Well, I wanted to be a prolific blogger this year, but we are half-over and here we are.. oops. Let’s blame it on this life stuff:20 weeks

We have a baby boy arriving in November! As of today I’m 20 weeks and 5 days, but I have been hesitant to tell more than family and close friends until now. I just posted the news on Facebook and Insta yesterday. In 2016 we had two back-to-back miscarriages (an early one and a second trimester one) that really has had me reluctant to share early news. But at 20 weeks, things are going great and I’m feeling good.

The first trimester was rougher than my pregnancy with Hannah, so I have been pretty sure this would be a boy, and I was actually right! We are done after two kiddos, so I feel a sense of coming family completeness, which is a very zen feeling. 🙂

I’ll probably be doing a lot of planning and preparing for all things minimalist and zero-waste baby very soon, and I’ll be posting on that most likely. I do wish those were the types of posts I’d read when preparing for our first, as those “must have baby gear” guides are typically bullshit (I now know). I’m combing through all our stash to give away all the girly goods, and keep the gender-neutral items. We will also be acquiring a good amount of hand-me-downs again, which I’ll be choosier about this time around (in a polite and responsible way of course). Happily, our cloth diaper stash is gender neutral, as is most of the non-clothing gear we have. I can still afford to pare down just a bit, which I am slowly working on.

I can’t wait to see my daughter play Big Sis. She’s already so excited, and I just know she’s going to be amazing. ♥ ♥


yellowstone pics, better late than never (?)

It’s been almost two months since our Yellowstone/Jackson Hole trip and I can’t believe I haven’t posted something about it! My new motto in life is “done is better than perfect” so I’m putting up this no-text (except this intro) post. We had a great time! Such a beautiful place. The pictures and lack of post don’t do it enough justice, but at least SOME justice. I can’t wait to go back!




IMG_1015 IMG_0997  IMG_1091 IMG_1074   IMG_1146  Continue reading “yellowstone pics, better late than never (?)”

315,532,800 seconds

weddingTen years ago, I married my BFF. It’s hard to believe it’s been a decade already. I don’t know if I’ve done any wedding-y posts (a few anniversary shoutouts, yes, but no details) so our ten year anniversary seems like a good time for a wedding story.

We dated through nearly all of high school and college. I graduated in December 2004, and we were engaged in February of 2005. The whole thing was a pretty good indication of our future relationship: One afternoon we decided to get married, and I chose my own modest ring. That’s the story we will tell our children, and while it may not seem very exciting, it’s perfect to me. There was something very feminist about making a joint engagement decision and choosing my own ring.

In a few months, with the help of our moms, we planned a low-key outdoor wedding. We chose a nice reception center that handled most everything, and we outsourced the flowers and cake to some budget-friendly local businesses. My dress was maybe $400 off the rack, and my bridesmaids dresses were cute little sundresses off a clearance rack at Macy’s. (Trust me, it’s a better alternative to custom, spendy, and usually terrible bridesmaids dresses!) No engagement party, rehearsal dinner, wedding dinner, bachelor/ bachelorette parties, open bars, etc. We’d have skipped most, if not all, of the traditional wedding stuff if we didn’t feel a bit obligated to do it for our families. We were ok with the compromise. After some quick Googling, I found out the cost of the average wedding in 2005 was $31K. I’d be shocked if we spent over $5,000 on ours and I still felt it was a little indulgent! wedding2

We did spend on hiring a good wedding photographer (I was concerned about preserving memories from the day more than anything), and I’m so glad we did. I love looking back at the photos, and as I’ve been working on Project Life I have been enjoying them again. We also tapped a talented cousin of my husband’s to take candid shots and he did not disappoint. (He also made us a cute wedding slideshow with photos of the two of us growing up and then our dating/engagement photos- SO fun. I still watch it from time to time).

Our Honeymoon was in Vegas – we road tripped it down and had some fun on our teeny-tiny budget. We came back to our teeny tiny apartment and started our lives together. ♥

5 yearsIn ten years we have had two homes we put a LOT of work into (after that teeny tiny apartment), been on lots of fun trips, raised two puppies into spastic-but-sweet fur-children, and had one beautiful little girl who makes the world brighter for both of us. I look around daily with so much gratitude for my life. I’ve worked on my education and career, and am now lucky enough to take a hiatus and be a full-time-mommy/work-from-home part-timer. While I have days I stress about work, or guilt about failing at total mommy-perfection (it happens), overall things feel really in balance. Hubby and I have both worked so hard over the years (at our jobs, fixing up our homes and yards, pinching pennies). There have been grueling times. Stressful times. But we’ve been in it together and that makes all the difference. I plan, he navigates. Weekend warriors. Team Mom and Dad. You know life’s good when you feel like high-fiving your spouse at least once a day. We are lucky. Hawaii

If I have any wisdom on achieving marital bliss, it’s mostly this: pick a good one. 🙂 And then.. live in the present. Don’t dwell in the past or wish away the present. Plan, have adventures, be spontaneous, be goofy, have fun. Make your current situation the best you can. Practice gratitude for each other, focus on the good, make memories. Keep it simple and authentic – don’t try to compete or compare to how others do it.

We are celebrating by going out to dinner when we can swing it – probably this weekend sometime. We rarely have/make time for just the two of us anymore, so I am looking forward to it!

Happy ten years to us, and many happy more to come. ♥

finished basement

It’s been a while since my last post, but it’s been chaotic around these parts. Our basement is finished! And our new tenants (/my brother-in-law’s family) has moved in. I managed to get a few pictures really quickly before they moved their stuff in, but getting it cleaned up was down to the wire! PS: husband did 99% of the work here. I am not trying to take disproportional credit.. He framed it, drywalled, did the plumbing, electrical, tiling, flooring, heat ducts… he’s that talented. I helped with the design decisions and a few little things here and there (namely keeping myself and a curious toddler out of the way). And we had two bedrooms carpeted professionally. Otherwise, it was pretty much all him!

Here’s a quick tour:

The entrance is through the walkout under the deck. Since snapping the photo Jonathan installed a light fixture. I still need to paint the door casing tan, but I did paint the door a fun eggplant purple last weekend. Also that shade garden is finally starting to fill in a little. I need to divide the hostas.. another thing to add to the summer to-do list.

Walkout basement door

When you come in the door, you walk in to the family room area. The French doors went into a room that used to look like this. It will eventually be our office/craft room. Right now it’s being used as a master bedroom. We installed Traffic Master wood laminate flooring in Hickory throughout this space and I think it looks great. It’s supposed to hold up well to kids and dogs so this will be a great test. The walls are a light grey (Behr Swiss Cream). The door you see to the left is our storage room. It’s completely crammed full of stuff, currently..

family room looking west

Looking from the other direction. The wall straight ahead will soon be a kitchenette area. It will be so nice when they’ve got a kitchen down there to use. We bought some used cabinets to refurbish. I will maybe do a separate post on that later. I have some fun ideas. But the cabinets are in the garage and totally filthy.. I haven’t worked up the nerve to begin cleaning them. Perhaps tomorrow…

family room looking east

Below is the little landing at the bottom of the stairs from the living area. The bathroom is to the left, the bedrooms straight ahead, and the staircase is to the right (to give you an idea of the layout). The bathroom is super cute! Jonathan built the cabinet, tiled the shower and flooring, and built a nice little nook for storage/laundry hampers. The flooring is tile that looks like wood and I LOVE it. The paint color is Behr Aqua Smoke (leftover from our bedroom re-paint last fall).

landing-hallwaybathroom vanity

bathroom built in shelving bathroom shower

The family living with us has three kids. The girls are sharing a room and the boy gets his own. They are roomy and have nice big closets. The carpeting is the same as our upper floor. (Phenix Lakefront in Iced Branches).

Left bedroomleft bedroom closet  right bedroom  right bedroom closet

Eventually we will be spreading out into this space ourselves and it seems hard to believe we will have so much room! It was a DIY job, so very budget-conscious, and adds a lot of value to the house. I am really pleased with how it turned out!

happy earth day!

IMG_1730Happy Earth Day, everyone! I went to my town’s Earth Day celebration last Saturday with Hannah and my parents and it was really fun. That’s Hannah and her grandpa enjoying the weather at the Ogden Nature Center for the Earth Day celebration!

Today I will be celebrating this lovely planet in a laid-back way; taking Hannah for a nature walk along the river trail, taking some photos, getting the hummingbird feeders ready, and making a yummy vegan feast (sweet potato and chick pea curry).

I may even work in an eco crafty upcycle if I find the time. I was inspired by these posts: 100 Ways to Repurpose Everything and 221 Upcycling Ideas That Will Blow Your Mind (I love a good round-up).

And since I have been thinking earth-y this week I rounded up some of my favorite ways to be eco. 🙂 Hope you think it’s fun, too.

earth day faves1. Reusable shopping bags. These are the best because there’s obviously less waste than plastic bags, but they hold WAY more stuff, so there are less bags to carry in from the car. I have been using the same set of 6 Envirosax for many years and they hold up great and are machine washable.

2. Composting. Between cooking, gardening, and feeding a toddler (who likes to throw things on the floor), I generate a lot of scraps. Hardly anything gets thrown away: it either goes to the dogs, the chicken scrap bucket (they eat all the veggie peels) or the compost bin.

3. The local library. Checking out books, music and movies at the library reduces our consumption as consumers (and saves us money). We go every week or two and Hannah gets a stack of books, I get a couple books and cds, and we rent a movie or two to watch throughout the week after Hannah’s in bed.

4. A nice recycle bin is awesome, because you can keep it conveniently in plain sight so it’s not a chore to separate and hide recyclable items. My brother-in-law built me this one for Christmas a few years back and I love it!

5. Mrs. Meyer’s (Basil) and Dr. Bronners (Almond) are my fave green products. I use them for so many things!

6. Cloth diapers. YES they are more work, but I love saving all the money and landfill space by using (mostly) cloth diapers. BumGenius are the best. We also love our toilet-mounted diaper sprayer. It makes it really easy, so it just fits into the day like it’s no big deal.

7. Gardening. It makes organic food cheap for the family, it provides exercise and therapy and fresh air for me, and it’s good for the planet.

8. is my favorite shop. I want everything. I love my Neverland crops and Earth Medallion tank and all the other things I’ve purchased from Soul-flower. It’s all eco and fair trade and great quality.

What are you doing to celebrate Earth Day?

updating our spaces (planning post #2)

I mentioned we are finishing our basement (it’s really close; I need to get some things cleaned up and take photos!). The space will actually be a temporary home to my brother-in-law and his family of 5. They are in the process of selling their home and will be building a new one (so fun/stressful!); while they are building, they will be staying with us. It will be chaotic to be sure, but I love them and I know we are going to have a blast and just enjoy being one big ol’ family for a while.

Jonathan did ALL the work himself which saved a bundle, and we definitely are going with budget-friendly options, but it still added up. It’s actually kind of perfect to have a span of time that we can’t do anything with our basement so we can recoup some money from the finishing expense. It also gives me a lot of time to plan.

I’ve been so excited to plan out the little play area we are going to incorporate into the family room. I love designing kid spaces, it turns out! Or at least I love the idea of designing them. So much less anxiety. Kid spaces can be so bright, and you don’t have to worry about perfection. Just practicality and fun. I actually feel like this is a lesson to just go with my gut on the whole house (it can all be fun).

Here’s what I’m eventually envisioning for the play area:

Playroom board

  • It WILL have a black and white (indoor/outdoor) rug. It just will.
  • I have a play kitchen my dad built me when I was a toddler (ahhhhhhh!). It’s really adorable, but needs modernized. I will figure out a way to incorporate it. I love the colors of the one above (just a cheapie from Amazon, but good paint inspiration).
  • Chalkboard. Either painted directly on the wall or a big framed-in version mounted to the wall.
  • Cute storage. I’ll probably just spray paint some big baskets or paint a cheap crate or two. I like the mustard yellow.
  • Bright bunting or something else I can DIY to liven up the corner.
  • Not pictured, but I want a cute little reading chair as well (or maybe just a pile of bright floor cushions). There will already be a large bookcase in this corner, the bottom two shelves or so will be dedicated to kid toy bins and books.
  • The play area will be right outside what will be the office/craft room. Hannah will get a little art desk area in there as well (where I can supervise the messes).

Hope to post an actual basement progress post soon!

welcoming spring. daily routines.

ONC viewEven after what’s been a really mild Utah winter, I’m anxious for springtime. I love summer and fall, but I still think spring is my favorite because the winters just drag on for me. By February I’ve had *just* about all I can take, and then suddenly and mercifully there are signs of spring and I snap out of my funk. I love the chilly-but-sunny days, the beginnings of gardening, and feeling like I can once again be a part of nature. Hannah and I have been enjoying daily walks. She loves to look at animals, and our neighborhood is smack in the middle of farm country, so there are nearby horses, chickens and cows to visit. We also just got a family membership to our local nature center (ONC), which is definitely going to be a weekly adventure. We went last week and Hannah LOVED it! And so did I. Even though things are only *just* greening up here and there, it was still beautiful and peaceful. Insta ONCAs Hannah gets older it will be so fun to take her to the nature center for the kids camps and crafty events, but for now we just enjoyed wandering the trails and seeing the birds and deer.

ONC pathAround the house, I’m switching up the baby-proof surfaces with some spring-time touches. I finally got the mantel stained, and put out some random spring-y objects I could find around the house. Plants, flowers, butterflies and birds are kind of a theme around the place right now. I’ve also been able to have the windows open for part of the day. Fresh air and natural light makes such a difference to my mood.

Spring mantel

I got a couple new pillow covers at IKEA – I love the biology textbook-style birds and bugs. (I’ve had the green pillow for years).Spring pillowsAnd the IKEA Varde shelf got a little switchup from the pink-and-red Valentine’s Day decor to some green {and my eating’s been greening up with more vegan recipes in the mix}.

Spring ShelfMy stack of reading reflects the season quite a bit, too. Some gardening magazines of course, and two new books I really recommend. Mindfulness and the Natural World is just one woman’s philosophical view of nature from a “you aren’t in nature, you are nature” kind of standpoint and I am really enjoying it. And mindfulness is the other theme right now, because I’m also enjoying implementing a daily yoga practice (only about 15 minutes during Hannah’s nap time, but it’s really helping me feel better); I really like the book OM Yoga: A Guide to Daily Practice. There is a short practice for each day of the week, and they are challenging enough for me that I am getting something out of just the short stints. Getting back into yoga has been so long overdue! I used to think to do yoga I had to go to a studio for a class or at least follow a video in its entirety. Silly right? The idea that it’s something you can do anywhere at any time, for any length of time is so freeing!

Spring readingIt’s not much, but adding a few routines to my day (a walk, some yoga, and a bit of inspiring reading) has been good for my soul and my sanity and I’m feeling like myself again! Seed-starting is on my to-do list this next week, and I am vowing to get some time outside in the garden just to start cleaning it up and prepping the beds with compost. What’s everyone else got planned for spring?

hannah is one!.. & we just might survive this.

Hannah birthday 1Hannah is one! Last week we enjoyed her big day. No offense to those very energetic moms out there who go all-out for a first birthday, but I am not one of them. It was a low-key day. Hannah enjoyed opening her gifts from her dad and I (a couple books), and in the evening our family all came over to celebrate. She got to eat a little pizza and downed an entire cupcake! She was spoiled with a boatload of books, some cute clothes and a few toys picked out by her cousins. She was wired until 9pm! So while we tried to keep her schedule and healthy meals as normal as possible, she did get a free pass for her birthday party.

I don’t know about other moms out there, but a one-year-old birthday was kind of a personal milestone! We survived the first year! I was so scared of the actual birth. Petrified! And it happened in a blur, and then there were weeks of learning how to care for a newborn, and the postpartum healing and the pain and emotion that comes with nursing. The hormonal swings and the EXHAUSTION from the PURPLE Crying. Going back to work for a little while, but deciding to quit my job to stay home (working part time, mostly from home). Postpartum joint pain (I still have it) coupled with being chronically tired, so I feel like this year aged me about thirty. Washing all those diapers and carrying her around in that sling and all those drives around town and walks around the neighborhood desperate for her to nap. We survived it and came out the other side smiling and eating cake. Somehow that is kind of amazing!

I wish the year hadn’t gone by so quickly. All the little and big moments. Rolling over and sitting up and crawling. Her first holidays and road trips and meeting her/our family and friends. The smiles and the giggles and the funny babbling and expressions. Having a little buddy with me everywhere I go. Seeing everything from the perspective of showing it to Hannah for the first time. I love teaching her about things in the world. And she’s 1 now. It’s like a whole new set of milestones to look forward to just rolled out, but this time around we kind of know what we are doing. Or at least we are getting good at figuring it out as we go.Hannah high chair

I’ve actually had people ask me if I (/we) regret waiting so long to start a family. It’s a weird question to me (for many reasons) in part because I feel like we were a family before Hannah came along, just a different kind (proud dog-mom here!). But I suppose people around here (Utah) are curious because they’ve, for the most part, started much younger. Also, J and I were married for 9 years when Hannah was born, which really is quite a long time to be married without kids. There’s a dynamic shift for SURE once a baby comes along. And it’s true that there are great things about waiting and some more challenging things about being in your 30s/ after many years of marriage when you have kids. So I thought I would write a little about my experience waiting until I was 30 to get pregnant, in case it helps someone with their family planning decisions.

Disclaimers: 1) There are lots of medical issues like fertility difficulties, which I am not going to address here. We fortunately did not experience that. This is simply my (/our) personal experience so far. 2) I realize that 30 is NOT OLD by any standard, including child-bearing! Women have perfectly healthy pregnancies later in life than I did.

J and I wereHannah is 1 married 8 years before we got pregnant, which is a good deal of time to do things like improve our home(s), move a couple times, finish my advanced degree, go on some vacations, and save money. These, in my opinion, are all PROs in the waiting-to-have-kids department. I do not at all regret all of the things we got to do in our first years of marriage, as just a couple with two incomes. We walked that line between playing and being responsible really well… simultaneously having fun while getting our financial ducks in a row. If anything I wish we’d pinched pennies a *little* more because if I could have the cash back from all those Whole Foods trips and Starbucks runs I could clothe Hannah until she’s in first grade. But alas, we didn’t have many worries and still were able to save up.

Obviously another benefit to waiting is the maturity and understanding of the world that comes from living in it for a while. Looking back to 10 (or even 5) years ago, I was (blissfully) unaware of things like factory farming, pesticides in our food, chemicals in our household products, the peril of our landfills, etc.. all of which now affect the daily decisions I make for raising a baby. I don’t judge moms for making different decisions with how they feed or diaper their own babies, but I feel like it’s important to make little decisions that I feel good about in my own household.

Finally, a fringe benefit I didn’t expect from waiting to have a baby is that family and friends who’ve already done the baby years were so generous with passing on hand-me-down clothes, toys, gear, and plenty of advice (that last one.. take how you see fit). It’s been invaluable to know people who’ve been such good examples as parents. It’s saved us a bundle to inherit gently-loved baby gear. And when you’ve been in the workforce for a while your friends are a much older and financially-better off pool of gift-givers than you had when your were 20. Again – this I didn’t expect but we were truly HOOKED UP by our family and friends before Hannah even arrived. I feel so lucky for that!

So, while I don’t regret waiting in the slightest, J and I say all the time that we don’t really know why we waited quite so long. We admittedly were scared of the idea of messing with a good thing, and time did sort of slip by, and before we knew it, it seemed like it had to be now or never. And then we did it, and it’s been amazing. It’s been such an adventure and I can’t imagine life without our little girl.

I can’t believe my last post was 6 months ago. Wow! I actually have plans to once again resume being a more regular blogger, now that Hannah’s older and plays independently a lot, AND has the nap thing down (knock on wood). That means there’s room in life now for a little bit beyond nursing and diaper changes. Not that I’m complaining, but those things aren’t really interesting enough to blog about even if I could muster up the energy. I like to think this next year I will have some energy back and feel a little like sharing again. I do miss it! But, no regrets for this first year. It was amazing. ❤

6 months!

Hannah turned 6 months old on Saturday. I can’t believe it! Time goes so quickly.

10565234_10204729337020160_8680926049986267904_nWeight: ~14lbs

Eyes: Definitely blue!

Hair color: Honey blonde

Nicknames: Hannie, Han, Bug, Munchkin, Banana

Milestones: making “B” and “D” sounds in addition to lots of vowels, giggles and shrieks; rolling over; sitting up (a little wobbly still); and looking like crawling is imminent!

Eats: Still breastfed and has tried peas, green beans, zucchini, and peaches. (Making purees with the Baby Bullet!)

Sleeps: In her crib at night but still wakes every 2-3 hours. Naps best in sling or car seat. Girl likes to be in motion!

Loves: The dogs.. she’s obsessed with them; being outside; being read to; her Dad’s beard; her bouncer.

Hates: Nap time!

Favorite Toy: Silicone muffin cups! And her Sophie the Giraffe.

Happy half-year little bug. We love you so much.