Thursday, December 19

I'm pregnant!

My mantra for the last few months :)

After we had Cambridge, Lance and I both decided we would wait a good few years before welcoming baby #3 into our family. With how incredibly sick I get, my pregnancies are a huge disruption to our lives and have taken a very serious toll on my health. So waiting seemed like a wise decision and felt right for the happiness (and sanity!) of our little family, and essential to my health. I was delighted for the break and excited to have my body be mine for a couple of years.

Little did we know!

I honestly didn't even suspect I was pregnant. It was Lance who first noticed something may be going on. But I quickly hushed his fears. My good friend, Jessica, was actively trying to get pregnant and after we went running together she insisted I go home and take a pregnancy test.


I have never been so shocked in my entire life. It's incredible how in control of your life you believe you are until something like this happens. We were smacked ab in the middle of building our new house, things have been absolutely crazy at work for Lance, not to mention I still hadn't figured out how to manage the two children we already have. This baby and Cambridge will be less than 2 years apart.

Remember my very last post about life's trials and how thankful I am for them because they make me a better person? Yeah. I wrote that before I knew I pregnant. If you really want a good laugh, go read it again :). But on a serious note, fear kind of overtook my life once I found out I was pregnant. The fear was almost as debilitating as the sickness (panic attacks, anyone?). Its the most insufficient I have ever felt compared to life's challenges. I also felt a lot of guilt for all the things I wouldn't be able to do, and the amount of help we would need from friends and family.

After 3 months of indescribable 24/7 nausea, losing 10 pounds, body aches, crazy amounts of throw-ups, lots and lots of meds, loads of tears, and incredible amounts of help from our amazing family, I am finally starting to pull out of the misery and I am so very thankful for this sweet little baby growing inside me. I really do know now, more than ever, that my Heavenly Father knows me personally and has a master plan for my life that my finite mind cannot comprehend.

Coming out of the sickness is like coming out of a dark cave and getting a second lease on life- I have never been so sure of my mission, my ability to affect change and have a positive impact in the world, and the importance of staying close to the Spirit and serving others. I feel immeasurable gratitude for my incredible husband, who has been my absolute rock through it all, and for our wonderful family and friends who rushed to our aid and gave without question and without end, expecting nothing in return.

Seriously folks, I am a very lucky gal- and I surely don't deserve it.

13 weeks
This has been my look for a few months: no makeup, spandex, bun.

These two have been incredibly resilient through mommy being sick! 
My heart already feels like it will simply burst with love for them! I cannot
wait for another little bundle.

As way of an update, the house is so SO close to being done! It's been a long 8 months of construction,
and we definitely didn't do it the easy route, but it's coming together beautifully. We were hoping to be
 in by Christmas, but we will just miss it and will be in before the New Year. Here are a few progress photos.

 The outside is all finished now, we really just need to finish painting, get carpet installed, countertops
and hardware/plumbing fixtures installed.

The wood floors that were cut and milled from a 150 year old tree on my grandpa's farm.

Laundry room tile.

Master bathroom cabinets being installed.

Faux brick chimney. My dad and brother Austin 
made the stucco look like brick.
Can you even believe how real it looks?
They are so incredibly talented at everything they do.

We finished the basement apartment a month or so ago and our good friends Josh and Jessica Halls moved in! It's the same Jessica that told me to take a pregnancy test and now we are due within a week of each other! We feel really blessed to have such great friends and renters living downstairs.

Well, I think that about covers it!

I'm hoping I just get feeling better and better over the next few weeks. What I have now is what (I think) is normal morning sickness- I throw up first thing every single morning, but feel better after I eat and take my meds. I still feel really nauseous every evening for a few hours, but this is totally doable compared to 24/7 nausea. Thank goodness for Zofran and Unisom because I would still be a puking machine without them!  

Merry Christmas! I'll update again in a few weeks after we've settled into the new house :)

Saturday, September 21

On Life

I'm not really sure how many of you are still reading my little blog, but if you're here I'm sure happy you are! :) I have a million things I could blog about, but would like to take a moment and share some of my thoughts as of late.

I don't think Lance and I could have timed things any better with starting our little family. We both graduated from college in 2010, and me with an 8 1/2-month-prego belly. I would be remiss to leave out that I had just gone through the darkest, most discouraging and painful 5 months of my entire life, but, that aside, the timing was great! :)

I had roughly a month after we graduated to sleep in, move us fully into our new apartment, and nest to my heart's content. After Crew arrived we transitioned straight into Lance working full-time and me being a full-time stay-at-home mommy. I delved right into taking care of my new babe, doing the laundry, ironing, making dinner every day, and everything else entailed in running a home. 

(On a side note, this is the only photo from the hospital where I look even half-decent. 
My 6-month-pregnant-looking belly is still there, promise, it's just hidden by all that black.)

What I think when I look at these pictures (after admiring how young and fit we are, and thinking of how much I love my little family) is, "How naive you are, you two! You think parenthood and adulthood are going to be all roses and kittens." Oh sure, if you would have asked me then I could regurgitate that things would be hard, but I really didn't understand how difficult being a parent/adult would be. I didn't understand that having a child meant the end to being care-free and only worrying about yourself and what fun adventure you'd have next. That growing up meant taking care of everyone else's needs before your own every single day.

I vividly remember a conversation I had with my dad after I had just started college. I was complaining about something or another and he said, "Don't worry, it only gets worse." With a big grin on his face. After a worried, "Really?" from me we both had a good chuckle and moved on. I have returned to that conversation countless times in my mind. While I realize he was half-teasing, I've also come to understand how much truth there is to that statement. Every time I start to feel comfortable, like I've really got this "life" thing down pat, something else is added to the mix and I'm thrown all out of whack again. Isn't that true for all of us? I sure hope so.

The bottom line for me, and what I've come to understand in a new way this last year, is this: It is by divine design that life is so difficult, that every time we feel we're enough, we suddenly aren't enough again. And I'll tell you what folks! How grateful I am that a loving Heavenly Father sees fit to send more responsibility and trials my way just when I start to get comfortable. Because it's in those uncomfortable times, the squirmy "I have no idea what I'm doing" times or the "I cannot see past the pain and discouragement I'm feeling every moment of every day" times that we learn and grow the very most. 

It's in those most difficult times in my life that I've gained hope, or humility, or patience, or perspective. And it's in the day-to-day repetition of things that I've learned how to work hard, be content with here and now, and look outside myself to serve others. Heaven knows I need way more of all of those qualities, along with innumerable others that I couldn't even begin to name. 

I know this topic might seem a bit odd. I've had more people than I can count say things like, "You live a charmed life" or "You have so much help!" and it's true; I have an incredible support system in my life. I have an extraordinary, supportive family, I've never really had to worry about money, I have been blessed with amazing friends who are the embodiment of selflessness and love, I have a college education, I have two beautiful children and an insanely supportive husband who are my everything! 

But that's not the point.

The point is not what we have or don't have, because our lives are so different from one another that it's just not even worth comparing. The point is that we each face hardships that are new and difficult to us. Not compared to Sally who just lost her son, or compared to Ashley who has an incurable disease. The beauty of this thing called life is that our trials and hardships are totally and completely catered to us, to help us become the kind of people we need to be. 

And you want to know what? Since I've started looking at things this way a beautiful thing has happened. At a time when I would have thought, "I can't do this." or "When will this be over?", instead I'm able to think, "This is teaching me patience." or "I will be a better woman because of this." And while I still have my fair share of grumbling and complaining, this small shift in my thinking has made all the difference. 

Wednesday, September 18

All about Tile

Choosing tile has been the single most difficult decision for me in the entire house-building process! I have known for a long time I've wanted a white kitchen with marble countertops, brown wood floors throughout the main and light gray walls. I knew I wanted a fireplace in our living room with built in bookshelves flanking each side. There are so many details I've had figured out from the very beginning but when it comes to tile, I have flip flopped too many times to count!

When it really came down to it the pictures I was constantly drawn to were white marble tile, but marble is a hard choice for a few reasons. One, it can be a lot of upkeep, two, it costs a lot of money, especially once you start getting into Calcutta gold (my favorite!) and the fun different patterns, and three, I worried that white throughout the entire house would be too boring.

Well, I'm happy to say I've finally committed to tile for the entire house and I couldn't be happier with my decisions! I worked hard to source the marble I bought and found it for an incredible deal on ebay, so I was able to stay mostly in budget while still getting what I want. And I am really excited to add punches of color to each bathroom through painting the vanities different colors and with textiles.

White ceramic hexagon tile
$4.95 per sq ft.
This will go in the kid's bathroom, 
the apartment bathroom & 
the apartment laundry room

White Carrera marble basketweave
with Gray accent
$9.99 per sq ft
Main floor laundry room 

1" White Carrera marble hexagon
$8.59 per sq ft
Main floor 1/2 bath

These last two marble tiles can easily run $16.99 a square foot, 
so these are incredible prices!

I realized with tile, just like I did with the exterior of our home, that going with what I really want is a gutsy move but I would regret it if I did anything else. I also try to err on the side of classic and simple and I don't think you can get any more classic than subway, penny tile and marble.

And for an update, we are almost finished with exterior siding and tile has already begun. Next will be wood floors, finish work, cabinets and painting! We are about 6 weeks from completion.

**Let me also just say that I feel a little silly having an entire post about tile for our new house. I know there are so many other, more important issues going on in our country which is why it's so nice to just think about something that doesn't really matter. Thanks for indulging me for a bit while I plan our future home!

Wednesday, August 28


Life has been insane these last few months, to say the least. We knew it was going to be crazy building a house (as if summers aren't already crazy) but it is so much busier than we even anticipated. We have still managed to have fun, though! We went to Yellowstone and Bear Lake with Lance's family which were two separate trips and we also celebrated both kid's birthdays! This post is a little random, but still an update on our lives :)

Crew turned 3 on the summer solstice. We had a little treasure party with a few of his friends in our neighborhood and he was in heaven.

The cupcakes were his favorite :)

Quick update on Crew: he is as big and independent as ever. He is 76th percentile in height and 30th percentile in weight- starting to get tall and skinny like his daddy. He is starting to ask "why" about everything and is very headstrong and energetic. Sometimes it's exhausting. On the flip side, though, he is so sweet and loving. He will regularly tell me I'm beautiful or just give me a big hug and kiss and tell me he loves me. He is starting to be really great with entertaining Cambridge which is so helpful! He has an incredible thirst for knowledge and does extremely well when we are doing activities one-on-one. He starts preschool this coming Tuesday and I just know he will do so well!

We also celebrated Cambridge's 1st birthday!
I'm all about sweet and simple- we celebrated with our families on the patio, ate dinner and had dessert.

"Where's my baby?" I said to try and get her to look and instead she decided to hide.

It was fun to see how different Cambridge was with her cake than Crew. Crew was a complete ham and went after his cake full force. He would shove a huge fistful in his mouth, then smile a huge toothy grin. He had cake spread from his head to his toes when he was done. Cambridge was much more shy about it. She loved the cake, but was much more tentative and kept trying to share with everyone. She loved the attention too, but couldn't figure out why she was the only one with cake. It was really cute.

An update on Cambridge: she took her first steps this week but is still determined not to walk. She gets pretty upset when we try and get her to. All in good time! She isn't quite as advanced as Crew was in her language but still communicates pretty well. She can sign "more", "all done" and "milk" which is so helpful. She just started saying Mama and she jabbers a lot. 

I noticed a few weeks ago that she was not responding to my voice the way she normally did so I took her in for a hearing screening which she failed in both ears. Doc found out she had double ear infections! I felt horrible and think she's had them for awhile- maybe even a couple months. She is just such a happy and easy going baby in general that when she was slightly fussy, I chalked it up to teething. Now that she's on antibiotics she is a complete angel! We lucked out with her for sure.

Cambridge is an incredible eater and sleeper. I have yet to find a single thing she won't eat! She has been regularly sleeping through the night and taking two naps during the day since she was 6 months old. She is a little thing, 33rd percentile for both height and weight. She is just the sweetest little thing ever!

I sure love my bugs! 

Mother's Day photos.

The house is coming along very well! We are still ahead of schedule and will be finished in November sometime. Right now they are insulating, then tomorrow the drywallers are coming. After that my Dad and Austin will be working on hardiboard siding, outside concrete, then inside finish work! Lance and I are going to attempt to do all the tile work ourselves which should be interesting :) 

We have been spending a ton of time over at the house working. Lance ran all of our low-voltage wires- speakers, internet, TV's, etc. It's definitely been a learning experience for us both! I have learned so much about our home, the different choices along the way, etc. Really, if you ever have questions about home improvement (insulation, electrical, framing, roofing, etc) feel free to ask me! I LOVE the process and would do it again in a heartbeat. I especially love working alongside Lance on our future home.

Well, that's all for now folks. I know I skipped over months with just one post but it's about all I can manage at the moment. I'm hoping to get back to regular blogging after we are all moved in!

Monday, June 3

Growing, growing

Our little ones are growing too fast to keep up with! Cambridge is getting into everything now and learned her first sign (more), and Crew is starting to get that little boy look to him. Sometimes when I look at him it freaks me out to think I have a child that old! It is so fun to see them both progress and learn. They bring an incredible amount of joy into mine and Lance's life.

For Mother's day we had Alice Griffith take pictures of all my mom's grandkids together. My mom died for these pictures and I'd say the gift was a complete success! They are pretty darn cute.

This little one is about the happiest little girl you'll ever meet! Her smile melts me.

Almost 3 years old!

All 5 of my mom's cute grandbabies :) 

I love these sweet kiddos. 

Saturday, May 18

Great finds!

I have been spending a lot of time researching different finishes and fixtures for the home.  I usually choose a specific something, then read articles, forums and reviews to try and get the best product for the smallest price. Usually that just means cruising KSL till I find the deal I'm after, or comparing prices online. And can I just tell you? It is so very satisfying to get an incredible product for an incredible price! I'm kind of addicted.

My recent finds have been:

  • A 9 foot vanity with white Corian countertops, 2 under-mount sinks and faucets for only $100. The white Corain countertop alone would have been $900 new. This will go in our master bathroom.
  • 50 sq ft of new white Carrara marble for $1.75 a sq ft- normally at least $10 a sq ft.
  • A vintage claw foot tub that looks almost brand new for $150 - worth $600-$1200.  Again, for our master bathroom.
  • Full overlay kitchen cabinets for the basement apartment for $600- we will refinish them which will be a ton of work but will save us over $3,000. 
  • FREE black quartz countertops that were from a rich family in Alpine. They were going to throw them away, then thought someone might want them. These are worth at least $2000! I haven't decided for sure where I'll use them but they will be fabulous :)
And my latest find is this:

It's the Grohe Bridgeford kitchen faucet. Retail is $550 and I snagged two of them,
brand new, for $95 and $120. This is a very nice faucet, even more high-end than Moen and I can't
tell you how excited I am about doing dishes with this bad boy! 

See how beautiful bridgeford faucets are in the kitchen?

Ha! I am a complete dork, you guys. But at least I'll be a dork with a beautiful kitchen faucet :)

Friday, May 3

Shut the front door!

As I mentioned earlier, the more I delve into house-building stuff, the more I realize how difficult it's going to be to stay on budget. Don't get me wrong, our budget is plenty big to get everything we have ever dreamed of in our house, but when you start shopping around, you realize that you could easily blow your entire door budget, for example, on a single door! Front doors, specifically, can easily run you $4,000+. Who knew doors could be that expensive?! Or anything for that matter; tile, light fixtures, ranges... the list goes on. Our budget for doors on the entire house is $2,800, so you can see how it would create problems if we decided to get an expensive front door.

If you know anything about me, you know I love to get a good deal. I shop our local KSL classifieds religiously and 90% of the furnishings in our home are bought there. I have been doing the same shopping for our new house! There are certain items that, when used,  lose almost none of their original integrity, but go down considerably in cost- doors are one of those :)

Say hello to our new front door! Don't let the picture fool you, this beauty is 42" wide and a full 8' tall. It's huge! This door was likely over $1,000 new and after a finish coat, it will look brand new again. Can you believe we purchased it for only $50?

I'm still trying to decide if I want to keep the wood grain or paint it. Our home is going to be gray or white hardiboard- similar to one of these two pics:

And I think it would be so fun to do a pop of color on the door. I'm thinking either mint 
green, kelly green or a dusty blue. 

I need your help! What do you think?

breaking ground

We broke ground on the new house yesterday! It's been a few months coming and we couldn't be
more thrilled. You hear over and over again that building a house always takes longer than expected
and always costs more than expected. We have already experienced both of these things and we
haven't even dug the hole yet :)

It is definitely going to be tricky to stay on budget. The thing about buying a house is there is one price
and you know it beforehand. With building, and especially when you are going the more DIY route,
there are a MILLION ways to go over-budget. You have to be much more disciplined and decide what
things are really important to spend a little more money on and what things are ok to save on.

About to start digging the first hole! Who needs a shovel when you have a track hoe?! 
So fun to think of the memories we will make here and how our little family will grow :)

Our lot! For those of you who don't know, it's in the Sleepy Ridge golf course, right by the lake in Orem/Vineyard. Our back yard is Vineyard and our lot's in Orem.

 Crew LOVED running the track hoe with grandpa and was so sad when it was time to go.

Cambridge loved all of the excitement too! 

While we were digging, one of the neighbors came out with her 5 children! Four boys ages 6 
and down, then a little girl that's the same age as Cambridge! One of her little boys was Crew's age, 
too and Crew and the boys got right to boy business; throwing dirt clods. I'm so excited to 
know there will be playmates for my little ones.

Since my Dad and my brother Austin are doing 90% of the work, it will likely take 6 months
to complete the home- but we're in no rush :) For now I've been spending a lot of time 
scouring our local KSL classifieds and Lance and I have some projects to start working on-
more on that in a later post!