11 Months

In one more month I will have a one year old baby. It's kind of breaking my heart how fast she's growing up, but at the same time, I'm not totally crazy about the baby stage, so I'm loving her getting older and more independent. Babies are hard. The older Kennedy gets the more she becomes a friend and I can't wait to share that with Brynlie as well. 

At 11 months she:

• Has 3 teeth. Yes my friends, THREE! She's already 7 months ahead of her sister in that department. Kennedy only had 2 teeth until she was 18 months old.

• Loves to eat. She prefers regular food over a bottle but we've been mixing formula and milk to make sure she's getting all the nutrients she needs. 

• Standing on her own. It's been her latest trick actually and she gets so proud of herself when she lets go and just hangs out like a big kid. 

• Cruising along furniture and walls. She's getting really fast at this. 

• She's in Kennedy's 12-18 month clothes which is seriously insane to me. Brynlie isn't a huge baby but she's a lot bigger than Kennedy was at this age. 

• Cute, bubbly, barely any hair, loves to laugh, protests when anything isn't the way she likes it, and keeps us laughing and on our toes every day. She's going to be fun to watch get older and start talking. 


Salt Lake City Half Marathon

For 6 years now I have wanted to participate in the Salt Lake Half Marathon. I remember going to watch my sister-in-law run it in 2009 (I think that's when it was...) and she finished about the same time the marathoners finished. Watching those elite athletes cross the finish line, and feeling the excitement and energy of the crowd, I knew I wanted to be a part of it, even if I hated running at the time. I eased into the sport and the rest is history! 

So why 6 long years? 

Between sickness, lack of registration money, and having babies, I haven't been able to do it until this year. I was a little nervous because I knew the course was more challenging than any other races I've done, but I sucked it up and forced myself to train on hilly routes. In the process I have learned to not hate hills so much and have built running strength I've never had before. 

But let's back up a little bit....

Remember the disastrous half marathon I did while pregnant with Brynlie? The one that left me hyperventilating in tears and pain? The one where I was waiting for the next aid station so I could quit until my mom talked me into finishing? The one that left me in horrific pain my entire pregnancy? 

I'm not really being dramatic or joking when I say I think that race caused a little traumatic damage to my brain. It ruined running for me. I was scared to death to race again for the fear of that happening again. Each painful run I tried to take after having Brynlie only made it worse. I have never experienced pain that severe before (during that race) and I didn't think the remaining ligament pain was ever going to go away. 

Thankfully with time and lots of strength training, I've been able to overcome the ligament issue for the most part. Occasionally it hurts but overall things feel back to normal. I've felt like I've had a vendetta against running that needed to be cured. I needed to find my love and drive for it again. 

I set some fitness goals for this year just for myself. I want to prove to my body that it is capable of doing anything and overcoming difficulties. I can say those goals have made my mental strength rock solid! 

I registered for Salt Lake almost 6 months ago. I trained. I ran. I learned how to push farther when my mind told me to quit. I felt ready to eat the course up and spit it back out again. I've never been a fast runner, so I didn't have a goal time in mind. I just wanted to do my best and finish strong. The main reason for being drawn to this particular race was the chance to run along side marathoners for the first 9 miles and for the experience. It's Salt Lake's official race, and I feel like as a Utah native, it's kind of required at some point. 

I was feeling pumped and ready to take it on when the Tuesday before race day I started getting sick. I freaked out! I immediately started pumping my body full of vitamins and teas and any and all kinds of home remedies people swear by to try and kick it. I also had Cory give me a blessing. But I never got better. Instead I got worse. My throat hurt and ached like crazy and I had a bad cough and the usual sick-exhaustion. Normally with respiratory illness I stop exercising completely. But I had waited 6 freaking years! I didn't want to wait any longer! 

Race day morning I didn't feel any better. I hadn't slept well because K had now caught my illness and was up several times coughing and crying. My voice was disappearing and it kind of hurt to talk. I said a huge prayer that I would be able to race and headed out the door at 5:15 am with my carpool. I kept repeating the phrase "mind over matter" while sipping preworkout (something I usually never take before a run but I needed all the energy I could get) and eating my breakfast. I. Could. Do. This. 

I was nervous and excited and just wanted to make it to the finish without it being a traumatic disaster. My racing moral needed this to be a good experience. The second the gun went off, I suddenly felt my lungs clear and the adrenaline rush through my veins. It was literally amazing. I kind of froze in shock for a moment and then started running.  

I started out really well and in the first mile was already tearing up because I knew I was experiencing a miracle. I felt like my sickness had been removed just for the race. I felt promptings of when to take my energy gels and shot bloks, which were not at the usual times I would have taken them. I really felt like the Holy Ghost was my running coach, telling me what my body needed before I ever realized it needed it.  

I knew miles 5-7 were gradual uphill and I had trained and prepared for that. When we approached mile 5, I felt my legs fatigue quicker than they normally do and I slowed my pace down to avoid killing myself off. Mentally this started to discourage me until I looked up and saw a familiar face! A guy I grew up with in my neighborhood and his wife were standing there along the course watching for someone else, but seeing them and waving and getting excited helped me push it to the end of the uphill. Again, another blessing. 

There's not much to talk about for the rest of the race. I walked through every water station so I could drink my water and keep my throat wet and not trigger a coughing fit. The encouragements and shouts of the volunteers helped me pick back up and keep going until the next aid station. The people who donated their time to come out and cheer us on were so touching, and there were a lot of cool drummers, screamers, and even people who used their own money to buy things to hand out to runners. One guy even had free beer shots haha. 

I got to run through iconic areas of Salt Lake City that I've always wondered what it would be like to run through. The race went by pretty quickly and my time was better than expected. Not great, but not totally terrible considering how sick I was. I got emotional at the end seeing Cory and my babies cheering me on. It was the first race I've done where I've had enough energy to sprint to the finish line, and it didn't completely wipe me out like all the other halfs I've done did. That gave me great hope for my running stamina. Especially since I was sick! 

I was so glad I was able to participate and finish it in good spirits. I am incredibly grateful that Heavenly Father blessed me to get me through it. I never coughed once the whole race. That's kind of a big deal. 

About an hour after the race my symptoms returned full force and now Kennedy and I are battling this stupid illness with hoarse voices and barking-seal coughs. She's actually coughing so hard it's making her throw up. Fun! 

Anyway, it was a fantastic race and one I will always remember. It was a really cool experience for me. 

I'm a sucker for a good race medal and these were awesome. Loved them!
Me and my friend Lisa. We finished about 3 minutes apart. 


The Not-So-Secret, Secret

As I've mentioned before we are finishing our basement. Seems a little weird when we were just renting our house to cure financial woes, no? 

Well, here's the thing about that... 

We learned many things renting our house. One of which was the vast importance of being debt-free. We also got used to paying off debt super, duper fast without a house payment to worry about and really, really liked it. 

We learned that "home" is anywhere a family can be together. 

We learned that we actually are missing things in our current home that are pretty darn important to us, we just didn't realize it until we moved somewhere else that had them. 

And... We learned that watching HGTV all day, everyday, does dangerous things... 

So we decided to sell our house. 

Yep, we are moving. Again. 

It all started a short time after we moved back home. I was so ready to be back in our house but I just kept having this weird feeling we wouldn't be staying long. I didn't want to put up any pictures or start on any projects I had been anticipating. It was weird. 

A couple of months after we moved home a house in my parents neighborhood went up for sale for cheap. Like, DIRT cheap. While it needed a lot of work, I kept entertaining the thought of having a house payment that low and fixing up a house exactly to our liking that had what we really want: a mature, shaded yard that doesn't give our kids heat stroke and isn't visible by every neighbor, a closer drive to grocery stores, a wide variety of people in a ward, anything east of the tracks, not industrial, etc. Thanks a lot, HGTV, for making home reno's look fun! I finally got up the nerve to talk to Cory about that idea. Turns out I wasn't the only one thinking it. 

To make a super long story slightly less long, we prayed and discussed the possibility of selling or house. We got a killer deal on our house when we bought it. The market has increased immensely so we had my cousin who is a realtor come give us some info and help gauge what our house is worth now. With a finished basement, it's worth a heck of a lot more than we paid for it. We didn't realize we were sitting on quite this much equity. If we sold, we would have enough equity to pay off ALL our debt, pay cash for a new family car, and still have enough to buy a fixer upper with a kick-butt yard and ideal location and renovate it to our liking. The amount of work overwhelmed us, but we couldn't get over the idea of being debt-free. That was too good to pass up. We want our student loans outta here!! We weighed the pros and cons and finally decided to take the steps to get our house listed. 

Trust me, it was not an easy decision. I love our house. The market was crazy high when we got married and I never thought we would get a house much less one this nice. I will miss our master bathroom so, so much and all the space. But it's time for a change. 

Since we are such outdoorsy people, a big, shady yard is super important to us, as I've mentioned before. I also HATE living in our area. I didn't realize how much until we were back up in normal land at my parents house. I hate the industrial area, I hate that there's no trees or shade, I hate the semis, I hate the trains, I hate the mosquitoes and voles. If you measure by mileage stores and such aren't too far away but in reality they are. It takes me 20 minutes to get to Kennedy's preschool. So... We are looking for something older and cheaper, which will mean downsizing I'm sure, that we can gut and renovate. Oh, and we are staying in the same city, or one or two cities over, depending on what we find. So we won't be far. We just won't be in BFE anymore. 

I'm actually really excited and ready to just start this adventure. After our house sells we will move back in with my parents (and pay them rent since we're putting them out) and take our time scouting for the perfect house. But we can't list it until the basement is finished which still has a little ways to go. I'm not going to give any projected timelines because if there's one thing we've learned, we suck at estimating our project times. It's usually double or triple the time we guess it'll take. Although in this case, waiting a little longer has been a blessing because the market just keeps creeping up and up. Hopefully we can sell our house for top dollar and move on to the next phase of our life. 

There are some days I get really sad. I've been working on our landscaping this week and as each new thing looks better and better, and each hopeful future idea for our house is passed up, it makes me feel like we are losing so much. But I just have to remind myself that we aren't "losing" it, we are choosing to leave it and it will all be worth it in the end. 

So, wish us luck! And if anyone has any free time, come on by and help Cory finish the basement ha ha. 


Adam's Canyon

I've been hiking since I could walk. I've always loved it and I want my kids to love it. 

But I have never in my 30 years of life owned a pair of hiking shoes. Ever. 

While we were hiking in Moab, Cory kept saying we needed to get me a pair. Um... Hello?! It's not every day a husband recommends the wife go shoe shopping! So literally the day we got home, I started shopping online for a great pair of hiking boots. 

Long story short, I found some. And I freaking love them. And I feel like now that I've got the appropriate attire, I need to do an insane amount of hiking. 

Today was gorgeous and I didn't want to waste a Saturday sitting in the house with stir crazy kids. I asked my mom if she wanted to venture on a hike with us (Cory was working on finishing the basement) and we decided to check out Adam's Canyon, a popular trail in the area that we had never tried. 

I thought we had done our research on the trail before setting off. Yeah it was a climb, blah blah blah, but we could do it. We would just go slow...

I started to get nervous when everyone passing us within the first two minutes kept making comments about having the kids with me. And while I wouldn't say the hike is horrible for kids, it's definitely not one you take a 3 year old on who insists on walking herself. It's STEEP. And it's long and rocky. But it's also gorgeous and we enjoyed it. 

We didn't make it to the waterfall at the end, so we will have to go back someday with Cory when we can either leave the kids behind or he can carry Kennedy. We took various pictures along the trail which I will share in a moment (I'm too lazy to explain each one so you get a random assortment) but it was so nice to get out and enjoy nature and keep active. Kennedy is deeply programmed to be outside, getting dirty and climbing on things. She insisted on scaling every rock she was able to physically touch and doing the whole hike herself. Well, there was a tired moment at the end where I had to carry her but overall she did really well. Today got me really excited for summer and more fun memories to be made. 



Holy crap, a year and a half is way too long for me to be away from Moab. I don't even have words for how excited we all were to get down there. For weeks leading up to the trip Kennedy kept asking me when we were going camping. She even yelled, "We're here!" as we pulled into town. Proud parenting moment.

This trip was a little different than most. For starters, we were down there during the Jeep Safari which we have missed for quite a few years. We've either ended up going just before or just after the Safari. I forgot how insanely fun and busy it is with all the Jeepers. Cory said he was getting whiplash from trying to look at all the amazing Jeeps. I have to admit, there were some sexy ones. But this was our first trip where we did zero jeeping. None. It was pretty torturous considering it was Jeep Safari. But our Jeep was having some issues and Brynlie hates riding in the car. So we figured we would wait it out another 6 months and see if she's able to go in October.

We arrived Wednesday afternoon after an intense car ride down... at least for some of us...
And made a dutch oven dinner and had a brief fire.

Thursday we headed to hike Negro Bill Canyon. I guess they're trying to change the name which is lame... but I still call it that. I really like this hike. It's not boring, the scenery is gorgeous and the arch at the end is pretty rad. It's 4.5 miles and Kennedy hiked nearly the whole thing alone and Brynlie never complained about being in the hiking pack. My kids were born for this!

Kennedy would not smile for any family pictures

Again... no smile

But then suddenly she started showing off for my mom

Lot's of water crossings on this hike.
We stopped and ate lunch at the end and Brynle got to play in the sand. She kept throwing it in the air and it landed in her hair and all over her.

We finally finished the hike in the afternoon. Some people were more worn out than others.

Friday I woke up and went for a run in the 29 degree weather. I hadn't planned for it to be that cold so I froze a little bit. But it was a great run! Then we took the short drive to Tusher Tunnel.
 Kennedy loved it! Cory thought it was pretty neat, too. He hadn't seen it before. Kennedy had tons of fun exploring in the rocks around the tunnel.
After we did some mild shopping in town and headed back to camp for some leisure time.
And tried to stay warm
Although some body parts were neglected
It was too cold to do much else that night so we cooked hot dogs in the trailers and just hung out and went to bed really early... I'm talking before 9 p.m..

Saturday we hiked to a waterfall before we left Moab with tears in our eyes...
The Jeep broke down as we were leaving, just before we got on the highway. But Cory was able to fix it quickly enough to get us home safely. I am so grateful for him and his mechanical knowledge. He's amazing.

We had such a good time. It was so hard to leave!! The whole trip Kennedy would just randomly exclaim, "I love camping!" Which always sent my heart soaring. She had so much fun running around, exploring, playing in the dirt, and hiking. It's been a while since I've seen her that happy and content for days at a time. I keep complaining to Cory (because we live in an area where people take bi-yearly Disneyland vacations and we just hope to be able to take our kids once, someday) that it doesn't seem fair that we don't get these exotic, expensive vacations like everyone else. But, I have to remember that we were raised camping and we love it dearly, and I am grateful for the opportunities we have to take our kids out and enjoy nature and help them gain a love and appreciation for it like we have. We really are creating the best memories and enjoying family time together and that's what is most important. Plus, it's cheap! :) And we will get our exotic vacations someday.

Until we meet again, Moab!

A Visit From The Brudder

For the first half of spring break, my brother and his family came to visit from Wyoming. We had 3.5 days jam-packed with fun and activities.

They got into town Saturday and we started off by visiting Owen's grave.
 Just my brother was able to come out for his services so the kids hadn't seen his grave yet. We put pinwheels and Easter eggs on his tiny grave.
Sunday we all went to church together. Cory had to work the entire time they were visiting which SUCKED. But he had the second half of the week off for Moab. So you won't see him in any of these pictures. Anyway, after church we went to Temple Square and walked around visitors centers.
My girls and I

Someone was super happy that day
It was an incredibly gorgeous day! My mom kept insisting on grand-kid pictures and we kept insisting it wouldn't work.
You can decide who was accurate on that one...

After Temple Square we went out to South Jordan to see our cousins new house and have a BBQ. We had great company and lots of food. We also put together an egg hunt for the kiddies which was fun! I didn't take any pictures because I was trying to stay off my phone. I'm bummed I missed it.

Monday we all headed to BOONDOCKS! I was so excited to go! I've only been there once before with Cory's family before I even got pregnant with Kennedy so it had been a while. Again, the picture taking was horrible!! But we rode the bumper boats, the go-carts (Kennedy was able to go on that with me and it was awesome) played in the batting cages, let the kids play in kiddie land, messed around in the arcade, and bowled! We had a fun-filled day and we were all exhausted by the end.
Waiting for the bumper boats

Kennedy bowled a 132, She beat all the adults as well and she didn't even care to watch the ball knock over the pins, she just pushed it down the track and walked away. Future prodigy? 

Bradlee is so good with the babies.

Tuesday we went up to Station Park and had lunch, did some shopping, got some frozen yogurt and enjoyed the warm weather. Afterward, my mom made us a big family dinner before Tyler and his family left and we headed to Moab the next day.

It was great to spend time with the family! It makes me sad so say goodbye because I don't know when we will get to see them again. But hopefully it won't be too long.

Preschool and Dentist

It's recommended that you take your kids in for their first dental cleaning WAAAAYYYY before we took Kennedy. However, she didn't get all her teeth until way past the recommended age, either. So we figured now was the time. 

We went to a pediatric dentist near our house that came highly recommended. The waiting area was amazing and the staff was fantastic! She refused to let them take x-Rays which instantly had me in knots that she wouldn't cooperate with anything else. The little room with all the noises freaked her out. But we skipped that part for this visit and she picked out the green chair for her cleaning, let them clean her teeth, got to play with the water sucker, (or as they call it, Mr. Thirsty) and passed with flying colors. She was even joking with them at the end. 
Kennedy is incredibly sensitive and shy so the fact that they were able to break her open in one visit was sublime. She's even excited to go back. I kind of am, too! 

Also, because it's breathtakingly adorable, I have to share Kennedys preschool picture. Brace yourselves... 

In 3..................



I was anxious to see how these turned out because she's the worst at smiling for pictures and we weren't there to try and coax a smile out of her. But when the teacher handed them to me I almost cried. Cory literally swooned when he saw them. I've never seen him react like that! It was so precious. My only complaint is that she looks so stinking big. 

10 Months Old

Our little B turned double digit months last month. I keep forgetting to keep track of these milestones so I'm going to attempt to catch up. 
Brynlie has 2 gears: super-duper happy and adorable, or a gigantic pain in the butt. Her tantrums are pretty epic for a baby and she has a scream that could curdle milk. But thankfully we get to enjoy her adorable moments as well. 

She's a super fast crawler and pulls herself up to stuff and walks a little bit along furniture. A few times she's let go of something and stood on her own but she hasn't realized she's done it. She will walk with help but isn't super pumped to try it yet. 

She's an eating machine. We still haven't gotten used to it because K rarely ate anything, and still doesn't. In fact Brynlie prefers real foods over formula and getting her to drink it has been a little difficult lately. We've tried a little bit of milk but she hated how cold it was. We will work on it. 

She has 2 teeth and we think more are on the way -- at least I'm hoping that's why she's been so hard the last couple days. 

Loves to untie my shoes. She's impressively fast at it, too. Drives me nuts.

She's a daddy's girl and loves her sister most of the time. K has a bad habit of hugging her too tight or smothering her and lately B has been fighting back or grunting in frustration. It's pretty funny. 

We recently put her in a convertible car seat so I don't have to haul the infant seat around anymore. But she still hates riding in the car. Like, HATES it. 

She's in 9-12 month size clothes, but mostly 12 month for comfort. 

Size 3 diapers. 

Not the best napper, but not awful either, and she sleeps really well at night still. 

She has so much personality. She's way social and has only disliked one person her entire life. She's generally pretty easy going unless she's sick or teething. Her laugh melts our hearts instantly and I couldn't imagine our lives without her. I'm exciting to see more of her personality shine through as she gets older and starts talking and walking.