Saturday, February 6, 2016

Eleanor's Room

It was so much fun putting together my little girl's room. I hoped for a little girl for several years and now that I have one, I'm enjoying every aspect of it, including making her room a beautiful place for her. I wanted to incorporate some of my furniture from when I was young into her space to add some sentiment for her. I started with this beautiful banner and went from there.

A friend of mine in Washington made the banner and brought it to a Domestic Diva Party (where a bunch of girls got together and brought their favorite "domestic" item they used frequently in their home ie. their favorite dish soap or dish gloves to protect their hands or favorite stain remover, or something to make their home beautiful, etc and then exchanged gifts white-elephant style where we would open and steal three times). This banner was one of the gifts, made by my friend Jenni, and I was the lucky one to go home with it. I saved it for years, wrapped around a cardboard tube, intending to plan my daughter's room around it if I ever had a girl. I pulled colors from the banner to use throughout the room. I love the banner and how the room turned out on account of it. The window bench is an Ikea shelf turn on its side. Tutorial here. I picked out the fabric for the quilt and my mom made it. I love how it turned out. The stripped bins are from Target, the dot pillows are from Pottery Barn and were gifted to me by my mom several years ago. 
The white shelf was mine when I was a young girl. It was stained wood so I painted it white to match Eleanor's room.The matching frames on the wall were a thrift store find. I spray painted them white. The green frame is from Michael's. The crib was Oliver's, then Joshua's and now Eleanor's. The wall color is "Tomorrow's Child" from Ace Hardware. 
The lace curtains are from Ikea. 
This shelf was a gift from my mom when we first got married. It was a dark evergreen color so I repainted it (Eagle's Mark from Ace Hardware) to match the room. The big E is from Walmart, the white frame in the middle is from Ikea. The name bunting is handmade by a woman in Australia, who also made name buntings for my boys. She has since closed her etsy shop, sadly. I love her work.
This is what the shelf looked like before I gave it a fresh new coat of paint (as well as some sanding and priming).
The white heart shelf was mine when I was a girl. I also painted it white. The yellow rug is from Urban Outfitters but I don't see it on their site anymore. 
The print in the frame is from this etsy shop. The frame is from Michael's. The wire basket is from Target.
This dresser was definitely a labor of love. I bought it on a local buy, sale, trade site for around $60 and my friend, Autumn, helped me paint it (she's amazing!). She taught me the right way to sand, prime, sand, prime, sand, prime, paint, sand, paint until it looked perfect. We also added a coat of polyurethane at the end (maybe two coats with sanding in between - I can't remember now). It was a long process but I love how it turned out. The color is "Coastal Breeze" found at Ace Hardware (we used good quality paint brushes, not spray paint). The knobs are from Hobby Lobby. The changing pad is from Amazon and the lamp base and shade are from Target.
This is what the dresser looked like when I bought it. The knobs weren't too pretty but I loved the scalloped edges and the sturdy wood. I knew it had a lot of potential. 
 We already had the mirror but it was a light turquoise color so I spray painted it white.
The laundry basket and trash can are also from Target (the trash can was in the dollar section. Can't beat $3.). 
The cubby shelf in the closet is one we already had, which was from Target. Her room is the smallest in our house, so I didn't have a whole lot of space to work with for storage items. So putting this shelf in the closet made a lot of sense. I keep her shoes, swim stuff, extra sheets, etc in these. The cubby containers are mostly Martha Stewart from Home Depot, except for the polka dot one, which is from Target. The clock is from Amazon
And just to give you an idea of what the room looked like before it was painted and made girly and beautiful. It was our guest room previously. I forgot to take a picture before we moved the bed out but here's the one shot I do have.
Definitely a lot of work, determination, some money and a lot love went into this bedroom for our little girl. It also took a lot of patience because it took much longer than I would have preferred. I started in October 2014 (my sister flew here from Utah to help me paint the walls) and finished final details in October a whole year! But I love it and I think this little cutie does as well. Worth the effort! 

I've had people ask me if I tried to be frugal with her room. I used several items I already had (three shelves, the mirror and the crib) to save money. I tried to be frugal with some things (the curtains were inexpensive, the rug was a great deal for a rug (less than $20), and a couple of the frames are thrift store finds). But I did spend money, too, mostly on the window seat bench and paint (for the shelves and walls) as well as paint supplies. It definitely adds up. I also put a lot into the little details, such as the storage bins, frames, clock, vase + flowers, framed print, etc. Each of these is fairly inexpensive on its own but they do add up as well. If you're wanting to redo a room like this, make a list, starting with the things you know you really want (paint for the walls, for example) and then make another "wish list." Look on Craigslist or similar sites for things on your "wish list" to save money. Look in the "As Is" section at Ikea. Bookmark favorite items online and then wait for them to go on clearance before you purchase them. And be prepared to exercise a lot of patience! I am also so thankful for my husband for helping me with things like hanging the shelves and the curtain rods. I'm not good at the kind of stuff but he's amazing. 

Let me know if you have any questions. I would be happy to answer them for you. 

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Joshua's Room

One of my hobbies is decorating our home. I've been working on it a little at a time, starting with the kids' rooms. Joshua's room has been done for a couple of years now and I'm finally getting around to sharing it here on my blog. 

And the little cutie himself (18 months old here but he's three now!).
First of all, everything I read online about painting stripes claimed they are really not that bad. I did not find that to be the case. I couldn't have done it without my husband's help. They were a pain but I really love how they turned out and it was definitely worth the effort. I'm so thankful to my sister, brother and mom (in addition to my husband) for helping me paint as well. They are amazing!

For those who want to know, here is the list of where several of the items came from:

Red cubby bookshelf: Expedit Kallax from Ikea
Red floating shelves: Ikea
Three red frames above the changing table: Ikea
Prints above the changing table: etsy
Gilder: Babies R Us (years ago - we used this for our oldest son, Oliver).
Curtains: Land of Nod (These were a bit of a splurge. I try to be somewhat frugal and reuse what we already have but I fell in love with these.)
Lamp: Target
Changing Table: Amazon (years ago - we used it with Oliver as well).
Quilt on glider: My mom made this for him. I love it!
Yellow cubby containers: Martha Stuart at Home Depot (I don't see the yellow ones online).
Grey and white cubby container: Land of Nod
Metal basket on red cubby shelf: Target
Joshua name bunting: I absolutely love this. A woman in Australia made it for me but she has since closed her etsy shop, sadly.
Rug: Urban Outfitters (I don't see it on their site anymore).
Clock: Target
Yellow dot pillow on glider: Pottery Barn several years ago (I don't see it on their site anymore).
Photo mobile: I got mine at a garage sale years ago but there is one here.
Red basket next to his glider: Michaels
Trash can: Target

This was such a fun project. Walking into his room makes me happy.

2015: Year in Review

It's time for my annual year-in-review post. I actually started this post in December and it it now February and I'm finally posting it. That is how my year has been...super busy, always behind, trying to keep up. But it's also been beautiful and full of blessings. 

October 2015
1. What did you do in 2015 that you’d never done before? I learned a lot about Microphthalmia. I learned what it's like to have a child with special needs. 
2. Did you keep your new years’ resolutions, and will you make more for next year? It seems like I'm always working on patience, time management and organization. I'm okay with continuing to progress in these areas. 
3. Did anyone close to you give birth? Yes. My sister, Lindsey, had her first child, Skyeler (Skye) Brady Larsen. It has been so fun to see her in this role. She's a wonderful mom. My sister-in-law, Amalie (and Levi) had her first child, Adelai (Addie) Louren Roberts. It has been fun gaining two new nieces and seeing these two ladies experience motherhood for the first time. I also had several friends give birth this year, including one of my longest standing friends, Andrea  (we met when we were 12), who had her seventh child. There were a lot of risks with her baby but she is doing great. It was awesome to witness the miracles that occurred with her pregnancy and meet sweet little Brooke in the hospital the day after she was born (we were in the building across from labor and delivery for Josh's hand surgery so I ran over to see her - nice coincidence). 
4. Did anyone close to you die? Yes. My Maternal Grandfather, Kay Herzog, passed away on March 19, 2015. He had Alzhimers Disease and Prostate Cancer. My Paternal Grandmother, Althea Roberts, passed away on October 23, 2015. She died of congestive heart failure, damaged lungs and kidneys. I miss them both so much and can't believe they're not here. I will always be grateful for their examples and the relationship I had with both of them. 
5. What countries did you visit? Haha. Funny. 
6. What would you like to have in 2016 that you lacked in 2015? More sleep. Always more sleep. And organization. 
7. What dates from 2015 will remain etched upon your memory and why? June 20, 2014 (the day I found out I'm pregnant with our third). 
8. What was your biggest achievement of the year? Being a good mom to three kids. It takes all I have. 
9. What was your biggest failure? Nothing big - just little frustrations - things I try to be better at and then let slip. 
10. Did you suffer illness or injury? No. 
11. What was the best thing you bought? A new (to us) Chevy Tahoe. We bought it in Utah over Thanksgiving. It's older (2003) but nevertheless, I'm in love.  
12. Whose behavior merited celebration? Oliver is maturing and making efforts to make good choices. He still struggles as he's learning and growing but he's doing well for the most part.
13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed? People I hear about on the news. Sad stories and disappointments in the human race. Still. Always. 
14. Where did most of your money go? Our Tahoe, diapers, formula, food. 
15. What did you get really, really, really excited about? The birth of our daughter, Eleanor. Josh doing well with potty training (unfortunately he regressed. Twice. And is now angry about the topic.)
16. What song will always remind you of 2016? "Uptown Funk" by Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars, "Shut Up and Dance" by Walk the Moon, "Blank Space" by Taylor Swift and "Hello" by Adele. 
17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
a) happier or sadder? Just as happy, maybe happier. 
b) thinner or fatter? Thinner, due to not being pregnant anymore. 
c) richer or poorer? Richer, both financially and by way of feeling blessed with our three beautiful children. 
18. What do you wish you’d done more of? My answer is always the same for this question. I always wish I had more time to work on family history - mostly our kids' books. It's very important to me and I want to make it a priority but can't keep up right now with even the basics. I'm just so exhausted. But Josh just started preschool so I'm hoping to make a little time for this while he's there. 
19. What do you wish you’d done less of? No big regrets in this area. 
20. How did you spend Christmas? A quiet Christmas with our kids in the morning and then we went to Wendel's parents' house in the afternoon. 
21. Did you fall in love in 2015? More in love with my family. Our kids our amazing, my husband is wonderful...I feel incredibly blessed. 
22. What was your favorite TV program? The Good Wife.  
23. What was the best book you read? I really don't have time to read. I was gifted some parenting books for Christmas that I'm very excited to dive into but haven't made much headway yet. (I started this blog post last month, for example, and still haven't finished it.)
24. What was your greatest musical discovery? Not sure I had one, really. 
25. What did you want and get? A new vehicle. I love our Chevy Tahoe! 
26. What did you want and not get? Nothing comes to mind. 
27. What was your favorite film of this year? Star Wars: The Force Awakens was really fun. 
28. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you? I turned 36 this year. It was a pretty low-key birthday. Wendel surprised me with a really nice Miele vacuum, which was much needed and appreciated. 
29. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying? Being able to spend more time on our kids' and family books...but to every time there is a season. Now that Josh is in preschool, I will have a little more time to focus on this. 
30. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2015? I've never been one to obsess over fashion and trends. I like to look cute but I'm also all about comfort. For example, I wear glasses instead of contact because they're more comfortable. People tell me I should wear contacts but I'm too lazy/tired/don't care enough. And I like my glasses. 
31. What kept you sane? Wendel. Always Wendel. We're in this crazy, survival time together. Also, my testimony keeps me grounded. I would be a different person without it, I think. 
32. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most? None, really. I do think Dax Shepard and Kristen Bell are a cute couple. I love this music video they made together. 
33. What political issue stirred you the most? The candidates running for President next year are not anyone I would want running our country. I don't even know how I'm going to vote. (Hillary Clinton/Bernie Sanders/Donald Trump(?!?)
34. Who did you miss? I miss my sister, Lindsey, a lot. I love that we're closer since she had a baby. We're finally at the same place in life (we're nine years apart) and I love being able to relate with her. 
35. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2015: We are blessed with specific strengths to help us endure our trials. I believe Eleanor was blessed with a happy demeanor to help her through her trials and I believe I was blessed with positivity and the gift of faith to help me through mine. 
36. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year: I'm going to think on this one and come back to it so I can finally publish this post. 

Friday, December 11, 2015

Today I am thankful for:
  • The opportunity I have to raise three beautiful children. 
  • A husband who is motivated to provide for us now and plan for the future. 
  • Our new (to us) Chevy Tahoe. I really love it.
  • Happy mail (I love getting Christmas Cards in the mail - it's one of the best parts about Christmas.)
  • My education.
  • My relationship with my Heavenly Father and Savior. 
  • The love my Savior has for me.
  • The example Christ set for us and the scriptures that were carefully preserved so we can learn about Him.
  • The sleep I do get I appreciate (even though it isn't much these days). 
  • The opportunity we have to live in Maricopa. It is a blessing to be here. 
  • The things my kids say that make me smile.
  • Good days.
  • Good food. 
  • Financial blessings.
  • Good relationships with my siblings.
  • Wonderful parents.
  • Learning from mistakes.
  • Perspective.
  • Experience.

Pictures taken at Riverview Park November 2015

Thursday, September 3, 2015


Parenting. It's what consumes my life right now and I wouldn't have it any other way but wow am I exhausted. I am so tired, I'm actually going to have a blood panel done to see if something is wrong with me. I don't really think there is but I just feel like I can't ever catch up. I eat healthy and exercise and I am just always dragging. These are days of propping Norah's bottle on my chin to feed her while I do other things (she is now starting to hold it herself more often, thankfully), saying "Ot-oh, that's sad" a million times a day to show empathy rather than frustration, lots of self talk, lots of second guessing, lots of patience testing, little sleep, honey on my floors and chairs, smudges on the sliding door, the door left open and flies coming in (I really dislike flies), every time I sit down to eat someone needs something (every single time)... I have a difficult time keeping up with my house too. I hear people say, "The dishes can wait. Enjoy your children." I get that but I would love to have my home presentable so I can have people over. I know it's just a small part of the big picture. In a few years, all of my children will be in school and I will have time to clean my house. I will be able to take a nap. Right now my focus is more on them. Rough and tumble play (my boys' favorite), baking, science experiments, going to the park, visiting the library, reading books, doing puzzles, singing to Norah, dancing with Josh, tossing a ball back and forth to music. I try to balance it with cleaning but only get to the basics and feel like I can't ever catch up in that area either. But I'm trying. And I'm trying to focus on my strengths as a mother. My kids know they can count on me. They know I'll always be there for them, even when they don't make the best choices or if we have rough days. They know they are loved and valuable. They know their boundaries and they know we will be consistent with them. We also make it a priority to nourish their faith and provide opportunities for them to learn about Heavenly Father and Jesus and feel the Spirit. But for some reason I see my inadequacies like a neon sign and feel discouraged at times.

I'm writing these thoughts down, mostly so I can remember them when I'm past this season of parenting. When Norah calls me someday and is feeling drained and discouraged, I can remember that I felt that too.

A couple of quotes that have resonated with my lately:

"The influence of righteous, conscientious, persistent daily parenting is among the most powerful and sustaining forces for good in the world." - Richard G. Scott

“We hold in our arms the rising generation. They come to this earth with important responsibilities and great spiritual capacities. We cannot be casual in how we prepare them. Our challenge as parents and teachers is not to create a spiritual core in their souls but rather to fan the flame of their spiritual core already aglow with the fire of their premortal faith.”

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Eleanor Kate

I can't believe it's been two months since our daughter's birth and I still haven't written about it here. I remember when blogging was such a big part of my life and I wondered how people could just stop blogging. I loved recoding my thoughts, accompanied by photos, telling the story of our lives. The desire is still there but the demands are many with three little ones. Therefore, I'm copying my entry from Miss Eleanor's blog so it is at least recorded here. (As I am typing, she is laying next to me, kicking my arm with her adorable little feet.) 


Dear Eleanor,

You are finally here (and finally have a name)! You were born one week ago from today: Monday, February 16th at 6:53pm. We are so happy you're here. You have filled our home with your sweet spirit and disposition. We absolutely adore you.
Six days old. 
We arrived at Banner Desert Hospital in Mesa a little after 7:00am for my scheduled induction. After filling out the paperwork, our nurse, Liz, escorted us to our "new home" (as she called it). I put on a gown and got "comfortable" in the hospital bed. 

Since I'm positive for Group B Strep (I was with your brothers as well), I had to have four hours of penicillin, then wait a couple of hours and have more penicillin. My doctor started the induction process with a balloon catheter, which took me from 3cm to 5cm while I was receiving the penicillin. Like with Josh, the penicillin was the worst part for me because it felt like my left arm was on fire for hours as the penicillin traveled through the IV. Liz would turn the dosage down, which felt so much better, but would have to turn it up again after a short time so we could complete the dosage before starting the induction. At 3:45pm, I was 6cm and 80% effaced. The contractions weren't too bad; I really tried to focus my breathing through them and it helped. A little after 4:00pm, I started feeling cold and shaking, which I knew meant I was getting closer. I felt I was at a 4 or 5 on a 1-10 pain scale. I knew I wanted an epidural (unexpectedly not having one with Oliver was a bit traumatic for me) so I got the epidural before starting the Pitocin, even though the pain wasn't too intense yet. The epidural made me a little nervous this time because I felt a bit of cramping in my back when it was administered but I was told this was normal (I just don't remember it from my epidural with Josh). I was told the anesthesiologist was the best and could do this with her eyes closed. That made me feel a little better. After getting the epidural, I felt so much better. So warm and relaxed, I almost fell asleep during the Pitocin (I had only had 3.5 hours of sleep the night before; I just couldn't sleep, which was so frustrating.). By 5:40pm, I was at 8cm and 90% effaced. Dr. Labesky came a short time later to break my water. Not long after that, I started pushing. I only pushed for 12 minutes and then heard your sweet little cries at 6:53pm. 
Left: Alex (Dr. Labesky's intern), Dr. Labesky, and our nurse, Kristal. They were all amazing. I love my doctor! We were sad Liz's shift ended and she had to leave (the nurses refer to leaving before the baby is born a "Labor Looser") but Kristal was also an amazing nurse. We loved all of the staff. 

They laid you on my chest and my eyes filled up with tears. It's such an amazing feeling to hear those little cries for the first time and to see you for the first time. It almost felt surreal. I felt gratitude and love wash over me. My first thought when I saw you was that you look like Oliver did when he was a newborn (your dad told me he thought this when he first saw you, too). 

(More pictures - being weighed, Wendel putting diaper on, etc.) 

We wanted Grandma, Oliver and Josh to be able to see you that night but we had to stay in the L&D Room for two hours before being moved to the Recovery Room (where visitors are allowed), so they had to wait until the next morning. Oliver was so excited to see you the next morning. Josh was a little apprehensive but also very curious. 

I love these pictures. Your brothers love you so much. It was so sweet to see them meeting you for the first time.
First picture as a family of five.
Choosing your name wasn't easy for us. We had a difficult time choosing your brothers' names, too. Your dad likes to wait until after he sees you to decide on your name. I love older, classic names and really wanted to name you Kate, which has been on my name list since 2008. I liked the name Genevieve for your middle name because it's a family name (my maternal great grandmother's name and my paternal great grandmother's middle name. Both women were wonderful, charitable women. I was reading recently about my PGG. She met a man on a bus who needed dental work done so she took him to a dentist and paid for the work to be done. She also saw a little boy who needed a coat so she bought him one. What a great example to look up to!) Your dad liked the name Genevieve for your middle name but didn't like Kate for your first name at all. He felt it was too popular and just didn't really like it for your first name. But there weren't any other names he felt strongly about. And he wouldn't discuss names until after your birth, which was stressful for me. 

The day after your birth, one of the nurses told me she was a little concerned about your right eye because you weren't opening it. She said it looked like it was fused shut and she had called a specialist to come look at it. She told me he would likely have to cut it open or you might possibly need surgery to open it. 

So we were sitting in the hospital room, you asleep in the bassinet between us, discussing names the day after you were born. The eye doctor, Dr. Underdall, would be coming soon, and we had a little time to ourselves before he arrived. Your dad was looking up names online and said, "What do you think of Eleanor?" We had friends back in WA who named their daughter Eleanor years ago and at the time, we had both said we really liked the name. I still liked it but wasn't sure if I wanted to use it. You dad read the meaning: "A light that shines in darkness." Right then Dr. Underdall walked in. The nurse had already put numbing drops in your eyes. He used a metal clamp to open your right eyelid so he could examine your eye. The nurse assisted him, which they did in a far part of the room, so we couldn't see. It hurt my heart to hear you scream the way you did. We expected him to tell us he would need to cut your eyelid open or something along those lines. Instead, he told us you were born with Microphthalmia, which means your right eye is about half the size of your left eye. He said your right eye stopped developing in utero, around 20 weeks. He said he could see cataracts on your eye and that you would likely need surgery to remove them. He said you may not have vision in that eye. He referred us to some specialists in the valley and then left. 

Two days later, still in shock and feeling uncertainty, we were sitting in the waiting room at the Retina Specialist's Office in Phoenix. Your dad again brought up the name Eleanor. I needed to let it sink in a little more. I liked the name and liked the meaning a lot. I just didn't like making such a big decision under pressure (we had to let the hospital know by Friday and it was Thursday). 

At your appointment, Dr. Bryan did an ultra sound of your eye and found cataracts and a thin rod, connecting from the back of your eye to the front. He said usually this rod goes away in utero but didn't in your right eye. He said surgery would be necessary to remove the rod and the cataracts, to give you the best chance for vision in that eye. He also said it looked like the retina was attached but surgery would let us know for sure. He wanted the surgery scheduled when you were one month old. The thought of my little one month old baby having surgery made me nervous. It was a lot to take in in only a few days. He said considering the spectrum of Microphthalmia, you are on the better end of it. You have an iris and a pupil. Your retina appears to be attached. You may have vision in that eye. 

Your dad and I talked on the way home about what a special girl you are. We talked about the strengths you will be blessed with to help you in this life and how you are blessed with wonderful older brothers to look out for you and be an example to you. We talked about how we hope we can be what we need to be for you. We let our tears freely fall as we talked about these things. We then decided Eleanor is the perfect name for you. You may not have vision in one eye but you will always be a light shining in darkness. I requested Kate as your middle name. I still liked Genevieve but I liked how Kate sounded with Eleanor. It took your dad a few minutes to think it over but he agreed. We think we'll call you Norah for short. We have always loved Norah Jones' music (The Long Way Home was our wedding song) and considered Norah for you as an option for your first name, so it seems to be a fitting nick name. 

We love you, sweet girl. You have already blessed our family with your sweet, amazing spirit. I look into your eyes and mine fill up with tears because I can feel the Spirit. We can't wait to see the great things your Father in Heaven has in store for you here on earth. We're so glad you're here. 

Sunday, December 28, 2014

2014: Year in Review

December 2014 [Oliver: 4.5, Joshua: almost 2, Baby Girl: soon to arrive]

Another year has come and gone and it's time for my annual year-in-review here. I enjoy taking this time to reflect on the past year. 

1. What did you do in 2014 that you’d never done before? Experience pregnancy while taking care of two young, active boys. It's an entirely different experience than being pregnant with my first and having down-time to relax or being pregnant with my second while working full time (mostly sitting at a desk). This takes exhaustion to a whole new level. I have never been this tired. I have never felt such physical strain on my body. Plus I'm older this time around (35). 
2. Did you keep your new years’ resolutions, and will you make more for next year? My goals last year were to have more patience, be more organized and have better time management. I still struggle with all three but I have been working on them. I have prayed for patience a lot and really tried to apply it with my boys. I think I have improved quite a bit but still have a ways to go. I am still very unorganized but have tackled some big projects as of late (the guest room/nursery, the loft, the downstairs closet and the laundry room). There are still so many to go, it's overwhelming. As for time management, I'm still pretty bad at it. Sigh. 
3. Did anyone close to you give birth? No. 
4. Did anyone close to you die? No. 
5. What countries did you visit? I like how this question assumes I visited other countries. Not going to happen anytime soon, while our kids are still young. 
6. What would you like to have in 2014 that you lacked in 2013? More sleep. (I can keep dreaming, as a newborn will only bring less sleep into my life.)
7. What dates from 2014 will remain etched upon your memory and why? June 20, 2014 (the day I found out I'm pregnant with our third). 
8. What was your biggest achievement of the year? Surviving this pregnancy while keeping my boys alive. It's been rough. 
9. What was your biggest failure? Nothing big - just little frustrations - things I try to be better at and then let slip. 
10. Did you suffer illness or injury? No. 
11. What was the best thing you bought? Wendel got me / us a Canon 6d camera for Christmas. We've had our old camera (Canon 20d) for almost 10 years so it was time for an upgrade. We are both very excited about it. 
12. Whose behavior merited celebration? Oliver is doing great with his behavior for the most part. Cause for celebration, indeed. 
13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed? People I hear about on the news. Sad stories and disappointments in the human race. 
14. Where did most of your money go? Paying off some past debt, diapers, bills. 
15. What did you get really, really, really excited about? Expecting our little girl. I'm pretty thrilled we're having a girl. I'm excited to meet her (and never be pregnant again). :)
16. What song will always remind you of 2014? "Shake it Off" by Taylor Swift, "Blank Space" by Taylor Swift, "Dark Horse" by Katy Perry and "Counting Stars" by One Republic come to mind. 
17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
a) happier or sadder? Just as happy, maybe happier. 
b) thinner or fatter? Definitely fatter with this baby on the way. 
c) richer or poorer? Richer, both financially and by way of feeling blessed with the addition of our little girl on the way. 
18. What do you wish you’d done more of? My answer is always the same for this question. I always wish I had more time to work on family history - mostly our boys' books. It's very important to me and I want to make it a priority but can't keep up right now with even the basics. I'm just so exhausted. 
19. What do you wish you’d done less of? No big regrets in this area. 
20. How did you spend Christmas? A quiet Christmas with our boys in the morning and then had family over for dinner (Wendel's parents, my dad and Dot, Levi and Amalie, Mitchell and Francesca and Susan and Boyd). 
21. Did you fall in love in 2014? More in love with Wendel, to be honest. I love seeing him be an amazing dad to our boys. I love his relationship with them, especially seeing how close he and Oliver are. I love seeing him fulfill his calling and strengthen the youth. I love that we have a good marriage and solid friendship and relationship. We have ups and downs, like everyone, but I have felt a definite increase in love and adoration for him this past year. 
22. What was your favorite TV program? Still Parenthood and The Big Bang Theory. Difficult to top these two. 
23. What was the best book you read? Elizabeth Smart: My Story. Excellent read. 
24. What was your greatest musical discovery? Not sure I had one, really. 
25. What did you want and get? A little girl (on the way). 
26. What did you want and not get? Nothing comes to mind. 
27. What was your favorite film of this year? The Secret Life of Walter Mitty was pretty good. Wendel and I both enjoyed it quite a bit. 
28. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you? I turned 35 this year. I was feeling sick on my birthday, in my first trimester. The only thing that sounded good to me was salad so Wendel and I met at Sweet Tomatoes for lunch. I talked to my sister, Lindsey, on the phone and she told me how much she looks up to me. It made me cry. 
29. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying? I don't know that it made my year more satisfying than last year but rendering service always brings satisfaction and joy. 
30. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2014? I've been all about comfort this year with being pregnant. 
31. What kept you sane? Wendel. Always Wendel. 
32. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most? None, really. 
33. What political issue stirred you the most? Hearing about the Islamic terrorist group, ISIS, beheading reporters to make a statement. It is horrible to think about. 
34. Who did you miss? I still miss some of my coworkers from CPS. I miss my family who lives in Utah. I miss a few friends in Washington. 
35. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2014: I can do hard things. It's okay to be tired - I'm not here on earth to feel rested all the time. I'm here to work and make a difference and raise a family. 
36. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year: "These Are the Days" by 10,000 Maniacs. See this post for the lyrics and why it sums up my year.