Living Plant Aquarium

For Christmas my parents got us membership passes to the Living Planet Aquarium. That means unlimited access to penguins. That means heaven.

It fiiiinally opened, and even though a lot of the exhibits are still empty, we were not disappointed. The kids were so excited and baby boy didn't cry one time. That is what success looks like to me.

Anyone want to go with us next time??
She is young,

But she is fierce,
And she is wild,
And she is mine.

Birthday Advice

You're 18 today little one. & we are all cursing you for making us feel so old that "baby hannah" isn't so baby anymore. So - the family made you a list of advice of things we wished we had known when we were 18. We love you a lot kid. Good luck out there.

- always leave your door open. Good or bad- the people who walk in are there to teach you. Even if it takes you awhile to see that. - Madi

- there are very few times that anything good happens after midnight. Save those "all-nighters" for the "we literally talked all night" dates - Dani

- drive the speed limit - Mom 

- put your phone down as much as you can - Dani

- don't go to target on pay day. You will be broke with within an hour. - Kira

- mom actually knew what she was talking about when she tried to get us to take our vitamins and eat "healthy". Turns out it kind of makes a difference - Dani

- plan adventures and always say yes when they are extended to you. Your couch + Netflix may seem like a good place to be 95% of the time - & I'm not going to lie It's pretty great- but I promise getting out there and meeting new people will bless your life way more than watching that third season of vampire diaries. - Madi

- 30 rock. That's all.- Dani

- Ghandi said "Be the change you want to be in the world" - Jan

- don't drink from the target drinking fountain. No matter how thirsty you are you will always regret it. - Dani & Madi

-you should probably register to vote.. Or follow in my footsteps and feel guilty every election year for not doing it - Dani

- you need to work on yourself before you can efficiently work on a relationship - Cousin Jake

- take the time to study about mother eve. It will change the way you view everything, especially about your role as a woman. - Dani

- Taco Bell. Say yes. Every time. - Madi

- kids in the front seat cause accidents, accidents in the back seat cause kids - Brett

- you are supposed to change your toothbrush every 30 days. Not saying I do it, just saying you should - Dani

- Compassion is the answer - Madi

- call Brett when your car breaks down - Everyone

- sugar cereal for breakfast is the worst way to start your day - Dani

- Ice cream fixes everything. Sometimes it takes 10-15 gallons, but eventually it will. Keep eating - Kira

- never stop reading your scriptures. Study them like you can't get enough and always keep a scripture journal. Devour those things like your life depends on it - Dani

- VULNERABILITY. Learn everything you can about it. Center your interactions around it. Empathy > sympathy. The best connections made usually always involve vulnerability. - Madi

- wear sunscreen - Mom

- when you go out and get an apt on your own, married or not, "new" is not important. The sparkly-ness of it will wear off and you will hate how much you are paying for it. Go for old and cheap and make it wonderful. - Dani

- change the oil and rotate your tires - Dad

- make family everything. Wether that means your immediate family or those not related but might as well should be. Your idea & thoughts of that word will change over time through all the things you are about to learn. But turn the word family into something sacred & do everything you can to keep it that way.- Madi

- don't hitchhike - Jan

- IDAHO TOUCHES CANADA. I don't want you to have to wait until half way through your freshman year of college to figure that out like I did. - Madi

- don't drink the kool-aid - Cousin Jake

- family is crucial - Dani

- anything you say or do will be used against you in getting kicked out of the house - Jake Rugg

- re-read Harry potter every year - Dani

- always say yes to a date(unless it's a tinder date/ he's not a pedophile. Mom would rather you stay away from both of those things) Yes the date could be awkward. But it could also be unexpectedly great. The date could even end by the boy get a bloody nose while kissing you goodnight & you would have a story to tell for the rest for your life. Even if you aren't interested at all, you can learn some of the best things from people you'd never expect. - Madi

- start saving money as soon as you can. Figure out all that investment shiz while you are still little- Dani

- trust yourself when it comes to your babies. The professionals don't always know whats best - Kira

- "don't forget in the darkness what you've been promised in the light"- Dani

-be very careful what you say to yourself in your thoughts. It can be some of the most poisonous conversation or the most important affirmation you ever take part in.- Madi

- be rich in contentment- Dani

- NEVER stop taking your Zoloft. If you do your husband might want to leave you - Kira

- the terrible twos are nothing compared to the age of 3. You've been warned - Dani

- marriage is SOOO far from happily ever after. It's choosing to and share a life with someone who is imperfect and loving them anyway - Kira

- things are not gonna go the way you want them to or think that they should. It's okay. It will stretch you and mold in in all of the best and most painful ways. Have the courage to accept there is a bigger plan than yours 
- Dani

- never stop reading - Kira

- never stop learning - Madi

- you are probably going to have a manager or assistant manager who's a douchebag. The answer to that is of course "love and forgiveness," bit sometimes the answer is also writing mean things about them in notes to your co-workers 
- Dani

- it is perfectly acceptable to give yourself a timeout - Kira

- sometimes you really just need a full day of SVU marathons - Dani

- & if you forget everything else, always remember this. That the Lord is more loving & merciful than you can begin to comprehend. That He is not a "one false move" God, but a "no matter what" kind of God. & that your family loves the shit out of you - Madi

A Body After Baby

"...Right now I am making a human. Even as I type these words a baby is kicking my insides around. But also, this human is making me. This human is telling my body to change to become the kind of mother that will be most beneficial to this being. I am changing emotionally, yes, but physically too. My body is being molded into a different shape so that I can be the best possible caretaker for this child. And that doesn't end after pregnancy. My body will continue to change as I am a mother to this child.

...And when there are two new bodies to behold in a couple months, allow for all the time in the world for their discovery. There is no "getting my body back."

Exploration over manipulation. Forever."


I don't want my body back, and I hope I never will. How could I want to go back to the same body that had never held my babies tiny bodies against my chest for the first time? The body that never experienced nursing a child in the silence of the night, or how it feels to play "Frozen" with an overly dramatic, overly dressed, toddler?

Everything is new this time around. Things hang differently, namely my stomach. Sort of like a balloon that was blown up a little too full, left that way for 41 weeks, and then deflated. It accomplished it's task and now it is resting. It looks tired. Stretch marks appeared around the third trimester, and new ones were popping up till the very end. And there are two things full of leaking milk on me that can clearly be classified as sagging. Shirts don't fit right. Everything feels... new.

The odd thing is I have absolutely nothing but love for this body. No hate when I look in the mirror. No self loathing when I see how my clothes fit. No sinking feeling when I see those Victoria's Secret commercials. I refuse to feel guilt for something as unimportant as a number on a scale or marks across my stomach.

 It's been a long time coming I guess. An article here, a blog post there. An unexpected empowering comment, having a daughter, encouraging Hypnobabies affirmations, and a hundred other little things scattered along the way. And suddenly I look around and realize what an amazing blessing my body is, how much respect it deserves, and how great it feels to actually mean that. It feels empowering to look at my stretch marks and smile knowing they are proof that my son is alive. They helped get him here, so why spend all my energy trying to find ways to cover them up?

One day this body will start to fall apart, little by little, and before I know it the time will come to return it back to the original maker. I want to be able to stand before Him with nothing but gratitude and love for what I was given. I want to know that I set an example of love and respect for my children and their own bodies, and of all that they are capable. And I want to be able to say that, even when the world told me to feel differently, I too chose "exploration over manipulation, forever."

We slept until 7 A.M.

I just need to quickly say,

Bless you Rock and Play,
Bless you reflux medication,
Bless you sound machine,
And bless you master bathroom that is now a bedroom.

Because of you my 2 month old (usually) sleeps through the night. And I want to kiss you four right on the mouth for making that a thing.

Isn't this what you wear to the grocery store?

She's now arguing and disagreeing with me in the form of Frozen songs.

For example:

Me: hadi go get your shoes on.
(Using the tune of "do you wanna build a snowman")
Hadley: I don't wanna put a shoooe onnnn, it doesn't have to be a shooooe on. Okayyyyyy byyyee.

1. Attitude, and
2. We watch too much Frozen.

Be still my soul

There is something about these little babies. Something healing about holding their tininess so still and warm against your worn and worried body. I nurse him and I feel his little spirit telling mine "don't worry mom, you got this. Everything is going to be just right."

And so, I got this. I know that everything will be just right.