The Niece

31 January 2016

Every three days, I text my brother Devin and ask for more pictures of his little girl, Camberli.  One time my brother replied with a selfie showing his recent surgery wound - a huge slit across his neck.  He had to have surgery to help with his sleep apnea.  Some work was done inside his nose, and apparently it was necessary for the doctors to slit his throat while they were at it.  My brother explained it all in a text, but I was too overcome with grief that his picture text DID NOT include Cami that I quickly insisted we move back onto a topic that was more important.  Like the girth of Cami's baby belly.

Anyway, it is now time for me to clean out my phone's memory by uploading my 1,333 photos onto my laptop, and what do you know - 900 of them are of Cami.  Okay that's not totally true.   I have also become that person who takes pictures of her food.  Because Ryan and I cook all the time, making all sorts of delicious foods, and instead of writing down the recipe, I take a picture of it for later reference.  It actually works surprisingly well.

Anyway, I have to share these photos of Cami with you guys because she has these expressive eyebrows that just slay me.  I am so obsessed with her!!  She has almond-shaped eyes like her mama Kara, and this super big and easy grin, just like Devin.  I think she is the cutest baby in all the land, and I fear that someday when I have children, I will forget about them because I will still be too busy flipping through my Cami collages.  Except, my children will probably have Ryan's lips and my freckles, and then I will become the most annoying mother on the planet by putting them in glass showcase boxes and toting them around at Costco, or whatever proud mothers do.

But, back to Cami for now.  Please bask with me:




Naughty little Cami.

Grandpa tries to put Cami's Christmas present together under the pressure of her strict oversight.  She reigns from her bumbo.
 Cami gets going on her New Year's Resolutions before the rest of us.
 Cami "crawls."

Cami is such a joy.  I've actually only met her once - that's crazy to think about.  But I will be asking for pictures of her until she is 47, because I think she is so stellar.

Upward and onward,

Happy Birthday to the world's hunkiest husband

Last night, Ryan and I went out on a hugely-anticipated date for his birthday!

His birthday was exactly 20 days prior, but don't let that reflect poorly on my knack for good wifery.  Rather, let that speak for how much I find value in the feeling of "anticipation."  I quoted that because some could argue it is not a true emotion.  It is.  Those types of people have clearly never held a full bladder for 7 hours on a roadtrip, and then finally stopped at a Chinese buffet in Oregon and felt two full glorious minutes of alleviation.  So, obviously I get the power of anticipation.  Which is why Ryan and I went out on a birthday date on the last non-Sabbath day of January to make sure we revered in a proper, long-awaited celebration!

And also, Ryan and I are both just super laid back so we could have celebrated his 32nd birthday in July and it would have been just as happy.

For birthday celebrations:

We went to Joe's Crab Shack.  Although Ryan messed up the title once and said "Joe's Shab Crack," and now every time we refer to that restaurant, the title morphs further into spoonerisms, and now I'm afraid to say anything anymore.

We went there because last year when we dating, I took Ryan to Red Lobster for his first time on his birthday, and it was so much fun!  So I suggested a new seafood restaurant this year that neither of us had tried before.  And the verdict:  Ryan loved it!  (I did too, but only the birthday people's opinions matter right now).  After spending an hour breaking open crab legs and refraining ourselves from just drinking the garlic butter, we left the restaurant extremely satisfied.  I get an insane high whenever I try a new restaurant or have any sort of new experience.  I loooove doing new things.  Also, Ryan's hands smelled like Cajun seasonings for the rest of the night, and eventually mine did too.  I liked it.
We didn't take any pictures, except for this one of Ryan standing on a chair in a Hawaiian costume, writing his name with his butt, while the servers sang him Happy Birthday.  It was supreme entertainment.

(Last year's birthday dinner).

Afterwards, we proceeded onto the movie theater to watch Star Wars.  But first, stopping on the way to get our new favorite snack food - honey mustard pretzels.  I bought them at the grocery store on a whim several weeks ago to surprise Ryan with a little snack for all his hard work on the house.  But then we ended up ripping the bag wide open and swallowing the contents whole and licking the remains like hyenas.  And now, our little movie snack.

We really enjoyed the movie.  Each time we go see a play or a movie, we talk about what we liked, and this movie, I was thrilled at how they developed the lead as a smart, quick-witted, problem solver female, and the supporting role as a sensitive, thoughtful, courageous male.  It embraced the dynamics of men and women, leaving us not so static as having just one-sided gender specific personalities.  Qualities are so interchangeable; I see that in Ryan and I. 

Ryan and I were super happy on the way home.  Love is just dripping in the air around here.  It's hard to understand how love keeps feeling more expansive when I keep thinking I've reached my capacity.  But I just keep loving Ryan more and more.  We are a good pair, alike in sooo many ways, balancing each other in other ways, and learning from each other.  I married a good man. A good, good man.  The kind who holds me in every emotion and comforts me when I'm scared or sad.  The kind who has a true and unjudging heart, accepting and patient with every person. I'm grateful every single day to have found him, and I'm insanely lucky to be in a committed and safe marriage.  I will never ever take this for granted.


Here's to many more birthdays and new experiences together.  I love you so so much.

Upward and onward,

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Hello 2016: peace be to my soul

17 January 2016

On Mara's blog, she outlined her learning curve towards slowing down and making her personal spirit more enlarged and sturdy.  I appreciated her reflections so much.  Because this is my 2016!  2016 is all about PEACE for me.  And that restful sensation is always culminated within.  Here is her learned wisdom for settling into that place inside:

  • I started making myself a priority. If I had a doctor or acupuncture appointment, I would step away and do it, leaving behind a pile of work, knowing that nothing was more important than my health. 
  • I had to let go of other "identities" that were ruling my life. i.e. being successful; being on top of things always; being a super star. The new identity was - I have love for myself and I'm going to care for myself. 
  • I exuded more self-respect for myself. Instead of, "Sure, I'll do that." It was more like, "I've got to head out at 6 pm today. So I'll jump on this first thing tomorrow."
How relevant for me!  I am such a long-term visionary person.  An investor of my time, energy, and money.  I sacrifice and sacrifice and sacrifice now so that I can have future security. Which means I'm disciplined and focused. Buuuut.  That means I forego a lot of simple and innocent impulses.  So, Heavenly Father's grand guidance for me through Ryan's blessings says phrases like "allowing myself to just do something joyful today."  So the scriptures that are like: "today eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow you die," everyone at church is like DON'T BE LIKE THAT!  And Heavenly Father is like, "um, you should actually take that into consideration once in a while."  haha!

So I'm all about strong boundary lines of self-careBecause that paces me; that keeps me enjoying the peace and beauty of today!  I always uphold my sacred morning hours everyday, where I work out, study scriptures, and meditate for 2 hours, because this is my beautiful peace time. 

And now is the time to really uphold that.  In the world of CPA's, year-end all the way through tax season is demanding.  And lately, I have felt immense trepidation towards all the work ahead of me, knowing my life will be professionally dense for a couple months.  So I am taking many proper measures to ensure that I stay as grounded and peaceful as possible.  Including -

----After I work-out every morning, I study the scriptures on our office floor (we have an office now!  my vision board is manifesting!), and that oxytocin does something to my spiritual soul because I am so alive during that time.  I have found an incredible affinity toward the book of Mormon.  Not The Book of Mormon, but just Mormon's actual little excerpt.  That man is a writer, and I am so fascinated that his writing voice is distinctly different from all the others.  And here I am praying for peace, and then I read about his sober mind while living amidst all the brutal wars of his people.  If that man can have peace during that, I can certainly radiate with internal stillness doing this busy season for me.

---I have been writing out my morning prayers every morning.  Putting my yearnings to paper feel like they are much more solid and focused pleadings to my Father in Heaven.  And boy has it done wonders.  That man has my back, and He is the soother of my soul daily.  I have noticed such a difference inside of me by asking and earnestly desiring His support above all.

---I am studying peace, meditating for peace, and have a notebook that is properly dedicated to the ascension above tension.  Every morning, I write in my journal what I'm experiencing and learning.  I'm reading The Untethered Soul right now (for the second time), and I am a firm believer in enlightened living.  This is giving me so much insight to write about.

Here's to 2016 and overflowing with peace and rest!

Upward and onward,

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First Home Truths

14 January 2016

Home repairs started out so fun.  And then there came a day when they felt endless and I wondered how adults can sustain an entire house structure when I have to focus so hard on having enough clean spoons and underwear, and I wept.  But it didn't go without Ryan and myself being covered in white spackle, and he told me how cute I was.  I was flattered, but also, I was crying.

Not a day goes by that I don't feel over-the-top for Ryan.  He knows how to do everything, and he works so hard.  Yet he holds such a quality for being steady and relaxed, even when there is a lot to do.  He's all about quality and proper respect for all people and things.  He is a provider through and through.  I adore him, and I'm grateful to be on this journey with him.  It is a joy to build a home and a permanent life together.


Upward and onward,

Happy Birthday My Dearest Love

13 January 2016


It's this guy's birthday today.  I can't believe what it has meant for my life to have this man be a part of it.  The way life has changed, how I have changed, how my perception and security of the future has changed.  He is the best person I have ever met to be a partner for me.  He is an example to me daily.  So smart and hard-working.  So funny and loving.  I am lucky and happy as can be to be married to him. 

And here is my man on his birthday.  Sacrificing his birthday to work on the house because he wants me to have a nice place to come home to.  So we will celebrate this weekend, and it will be good.

Happy Birthday, Ryan.

Upward and onward,

Honesty Box: $42

09 January 2016

On hold with our internet company.

On hold.

Oh hold.

On hold.

On hold long enough to count out every piece of coinage in our change bag.


"Hello, thank you for calling Century Link.  How may we help you?"

 Hello.  Hire more people.  And also, I'm an unhappy customer.  Put a $42 credit on our account.  

The first sunrise of the year

01 January 2016

This morning I awoke early and crawled out of bed.  I heard Ryan's sleepy voice say, "Happy New Years," as I sought to sneak out of the room and leave him undisturbed.

I made a morning health drink and stood at our big back window and observed the sunrise over the mountains.  We have such an excellent view eastward.  Then I began a hefty work-out and checked back with the sunrise every 15 minutes to see the progression.  It was breathtaking each time.  But also, I was just short on breath from working out anyways.

I thought of 2015, and how it was a year of change for me.  Needless to say, it was pretty exhausting.  But also, I feel that I'm settling down - a husband, a house - and it is very rewarding.  2015 never stopped moving for me:  a change of jobs, and then shortly after, a change in jobs again.  Overlap that with wedding planning, a wedding, and moving into a new apartment.  And then shortly after that, a home purchase, and then moving and settling into another new home.  And then quickly putting together a rental space in the basement.  Such big and important changes, all happening on top of each other or one after the other.  Oh dang, and then it was New Year's Eve and I was like: finally, I should sleep.

So, with New Year's Even celebrations usually being with high expectation and low return, we celebrated just the opposite - with low expectations and high return.  Warm white chicken chili soup, a good snuggle and a movie, and off to bed. It was well before midnight.  But we slept with solid satisfaction.  As new homeowners, Ryan and I say to each other every day, "it really feels like we have made it.  Like we are now adult."  Adult enough to start buying tools and ladders, at least.  Now, life for us can cease uprooting and shifting around so much.  Instead, we can build upon these strongholds we have - in each other and this home under our feet.  Or is it "home over our heads?"  Or is it "home four walls around, 9 ft high, with Santa chimney access?"  Idioms lose me.

We hope that 2016 brings us a lot of rest and joy through this foundation of sustained living. 

Upward and onward,

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