Blessing? Trial? Both?

God gives us what we can handle. I had heard it a thousand times in my life, but it never sank in until now. He gives us trials, hardships, and challenges to help us learn, grow, and to better ourselves. So in the beginning when things felt impossible, when I was terrified of what could possibly be wrong with our new, perfect baby, when I caught myself thinking, "why?" I can know that he gave us what we could handle. And nothing more. 

We love Lee. He is the greatest blessing and I can't imagine life without him! But sometimes I can't help thinking that if he had come just a little later, life would've been much easier. Casey was graduating, studying for the MCAT, applying for medical school, and we had to move. All of this within the first two months of having a newborn baby. Add a pretty rough c-section recovery, and a newborn baby on oxygen, and needless to say, it was a bit of a rough start. Here I am sounding like having a newborn baby is hard. HA! I knew our little Lee was a blessing, but then why did this feel like a trial?

"Know thou, my son, that all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good."
Doctrine and Covenants 122:7

It seems like whenever I feel I've reached the end, I've gone as far as I can go, and my emotional, physical, and mental tanks are empty, Heavenly Father sends me a tender mercy. I'm starting to feel like we're mostly out of the woods of his newborn stage. But what I've realized is how grateful I am for a Heavenly Father who knows us, who wants us to grow, and who is merciful enough to bless us when he knows we've hit the limit.

(Download iPhone wallpaper here.)


So we're having a baby.

^^ a few photos from my baby shower in Arizona. I've been lucky enough to overlap pregnancies with 3 of my 5 sisters! I feel so supported and blessed. ^^

I can't believe this is the first time I've posted anything about being pregnant! Actually I lied I've been avoiding this. But that's still crazy that I'm 32 weeks pregnant and haven't done any type of update. But that's because pregnancy has been really hard. Emotionally, physical and mentally! I don't know how people make this look so glamorous and easy. IT IS NOT EASY. Here's a few updates, if you care.

How do you feel? Have you been sick?

If we haven't talked since I've been pregnant, I'll give you a quick rundown on how this thing has gone. The first trimester I was sick sick sick. I was maxed out on my morning sickness pills but was still throwing up, and was living on toasted bagels and cream cheese (I was only kind of mad about this - toasted bagels are one of my favorite foods). Like most women, I was struggling to stay awake throughout the day, which made working a full time job tough. And the worst part - you can't even tell anyone about it! So I felt like a sick, lazy bum for most of the time, but nobody knew why I was being a sick, tired, lazy bum. Mentally, the first trimester was full of uncertainty, and honestly, a little bit of freaking out. Every time I would feel something new, I would panic and call my sister. Every time I threw up I called my mom and made her remind me that it was all worth it. Turns out growing a baby isn't all fun, games and cute little baby bumps. 

My second trimester I got back a little energy and the vomiting subsided. I even got to the gym a few times! However, once the third trimester came, the morning sickness was back, and with a vengeance... along with all the other pains of having a 30+ week old strapped onto your front at all times. I will say, when the kicking and moving around started, it helped. Feeling my baby move is one of the best feelings and a great blessing. Knowing he's healthy and happy in there means everything to me. 


Well, thank you! You have to tell me I look great even if you don't think so, but either way THANK YOU! Thanks for not asking if I'm not having twins, or telling me I look huge. I'm self-aware enough to know I've gained some baby weight, but also aware enough to know that for a small person, I'm just the right amount of pregnant here. I see myself in the mirror, so there's no need for you to remind me how big my belly actually is. I AM WELL AWARE. I am reminded every morning when I struggle to put on shoes. Or when I accidentally bump into people because I forget I'm 3x as wide in the belly region. Or when every day there's another shirt in my closet that won't cover my baby bump. Getting bigger (in every way) has been the hardest part of this thing for me. Every other time in my life I could look at myself in the mirror, and if I was unhappy about the state of my health or weight, I could adjust my diet and exersize to get to where I wanted to be. This time that's not the case. I had to come to terms with the fact that some people's bodies just need to gain a little, and it's okay, and it's good for the baby sometimes! It's just so hard to come to terms with mentally. But I'm healthy and so is the baby, so thanks for telling me I look good! Just don't lie to me and tell me I'm glowing, we both know that's self-tanner and some awesome highlighter I've got working for me. 

A little bit of advice if you're pregnant: GO GET MATERNITY CLOTHES. I waited until last week to get any and holy cow they are a GAME changer. I am so much more comfortable and cute. Just go. And don't be freaked out by sizing. People who size maternity clothes are idiots. I typically wear a size 4 jeans and today I'm wearing a size 14 from H&M. Just ignore sizes and get what looks good and is comfortable. Mostly just go to Target because they've got some great basics and are actually so cute. 

How's the baby?

Speaking of big baby bumps — well, I've got a big one. My baby is big. Bottom line. That's it. My ribs are bruised from him constantly kicking and stretching all day. My doctor called him "a linebacker." I can't imagine getting any bigger, but I swear this belly gets bigger by the day! Lots of old ladies tell me that if my baby is big, he'll be a good sleeper. So I'm banking on that. We're just happy he's healthy.

What's his name?

He doesn't have one yet! He's not even born yet. Plus, if I knew, do you think I'd tell you, random stranger on the internet? We've got a few favorites we like, but we'll have to wait till we see him to decide. 

Are you ready??

Well, no. We've got most of the stuff we need. A stroller, crib, diaper bag, some clothes. We still have a few essentials to pick up. Mentally and emotionally are we ready? I'd say no. It sort of feels like it's never going to happen. I think one day I'll just wake up and my life will be completely different. Every day I come to a new realization of something to worry about. One morning at 2:30 AM when I was taking one of my many nightly bathroom breaks, I had the realization that I won't be able to watch my baby 24/7 if I ever wanted to sleep. The other day I had my first pregnancy leg cramp, and after almost being brought to tears I realized that would be NOTHING compared to childbirth. 

Everyone tells us to get our and go on dates and do things you can't do when you have baby! Well, to be honest I'm just too dang tired to do just about anything these days. Casey has started preparing for graduation and life thereafter, so he's pretty tired too. So we're just enjoying the time we get to spend together, sitting on the couch, feeling our baby move, and watching a lot of basketball. I'm SO excited for our baby boy to come and I couldn't be happier. 


Perfectly Soft Gingersnaps

Okay is it just me or does anyone else feel like they get on Instagram for 2 seconds and there's about 100 giveaways and 200 more posts about fun family vacations and a million more about all the perfect holiday decorations in everyone's perfect houses? Sometimes it's made me feel like I'm not living up to all the hype. HELLO REALITY CHECK. I think we all need that every once in a while. My reality of this winter is a constant runny nose, always being tired, freezing cold drives to work, constantly on the verge of being sick, always being hungry (thank you little baby in my belly), and trying to find time to cook, bake, or squeeze in some festive celebrations with Casey, who is studying for non-stop for finals and is also totally sick.

That being said, I think I may have shot for the moon with the whole "12 Days of Making Christmas" thing. Things at work doubled up and with baby keeping me up late, making me sick, and sucking all of my energy, I just might not get to all 12. HELLO REAL LIFE. But hey, at least I completed two already! I made these delicious gingersnaps with a recipe I got from my friend Caitlin. And you'll notice in the photos, my mini felt trees! They were so easy, and they're so cute to have around the house. I'll try to give more details on how that went later. 

Anyway, I've posted about these cookies before, but now that I have better photos I thought I'd throw them up here for you guys. I mean LOOK AT THOSE SUGAR CRYSTALS. These things are so so soft and a total hit for any holiday occasion. Here's the recipe, again. Enjoy, and happy holidays!

Mom's Gingersnaps:


2 C white sugar                                                                                
1 ½ C veg oil
2 eggs
½ C molasses

4 C flour
4 t baking soda
1 t salt
3 t cinnamon
1 T ground ginger


Combine sugar and oil. Mix well. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in molasses. Combine dry ingredients separately. Add to creamed mixture gradually and mix well.

Shape into ¾ inch balls and roll in sugar. I used a cookie scoop so the sizes were uniform. Place 2 inches apart on un-greased baking sheet. Bake at 350 for 9-11 min or until cookie springs back when touched lightly. Remove to wire rack to cool.

TIP: Do NOT bake too long or they will get crispy. I baked mine for 9-10 minutes then left them on the rack for 5 minutes.


12 Days of Making Christmas

If there's one thing I love, it's making stuff. Anything from woodworking to baking gives me a more fulfilled sense of life. I often spend my weekends by myself in the kitchen or out getting supplies for my next project! The holiday season is my favorite time of year to make things. I love making treats for family and friends, and being as crafty as possible to fill my home with holiday decor.

This year I've challenged myself to make 12 things for the season. I'm calling it my 12 Days of Making Christmas list. I'll post them up here when I can, but feel free to follow along on Instagram

1. Mini felt trees
2. A wreath
3. An Advent calendar
4. A holiday word banner
5. White fabric banner
6. Garland of dehydrated fruit
7. A holiday sign
8. Gifts for friends
9. Hand made cards
10. The perfect holiday playlist
11. Christmas treats

Casey says the last one is too cheesy, but hey, it is the most wonderful time of the year, right?

Most of the things I'm making you can find on my "joy" board on Pinterest. Check it out and be sure to follow!

Happy merry making!


Glacier National Park 2016

Hike to Avalanche Lake 

Hike to Hidden Lake at Logan Pass

Hike to Grinnell Glacier

Must-do's at Glacier National Park

Drive Going to the Sun Road.

Okay, this isn't that hard to miss. Going to the Sun road is the main road that cuts across the park. So if you're at one side, and want to go to the other, you'll drive it. Also keep in mind that if you are trying to get somewhere, the road can slow down during the day with all the traffic, so account for that when planning. If it is slow, take advantage of it. The views are incredible. We had the opportunity to drive it as the sun was rising, and setting. If you can swing that, I suggest it! Totally magical. 

Stop at Logan Pass.

Logan Pass is a major visitor center in the middle of the park. That's where you stop to hike to Hidden Lake, which we did. If you have time to hike, it absolutely gorgeous. Honestly. It's pretty high in elevation so don't be shocked if there's snow on the ground at any point in the summer. If you can't hike, at least stop and look for Bighorn sheep on the opposite side of the road. We saw them every time we drove by. One early morning we found them close to the road, and were lucky enough to watch them butting heads for a while! Definitely one of the coolest wildlife experiences I've ever had.

Hike Avalanche Lake

To get the full Glacier National Park experience, you have to hike. It's not like Yellowstone, where you can just drive around. You have to get out, hike, or walk places to really see it! Avalanche Lake is a super easy hike. Like, if you were in good shape you could trail run it. Kids can hike it. It's great, easy, and quick.

Get to Grinnell Glacier

There are a million hikes in Glacier National park. Some are longer, and take the better half of the day, but there are other small hikes you can fill the day with. This was the short one we did, and Grinnell Glacier was the long one. As in, 12 miles. But the thing is, you don't have to hike all 12 miles. The trail follows along side 2 lakes on the way to Grinnell Lake, then onto the glacier. You can buy a $26 ticket and take a ferry across the two lakes, with about a quarter mile in-between each, which will take you to Grinnell Lake. Then from there, you can hike up to the glacier if you want. We saw some kids on the trail, so I think a family could do that part. The entire 12 mile hike was pretty dang exhausting. But worth it to us. I mean, the photos speak for themselves! We also saw a grizzly bear and it's cub on the trail...yikes!

Eat Huckleberry Pie at the Huckleberry Patch.

If there's one thing to eat in Montana, it's Huckleberry anything. We stopped more than once at the Huckleberry Patch to get some pie. I don't usually love fruit pie but this was a game-changer.

Talk to park rangers.

Have a question about a hike? Don't know which hike to take? Basically, they're there to help you out. And because they're in the park every single day, they have the ultimate intel on what's going on. Where to see animals, which hike is right for you, everything. So definitely ask them any questions you have!


This is not a joke. Have bear spray with you at all times in the park, even if you plan on staying on the trail. We were just about to go hike Avalanche Lake, and some people who had just come off the trail told us a huge grizzly charged them ON THE TRAIL. About six of them had bear spray, and they stood ready for the bear, but it ended up veering off before it reached them, fortunately. But yeah, bear spray. You need it.