Monday, August 31, 2015

Monday Munchies... Kabobs

This is my go to meal when I want to eat healthy and am craving pasta that I know I shouldn't have. These kabobs always hit the spot and taste AMAZING!

1lb of Shrimp
4 Chicken Breasts
1 package of Turkey Bacon
1/2 White Onion
1 Red Pepper
1 Green Pepper
1 can of Pineapple Chunks
1 bottle of Lowry's Herb and Garlic Marinade
Sometimes we add steak if we are feeling crazy!

1. Peel uncooked shrimp and place them in a bowl with the entire bottle of Lowry's Marinade. Marinade for 1-4 hours in fridge. This marinade is seriously amazing!!!!
2. Turn on BBQ.

3. Cut up both peppers and onion into 1/2-1 inch pieces.

4. Cut chicken into bite sized pieces.

5. Cut turkey bacon horizontally.

6. Place food onto skewers. We bought ours here. We were tried of tiny bits of wood ending up in our mouths from the cheap wooden skewer sticks we bought from Walmart, so we got serious.

7. Place on grill and cook until shrimp and chicken are cooked through.


Sometimes we just don't even make sides to accompany these kabobs, but they do taste amazing with some garlic mashed potatoes!

Cleans up easily and tastes fantastic!

Sunday, August 30, 2015

DAY 1456... Everything Happens For a Reason

I have always been a firm believer that everything happens for a reason.

I have come to see that the moments in my life when I was the most confused and hurt and the times when things are the most sucky and when at the time, nothing really made sense and I couldn't understand why these things were happening, those are the moments that shaped my life and taught me or prepared me for my future.

Those moments have made me who I am and gave me this blessing that I call life.

Sorry for sharing this picture again, but it is my all time favorite picture of my family. Never thought I would say that about a picture taken 2 and 1/2 hours after I had given birth, but I love it! This picture makes me so happy! Happier than I ever knew a picture could!

In 1998, when I was 12, my parents told us that we would be moving to Redmond, OR.

Worst. News. Ever!

I was so upset that they were asking me to leave my friends and my school, the boy I was crushing on and everything I knew in Washington, to move to this new place.

To make things worse, they were asking me to move in the middle of 6th grade!

My new school was a middle school and I would have a locker and switch classrooms for different classes, and that was scary! At my school in Washington the 6th graders were the top dogs in the elementary school and we stayed in the same classroom all day long. There were so many other changes happening in my life at this time (you know... hormonally speaking) and I just couldn't get past the idea of leaving everything that was comfortable and everything that I knew to go to a strange new place where I knew absolutely nobody.

I cried the entire 7 hour drive from Deer Park, WA to Redmond, OR.
I specifically remember the moment we crossed the border.
That was the moment I cried the hardest.

But when I look back on that move now, the friendships that I made in Oregon, are the friendships that I still have today and the ones that have gotten me through some really tough stuff in my life. They are the friends who reach out to me when I think that I have been forgotten and the ones who lift me up almost daily. They are my strongest friendships and the ones I cherish the most.

These are the friends that I really need in my life, and because I was forced to move at one of the most vulnerable times in my life, I have them.

In 2006, my parents began fostering two of my cousins children. They were developmentally behind and each had 12 fingers and 12 toes.

They were beautiful.
I'm sure they still are.

My family altered our lives significantly in order to foster these children and we knew that someday we would adopt them and that they would become part of our eternal family.

They were already a part of our family. They were there at my sisters wedding, they joined us for holidays and we loved them.

After a year of fostering, my parents began the adoption process.

I moved to Provo, UT shortly before the process began.

I remember I was standing in my dining room when I got the phone call.

The phone call informing me that due to a misunderstanding between the state of Idaho and the state of Washington, we would not be able to adopt these children.

Within a week, they were gone.
I was able to drive home the day before they left to see them and to say goodbye.
You can tell... I was crying.

I cried for a really long time.
It was the worst drive home.

My heart was truly broken.

But now I can look back and see that because they came to live with us, they were able to catch up emotionally and developmentally (my Mom is awesome), they were able to have their extra fingers and toes removed because we lived close to an amazing children's hospital, and they taught me more about unconditional love than anything else had up to that point in my life. They truly prepared me for parenthood.

In 2008, when I was 22, I started dating a guy who lived in Utah. At the time I lived in Idaho. We would make the weekend drive of 250 miles to see each other at least once a month, if not more.

In January 2009, I got a job in Utah and moved south.

It was fantastic.
I am definitely not cut out for long distance relationships.

Everything was perfect.

Or so I thought.

In September of 2009, shortly after I threw him an amazing surprise birthday party, after we had picked out the ring, and after he had asked my Dad if he could marry me, I found out that for the past year of our relationship, so for basically the entire time, he had been sleeping with a girl in our ward. A girl who he had known forever, and a girl who I did not get along with.

Now I know why I never got a good vibe from her.

Kind of a big deal in the Mormon community.

So not cool in any community.

Once again, my heart was broken into a thousand pieces.

It was a really rough time in my life. I already struggled with self esteem and confidence and this did not help that in any way.

Cheating blows.

Don't EVER do it!

When I look back now, I can see that I was suppose to be in Utah and he was the person who brought me there. If I had never moved to Utah, had the job I had, (the only reason I stayed in Utah was because I loved my job) and had the relationships that I had had, I never would have met Spencer. This is definitely one situation where I can look back now and I'm really fine with the situation, because of where it led me and I can truly see how much better my life is.

In 2011 I graduated from BYU-Idaho without being married. I would joke with this about people claiming that I beat the odds, when really I couldn't have been more depressed about the situation. I was constantly being asked why I was still single at 25, and I was constantly being asked, "What's wrong with you?" That was my favorite question.

I felt forgotten by my Heavenly Father and like maybe there was something wrong with me.

But little did I know that within 5 months I would be married to the man of my dreams and happier than I ever could imagine. I can look back now and see that even though I compared myself to all my friends who were my age and married and who had children, I wasn't ready to get married until I was older. I needed to learn patience and how to be less selfish.

Don't get me wrong here... I have plenty of moments where I am still waiting to understand why they happened, or what the point was.

And maybe I will never know.

That upsets me a little because I really want to know why certain things in my life have occurred, because I just don't get it.

Some of these things are really deep and really scary and some of these things I've never told anyone, besides my amazing husband, about because of the hurt and pain and damage they still cause today.

Recently, something happened to a friend, a friend that I look up to and admire so much, that I don't understand and cannot see a reason for.
I just cannot seem to get over it.
I'm not going to go into the story at all because it's not my story.

But I once again find myself heartbroken and confused.

The past 6 days for me has been rough because I feel helpless.

I feel like all my problems and worries are ridiculous.

I feel selfish.

I feel foolish.

I feel sad.

I have cried a lot.

I know deep in my heart that everything does happen for a reason, but I wish that I could stop some things in life from happening. I wish that I had a Tim Gunn save, like on Project Runway, and that I could reverse something that has happened to someone else.

I would reverse this moment in life for my friend.

I wish I had all the answers and that I could effectively and appropriately (I am that person who laughs at funerals) express my feeling at this time.

But I can't.

The only thing I can do is pray.
A lot.

Everything happens for a reason, this I know. But sometimes I wish we didn't have to wait so long to see the benefit that the hardest struggles in our life provide for our future.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Family Fun Friday... Rexburg Rapids

Rexburg, in my opinion, had the chance to do something amazing by putting in a community pool, several years ago, since there are none in this town, except at the university and that water is freezing! Like so cold that the one time I took Aniston there it took 3 hours for her lips to change from purple back to pink.

Rexburg screwed it up.

They built an outdoor water park (not the kind of water park that I grew up with mind you) that is usable for about 3 months out of the year. And let's be honest, that's only if we're lucky. Rexburg is insanely windy and doesn't always have lasting summer weather.

Honestly I would enclose it and make it usable year round. I think that is a good idea. Yes, that costs money, but come on Rexburg, sometimes you have to spend money to make money. Honestly, they probably should build a football field for their high school first since they don't have one (weird right?), but the priorities seem a little silly here sometimes so yeah....

Last year Aniston took swimming lessons at Rexburg Rapids. She didn't learn to swim because they didn't teach them how to swim, but she did have a blast! Every time we drive by she says, "Hi, swimming lessons!"

We hadn't hit up Rexburg Rapids yet this summer because it was always so crowded every time we drove by and the weather hasn't been amazing.

We decided to go this week once school had started in hopes that it wouldn't be crowded.

We picked an overcast, slightly windy but still warm afternoon.

Still. Crowded.

Do that many people home school their kids?

Does every school in the area have different start dates?

Oh well.

Aniston had a BLAST and Benson really enjoyed the water as well.

The water was the perfect temperature and Spencer only had to glare at a few silly kids to make them stop splashing my 9 month old. Win-win right?

I love that they allow you to bring in outside food. This made it perfect for a little picnic. And by picnic I mean we went to the store grabbed some sushi (Broulims does have AMAZING sushi) and crackers and a lunchable for Ani and called it good.

Aniston's favorite part of the day was sliding down the slides. Last year she was too scared to go down them, but this year she did great! It was definitely something that made this year a little more special.

We really did have a fun time as a family.

You know, everything becomes a little bit more difficult when you have kids, but the memories are definitely a thousand times better!

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

DAY 1451... 3 Months to Go!!!

Pregnancy, for humans, last for 9 months.

It's not always the best thing in the world. It's really hard to surrender your body to someone else. You just never completely feel like yourself.

Obviously my pregnancy with Benson was a thousand times better than my pregnancy with Aniston.

Hyperemesis BLOWS!

Today I celebrate my baby's 9 month birthday!

It's strange and hard to believe that he has been on the outside just as long as he was in the inside.

It's really not fair how slow times goes when you're pregnant compared to how fast it goes once they're born.

Not. Fair. At. All.

Benson is the BEST!

He now says "dada" and "yay".

He isn't crawling yet, but he rolls and scoots around like a boss. He has absolutely no issue getting where he wants to go.

Sometimes he gets stuck.

He reaches for everything.

This kid has insane back flexibility.

He is all boy.

Very destructive.

Always grunting.

He is finally getting taller. 
He has always been short and fat, so I am appreciating his growth spurt.

He has a tooth on the bottom that is finally poking through.

And he is always surprising us! 

Sometimes, it's not the best surprise.

He is such a blessing and such a sweet little man! 

I'm so excited to see who he becomes!

On a side note...
How do you not compare your children? Ani was crawling by this age, and I am finding it difficult to not think that there's something going on because he's not crawling. I know that every kid is different, but I still can't help but to think that there is something going on, even though I know he's totally fine.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Monday Munchies... Hawaiian Chicken Salad

Do you ever just watch Keeping Up With The Kardashian's reruns and just crave a salad, because that's all they seem to eat?

Just me? 

This recipe is something my sister made for us once and we fell in love! 

The flavors are amazing and the taste is so on point.

Seriously, there's nothing better in the hot summertime than a good refreshing salad.

1 package of Canadian Bacon
3 Chicken Breasts
Teriyaki Sauce
Cherry Tomatoes
Shredded Cheddar Cheese

1. Cut uncooked chicken into bite sized pieces and marinade in teriyaki sauce in the fridge for 4 hours.

2. After the chicken is done marinading, cook on stove.

3. Cook pineapple in separate pan with some juice.

4. Remove pineapple when it has started to brown.

5. Cook Canadian bacon in pineapple juice in the some pan you cooked the pineapple until browned.

6. Cut cherry tomatoes into two pieces.

7. Layer lettuce, chicken, cheese, tomatoes, Canadian bacon and pineapple.

8. Top with croutons and ranch.


We love this salad and hope you do too!

Also why do we call anything with Canadian Bacon and Pineapple Hawaiian? I lived in Hawaii for 2 years and I never once ate Canadian Bacon unless I went to Pizza Hut.

I think that's strange.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Family Fun Friday... Ririe Reservoir

Summer has just flown by! We haven't even done half the things on my summer to do list! Let's just say the next couple of week are gonna be pretty busy.

Over the weekend, my parents invited us to go to Ririe Reservoir with them. Not to go swimming or boating, but to picnic and to go fishing. 

Aniston was so excited!

One of her favorite gifts that she received for her birthday was her Mickey Mouse fishing rod. Yes. My 3 year old calls it a fishing rod, not a fishing pole. 

We had a FANTASTIC time!

We are in trouble my friends. This boy is now moving and shaking and gets what he wants to get. Chips included. (Don't worry... we didn't let him eat any chips).

Benson was so excited to be outside. He didn't cry once the entire night! He is such a little blessing!

I was worried that Aniston wasn't going to love her life jacket, but I knew that there was no way in the world that she was getting on a boat without one on. She surprised me though. She LOVED it! Never even complained once.

That saggy bum though...

She practiced reeling in her fish for a good 15-20 minutes before they actually got on the boat.

These two. Spencer didn't even care if he didn't get to fish. All he wanted was to fish with Aniston. He really wanted her to have an amazing time. What a great Dad!

Let's be honest... All I could think about as they were floating away was, Titanic!!! This is the same reason that I have never been on a cruise and may never go on a cruise. Boats sink sometimes. I prayed the entire 2 hours that they were out on that lake for their safety. Spoiler Alert... Heavenly Father answered my prayer.

Ryan kept busy reading some H.P. (Harry Potter) while we waited for our fishermen/fisherchild.

Give this little man a water bottle and you will keep him happy for hours.

We are so blessed to live so close to my parents! I am so glad that they know their Nana and their Papa and I just love how much they love them!

While we were waiting, we took Benson down to the water. He was completely mesmerized by the tiny waves.

Those eyes...

Uncle Ryan is the BEST!

After two hours, we saw them coming into the dock. Then we noticed that Spencer was rowing the boat. We figured the engine had died. Nope. Just my studly husband wanting to row the boat to get exercise. What a hunk!

Ani was a little upset that Mom forgot her swimming suit. This is her, "I'm totally gonna jump in the second you look away Mom," look.

My Dad was the only one who caught a fish, but Aniston was really excited about it!

I have no memory of taking this picture, nor do I understand what is going on. Apparently my Dad is really proud of his fish and hungry.

This was a fantastic adventure with my little family! I am so glad that Aniston finally got to go fishing and that she had so much fun doing it. Notice that she has definitely been wearing her life jacket almost the entire night.