Friday, December 23

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas from our home to yours!

Tuesday, December 20

They're married!

Austin and Kitsy got married this last Saturday! We are so excited to have added a wonderful new 
member to the family. They are honestly the most perfect match and Kitsy is such a sweetheart.

Here's how they met: Our mom's have worked together as nurses for over 10 years and have gotten
together for sewing days almost monthly for the last few years. It never occurred to either of them to set
 up their kids, but as fate would have it they ended up at the same nursing school together, Austin just one
 semester ahead of Kitsy. They had seen each other around the halls a few times and when Kitsy needed 
help with some homework, Wendy (her mom), suggested she call Austin for help. And the rest was history!

As you can see, the wedding was gorgeous! Kitsy was radiant and Austin incredibly handsome.
I can't tell you how happy I am for my twin brother who found the woman of his dreams and married her!

Congrats, you two!

Monday, December 12

A week in paradise!

When Lance and I met, he had traveled all over the United States (including Hawaii) with his family and while competing in track for BYU. I, on the other hand, had been all over the world with my family but had been to few states, and never Hawaii. After two international trips with my family, Lance and I decided that it was time for us to take a trip to the islands.

We left Crew at home with grandma and grandpa Merrell, and headed to Hawaii with Lance's parents and his sister Kirstin and her husband Bruce for 8 days in paradise! It was incredible!

Here are the highlights of our week:

Napali Coast boat tour + scuba diving
The Napali Coast is where Jurassic Park was filmed, so that gives you a small idea of the beauty and magnitude of this gorgeous shoreline. I assure you, the pictures do not do it any kind of justice! It's absolutely breathtaking.

 After an hour or so at sea, the dolphins appeared out of nowhere and starting swimming with us!
There were dozens and dozens of dolphins and they were so incredibly social.
Kirstin and I were like little girls on Christmas morning to see the dolphins :)

 Next it was Scuba diving time. Those are nervous smiles, if you can't tell!
 Scott wasn't nervous at all.
Yup, I was pretty much flipping out at this point and we hadn't even gone under.
I think the instructor was saying, "Calm down sweetheart, breath. It's going to be
fine. You are going to do this and you're going to be so proud of yourself."

It was a great pep just wasn't happening. 

After he lost 3 out of the 4 "discovery" scuba divers, our instructor took out the pros, 
Bruce, Kirstin & Lance, who are all certified and went without a problem. 
They also were able to go scuba diving another day!

13 mile Napali coast hike to a 3000 foot waterfall

This hike took us nearly 10 hours from start to finish! It was a grueling, up-and-down
through dense forest, sweaty, dirty hike right along the Napali coast. Most of the way we were hiking
right on the edge of sheer cliffs! We were exhausted and disgusting at the end but it tops
my list as one of the most incredible and memorable hikes of my life!

Heading off into the jungle!
 These spiders were everywhere.
 The first beach. Straight out of LOST.

The end waterfall which was 3000 feet high! There wasn't a single other
soul at the pool and waterfall while we were there. It felt so remote and exotic.

So happy to be there!

On our way out, we spotted a paraglider. Look closely and you'll see him in the top right hand corner.
Before we knew it, he was circling around and getting closer and closer to us. We were right on the
edge of a cliff, mind you, that led straight to the Pacific ocean. All of the sudden, we hear him yell,
"I'm bringing it in!" and he came barreling toward us! He landed right in between Kirstin & Bruce on
 the trail. Crazy dude had paraglided almost the entire island. He said he wasn't worried at all about the
 landing. And I thought we were being hard-core doing that hike!

Snorkeling and sunbathing on Poipu Beach

We saw some pretty incredible things while snorkeling! 
 We also just kicked back and enjoyed the sunlight.


One of my favorite days of the trip! Zip-lining through the gorgeous and exotic forests of Hawaii.
Yes, please.

Delicious food & great company!

We did a lot of swimming at the resort pool, which was incredible. I'm sad I didn't get a
great picture of it. We also cooked a lot of delicious meals, went to farmers markets, visited
waterfalls and enjoyed some delicious cuisine at a fine restaurant. 

We could not have asked for more from our Hawaii trip. We enjoyed every moment and can't 
wait to go back.
Until next time!

Tuesday, December 6

Grandpa Merrell

I have been  neglecting this poor little blog, and for that I'm sorry! We are alive
and well and life seems to be moving at break-neck speeds!

After probably the craziest October of our lives, Lance and I made preparations to go to Hawaii 
with Lance's parents, his sister Kirstin and her husband Bruce. It was a much needed break and there
will be much more on that in another post. But for a moment, I would like to talk about a wonderful
man, my grandpa Merrell, who passed away while we were gone.

My dad was born and raised in Provo in a chicken-coop-turned-home farm house. He grew
up on a farm where work was the family word and there were no exceptions. My wonderful
grandpa worked hard his entire life and he instilled that work ethic in his children as well.
It's a different world we live in now, that's for sure. 

Anyways, I have fond memories of playing around on the farm and spending time with my
grandpa Merrell all of my growing up years. We had the pleasure of having him move
in with my parents the last 2 weeks before he died and it was such a blessing to have him
around! Even when he was in intense pain he was pleasant and cheerful, always trying
to make those around him smile. He was that way right up until the day he died.

We will miss him, his funny jokes, his old stories and most of all, his thumb trick!
You see, my grandpa lost 3 of his fingers in several different accidents. The thumb,
I believe, was lost to an ax while cutting wood. Ouch. But it made for the best
"I lost my thumb" trick you've ever seen. That lost thumb definitely got it's worth in
gold just for all of the shocked little kids, staring with wide-eyes, because grandpa's 
thumb really was gone. How did he do that?!

Anyway, I'm getting sentimental but I just want to recognize this wonderful man
and the legacy of service and hard work that he's left behind. 

You will be missed grandpa!

Friday, November 4

12 week challenge

A few months ago, Lance and I made a deal. I had to work out 5 hours a week for 12 weeks in exchange for a $500 shopping spree. I had never felt more motivated to work out in my life! Even still, 5 hours a week is a large commitment. The first week I logged 4 hours, the next 5, then 3. For one entire week, I didn't work out a single time! I was seriously behind on my hours but was determined to push forward and make it to my shopping spree. It wasn't until last week (just 2 weeks shy of the end) that I realized I was not going to make my deadline. We had an especially crazy couple of weeks and I just couldn't commit the time necessary to reach my goal.

Of course I was completely bummed. Not only because I wanted the $500, but also because I had worked so hard up to that point! However, a crazy thing happened along the way. All of the sudden I realized that my motivation to work out had shifted from gaining something, to getting fit and treating my body right. I can actually say that I enjoy running now. And the next day when I went running for no reason other than I just wanted to, I felt more satisfaction and pleasure from it than I ever had before. It was exhilarating!

The other thing that's been exhilarating about this whole process is seeing the change in my body. I think being fit can be compared to getting good grades. Did you ever have a class where earning an A grade was exponentially harder than earning an A-? Earning an A- would take, say, 10 hours of work a week while earning an A would take 15 hours a week. Very few would earn the A but it meant a lot if you got it. That's how I feel about my body. I think I've been an A- most of my life - I've stayed relatively small, eaten pretty well, maintained the same weight since I was 16... but I really haven't done anything or put in that much effort for it.

Probably most people wont notice any difference but to me, it is so rewarding to see the little changes in my body! First I noticed my love handles were much smaller, next my face thinned down, then my arms and legs thinned down and lately I have started seeing the muscle tone improving. Not a single pound different, and I still fit in all the same clothes but it is so rewarding! The going was slow and the progress took awhile to notice but it's been very worth it!

My hope is that no one will feel discouraged or sad when reading this. I would hope that you will feel that it's worth it! If you would like to be in better shape, feel better about your body and have more energy, start today. Start your own 12 week challenge and see if your attitude about exercise doesn't change as well. Because none of us want's to be 40 thinking, "How did I get here?" And the only way around that is to start today;  to be outside hitting the pavement every single day.

As a side note, I bought a few things for the shopping spree in advance and Lance is graciously letting me keep them because he sees how hard I have worked, even if I didn't reach my goal. So I did get new clothes out of it anyhow! :)

Wednesday, October 19

bath time

Bath time is favorite around here. Especially when it involves bubbles. Lately Crew has been getting on his back on his own and saying "Two...two....two...." because at swimming lessons we float on our back and count to three. :)

Love that little tummy.

"Whatcha doin, Mom?"

He looks so grown up in this picture! I love seeing my little buddy grow :)

He is about as full of personality and pizazz as one little toddler can be and we can't get enough!

Thursday, October 13

Christmas Card Giveaway

Whimsy Place is getting busier and busier every day and I couldn't be more delighted!
It's been a little tricky trying to balance being a mommy with running a business but I feel like I am 
getting better at it little by little. Basically, I spend a lot of nap times and evenings working on designs
 and orders. After that, there's not much time left for anything else, but it is so worth it :) I feel like 
I have finally found the perfect place for me! Lance has been incredibly supportive through it all and
 gets as excited as I am to see things grow.

I just posted the 2011 line of Christmas cards- and to celebrate I'm doing a giveaway!

Enter the giveaway for 50 Christmas cards and see the rest of the 2011 line by clicking here.


Crew has these darling shoes from Ralph Lauren. I was shocked a few weeks to find they actually fit him. His feet have grown really fast! But then I was very perplexed because after leaving them in Sandy at Lance's parent's for a week they became really tough to get on.

"There is no way he outgrew these in a week!" I kept thinking and tried even harder to get them on his feet. After 10 or so minutes of working at it, I finally got them on. Crew fussed a little getting them on but other than that, happily wore them for 2 or 3 hours.

Yesterday afternoon when Lance picked them up to put them on, Crew started crying before they had even touched his feet. Lance too just kept at it and even had to use a knife as a shoe horn to get the back on. But Crew continued to cry! So Lance just gave up and put another pair of shoes on.

It wasn't until Crew was sound asleep in his crib and I was picking up the house did I notice something blue down in one of the shoes. I was absolutely stunned to pull out a sock that had been stuffed into the toe! I checked the other shoe and sure enough! A sock had been stuffed in that toe as well. We just sat there horror-struck. That poor baby.

I am happy to report that I checked his toes this morning and everything seems ok. I think the only thing that isn't going away anytime soon is the guilt Lance and I feel for not paying more attention to his fussing! Poor little guy. We know it is only the first of many mistakes we will make as parents. Sorry Crew guy!

Tuesday, October 4

The way I am

I was running yesterday morning listening to my ipod when this song came on. It seemed
like the perfect theme song for my day considering I had just taken pictures of my twin brother Austin
and his soon-to-be wife. Love was in the air and I felt so inspired to love more deeply and to strive
to be the kind of person that was lovable. The recent General Conference also focused a lot on charity
and many of the talks encouraged us to love unconditionally, which includes loving someone
for who they are- not who we think they should be. 

"The Way I Am"

If you were falling, then I would catch you.
You need a light, I'd find a match.

Cause I love the way you say good morning.
And you take me the way I am.

If you are chilly, here take my sweater.
Your head is aching, I'll make it better.

Cause I love the way you call me baby.
And you take me the way I am.

I'd buy you Rogaine when you start losing all your hair.
Sew on patches to all you tear.

Cause I love you more than I could ever promise.
And you take me the way I am.
You take me the way I am.

You take me the way I am. 

There is an unspeakable safety and security in knowing you will be with your spouse forever and
knowing that they take you just the way you are, even with all the flaws.

Austin & Kitsy are perfect for each other and we are thrilled to welcome her into our family!
We had a lot of fun getting all of their engagement photos. It was a lazy Sunday afternoon up the
 canyon and with all the leaves changing and falling, Autumn was certainly in the air!

It reminded me of our engagements that were taken almost to the day 3 years ago.

Here's to loving and being loved!

Tuesday, September 27

New kid on the block

About 3 months ago I started watching Colton 3 days a week. His parents are in our ward and with full-time school for dad and full-time work for mom, Colton needed a place to hang out. This sweet little boy has stolen my heart. It's incredible to see the difference in personality between he and Crew. Sometimes I don't think these boys could be any more different! It's been quite challenging at times- mostly trying to get Crew to share and be soft with Colton. Let's just say that all involved are learning and growing. :)

 Usually they are taking toys from each other but I treasure the rare moments when they are 
actually partners in crime. 

 The other day I gave Crew an Oreo. I had a good laugh when a few minutes later I found it smashed 
all over his face. After getting him all cleaned up, I turned around to find this face on Colton.

 Apparently someone had shared his Oreo!

We have loved having Colton in our home and overall, it's been a wonderful learning experience. 
Maybe I'm being prepared for twins?