The Sling Diaries | Transformation

For my final Sakura Bloom Sling Diaries post we went back to the spot where we shot my entry post at the end of February earlier this year.  Paityn passed out on the short drive to downtown Provo and was having the hardest time waking up once we got there. The poor girl just wanted to sleep. So I took the chance to capture Hudson's baby blues and her growing self at just a few days shy of 6 months. 

So much has changed since I put together that entry post in February.

Pregnancy dragged on and felt like it'd never end, false labor became an emotional drain that I didn't think I could handle, and then one Spring morning our little girl made her entrance into the world. We've gotten to know that chubby little one so much since then, as we spent late Spring and summer getting to know what life is like with both girls.

While we thought Paityn was an easy baby, Huddie is next level. Her soul is sweet on a realm I just can't process yet. She's gentle and patient. And while I know that doesn't make sense given how small she is, I'm realizing there's more to learn from children that I ever realized before being a mom.

As I've made the transition to being a mom to two, I've found that my soul has been making a transformation as well. I spent last Monday at the park with a few friends and one of the conversations had me admitting some of the changes that I've wanted to make lately. It just felt good to vocalize them to someone other than my husband, to release them into the universe. 

They're small changes, but they're enough against the grain that I find some part of me clinging on, resisting to follow my heart. 

Lately I've questioned if having wifi in the house made me distracted and distant mama (it does),  if it was time to cut caffeine for the millionth time to finally value my mental health (it was), and how having a blog and the biblical idea of modesty can coexist. I've pondered ways that I could get to know Landon again, and in new ways -- starting with eye contact, turning off the tv, and being a better listener.

I want to make sure that my life is as meaningful as I desire, that my days reflect who I am, and that I'm constantly checking in to see if I'm doing something for applause or because it's what feels right. 

I try to remember to question everything if I find that I've become complacent, or that life is beginning to lose the vibrancy and meaning that I've come to love. 

Rotating questions that I've had on repeat for the past 6+ years include: is this where I should be living right now, and if not, where do I need to be? What do I need to do to help let true happiness into my life? And, what positive habits have I forgotten to make time for lately? 

The answers are usually short & simple --  "yes, stay" "no, move to __" "make time for yoga" "forgive so and so" "it's time to think about baby #2" "be less self centered" and, "remember to start you day with prayer one of these years." (:

Our life is nowhere near perfect. But you already knew that, right?  Life has been incredibly difficult the past two weeks if we're being honest. But with it comes the opportunity to transform as a couple as well.

And if there's one thing I know to be true about life, is that we get as many chances to make course corrections as we need. Remember to take them. 


A HUGE thank you to the beautiful ladies at Sakura Bloom for putting together the Sling Diaries and letting my be a part of this volume the past 6 months. past entries here: ambition, laughter, community, celebration & health

Sling: C/O Sakura Bloom, the classic linen in Sencha, jeggings: AE, sweater & booties: Target.

Photos by Landon (Landon Faulkner Photography). 

Thriving in 2015: September Update

October is literally right around the corner and I couldn't be more ready. Give me all the holidays, extra calories and themed garland/printables from Etsy. 

But first, an update on progress with working on my goals for 2015 that center around the idea of thriving personally this year. 

Read a Fun Book 1x a Month

I caved and finally grabbed The Life -Changing Magic of Tidying Up. I drank the kool aid. And it didn't suck.

The size of this book made it seem like it fell under the category of books that will end up in the bargain bin by the end of the year. Along with every other "inspirational" book that didn't have enough content so it was published with smaller pages.

So not the case with this read. Suddenly I'm quietly thanking my windshield wipers in my head for doing it's job of keeping me safe while driving through a rainstorm and cleaning out my purse at the end of each day

Written by Japanese organization expert Marie Kondo, with an approach of organizing your home through only having things in your home that bring you joy, which involves a healthy detachment to material things, which felt refreshing.  One of my favorite concepts was treating everything, whether you keep it in your home or not moving forward, is that it taught you something. Maybe that you don't like denim shirts or learning Spanish from home after all. Thank the item for what it's taught you, and move on. If this is up your alley at all grab it, and then plan on a 6 month time span or less of committing to put your home in order. 

Serve In the Community For 2 Hours a Month

I've really had a hard time putting this one into action. But the one thing that has happened consistently and we're going to pretend counts is making an effort to put our names down when the list gets passed around to volunteer to clean the church. This last time Landon was out for a run, so I bundled the girls up on a chilly Saturday morning, walked over and helped dust the building. 

How do you help do service in your community? I found this list recently, which will hopefully be just what I need to branch out in the next few months.  
 

Fitness

While tracking my macros hasn't felt like what I've needed lately I have been attempting to follow the idea of intuitively eating and am just a few lbs shy of my pre-pregnancy baby weight. It's a funny thing hitting a weight loss goal. Suddenly I'm feeling free to possibly pursue other fitness avenues that I hadn't been open to before.

 

Financial

Things that are working amazingly: not having credit cards, using Mint.com to track expenses, and working towards having a set grocery/eating out budget that is pulled in cash at the beginning of each week. An added goal that I've set to this category is to make November a no spend month, making only necessary purchases. The intent of this goal will be to truly foster the idea of gratitude, not just hashtag it on November 26. I think the key to thriving when it comes to our financial health is being grateful for how far we've come, and being grateful for everything we have - material & not.

*  *  *

As this year's progressed I feel like a completely different person than when this year began and I wrote up my list of goals for 2015. My social media numbers now have no relationship to me thriving. I don't see blogging/social media as a business ambition at all anymore. Weight lifting has become a date night evening routine of time with Landon instead of being focused on hitting specific weights on lifts by the end of the year. Things have taken the backburner, while the year has passed by, and things that we need as a couple have become clear. And while I might not be posting updates on all of those changes one thing is for sure. I'll always have a little book review. 

 

 

Love Where You Live Series: Bryce Canyon National Park

Things I can't claim enough: I'm never moving away from Utah.

Our Labor Day holiday spent in Bryce Canyon National Park solidified that resolve once again. There's something about red rock that is so beautifully foreign and comforting at the same time. I'm in awe whether we're driving through or taking the time to explore.

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In an effort to live more in the moment and for the memories we took off on our road trip sans camera, stopping only to snap an iPhone pic here and there over the next 48 hours.

We narrowly escaped a thunderstorm within minutes of begining to hike in Bryce Canyon Monday afternoon.  After realizing we wouldn't have to turn around, the passing storm made me appreciate the opportunity to be out in Southern Utah that much more. Our loop included going through Queen's Garden and up through the Navajo trail and switchbacks. Paityn our little hiker was down to walk as often as we'd let her, and needed a few bribes to get in the backpack through the spots where we couldn't trust her to stay on the path.

That evening, we drove over to Escalante where we checked in to the cutest little cabin and grabbed pizza at the onsite restaurant. In the morning Paityn made a buddy next door, who we got to see again a few hours later at the reward of a 3 mile hike: Lower Calf Creek Falls, a beautiful but chilly waterfall. We played in the sand and water for the better part of an hour, which though glorious, I started to regret on the way back. Soaking up that much sun, then hiking back while carrying Hudson in the sling and running out of water wasn't an ideal combo. But once back in the car with the AC blasting and water bottles refilled, our letter games to distract me from my terrible thirst behind us, I couldn't believe how good Bryce Canyon/ the Esclante area was. 

This weekend trip came on the tail of Landon's trip to France, so to say much needed was an understatement. We came back refreshed, renewed + connected. Success.


Have you had a chance to do a Bryce Canyon weekend before? Let me know if you have any suggestions of what to do next time we're down there.

past love where you live series posts, here.

The Sling Diaries | Laughter

This is my fifth post for the Sakura Bloom Sling diaries, all on the idea of laughter. This is my first chambray sling and it's LOVE. 

This morning you woke up howling like a wolf at the moon. There's a chance you were saying "Caliouuuuuuuu." I cracked up softly not wanting to wake up Hudson who was sleeping between us.

As the day went on, I carried my phone with me fully expecting to whip it out every so often, documenting shared laughs as we experienced the day together. 

But all I did was sigh at you. 

I sighed when I saw our tomatoes flying through the air and landing on the hard kitchen tile. 

I sighed and thought swear words when I came out to the living room, where I thought you were watching the movie Brother Bear, but instead you were egging our house. 

Literally. You cracked 11 eggs from the dozen we'd just bought that morning, in 11 different spots. 

So instead of pulling out my phone to document laughs, I pulled out my phone to look up how to get raw egg out of carpet. 

I tell you I need to clean and ask you to lay down for a bit, recognizing this as something you do when you're exhausted. You tell me your eyes are happy. I tell you your eyes are tired. You don't believe me.

You don't believe me for two hours. 

I tried tucking you in, reading a book, playing mute and not talking to you, giving you playful instructions. But still, no nap. The nightgown you're changed into tells me that by now you know you're tired too. 

So I get back in bed with you, the living room picked up and text to Landon sent that our hike tonight will be put on hold in lieu of renting a carpet cleaner. 

***

A few hours later, by that evening, everything was right in the world again. We pushed all the furniture to the edges of the room and strip by strip I helped make our carpets refreshed again, while you giggled in the kitchen helping dadda make homemade bread. 

The air in our home changed to have the most peaceful and loving vibes I'd felt in a long time.  Maybe it was the contrast to the stress from the afternoon, the smell of fresh bread, or the relief of having clean carpets again. But most of all it seemed like it was because we were working together, and that life is better when we're all together. 

As the week went on I realized we don't laugh as frequently as I thought. I observe you, I watch over you, we talk, I want to know your heart, I help you and ask for your help; and sometimes during sweet genuine moments, we laugh.

And in my  heart, I know that's enough. 


If you want a interesting perspective give this a try: choose a day and document laughter. You might be surprised at what you find! I seriously would've told you that Paityn and I laugh all the time. And while our days do include laughter and lots of smiles, this experiment seemed to teach me something. And confirmed a few suspicions I already had about Mondays. So I want to keep this up on my own, and to cherish the times when we share full belly laughs. 

Ps: it'd seem wrong to not sneak in that Hudson laughed for me this week! Her hands on my thumb and pinky finger, drawing my hand over her face she laughed again and again.

Baby giggles are just the best.

Cookie Party, with the Alison Show

I have found the sugar cookie recipe. The one that makes you want to have a cookie cutter stash and bust out cookies for every holiday. Bring the stretchy pants out. I'm ready. 

I've been admiring the #alisonscookieparty hashtag on Instagram for months and months now. I LOVE a good sugar cookie. I grew up spoiled with amazing homemade cookies from my mom, who, now swears that the Betty Crocker pouch kind taste just the same. They don't.

My mom's homemade sugar cookie recipe requires letting the dough chill in the fridge overnight, which always seems so much more demanding that it really it. They were also always topped with buttercream frosting, which while tasting amazing,  I could never make them look presentable when I'd attempt on my own.

Motivated by all of the success photos on Instagram, I talked to Alison about doing a mini collab putting her cookie party online course to the test. You guys, she is the best. I'm not sure who else would think to do 6 different brilliant videos walking everyone through every step of her cookie creations, but she did, and because of them, I didn't fail as much as I thought I would going into this.

For context I tried to do the Purl Bee Felt Alphabet recently and FLOPPED. The poor felt is half cutout, and a few letters haphazardly sewn. 

Sugar cookies though, I can do.

Being in the newlywed stage of life when it comes to our bank account and kitchen supplies, making this recipe work required grabbing a few things normal people have: a rolling pin, parchment paper, powdered sugar and gel food coloring. But maybe the latter is something only party people have. So I don't feel so bad. I searched on Etsy for cookie cutters and grabbed the teepee, tree, deer and cloud. 

I don't want to go on and on about each step, but my general consensus is that I am so excited by how much it all made sense and how much less effort it took than I expected.

Seeing cookies that are the same shape when they come out of the oven as when you put them in feels good.

I relied on her e-Book while getting ready then start/stopped her baking your cookie, making royal icing and decorating with royal icing as I went along. 

Seriously the how-to videos are the best. Being able to see things like the exact consistency of icing to shoot for, technique with icing or popping air bubbles and how to easily roll out the dough saved me so much time and stress.

Things that didn't work for me:

  • The deer's head is fragile. Paityn snapped a few before I could ice them. Lesson learned-- be weary of cookie cutters that are too thin and/or toddlers in the kitchen
  • The process of mixing different colors seemed like the most time consuming. I think 4 colors was perfect, and I can see anything more than that just being overwhelming. 
  • The lack of two sticks of butter in the icing. Ok ok, so I knew this wasn't going to be a buttercream frosting going into it. So the taste overall is lighter. Side note: healthier?

I honestly had so much fun beginning the process of mastering the sugar cookie. Let me know if you have any questions of if you've picked up Alison's Cookie Party too.