This Life

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Photography: Trina Harris Photography (LA to Utah — Lifestyle/Wedding Photographer)

Every now again and I need some perspective.  I get lost in errands that need to be run, dinners that need to be prepared or bathrooms that need cleaning.  Lately I’ve been lost in New York Fashion Week, in moving across the country and in Brian starting his new job.  In the middle of it all I got a beautifully wrapped disk full of photos that melted my heart and helped me remember why I chose this path and not another.  These three are my reasons for waking up in the morning.  These three give me hope, more joy than a person deserves and a legacy to look forward to.  During moments of chaos — it’s those two little faces that keep me moving and that insanely handsome man that keeps me grounded.  This is the life I chose.  This is the life I want and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

 

Golfing with the Family

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Shirt: c/o Olive Lane Shop | Pants: ae | Shoes: Chucks

Three things.

1) My form is awesome… and by awesome… I mean I am TERRIBLE at golf.  I know I know, cock the wrist, straighten out the elbow, keep the foot down, bend in the hips… well guess what.  My outfit is pretty cute so… there’s that haha!

2) Boston’s little boy clubs are just about the cutest things I’ve ever seen.  And then when he straps the bag over his shoulders I just about die.  He is obsessed with golf lately, wanting to go hit balls with daddy every day.  Those two, I swear.

3) Savy is still very much a two year old and we use phones and treats and more specifically hello kitty sippies to entertain her.  She wouldn’t play with anything but a pink club so Brian had to spray paint and duck tape an old toddler club to satisfy her.  She’s a feisty little thing but happy to play along.

While golfing isn’t my sport, I love spending time with family.  We are definitely soaking up these last few weekends together because soon enough we’ll be over 1,800 miles apart.  I’m not quite sure I really understand what that means yet, but we’ll embrace the change and make the best of it!

Ohio… are you ready for us?

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I look back on our last two years as a family and I’m overwhelmed with gratitude.  If only I could have seen then what I know now.  Brian has worked incredibly hard and I’m beyond proud.  He’s pushed himself to be better not only as a student, but a leader and father.  He wasn’t only dealing with the pressure of school, which was daunting I’m sure, but he was consistently supportive of me and my goals.  That usually meant there wasn’t any dinner on the table, or that he needed to watch the kids right when he got home so I could work.  I can’t tell you how many times he went to the grocery store, folded all the laundry and put the kids to bed by himself.  He encouraged me when I was making my album, he spent his spring break taking pictures for my hair book and we spent our nights together dreaming of the future and how amazing it would be.  What I’ve now realized is that even though these past two years have been incredibly challenging for us, these have been the best moments of our lives.  These are the years we’ll look back on.  These are the years we will dream about.

This weekend we officially accepted an incredible job opportunity from Poly-One out of Avon, Ohio.  It’s definitely not where I saw us raising a family but I guess that’s where you trust that the Lord knows your path better than you do. We will be leaving our family here and moving nearly 2,000 miles from everything we know.  We’ll be leaving the safety of the beautiful mountains, the community that we rely on and love and also the sweet family above us who have treated us like their own.  To say I’m scared to leave Utah is the understatement of the year.  I’m terrified.

Through my anxiety though, I’m comforted knowing that the Lord has a plan for us.  He’s been guiding our lives and we can see His hand in all of this.  I’m holding onto hope that Ohio is going to be amazing.  Hope that there will be friends for my kids to play with.  Hope that there’s a family out there who will need us just as much as we need them.  I know that as long as I have Brian and my two mini-me’s I’m going to be just fine.  I’m so excited to finally have a plan.  We’ve been living in limbo for the last seven years — it’s been exhausting!  I’m excited to finally buy a home and to have a yard to take care of (never thought I’d say that did ya, mom?!).  I’m excited to be near a beach again!  I’m excited for the humidity, to be hours away from New York and Niagra Falls.  While I’m freaking out, I’m really excited to start the next chapter in our lives.  If it’s anything like the last, I have nothing to worry about.

EEEK! The Mom Conference starts tomorrow!

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PLEASE COME!

Don’t worry, it’s online so you can stay in your jammies

The Mom Conference starts TOMORROW the 7th and ends on the 14th.  I can’t tell you how excited I am about this little shin-dig we bloggers have helped put together.  Desi Ward, host of The Mom Conference and creator of The Unconventional Kitchen, created this educational and entertaining event because no mom is perfect. That’s why we MUST share our strengths! You know the whole idea “I’ll do your laundry if you do my dishes?” At The Mom Conference we’ll gather together to learn from each other because we’re our greatest resource!

You can register for FREE right here

WHY ATTEND?

Being a mom can be overwhelming at times, right?! The Mom Conference contains 30+ online classes to make motherhood more enjoyable. 30 rock star bloggers (mostly moms) will be teaching classes on topics incredibly important, like:

- Cooking a month’s worth of dinners in ONLY a couple hours!
- Getting kids to listen without yelling, nagging or reminding!
- Making sure there’s not just heat in the kitchen, but how to put the sparks in your marriage, too!

Sounds amazing, right?

I’ll be teaching 5 quick hairstyles that are perfect for being mom.  Cause I know what it’s like to have only two minutes in the mornings to get ready!

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And here’s a few more of the incredible presenters:

  • Get Kids to Cooperate Without Yelling or Nagging with AMY MCCREADY from Positive Parenting Solutions
  • Knock Out a Month’s Worth of Dinners in One Day with TRICIA CALLAHAN from Once a Meal Moms
  • Feel Connected in a Disconnected World with HANNAH BRENCHER from More Love Letters
  • I Lost 60 Pounds & Kept it Off: YOU Can Too! with JEN GROTHE from Jen-fit
  • Get & Stay Organized: A Fail-proof System with JENNY LAYTON from The Happy Gal

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Come listen ONLINE and be inspired from April 7 – April 14, 2014!  That’s tomorrow friends.

Register for FREE by clicking riiiight here.

See you at The Mom Conference tomorrow!

Lifestyle Videos with Krissi Cook + a giveaway

Smith Family – Lifestyle Video from Krissi Cook on Vimeo.

How many of you know what a lifestyle video is?  I didn’t either until I had the most amazing opportunity to shoot one with Krissi Cook from Krissi Cook Films.  Since getting the video back I feel like these lifestyle videos are just as important, if not more, than family photos.  The special moments you experience with your family need to be documented because let’s be honest, they don’t last forever.  Family dynamics are constantly evolving.  Your sweet baby that loved snuggling is now in school and constantly defying all the rules!  It’s such a rare and beautiful thing to have the entire family in a video.  And not just a video from your iPhone…  A gorgeous video that makes you feel and love and one that gives you hope on those not so awesome days.  A video that makes you laugh and smile and encourages you to keep on chugging.  Brian and I will absolutely cherish this lifestyle video Krissi took for us.  The kids play it over and over… and over!  “MOE” Savy screams when it turns off.  It’s the cutest thing.Krissi was fabulous and made this little night out terribly fun for our family.  Brian is sometimes the grinch when it comes to documenting anything in our lives.  Haha in his defense, we do take a lot of pictures and he’s always a good sport.  He wasn’t excited we were headed off to another “shoot”.  I told him he’d love it and that it wouldn’t be what he was expecting.  It wasn’t like family pictures, the stress just wasn’t there.  We were focused on being a family and making the kids happy and Krissi took care of the rest.  These lifestyle videos are a must for me now and I’m so excited I found out about them while my family is still young.

Because Krissi is AH-MAZING, she’s giving away one lifestyle video, valued at $250, to a fabulous reader.

 

| How to Enter |
1) Like Krissi Cook Films on Facebook
2) Watch one of her lifestyle videos >>> mine counts ;-)
3) Comment on her post on facebook- why would you want a lifestyle video?
| The Terms |
1) Must be filmed in Salt Lake, Davis, Utah, Summit, or Wasatch County.  She will also accept Iron or Washington County as long as you understand it must be when she’s visiting the area to film another shoot.
2) The session will be 1 hour or less and you will receive a digital copy of the final product
3) Offer expires Jan 1, 2014
4) Must be willing to let her share your video on her website and facebook page for marketing purposes.
5) This is transferrable.  You can win to giveaway as a gift.  All previous rules apply.  No cash value.
Good luck mommas!

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Wrapped in Warmth

First off.  I love my neighbors.  They are right upstairs and the gorgeous momma home schools her seven children.  SEVEN!  Ah, she’s so inspiring to me.  Boston would honestly live up there if he could and forget all about his boring little family downstairs in an instant.  I asked him the other day if he wanted to live with his friends and he said, “Well ya… wouldn’t you?”  I followed up by asking him who would get him ready for bed and help him get in his jammies and he said, “I’d just have Seth help me.  He’s really nice”.  HA!  Well great.  Replaced like that.  Ari and Miah, oldest of the seven, took the photos in this amazing sesh.  Aren’t they fabulous?  They’re building their photography business right now and if you live in Utah County and are looking for something affordable, these girls do it all.  If you’re interested email me and I’ll get you in touch with them!

Bag: c/o Joe Totes | boots: Target | leggings: Franchesca’s (thick and lined with fleece, seriously you need some) | Boyfriend Cardi: Old Navy  Graphic Tee: Old Navy | Scarf: Old Navy

Over the past few months I’ve really struggled with this blog and the direction I want to take it.  I’ve felt that it’s become a little… oh… how would I describe it.  Worldly?  Vain maybe?  All I talk about are pretty clothes and new products and ways to put on your makeup.  Even though all these posts and articles I’ve been writing are for you, to hopefully empower you and give you fresh new ideas, at the end of the night I feel so selfish.  It’s been driving me absolutely crazy.  I’m not that girl.  If you knew me in real life you’d know that I’m a total nerd who wears yoga pants all day and jams to Taylor Swift with a spoon as her two kids laugh hysterically at her.  I have been given these amazing opportunities to model and style clothing from great companies that I truly love, to write as a beauty expert (Ha!) for Babble and to teach women all over the world how to take better care of their hair.  I’ve sort of taken these blessings and opportunities and have run with them.  In the process of doing so I feel like I’ve sort of lost myself.  I’ve decided that if I’m going to continue writing about pretty clothes and sharing my style with all of you, there’s going to have to be more substance.  There is so much more to me than pretty clothes and great hair, lol!  So here goes.  Some substance.

Over the past few weeks I’ve been reading up on pornography and the devastating effects it has on marriages, families and the rising generation.  It honestly makes me so sick to think that one day my little boy is going to be subjected to that filth whether by accident or from a friend.  It terrifies me.  I pray every night that Boston will be able to feel the spirit urge him to turn it off or to look away.  If the world is as disgusting as it is now, can you image what it’s going to be like in ten years?  The day for passive parenting is over.  If we are not doing everything we can to teach our little ones right from wrong, to teach them how to stand up for themselves and to teach them about the redeeming love of our Savior, they’re going to fail.  Last night I was reading an article in the April 2013 Ensign titled The Words We Speak.  It pulled at my heart and inspired me to try harder to be a better example to my two babies.  Rosemary Wixom said, “To speak to a child’s heart, we must know a child’s needs.  If we pray to know those needs, the very words we say may have the power to reach into their hearts.  Our efforts are magnified when we see the direction of the Holy Ghost.  The Lord said: “Speak the thoughts that I shall put into your hearts… for it shall be given you in the very hour, yea, the very moment, what ye shall say.”  When I read this I thought, well crap!  Have I missed a teaching opportunity?  Have I missed many teaching opportunities?  How many times have we forgotten to pray or to teach our little ones about God?  How many times have I snapped out of frustration at my three year old and disturbed the spirit in our home?  If I am not in tune with the spirit, I won’t know when or what to teach my children when they need it the most.  Wixom said, “Unfortunately, the distractions of this world prevent many children from hearing encouraging words that could shape their view of themselves”.  And might I add, shape their faith

I am so distracted every day by my ever growing to-do list.  Am I listening to my children?  Am I really playing with them with the sole purpose of teaching them and building their faith?  I fear there have been too many times when I missed faith promoting experiences because my mind and thoughts were elsewhere.  So I’m making a commitment, and I’d love for you to join me, to have the spirit with me at all times so that I might know and speak the thoughts that are put into my heart by my loving Father in Heaven.  And in the end, if my children end up traveling a different path, I will know with a surety that I did everything I could to teach them of their Savior’s love.  It is my hope that one day all wayward children will remember the precious moments where they felt wrapped in the warmth of their Savior’s love and will come back to believing and living for something greater than themselves.  But for today  I’m going to do all I can to build my children’s faith, to capitalize on teaching moments and to have the spirit in our home and hope and pray that it’s enough.

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Our Summer, by Heather Allison Photography

This summer we had the most fabulous opportunity to get our family pictures taken by the one and only Heather B. Allison.  Heather did such an amazing job at capturing our candid moments.  She was literally a fly on the wall and instead of forcing our kids to sit still and smile, we were able to concentrate on having fun and being a family.  Our time living in Washington was short but I am so grateful to have a little piece of it saved in these pictures.  We will forever remember the beautiful rocky beaches, the overcast days, green gorgeous views like I’ve never seen before and our children, still so small and impressionable.  I couldn’t be happier with these pictures and I’m so thankful to have found Heather to help capture our life and our summer that passed too quickly.

Heather is a lifestyle photographer and she shoots in the Seattle, Washington area.  If you live in Washington and are in need of a talented photographer know that Heather B. Allison comes highly recommended from yours truly.  Engagements, weddings, maternity, family, boudoir, fashion and children.  She seriously does it all and has a package just waiting for you!!

Thanks Heather.  These family pictures are priceless.  Go follow her on Facebook to be continually inspired by her amazing work and creative talents.
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Our trip to the lighthouse…

I know it’s been awhile.  I have a few announcements coming up that I think you’re gonna love :-)
and no… I’m not pregnant ha!  #killmenow #yeah…Ijusthashtaggedontheblog
Does Boston’s face just not say it all?!  Oh my word that boy cracks me up!
So we I thought it would be a fabulous idea to take a peddle boat with the kids to a fun little lighthouse in Gig Harbor.  The guy who rented us the boat told us it’d take about twenty minutes to peddle to the light house on the other side of the harbor…
…AN HOUR AND A HALF LATER
Savy was screaming trying to throw herself into the water, Boston was mad we wouldn’t let him hold the canoe paddle (thank goodness we brought it) and Brian and I were yelling at each other because we couldn’t get the stinkin’ boat to move!  Twenty minutes my eye, that employee was smokin’ crack!  We were literally peddling as hard and as in sync as we could and the only thing that was propelling our boat forward were the stupid emergency canoe paddles we made the guy give us before we left.  Seriously.  You should have seen us.  If I had seen us I would have busted up laughing because it was one of those family outings that just went bad.  And everyone around could tell.

We ended up having a full ten minutes to eat our picnic and play in the sand before we had to pack up and take the boat back.  Oh the things you just don’t see in pictures haha!  As miserable as it was at the time, I really do believe that it’s family outings like this that bind you together, in a weird way, as a family.  Brian and I, as mad as we were at the time, now know never to rent a paddle boat again!  We also know that somethings are just out of our control and it’s the entire journey that we need to pay attention to.  We were so focused on getting to the lighthouse that we probably missed some wonderful teaching opportunities for our kids.  There were these awesome seals that were following us.  One mommy and a couple pups.  They’re always in the Harbor so we were watching for them.  Boston was always so happy to see them!  I look at these pictures and while I laugh because it was a morning that just went wrong, it was also one of those things that you don’t really remember how exhausting it was.  You remember the good parts of the trip and I guess that’s why parents exhaust themselves preparing activities and outings for their families.  Because in the end it’s the positive memories that stick with you.

We leave Gig Harbor in just a couple weeks and I am so depressed over it! I had a difficult time falling in love with that rainy weather, I’ll be the first to admit.  But now I love it.  I love the 75 degree summer and all the water activities.  I’m in love with the ocean, the smells, the cool breeze, having Seattle just a short drive away.  I love how nice and chill everyone is.  I love that there are no expectations and people are kind because they just want to be kind.  I’m really going to miss Washington, it’s been a beautiful summer and I’m happy to have experienced a small taste of what it’s like to live outside of Utah.
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Just a few unorganized thoughts

I’m having a really hard time organizing my thoughts lately.  I’m not sure if it’s because they’re scattered all over my random projects or if it’s because my attention span is about the length of my three year old, or if it’s because so much has changed for our little family so quickly.  Gig Harbor is the most beautiful place I’ve ever been.  The people are nicer than I could have hoped.  Like the man who could see me struggling to carry my boxes inside the post office while holding Savy and graciously lent a hand without even asking.  Or like the woman who may or may not have been in a hurry but stayed and let my kids play with her dog.  Talk about a tender mercy right there.  Without that fifteen minute break I’m sure I would have lost it.  Or like the couple at the grocery store who ooo’d and awww’d over how beautiful my children were and nearly brought me to tears when they said I was doing a great job.
Parenthood is hard!  And I know that I need to cherish these moments because they grow up so quickly.  But people who say that obviously don’t remember what it was like being in the middle of it.  It must be like child birth.  Who would want to put themselves through that again?  But we do.  Over and over again because either we don’t remember how hard it was or because putting ourselves through all of that ends up being totally worth it.
As I was putting Savy to sleep Boston came in and said “Mom!  I forgot to give my little loves a kiss before bed”.  He proceeded to kiss me on the forehead and then Savy.  Sometimes I feel so blessed to be part of my children’s lives.  And then other times I want nothing more than to bang my head into the wall a couple of times..  or at least lock myself in the bathroom for a moment to regroup!
The rain was pretty awful here in Washington those first couple of weeks.  Not so much because of the actual rain but because we just weren’t prepared for it.  Brian takes the car most days and so we’re usually stranded in our apartment.  I’ve felt a little stir crazy, maybe even a little lonely with no one but my kids to keep me company.  I’m often reminded of when Boston rides his bike up hills and his little thighs start burning.  He usually wants to get off and walk but I always tell him, “when your muscles burn you know they’re getting stronger” and he always replies “Yeah Mom, so I gotta keep going so I can grow big like spiderman”!  These trials we face, whether they’re small hills or giant mountains they make us stronger.  And without the pain or the fear of the future or the feelings of inadequacy, we could never grow.  I know that God has a plan for me.  I know that He has a plan for my family.  Sometimes I wish He’d let me in on it!  Nonetheless, I know He’s aware of my needs and my circumstances.  All we can do is wait and be worthy of the blessings so that when He decides the time is right, He can open the floodgates of heaven.
Anyway.  I just love you guys.  Reading your comments and knowing that there are people out there who care about me is sometimes the only thing that motivates me to keep going!
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