Wednesday, December 31, 2014


Like I've said before, I can remember years, not so long ago, when I thought that my life would never get better. I felt lonely and depressed and didn't have a lot of faith that things would get better. I wasn't living my life, I just existed. I was unhappy and had no hopes and dreams of my future. But here I am, 28 years old, married to my best friend and mother to 2 beautiful and healthy children, and I just had the BEST year of my life. And to be honest, I truly think that every year coming is only going to get better than the last. I think that's how I know I'm happy.

Your needs and wants change every year. Life changes every year. I am at the point in my life now, a point that I haven't always been at in the past, where I am realizing and recognizing my blessings and this is leading me to have a much better and happier life. This past year was not perfect. There were definitely struggles and challenges, but I can recognize how much I was blessed this year and look past all those negative aspects.

But really, my year was seriously A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!!! Let's review shall we...

I started off 2014 with the flu. I lost 10 pounds in 3 days, but besides that it was a pretty rotten experience. I'm so glad that wasn't a sign of what was to come in 2014. Aniston turned 18 months old and went to nursery for the first time. She was so independent and did amazing! It was our first experience with sending her off into the real world, and it excelled our expectations! Spencer and I were and are so proud of her! I also turned 28... that means next month I turn 29!!! What!?!?! Am I really about to enter the last year of my 20's? I still feel 18! Time flies as you get older!

 In February we celebrated Groundhog's day, because it's a real holiday and all the cool kids seriously celebrate Groundhog's Day. I spent my 10th Valentine's day with Taco Bell. I don't celebrate Valentine's day, and for the past 10 years I have used it as an excuse to eat Taco Bell. I was lucky to even find a Taco Bell because I happened to be in Atlanta at the time. I visited the Coca Cola museum in Atlanta while I was there during a crazy storm that shut down most of the city. But nothing was better than coming home to my sweet little family after a week apart from each other.

March was so exciting that the only interesting thing that happened was that Aniston went to the dentist for the first time. Life as a parent...

 In April we announced that we were expecting a new addition to the family! Best. News. Ever!

In May I celebrated my 3rd Mother's Day. My last Mother's Day with only one child! My little brother Jake, aka Lord Kenneth, graduated from High School. It's crazy to think that he will be leaving us in April to spend two years as a missionary in Ireland/Scotland. We also moved into a real house as opposed to a tiny apartment and Spencer and I bought our first car together.

In June we found out that we were expecting a BOY! Best Father's Day present for Spencer. We rediscovered and became obsessed with disc golf. Seriously, our summer became consumed with disc golf tournaments and free play. Aniston also started swimming lessons! We quickly learned that Ani was quite the water baby!

In July we celebrated the 4th of July, my favorite holiday, and Aniston turned 2! Seriously, I cannot believe my little girl was 2 already! She celebrated with a Minnie Mouse birthday party of course and was blessed to have friends and family there to celebrate with her. We continued to spend crazy amounts of time at the pool and we celebrated Spencer's 28th birthday.

In August I graduated with my master's degree in Sports Management with a certificate in Athletic Administration. Huge accomplishment for a girl who only went to college to get married. Remember how that back fired and I actually graduated with my undergrad unmarried? We visited Utah, played disc golf of course and I was finally reunited with my best friend Gilbert! Aniston and I also spent 2 weeks to ourselves while Spencer worked in Utah on the new Provo Temple.

In September, Spencer and I celebrated 3 years of marriage! Let's be honest, it feels like much longer, but in the best way possible. We made a trip to Jackson Hole to celebrate mourn the end of summer. Aniston continued her obsession with her unborn brother and loved going to doctor's appointments with me so that she could listen to brother's heartbeat. I also started an in home preschool for Aniston because she begged me to go to school. Huge success!

In October we got a free pet turtle who we named Humperdink. Spencer and I made the most of our last month before baby came, and hit up the straw maze together. We had a gorgeous fall and we spent as much time as possible outside in the leaves. I continued my tradtion of making Aniston's Halloween costumes and I made her dreams come true and dressed her as batman for Halloween.

In November, we welcomed Benson Richard into our family! Aniston is so obsessed with her baby brother. If he ever starts crying, she is quick to be by his side to sing him "Happy Kitty" from the Big Bang Theory. We were able to have my entire family in town for Thanksgiving, only two days after Benson was born. What a month of extreme blessings!

In December, I got to buy matching Christmas outfits for my two kiddos. How fun it is shopping for 2 kids instead of one? Way fun... but twice as expensive unfortunately. We took our first Christmas card photo, for a Christmas card that never made it out. Benson turned a month old, still cannot believe how fast he is growing up! We also had a crazy snowstorm that brought us more snow than we saw all year last year!

I'm not kidding when I say I tear up when I think of this past year and I just feel so overwhelmed with how blessed I truly am. We all envision our future lives when we are young. We think about our careers, family, kids, where we're going to live... but we hardly ever consider the obstacles that may occur that will hinder or distract form the things we really want or desire in life. The trick to being happy despite those trials and obstacles is to adjust. Adjust your attitude, your options and your life. It's okay to adjust things to meet your dreams and desires and goals. It's okay if things don't go exactly the way you planned, because things will never go exactly the way you plan. But you will always be able to find blessings, no matter how your life turns out, if you are willing to look hard enough. I feel blessed that this past year, I don't have to look hard to see my blessings.

Thank you 2014 for a memorable and wonderful year! Bring on 2015!
Happy New Year!!!!

Sunday, December 28, 2014

DAY 1216... SNOW DAY

We got a TON of snow here in Rexburg the past couple of days and most of it fell overnight. Aniston was super excited to go outside and play in the snow. She just stared out the window until Spencer woke up and was able to take her outside.

Spencer and I aren't really snow people, but we would do anything for that little girl and that includes going outside in crazy amounts of snow.

Obviously someone likes pink... She was so excited to wear her snow pants and her gloves. Pretty sure she would wear them around the house all day long if I would let her.

Aniston is quite the snow bunny for sure!

 Daddy threw her into the middle of the yard and she was completely content to just sit in the snow and not move. I do not understand that... at all.

 Winter is happiness for this silly girl and I love that smile!

 So much snow!!!!

Aniston thought this was hilarious to be stuck in the snow pile. So easily entertained!

Aniston also got a kick out of being thrown into the snow by her Daddy.

We are awesome parents! In our opinion, as long as our children aren't in danger and won't be getting hurt, we figure we might as well let them do what they want. It's good to experience different things and to have fun while you can right?

Spencer does an amazing job shoveling the snow... and Aniston, of course, needed to grab her shovel and help as much as she could. Not so helpful.

I spent most of my day inside with Benson. Lots of naps and cuddles.

I absolutely loved watching Aniston play outside with her Dad!

Pretty sure this is more snow than we got all winter last year, so we could be in for quite the winter. Super fun! Yay, for Rexburg and snow. (sarcasm).

Saturday, December 27, 2014

DAY 1213... One Month Old

On Christmas Day Benson turned 1 month old. Not sure why this picture has a pinkish hue... He is a boy, I promise.

Seriously, we are beyond obsessed with this little man! I cannot believe how quickly the time has passed! Our life as a family of 4 has just been and continues to be so amazing!

At 1 month old Benson loves tummy time, loves to eat, he is already up to 4oz at a feeding. He loves to sleep with the lights on, which isn't awesome. Seriously, when he wakes up to eat at night I turn on my bedside lamp and when he is done I turn it off so I can go back to sleep, but he will fuss once that light goes off. He really does sleep well though only waking up 2 or 3 times a night to eat and then he will mostly fall right back to sleep. Parenting is definitely different the second time around. I use to lie awake with Aniston making sure she was breathing. This round, I sleep like a rock every opportunity I get! Benson loves to listen to Aniston talk. Whenever he hears her voice he will turn his head to try to find her. He also loves to snuggle! This might be my favorite thing because Aniston was not a snugly baby and so I am just soaking that up! 

Benson is such an easy baby. He is so good and so calm. He really only cries when he is hungry. He is amazing!

I think my absolute favorite thing about the past month is how much Aniston loves her baby brother. Anytime he cries and we are in a different room, she runs to find us to tell us that "Baby Benson" is crying. Every morning when she wakes up she comes into our room looks at Benson and says, "He is such a cute little guy." She always wants to help and just love on him. I consider this a HUGE blessing! I hope that she will continue to want to be helpful and protect her little brother.

I have also loved watching Spencer with Benson. He has always wanted a little boy. Even though he absolutely loves Aniston, having a son is different. I can already tell that these two will be best friends and have so much fun together!

This past month has been completely and utterly exhausting, but the BEST month of my entire life. I am so happy. I remember a time in my life where I just hated every second of every day and I didn't even want to continue life because I never thought it could get better. But it did. I am blessed beyond what I ever dreamed was possible and life is so good!

Happy 1 Month Birthday Benson Richard! We sure do love you!!!

DAY 1212 - 1213... Christmas Shenanigans

I have said it before, and I will say it again. Holidays get so much better after you have kids of your own! Seeing their happiness and their excitement is way better than any gift Santa could ever bring!

We went over to my parents house on Christmas Eve to have our annual Graham Cracker House contest. This year the theme was Frozen...

Ryan built Oaken Sauna...

I built Kristoff's sled...

And Jake and Spencer teamed up and  built Elsa praying on top of the North Mountain. Not sure what that was all about to be honest. Kind of weird.

We never determined a winner.

While we were at my parents house Aniston got a phone call from Santa! 

I was hoping that this would make up for the fact that Broulim's Santa never wrote back like he promised he would. The phone call was a little too long for her to pay attention to the entire call, but she was excited and it was a fun Christmas Eve activity. I think that next year she will be the perfect age for this.

When we got home, Aniston discovered that an Elf had come and left some Christmas Eve surprises, new jammies, popcorn, drinkage and a new movie (How To Train Your Dragon 2) while we were away.

Of course Christmas Eve wouldn't be Christmas Eve without making cookies for Santa!!! Spencer ate the dough and Ani ate the finished cookies. They are the perfect team!

 Of course we had to leave a carrot for Rudolph. Aniston was very concerned about that.

Christmas Eve snuggles!!!

Spencer and I decided that we wanted Christmas to be more about Aniston this year than about us getting gifts for each other. Even though Spencer surprised me with several AMAZING gifts, Aniston had 5 times more presents than anyone else for sure. We made Christmas a little educational this year by having Aniston choose a wrapping paper for every member of the family. This made it easy for her to know who's presents were whose. She was able to pass out the presents to the correct person because she knew what wrapping paper was theirs. It was kind of fun. 

Santa did bring Ani her trampoline and Mickey Mouse Chapstick in case you were wondering. 

 Watching Aniston open presents was so entertaining! After every gift she opened she would hug it and say how much she loved it. We had to keep her focused in order to open the rest of her presents. 

 Baby's first Christmas! Best Christmas present ever!

Why do we even bother buying so many presents when Aniston is totally content with matching stripped hats with brother? Seriously, one of the sweetest moments of the morning.

We spent the rest of the day relaxing, and went out to my parents house for a yummy prime rib Christmas dinner. It's my brother's last Christmas at home for the next two years before he heads to the UK for his mission, so it was fun to be able to spend the holiday with him.

We took pictures of the kids in their Christmas church clothes a few days before and I am beyond obsessed with their cuteness!!!

It was a wonderful Christmas! It's so fun to start new traditions and to talk with Aniston about the true meaning of Christmas as well as Santa. Benson had no idea what was going on and he slept through most of everything, but what a great Christmas! Best one by far! 

Also due to the craziness of the past month, I neglected to send out a Christmas card this year and so here's our virtual Christmas Card!

I hope your Christmas was merry and bright!!! 
Merry Christmas!!!