2017 Bibliography

2017 was not a great reading year for me in terms of volume. I had a goal to read 100 books, but fell way short because of pregnancy, motherhood, and finally coming to terms with not finishing books I didn’t like. I ghosted two book clubs and sometimes went weeks without reading anything longer than a tweet. 2018 is already going better so far, but I still want to set realistic goals and only read books I love. I don’t think a book club works with how busy I currently am, but I would love to get out of my reading comfort zone by participating in some book challenges. We’ll see what 2018 brings!

1 star – You Can Skip These

  • Go Set a Watchman – Harper Lee
  • Crosstalk – Connie Willis

2 stars – Meh

  • History Is All You Left Me – Adam Silvera
  • The Circle – Dave Eggers
  • Something In Between – Melissa de La Cruz
  • Sense and Sensibility – Jane Austen

3 stars – Good to Pass the Time, but I Wouldn’t Recommend

  • What Light – Jay Asher
  • Killing Kennedy: The End of Camelot – Bill O’Reilly
  • Once and for All – Sarah Dessen
  • Rejection Proof: 100 Days of Rejection, or How to Ask Anyone of Anything at Any Time – Jia Jiang
  • Andy Warhol Was a Hoarder – Claudia Kalb
  • Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald – Therese Anne Fowler
  • A Study in Charlotte – Brittany Cavallaro
  • The Screwtape Letters – C.S. Lewis
  • The Assistants – Camille Perri
  • 99 Days – Katie Cotugno
  • The Sun Is Also A Star – Nicola Yoon
  • Bunheads – Sophie Flack
  • 3 Willows: The Sisterhood Grows – Ann Brashares

4 stars – Really Liked These, and They Kept My Attention

  • Turtles All the Way Down – John Green
  • The Distance Between Us – Kaysie West
  • The Magnolia Story – Chip & Joanna Gaines
  • Rilla of Ingleside – L.M. Montgomery
  • Harry Potter and the Cursed Child – John Tiffany
  • Worth the Wrestle – Sheri Dew
  • Eve and the Choice Made in Eden – Beverly Campbell
  • Being Sixteen – Ally Condie
  • It’s Not Summer Without You – Jenny Han
  • Love & Gelato – Jenna Evans Welch
  • Longbourn – Jo Baker
  • Talking As Fast As I Can: From Gilmore Girls to Gilmore Girls – Lauren Graham
  • The Light Fantastic – Sarah Combs
  • Blue Like Jazz: Nonreligious Thoughts on Christian Spirituality – Donald Miller
  • Scrappy Little Nobody – Anna Kendrick

5 stars – Page Turners that Made me Weep when They Ended, which I Have Since Recommended to Every Person I’ve Met 

  • The Names They Gave Us – Emery Lord
  • A Quiet Heart – Patricia Holland
  • Changed Through His Grace – Brad Wilcox
  • Hey Natalie Jean: Advice, Musings, and Inspiration – Natalie Holbrook
  • Always and Forever, Lara Jean – Jenny Han
  • The Romantics – Leah Konen
  • Dear Mr. Knightley – Katherine Reay
  • The Infinite Atonement – Tad R. Callister
  • Rainbow Valley – L.M. Montgomery
  • Continuous Conversion – Brad Wilcox
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3rd & 4th Trimester GBOMB

Well, it’s been a minute. We have six months of catching up to do, so let’s just jump in!

Good

– We had a baby! Everything from my delivery experience to her sleep schedule is basically perfect in every way. We were at church yesterday and I could hear the people who were sitting behind us whispering, “Look at that cute baby! Look at all that hair, and her chubby cheeks. She’s so perfect!” I just wanted to turn around and join in because I know, right?! Being her mom is the closest I’ll ever be to feeling like a celebrity.

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– I had heard about “mommy wars,” but feel so lucky to only be surrounded by really supportive women who are honest about their experience with motherhood. Recently one of my coworkers asked me if I was getting enough sleep, and I said I wasn’t, but that it was my fault because I stay up late reading on my phone when I should be sleeping when my baby’s asleep. She said, “It’s because you never get any time to yourself when she’s awake, so then you want to spend some time alone when she’s asleep.” It was such a relief to hear that. I’m not irresponsible, I’m just recharging my introvert batteries!

– I was so worried about going back to work after my maternity leave was over, but everyone has been so understanding and flexible. Also, I am nerdy about managing projects.

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– Seeing Tyson as a dad is seriously the coolest. I always knew he’d be a good dad, but their bond is really beyond what I could have ever pictured. I’m so glad my little girl gets to grow up feeling secure and loved by her dad.

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Bad

– People were not exaggerating about how hard the last few weeks of pregnancy are. You’re huge, and in pain, and the only sleep positions that are comfortable are the ones you’re not allowed to be in. I tried to be positive about it because I felt so blessed to even be pregnant, but I’m disappointed in myself because my negativity got the best of me a lot. And wouldn’t you know, I already miss it!

– I’ve been hormonal before, but the mood swings I went through after delivery were something else. Also, postpartum hair loss is for real.

– I feel guilty about not loving nursing. I wish I could go back in time with the resources and support system I have now and tell three day postpartum me that she was going to be okay and that her baby would be okay and that fed is best.

– It turns out all of the cliches about parenting are true, and babies really do grow up so fast. There are already so many things she used to do that she doesn’t do anymore, and even though she gets more fun every day, it still breaks my heart a little bit when she stops doing something we loved. For example, I was not prepared for when her little hands stopped being in tiny fists all the time. Don’t even get me started on her growing out of clothes. </3.

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– Tyson has been so busy this semester, and sometimes it feels like we only see each other in passing. At least we still have all of eternity, right? 🙂

On my Brain

– I’ve been struggling with knowing how much of my baby to share online. The internet adds a layer of complexity to everything in life, and it’s no different with parenting and privacy. How much of my baby is mine to share? I try to put myself in her teeny tiny shoes. Would I like to be able to go back and read about what I was like as a baby, complete with pictures and cute anecdotes? Sure, that would be so great! But the problem with the Internet is that once you release something into it, it’s no longer yours, and I worry about what would happen when those pictures and anecdotes were no longer mine. I’ve made my Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter private, but sometimes watching Law & Order SVU makes me want to drop off the face of the Internet forever. At the same time, I don’t want to be overprotective. Where is the line?

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– One of my least favorite things is this:

Random person with one kid: “How are you doing?”
Me: “Good, just a little tired.”
Random person with one kid: “OMG, you don’t even know what tired is. Just you wait until you have kids!”
Me: *blinking guy meme*

But wait.

Random person with two kids: “How are you doing?”
Me: “Good, just a little tired.”
Random person with two kids: “OMG, you don’t even know what tired is. Just you wait until you have two kids, you’ll never sleep again!”

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According to  this formula, does it mean that Octomom is the only person who actually knows what tired is? Of course not! I know what tired is. I’ve pulled all nighters to finish a paper. I’ve woken up at 3 am to feed my baby. I’ve stayed up until 1 am looking at cat memes online. I wish we could all just stop invalidating everyone else’s experiences with being tired. Everyone’s tired. Just let people be tired!

– I’d been struggling with feeling like I wasn’t serving enough until I realized that there are seasons to everything, including what your discipleship looks like at different times in your life. There was a time when my discipleship looked like baking cupcakes for baptisms and taking multiple Institute classes per week. Right now, discipleship looks like rocking my baby to sleep and reading gospel books on my phone after everyone has gone to bed. Seasons, right?

I’m hoping the next season of my life is one in which I can make time to update my blog more often ;).

Second Trimester GBOMB

Good

  • Finding out we were having a girl made the pregnancy feel so much more real. Our baby isn’t a genderless, nameless peanut anymore! We can now picture what our family might look like in a few months and actually buy stuff for her. Give me all the bows and cute baby shoes! Aside from all of the adorable but superficial stuff, we’re really excited to be having a daughter. There’s so much I want to share with her.
  • Feeling baby move more frequently. This trimester, I went from feeling baby move every once in a while to feeling her move every day. She’s squiggly and opinionated, and I love it. She likes hanging out on my right side so it makes my belly look deformed, and dislikes any kind of pressure on her.
  • Looking more visibly pregnant. I started out this pregnancy with a belly (classic overachiever), so I feel like I didn’t really start showing a baby bump for a while. I loved it when I finally did, and even more so when random people would ask me when I was due, what I was having, etc. I will take any excuse to talk about my baby!

  • Not feeling sick as often and liking food again. I was so worried I’d never like food again, and I feel so lucky that my morning sickness didn’t really linger past the first trimester. I haven’t really had that many cravings, but my current favorites are pupusas, fruit smoothies, chocolate chip waffles or pancakes, and ice cream.

Bad

  • Holy Braxton Hicks, Batman! I’ve been having contractions for the last fifteen weeks or so, and even though my doctor assures me they’re normal, I can’t help but worry whenever they start up. There was a particularly scary Saturday when I was around 24 weeks where it was hot and I was probably not hydrating as much as I should. I started having really consistent contractions, and when I put them into my pregnancy app, a little red banner popped up that said, “You might want to contact your healthcare provider because labor could be on its way.” Visions of a tiny baby being hooked up to machines flashed through my brain as I tried to drink as much water as I could. After calling my doctor, I basically had to tell my baby the same thing the doctor told me, “This isn’t a lecture, but you need to take it easy.” Luckily, with some rest and hydration, the contractions finally stopped, and I’ve been a lot more careful ever since.
  • Getting the nursery ready currently feels like a Herculean task because the baby’s room has been acting as our laundry room / storage facility / guest bedroom / office for the last five years. We’re able to progress about five inches per Saturday, so stay tuned for a nursery reveal during fall of 2020.
  • My wedding ring has stopped fitting, and I miss it so much! Here’s a picture of us during happier and slimmer times:

  • I was no athlete before pregnancy, but I feel like my body is so weak now. I can’t keep our apartment as clean as I would like to, get through an endowment session without needing to go to the bathroom, or even go grocery shopping without having contractions.  It can be frustrating to feel like my body just doesn’t listen to me like it used to, especially when all of my maternal instincts want to do is nest.
  • My belly button is a thing of the past. I was terrified of having an outie, so my body overcorrected and gave me the deepest innie I’ve ever seen. There used to be a show on ABC Family about an alien who didn’t have a belly button, and that’s how I feel, except he also had a six pack, which I do not have.

On my Brain

  • Harry Potter. I’ve been listening to a podcast called “Harry Potter and the Sacred Text” (I highly recommend it if you like Harry Potter!), so that’s probably why this has been on my mind so much. I read the Harry Potter books at the end of middle school / beginning of high school, and I really enjoyed them, but it hasn’t been until the last few years that I’ve really come to love them. The story is so much more complex and beautiful than I ever realized back then, and listening to the podcast has made me love it even more. Some of the themes that it’s discussed that have really stuck with me are how love can be a protective force (Harry being protected from Voldemort by his mom’s love) and what it takes to create a safe space that feels like home (Hogwarts). If we’re ever able to get baby’s nursery put together, I want to incorporate some Harry Potter themes because I want for her to always feel like she’s surrounded by magic. Plus, I love unicorns.

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  • How to raise a girl who doesn’t hate her body. Ever since I found out we were having a girl, I’ve tried to be more conscious about what I say about my body and other people’s bodies. It can be so easy to criticize a few extra pounds, but I want to emphasize the importance of health over the importance of being a certain shape. I’ve been fat and I’ve been skinny, and I was happy and miserable being both. It’s almost like what you look like on the outside isn’t what actually makes you happy! I want to raise my daughter knowing this. In Why Not Me?, Mindy Kaling said this about being thin:

    Even though I wish I could be thin, and that I could have the ease of lifestyle that I associate with being thin, I don’t wish for it with all my heart. Because my heart is reserved for way more important things.

    Mine is too! There are so many other things I want to do with my life besides torture it into being a certain shape.

  • Nesting. I read Hey Natalie Jean by Natalie Holbrook at the beginning of this trimester, and she said something about decorating a home that really stuck out to me. She said that the way you make your house a home is a love letter to your family. I love that! She also said this:

    One afternoon I was out running errands with my dad when the subject of my mother came up. My dad got this faraway look in his eye and said, “Natalie, this is the thing about your mother. Growing up at my house, it never mattered what anything looked like. I had seven brothers. We were always dirty; the house was a constant wreck. I didn’t expect that beauty would ever be part of my life. But then I met your mother. She brought beauty into my life. I didn’t even know it was missing, but because of her, I have it. It’s been so wonderful for a guy like me. She’s made my life beautiful, and I’m so grateful for her.”

    And that’s when I knew what I wanted to be when I grew up.

    Isn’t that the greatest tribute? Beauty is important, which is why we live in a world that’s beautiful. This pregnancy I’ve felt this yearning towards homemaking become stronger than ever. I want to create a beautiful home for those I love. I’ve learned that in order for my home to feel mine and to feel like a place I want to be, it needs to: smell good, be well lit, have some treats (preferably in a cute glass container), be filled with books, be clean, and have a pop of color and pattern. I’ve realized that it doesn’t take a lot of money, but it does take a lot of intention. That being said, one of my financial goals is to someday own a volcano candle from Anthopologie and a fridge that makes pebble ice.

Ohio is for Lovers

Back in December, we found out Tyson’s flight team had qualified to compete in the National Flight Competition at Ohio State in May so we thought we would make a short trip of it to celebrate our five year anniversary a few months late. When we found out we were pregnant in February we thought, “Never mind,” and went to San Francisco in March instead.

A few weeks before Tyson was supposed to leave for Ohio, he realized that Kirtland was close to one of the cities he would be visiting. He knows I love church history and have always wanted to see all the church history sites, so his wheels started turning. By then, I was out of my first trimester and feeling way better, so a trip like this didn’t feel like a Herculean task anymore. Less than 24 hours later, we had booked a flight for me to join him in Ohio for a few days before we flew back to Utah together.

I have to stress that I’m not an adventurous or spontaneous person. I’m a planner and worrier. The YOLO spirit of this trip was fueled by my love of church history, the desire to be reunited with Tyson a few days earlier, the realization that trips like this with a baby would be exponentially harder, and probably some pregnancy hormones. Let me know if you know of any acronyms for when you want every second of your life to be planned or you become a neurotic mess.

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Regardless, after the tickets were purchased, there was no going back. I made a list, checked it a million times, and tried to summon all the courage I could for my first ever solo flight.

After almost a week apart, some tears because we had never spent longer than like 18 hours apart, a drive to Salt Lake by myself, a turbulent flight to Denver by myself, some more tears because how was I ever going to make it through an even longer flight, some debate on whether I should just ask Tyson to rent a car and pick me up in Denver, some magical Chinese food that restored my faith in humanity and myself, and a much longer but less turbulent flight, I landed in Ohio and was reunited with a very sunburned Tyson.

It was the first time either of us had been to Ohio, and it far exceeded all of our expectations. I loved the trees, the older architecture, and all the aviation sites, though probably not as much as Tyson did.

My first day there, we visited the Air Force Museum in Dayton, which was huge. We were there for about five hours, and still didn’t get to see everything. I took a small nap on a bench because that’s a lot of walking and no food or drink was allowed in the museum. Tyson got to see some of the planes he’d been wanting to see since he was little. Celebrity planes, they’re just like us!

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The next day, we went to Cedar Pointe in Sandusky, which is another thing Tyson had been wanting to do since he was little. They have some of the tallest roller coasters in the world, which doesn’t mean a whole lot when you’re pregnant and scared of heights, but Tyson was all over it. I loved seeing him so happy. We got him a pass that made it so he could skip to the front of the line and get a meal from the food vendors every two hours. That part I could totally understand, and I gladly participated.

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The next day was our last day in Ohio, and was spent touring some church history sites in Kirtland. We were able to take a tour of the Kirtland temple, the cemetery across the street, and the Newel K. Whitney store. It was a really spiritual experience, and I wish we’d been able to spent more time there. We felt a little rushed because we were flying out a few hours later and still had to drop off our rental, so we definitely want to go back and spent at least a day there.

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We had a great time, and I’m really glad we decided to go. Maybe those people who YOLO aren’t so crazy after all.

It’s a Girl!

The weeks leading up to our twenty week ultrasound felt eternal, and when the day finally came I was all nerves and a full bladder. As always, there was an amount of fear and worry- what if they saw something was wrong, or if she wasn’t moving anymore?

My fears were calmed the second the ultrasound technician waved her wand over my belly, and I saw our perfect little baby kicking away. It was an emotional experience, just like the first time we saw our baby in the ultrasound. The ultrasound technician asked if we wanted to find out our baby’s gender, and I nodded enthusiastically through my tears.

She looked around for a few seconds and then announced, “It’s a girl!” I thought my heart was going to burst. I wanted a daughter so badly, and I don’t think I had allowed myself to admit just how much until I knew that’s what we were having. Through the long months of waiting, the idea of a little girl wearing a huge headband is what comforted me. Sometimes she had a little bit of dark hair, and sometimes she was bald, but she was always mine. Now that little girl is on her way, and we can’t believe our luck.

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Buying some balloons for our gender reveal photo shoot while wearing blue.

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This little sign was a joint effort.

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We drove up the canyon during golden hour.

 

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We didn’t want to keep our photographer waiting.