I mention it was FREE?...

ordered some new music from some old favorites,

and downloaded MATT AND KIM'S SIDEWALKS ALBUM, (that was all caps, because I can't express without shouting how wonderful this album is) Hellogoodbye's Would it Kill you? Album, and all of the Pomplamoose stuff I could find, (no pictures on this one, sorry)...

decided that KID TO KID really is the happiest place for parents on a budget but who love expensive shoes,


A nod to my high school days with these kid size purple doc martens! ($5.99)

found some gems at ROSS DRESS FOR LESS and TJMAXX, (including but not limited to an enamel coated cast iron casserole dish that I've wanted for ages, and it just so happens to be in cobalt... and some new chucks for cheap)...

found a new gluten free/dairy free cookbook that makes me want to live in the kitchen, 

got a new work station, 

am still learning how to use my Christmas present from the Mr... (yep that's my Rolleicord Va Type 1!!!)...

 I also decided that I HATE blogger, because I had to pay $5 for 20 GB of storage because the Bass turds (What? Fish poop is gross but it's not a bad word) said I ran out of storage space. Whatevs. 

I wanted to do some mobile uploads of my mommy-son date tonight at CUPCAKE CHIC in Orem. But we still live in the cheap dark ages where we don't have cell phones with data plans, so Sprint charges us up the wazoo for sending photos to email... 

Back to Cupcake Chic... They are currently the ONLY cupcake bakery that I know of that sells Gluten Free cupcakes. Z ordered a chocolate one, (they only had two cupcakes left - chocolate and red velvet) and we sat down to test it out... the verdict? 

Well, I tried a bite of it, and I will say that Z scarfed up the frosting, which to me tasted like sugary shortening... not my favorite flavor... and wasn't really in to the cupcake part, because it was pretty dry and crumbly... not my favorite texture... but it tasted OKAY... not great. The upside is that it only cost $2.25, which is kind of a rip off, but not for specialty stuff. 

But I am giving major MAJOR kudos to these guys for trying what everyone else seems to be scared of trying! 

Also on a side note... PIZZA PIE CAFE (my local favorite) is selling GLUTEN FREE PIZZA now! :) And it's pretty dang good... I think I would like it better if had a different texture, but I am not going to be a whiner. I'm just stoked I can eat at my favorite pizza place again! 

I have added to my no eats list. Currently I am gluten (duh) free, DAIRY (oy) free, and SUGAR (yeah you heard that right) free... So my diet is restricted, but it's okay. I am not only losing weight, (yep, it's true!) I am feeling better, and I am actually regulating my insulin resistance problem which means there might (PRAY FOR US PLEASE!) be a chance we will be adding another baby to this family this year... which would be, well, in one word... A-MAY-ZING.

So, I am going to do better about blogging... well, I'll try. :) 

Thanks for reading! 

With Love, 

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Goodbye 2010

Well, I figured that I should start the new year and the new decade with something. I would like to take a moment to reflect on the year that was. Only for a moment, before moving on to the future.

2010 brought new experiences with it. I started a business, with great fear and trepidation. I learned that I am very capable of following my dreams, but that I am riddled with self doubt. I consistently question if I am up to snuff, or whether I should throw in the towel and let someone with more talent and drive take my place. However, I also learned that people like what I do. I learned that I DO have talent, and instead of getting mired down in all the what-if's, I decided to just work hard at improving my art. I learned, and hopefully proved, that having a nice camera isn't the only thing you need to take pictures that are lovely. You need talent too. I am finally starting to believe in myself, which feels amazing. I can't tell you how incredible it felt to start a year with huge amounts of self doubt, and end it feeling very confident in my abilities. Being a hobbyist photographer for the past 13 years was fun, and so I decided to take it to the next level. I have loved photography for a long time, and even won second place at a local state fair in California for a picture I took in high school. But I was always too afraid to try anything for fear of rejection. However, with the encouragement of my beautiful husband, and my wonderful mother, I tried to make my passion in to a business, and I saw tremendous success for my first year. I can't describe how amazing it feels to follow a dream and see it come to fruition.

I grew a little closer to my Heavenly Father too. There were times this year when I got really low, and needed help. He never failed me. Ever.

I was able to help people, which felt amazing. I have never really felt that I could really serve others, because, well, I felt so inadequate. But, this year, I looked for opportunities to serve others, and I was able to. Please don't misunderstand me, I am not tooting my own horn, but expressing gratitude for those who let me serve them, because I feel I gained so much from those experiences. I hope that this year I can do more than I did this last year. Doing good for others feels so good.

I saw my son grow exponentially. After going gluten free, he has grown physically, but I feel it is largely responsible for how healthy he is. He is thriving, and living and breathing and keeping me going most days. I love watching him learn and explore. He is such an amazing little person, and it has been my honor to be his mother. I look forward to another year of amazing moments with him.

I went gluten free... a few times. I learned that my body can't handle certain foods at all. I gained better health by learning to listen to my body. I hope that this next year will keep me on the right path to better total health and well being. I am now totally gluten free, and loving it most days, and hating it others, but either way, sticking to it. :)

I went back to school this last fall. I realized that I can't run faster than I have strength. Putting too much on my plate doesn't make me happy, or a better mother or better wife, or better person. I have learned to pace myself. I realized that I may need to wait until my son is older to go back to actual school. I also learned that right now, what I want to study can wait. I can go out in to the world and have life experience right now. Classrooms are not meant for me at this time in my life. And I also learned that that's okay.

This last year I took a hard look at my attitude and decided I needed a change. Positivity is the key to success in every aspect of life.

We had financial troubles that were unexpected, and we worried that we wouldn't have enough to stay afloat. However, with much heartfelt prayer, and a lot of hard work, I was able to keep our heads above water in the last few months with my "hobby" and that felt incredible.

2010 showed us that maybe the path we were on was the wrong path, and so we have re-evaluated everything, and taken an unexpected turn, which we hope is the right choice for our family.

We saw the thrill of "one more semester!" and then the immense let down that comes with, "two more semesters!"

I got bit by a dog, in the face, and stayed amazingly calm while wiping the blood off of my face.

I cleaned up more barf than I care to ever again, because of a bout with the stomach flu that my son had.

I decided on my birthday in December that 2010 will be the last year of my life that is spent wasting my life being overweight. I am DONE.

2010 brought me some new faces whom I love and will be forever grateful for.

In 2010 my son spent his last Sunday in Nursery, and will now be a Primary member.

I hope that 2011 will bring all the happiness that all of us want. :)

With Love,