Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Adventure Across America !

How 'bout I start out with - It's been a crazy 2014! In January we found out we were expecting another baby into our family. A baby boy due in September (name undetermined).  As is normal for one of my pregnancies I was super sick and nauseous the first 4-5 months. Honestly I felt completely overwhelmed when I found out - as excited as I was, I had NO IDEA how in the world I was going to manage being a Mother to 3 children, AND continue knocking on strangers doors every day selling Comcast. Trying to hide in the dark at 7pm puking at a potential customers front curb was a pretty intense reality check - what the heck was I doing?? LOL. After sincere prayers and long conversations with Ryan, we decided to plunge into the world of me becoming a full time stay-at-home-mom, which also meant Ryan had to get a second job. But of course tax season was at its beginnings, and my mom was in serious need of my mad office coordinator skills in Portland. So in February a few days after I emotionally broke down in tears over silly work issues in front of my whole team, I knew I needed to let them in on what was going on and I put in my two week notice. I then spent the next 9 weeks commuting the 4 hour drive to Portland from Seattle weekly with kids in tow to earn some extra money, and help out the CPA firm.

Meanwhile, Ryan spent most of his free-time (the little he had) to apply for promotions, and new better paying jobs anywhere that was hiring where he had interest in. At the closing week of my working tax season, he was fortunate enough to be offered a promotion within NOAA to continue in his career as a consumer safety inspector for seafood... IN GLOUCESTER MASSACHUSETTS! I wasn't sure how this would fit in with our newly formed plans of expanding our family, and losing my income, but we both felt it was the right choice for our family and best opportunity to pursue Ryan's career. In a crazy twist of spiritual promptings, I had felt super strongly the previous 6 months I'd been working at Comcast that I needed to earn and save as much money as possible so that Ryan & I could go on an over the top 10 Year Anniversary Vacation in 2014. When we made the decision to move to Massachusetts I knew exactly where that money in our savings account needed to go, and it wasn't for an anniversary vacation. The estimated budget to pay for the moving truck and car tow alone across the United States was about $3,000 (the cost of two passengers on a 7 day cruise in the Eastern Caribbean...) But like I said, we knew it was right, so we did it.

The very last weekend we had in Seattle, we invited our extended family to come for one last short weekend visit. My brother Daniel & sister in law Katie came for a visit with my niece Ruby, as well as Ryan's mom. It was a fabulous fun filled family weekend. It was awesome to spend quality time with them before our big move. We made sure the weekend was super filled with touristy events only. All the things we still had on our "Seattle To Do" list. We went on a ferry ride from Edmonds to Bremerton. Consumed some delicious crepes from a tiny little shop near the sound. We visited and spit on the disgustingly famous "gum wall" behind Pikes Market place. And broke down to spend the money to take the quick elevator ride up to the top of the skyline famous Seattle Space Needle. It was a gorgeous day, perfect for our final exploratory adventures in Seattle.
We were blessed abundantly with loads of help from family and friends the day we loaded up the truck and moved out of our little apartment. My burdens felt light that day as several amazing women came to detail clean my apartment, and strong men carried our heavy load of objects into the truck. We were fortunate to have the Cook family as neighbors while we lived in that complex, and even in our final hours moving out, they were showering us with service watching our kids, cleaning, and comforting my uncertain heart. Finally it was time to say Goodbye. Ryan's parents were headed east with us as they offered to drive our moving truck, so Ryan & I could drive our beloved Honda Pilot SUV together as a family. It was tough to say goodbye to my mom & Matt & all our friends that day, but I held it together and my excitement for the unknown drive helped ease my worried mind.

DAY ONE - STATUS REPORT: Mountlake Terrace, WA to Boise, ID = 517 Miles Traveled

The kids were good. Better than expected. The drive that day seemed to go by fast, and we were thrilled to get to Boise since we were so exhausted from loading the truck and driving that far in the same day. The most emotional I felt was as we left the borders of Oregon and I felt like home was behind us instead of in front of us.

DAY TWO - STATUS REPORT: Boise, ID to West Valley, UT= 864 Miles Traveled

We had a short drive time the second day, but it was still a very long day because we tried to squeeze in as many people as we could in the remaining daylight hours... We drove past the house my mother and her siblings grew up in that was recently sold and renovated by someone outside the family. It was sad to see it look so different than I remember, but also hopeful and understanding because a whole new family was beginning their story there. We drove past my favorite old stomping grounds at temple square. We had a delightful visit with my aunt Kimberly & Gutierrez Family, which was truly a miracle since we hadn't planned to stop by, but then I saw a sign for Kaysville and instantly went into Christmas card mode recalling her address... drove over only to find no one was home - I left a note and we drove away only to see them driving up at the end of the street. We had arranged to see my dad and his family in West Valley, and made plans to swim together at our hotel. After which our awesome lifetime friend Brendon Jackson stopped by for a night visit as my dad was leaving. It was great to see everyone we saw, and it was a bit heart achy to not see everyone we know in Utah.

DAY THREE - STATUS REPORTWest Valley, UT to Mount Rushmore, SD = 1,511 Miles Traveled

Considering we didn't get to sleep until 1 or 2 am the night prior it was crazy to drive so many hours to get to Mount Rushmore the next night. We did stop for a few minutes by my Grandma's new digs to say hello and goodbye then we were on super-drive mode. The scenery this day of driving was probably my favorite of the whole trip. Leaving the Wasatch Front and Salt Lake valley driving through the intensely painted walls of red rock. There were huge cliffs and valleys with every color of rock layers, and a variety of formations. Wyoming had huge wide open spaces with plateaus and valleys that never seemed to end. Rarely saw a town, and the ones we did see didn't seem to have many people in them. It was super late and dark when we arrived at the hotel in Mount Rushmore, there were no grocery stores open, and there didn't seem to be a lot to see there. Mercedes (our black Labrador) seemed most excited to arrive there. Her ears were darting around and her nose seemed thrilled to have nostrils filled with exotic Mountain air.

 DAY FOUR - STATUS REPORTMount Rushmore, SD to Baraboo, Wisconsin = 2,261 Miles Traveled

Oh what a day! It started off awesome. We visited the Mount Rushmore monument, and tried to explain to our kids how cool it was... they really seemed more impressed with the bugs on the sidewalk, and small curbs to jump off than any other area of the historical site. lol. There was an adorable little town that I wished we had more time to explore nearby. It was filled with old country time looking shops with signs advertising things like ice cream, specialty rocks, gold mining tours, and other cute little things. As the day progressed we saw a whole lot of nothing in South Dakota. Seriously miles of NOTHING. Rolling hills, flat plains of grass. A few random trees. Not a ton of landscape. WE DID however see deer! TONS of pronghorn antelope! We also saw what seemed like hundreds (seriously there were at least 20 or 30) signs for a drug store called, "Wall Drugs". They advertised amazing donuts, free donuts for military, cheap coffee, great souvenirs, fresh homemade pies in all kinds of flavors, and bunches of other things. As a 6 month pregnant lady it was the donuts and pies that reeled me in. We stopped. We saw. We ate. And following all the signs to arrive there was totally worth it. The pie was amazing. The donuts were cakey which I usually don't care for, but it was like eating food from heaven - so divine.

It was pouring buckets of heavy hard rain with dark skies most of the day, as we drove through Minnesota. We were ALMOST there in Baraboo Wisconsin about an hour out... when I was reading Ryan random pregnancy advice from my email when BAM! CAR ACCIDENT. I didn't see it happen, but I sure as heck felt it. Driving so fast along the road and then having something smash into it was jolting to say the least. It didn't stop us completely and I wasn't even sure what we hit at first. Ryan swore. I made sure the kids were okay. Then I saw steam pouring out of the front hood, and pieces of something attached to the front top of the car. It was a DEER. We hit a deer. Well that made for an interesting night. Police came, tow truck came, we were all okay - just startled. The kids were confused when we got out of the car and into the tow truck.

DAY FIVE - STATUS REPORTBaraboo, WI to Baraboo, WI = 2,261Miles Traveled

I felt blessed. For several reasons.
# 1 - we were all okay.
# 2 - the baby in my tummy was still tossing and turning
# 3 - Ryan's parents, whom we hadn't seen or met up with because they didn't take the same USA scenic route we did, were only an hour away from us.
# 4 - In my planning for the trip I had left that entire next day completely empty and booked us 2 nights in the town of Baraboo, not knowing what all we would do but figured the condo we stayed at would be fun. It ended up feeling more like a cabin water park resort than a condo. There were several indoor and outdoor water parks to swim, play, and float around in. Super relaxing and fun - heaven knows I needed it.
# 5 - We were able to switch cars on the towing device from the broken bent up one for the smaller car we'd been towing (which did cost us a new equipment rental change at U-Haul).
#6 - Since we hadn't prepared the little car to be driven across the country, Ryan's parents took us to Costco the day after our accident and as a birthday gift for Ryan got us a new set of 4 tires for the little car we had to drive the rest of the way. # 7 - As a side note, two months later, Elijah still mentions to daddy, "You know dad it's getting dark, the deer might be coming out now, better drive slower".

DAY SIX - STATUS REPORTBaraboo, WI to Erie, PA = 2,900 Miles Traveled

Amazingly still exactly on schedule. We drove through 5 states in one day! Saw glimmers of Illinois where we stopped at the visitors center and sought advice on what a toll road was, where they were, how much they were, how to go through toll areas, and realized how toll illiterate I am... well I know more now. sadly. We saw Indiana, Ohio, and Pennsylvania too - all which seemed to blur together. Lots of farm areas dotted with cities, and traffic on the road was getting heavier the further east we drove. Kids were in great spirits - happy to get out of the car and play when they could at the rest stops. Poor Mercedes was so squished behind my seat under Evelyn's feet. Not the luxurious space she had in the SUV at all... Ryan and I had assumed when we met back up with Ryan's parents that we'd play a bit of musical chairs for Ryan driving the giant U-Haul and his parents driving with me, but alas a sweet gift Mark gave us as he continued to drive so that Ryan and I could continue together as a family.

DAY SEVEN - STATUS REPORTErie, PA to Haverhill, MA = 3,463 Miles Traveled

Today we arrive! We didn't really see any mountains like Oregon or Washington, which surprised me. Lots of green, and lots of trees though. Reminded me of a jungle. The air was warm and humid, and the closer we got to our new home, the more traffic we were swarmed by. We arrived at our new apartment complex not knowing exactly what to expect since we hadn't been there before.
The area seemed okay enough, lots of old buildings. The complex is nice and enclosed and once we saw the inside I was pretty thrilled. We decided in all our lives this apartment is definitely the nicest place either of us have ever lived. We have central A/C (yay for the prego lady)! Have a gas fireplace, which we've never had before but excited to flip a switch to start a fire instead of chopping kindling to start one. Vaulted ceilings, which make the space feel huge. And a 3rd floor view of the horizon to watch the sunset. We slept on the floor, and were thankful we finally made it.

The next day we were visited by the hand of the Lord as his servants came from our new church here to help us unload the moving truck up three flights of stairs. There were at least 10 strong men in addition to Ryan and his dad to help out. The Relief Society President even came by and introduced herself, added my number to her phone, and made me feel at home instantly. Saying things like, "Pregnant ladies aren't allowed to carry things in on my watch - you sit down and put your feet up!" Two dozen doughnuts, and a few gallons of orange juice hardly seemed like a good enough Thank You, but we truly were SO THANKFUL!

Now we live in Haverhill, Massachusetts. Home is wherever we are together as a family. Our drive across America was definitely an adventure, but really just the beginning of the bigger adventure we are already on as a married couple, and growing family. I love my husband more than words could ever describe. My children are a part of me, and although I find being a stay at home mom challenging at times, it is also turning out to be a highly rewarding experience. Next up adventure? Becoming a Mother of THREE. Life is good.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Adventures in Seattle!

It's funny how we still live in the Northwest, but it feels so different. Colder temperatures are starting to freeze me to the core every day now. Gorgeous scenery all around Seattle though - even in the cold. Most of our summer weekends were spent exploring the areas around Seattle. The "beach" is a far cry from the beaches we are used to in Oregon or California. While the cold-factor is the same the waves are totally different. Instead of soft smooth sand to walk on & dig in, here there are tiny pebbles and small rocks.

The kids have made some really great friends in the neighborhood. Evelyn is the baby and they all wait on her like she is a tiny queen squealing out orders. Elijah will talk in a "mommy"like voice asking what she wants, then come at me & Ryan demanding her care. LOL - it's adorable, endearing, and makes me laugh. Recently she has become extremely interested in babies and excitedly points them out whenever she sees them. It is not unusual to see her appear around a corner wearing mommys shoes (or someone elses on occasion too). She finds herself super entertaining and will clunkily walk to the full length mirror to giggle and smile at herself. Elijah is learning to read and write, as well as having some basic math memorized. Bouncing, rolling, jumping and climbing are just a few of his favorite ways to pass time. Since we moved we have also been doing what I call, “Slurpee Fridays!” where Elijah can earn a slurpee at the end of each week if he has kept his room clean.

Ryan's been having fun learning more about consumer safety and inspections of seafood. He’s been working really hard to support our family while becoming the primary grocery shopper and cook at home. He's been making tons of new friends. His calling in the Elders Quorum Presidency has been keeping him busy and involved with families in the ward.

I have been busy working at Comcast as a Direct Sales Rep (aka knocking doors). The "back to school" season kept me very busy working 50+ hours some weeks. Customer service is super important and I'm getting to use those mad skillz on a regular basis now days. Definitely learning more about what it means to work on a team - it's really like having family around everyday. Most the team lovingly refers to me as "mom" - it's kinda fun as long as I get to be the cool mom.
Life has been crazy busy in Seattle, but definitely the adventure we were hoping for. We are looking forward to the upcoming Holiday season and are more excited than ever before to spend it with our extended family.

Friday, January 11, 2013

The Rumors are True - WE ARE MOVING!

It's Official. We are moving. So incredibly scared outta my mind! Ryan has been applying to jobs since he earned his Bachelors degree in science last year, and this job offer seems like the best path for him to follow. So here's the juicy details:

WHO: The job is a government job through NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration).

WHAT: The position is as a Consumer Safety Inspector for Seafood.

WHERE: Seattle, Washington - near the University of Washington

WHEN: Start date is Monday, February 11th, but Sara won't move until after tax season ends.

WHY: Because it seems like the right thing to do. It pains our stomachs to think about it, but it seems like the  best path for us to travel. Short term it's going to be really painful, but long term we know it will be beneficial.

Aw crap this is going to be CRAZY hard! I am feeling really excited and curious to experience a new kind of life. All Ryan and I have ever known is awkward airport schedules, and  Ryan not home until midnight 4 days a week, plus a long commute. So this will be a whole new world for us to share together. We've been married for 8 years, and he's worked at Horizon Air for 9 years - so it's the only schedule & life we know. Also my mom (aka my boss) is also going to have to transition the CPA firm without me there. We have already hired an awesome guy named Sterling to hold it together after I'm gone.

As for my own ambitions, I've been looking into partaking of the apartment manager lifestyle so I can stay home with the kids... but if that doesn't work out it will be back to a regular 40 hour a week admin job & daycare. Yikes! Timing for my move will probably GREATLY hinder on my finding something work-wise in Seattle.

So. Let's talk Seattleness:
Interesting Stuff I'm looking forward to Experiencing:
  • Pike Place Market
  • Space Needle
  • Woodland Park Zoo
  • Seattle Aquarium
  • Olympic Sculpture Park
  • Museum of Flight
  • Seattle Waterfall Garden
  • Discovery Park
  • SeaHawks
  • Klondike Gold Rush National Historic Park

All the Things I'm NOT looking forward to:


"USGS has produced a new series of earthquake hazard maps for the City of Seattle. These ‘urban seismic hazard’ maps provide a much higher-resolution view of the potential for strong earthquake shaking than previously available. This new view is particularly important for Seattle, which sits atop a sedimentary basin that strongly affects the patterns of earthquake ground shaking and therefore, of potential damage.

These hazard maps for Seattle depict the hazard for ground shaking at frequencies of about 1 cycle per second. Generally speaking, buildings of 10 stories in height are most sensitive to ground shaking at this frequency, so these maps show the hazard to medium-sized buildings." -


No where near enough SUNNY DAYS! This is going to be super sad and irritating. I realize it could be worse, but still so NOT looking forward to that.


I am going to be so lonely without my family around. I mean it will be nice to have some alone time, and it will be great to not feel obligated to attend every little family event, holiday, and occasion, but really the daily life stuff I am going to really miss. I think Elijah is going to have a super hard withdrawal period because he is used to spending 2 or 3 days every week with Grandma Sharon & Papa Mark. I will have a hard time leaving the house I've spent so many hours "prettifying". Hopefully the next renters enjoy it. Ryan I think is excited for something new, and thrilled to feel like he's doing something he's really mentally interested in. It will be hard for him to leave all the awesome friends he has at Horizon Air. Oh and those FLIGHT BENEFITS! That will SUPER SUCK.

When it's all said and done though, I feel in my gut that even though this journey is going to be tough in the beginning, it will be better for us long term than staying with the status quo. So OFF WE GO!

Friday, October 19, 2012

I Choose the Right

I recently was called to be the Primary Secretary in our ward (LDS - The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints). This month we are preparing for our sacrament meeting program, and I was SUPER excited to find this awesome "Choose the Right" personal statement. So awesome I had to share!!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Our baby girl Evelyn: a birth story...

I know, i know. Everyone always wants to tell their birthing horror stories, and you've already shown bravery in reading this far. Well the day Evelyn was born was pretty exciting for us, and since this is my webpage I will write whatever I want.

It seemed like an ordinary Thursday on April 19th 2012. Just a few days after tax season had officially ended, I  went to work as usual - showed up late, and worked til 5:30pm. Daniel informed me when I walked in that today was "The day". "I wish!" I told him. After work, I picked up Elijah from Mark & Sharon's house (Ryan was at work). Starving, I picked up some eggrolls and Elijah fell asleep in the car on the way home. I carried him in, ate my dinner and began to feel a little back pain. Now please keep in mind I'd been feeling back pain off & on sometimes accompanied by random contractions so this time really seemed no different. I decided a nice warm bath would help.

AT 7:54pm I texted Ryan, "I just had 3 contractions really strong about 15 min apart.. Will see if it continues... I'm taking a bath - I'm in pain. youch!"

AT 8:08pm Ryan texted me, "Sounds like a plan keep me informed :-x"

AT 8:51pm I called Ryan and said something along the lines of, "SO I might be in labor - I'm not really sure... If you leave work a few hours early & come home now, will you get in trouble at work we find out I'm not really in labor?? I want you to come home but I'll feel stupid if it turns out this is false labor". He said, "No Sara it's fine. We are slow I'll just come home now." Okay. Ryan is on his way home from the airport. I hurried & got dressed, woke up Elijah got him dressed & made sure my hospital bag was truly ready to go.

AT 9:06pm-9:12pm I called Ryans parents, Daniel & Katie, and my mom (who was with her new BF Matt). As I was desperately trying to control my out of breathe voice and intense cramping, I told them all the same thing I told Ryan, "I might be in labor, we're probably going to the hospital. Ryan is on his way home now". To which they all asked if I needed help, or wanted them to do anything for me. I said no and told everyone not to worry about it until we could find out for sure. LOL then after each call I took about 30 seconds of time to scream some ouches, hold my abdomen, and continue to reassure Elijah that mommy was okay.

AT 9:14pm Ryan got home and Daniel called to offer help coming to the hospital and watching Elijah. THIS is when I realized I was in real labor. I was trying to climb into our new tall SUV talking to Daniel telling Ryan I was okay, and the look on Ryans face as I was all in pain and breathy said it all. It was the kind of look I get all the time from Ryan that says "oh Sara you really aren't thinking clearly".... hahaha. So Ryan took the phone and finished talking to Daniel while I tried to breathe and realized I needed drugs for this kind of pain.

AT 9:30pm(ish) Ryan drove up to the front doors of the hospital and said, "well I'm gonna drop you off here, not sure where the maternity ward is exactly. I'll meet you in there after I park". doh! guess i should have walked in the hospital to jog my memory where the maternity ward was in relation to the front doors.

AT 9:32pm(ish) I waddled my way to the front of the line of people waiting to talk to the night guard of the hospital. I didn't have time for common courtesies like waiting in line! I demanded to know where the maternity ward was to which the faces of the people in line softened. He told me which way to go, and told me to wait & he'd call for a wheelchair. But I was already waddle-stomping off toward the elevators as I hollered back to him, "no thanks - i don't have time for that!"

AT 9:40pm(ish) I was pushing the paperwork back at the maternity ward lady saying I really didn't have time for that ish! and said something like, "I think I'm in labor. It hurts a lot, can I get an IV and drugs soon please??" To which the lady calmly told me I'd have to be examined first. THEY WERE TAKING FOREVER! So slow and like they had all the time in the world. Finally I went into an exam room shed my clothes as quickly as possible and the lady asks me to pee in a cup. ARE you freaking kidding me!? okay I tried. but not really. Ryan came into the room - OH THANK Goodness he was here to be my advocate. HA!~ Just as 3 racecars come buzzing into my feet courtesy of Elijah. oh dear.

AT 10pm(ish) The triage nurse came in and said she was gonna take a look. As her head came up she looked confused and in more of a hurry. "Uhm Sara you're dilated to a 7 or 8 and your baby could be coming very quickly, we need to get you an IV and checked in to a room." NO ISH! I thought. Politely I believe my response was, "okay, can I please have some drugs and an epidural as soon as possible PLEASE?"

AT 10:10pm-10:45pm PAIN. and more PAIN. some humor. Daniel & Katie were first on the scene. I'm screaming and begging for drugs and I see them walk in front of my bed. Katie's eyes revealed her sympathy for me, and she half waved and hurriedly grabbed my poor little WIDE eyed and spacey looking Elijah who was sitting just a few feet away from Ryan and I. They quickly directed his attention elsewhere and took him out of the room. A few minutes later Ryans parents & my mom arrived, Mark looked sick and a bit uncomfortable in the room I was spreading my legs and screaming in. Elijah wanted Nana Krystal's attention so she stayed out with him most the time. Sharon offered a quick hug and asked if she could stay- Sure! I really didn't care what happened during those moments as long as someone was either giving me drugs, or getting an anesthesiologist in there. FINALLY the guy arrives apologizing that there were 2 or 3 other women also in labor (well at least someone was getting some pain relief that night). As soon as he sets up his horrific tool kit on a tray next to me, I feel my water break. Aww Sh!!!! I exclaimed (as I reflect on this whole labor I realize Ryan's mom probably saw a whole new side to me that night- lol).

AT 10:46pm The nurses said all the usual BS "Sara you can do this!" "You're a strong woman we can tell". "You got this!" "It's okay to scream, just push!" AHHHHH!! I'm like, "You don't know me. I'm not strong like other women. I can't do this. I'm not strong. I need drugs." Of course they said it was too late & baby would be here any minute and I just needed to focus on getting her here. So I did. I forced Ryan to hold still and act as my focus-point. Boy I loved him so much in those moments. And I knew how much he must love me. To be able to stand there and look into my grimaced face, messy hair, fading makeup, and my eyes revealing my intense pain. Yep that's true love right there.

AT 10:49pm (about 3 hours after first signs of labor) My sweet little new baby girl arrived. We welcomed her to our earthly reality and held her so warm and beautiful. Ryan kissed my forehead, and held my hands as they wrapped around my new little baby. The nurses congratulated me, my family members felt more comfortable coming back into the room. Elijah met his new sister. And I fell in love with my daughter.

Baby slept well that first night & so did we. We were reminded of the routine that goes along with having a new baby around. And Ryan and I spent the next 24 hours trying to determine what her name should be out of the list we had previously come up with. We agreed that Evelyn suited her best. And sometimes we call her "Evie" like E-V, like her initials! We also gave her the middle name of one of my grandmothers: Lyda (pronounced like Lie-duh). That little girl sure has a lot to live up to with a name like Evelyn Lyda Vendshus!

She's getting big fast. She's already holding her head up pretty good and almost rolling over. Ryan and I are tired but good. In her short little 6 weeks of life she's already been to 2 big birthday parties and 2 weddings where mommy was a VIP. Ryan and I are almost finished with her girly baby nursery room (which you'll get all the before and after details of in my next blog post). Ryan goes back to work next week when his maternity time ends. I started working again a few weeks ago. We are looking forward to Ryan's graduation ceremony, his 30th Birthday in Vegas and Evelyn's first family vacation - all in the next month.

Let the good times roll.

Friday, February 10, 2012

My Love - XOXO

Valentine's Day reminds us of the things we hold near and dear to our hearts. As this February 14th approaches I have found myself reflecting on all the beautiful facets of love I feel in my life. The various ways I feel love in my life range from the gigantic chunks of obvious pink diamond rocks, all the way down to the slightest shimmer of a single eye shadow sparkle. Whether big or small, all of the ways love is expressed is meaningful and incomparable to any other feeling.

The largest most obvious pink diamond rock of love in my life is of course my husband Ryan. He is my best friend. He listens to me. He goes out of his way for me. He advises me. He motivates me. He inspires me. He understands me (or at least does a great job pretending to). It's really quite fascinating- The big things he does to make me feel so loved are often expressed by the tiniest of actions. He'll take out the garbage. He'll bring me or make me dinner. He'll pass me a Tums in the middle of the night. He'll drive so I don't have to. He blow dries my hair. He tells me I'm beautiful when I feel disgusting. He acknowledges the work I do and the things I accomplish. By his loving example, he is teaching our son to love, admire and respect me. Yep, Ryan is my very large extravagant - sink straight to the bottom of the ocean  - pink diamond.

My sweet little Elijah-bug. *deep sigh* He is one of the best teachers I've ever had. In a recent Sunday school lesson at church we read in 2nd Nephi Chapter 4. In the beginning we read and discussed how parents are held responsible by God to teach their children, "[...]love and righteousness, to provide for their physical and spiritual needs, to teach them to love and serve one another, to observe the commandments of God and to be law-abiding citizens [...]". -The Family - A Proclamation to the World.  Then a few minutes later we went on in the chapter to discuss how knowing our own shortcomings can lead us to despair but as we recognize the Lords blessings in our lives we can replace despair with hope. And the scripture 2 Nephi 3:13 especially screamed out at me "And out of weakness, he will be made strong [...]". So now you're thinking - okay Sara 2 seconds ago I was reading your blog about loving your son - where the heck are you going with all of this?? Well let me tell you! Here's my thought process behind all this. In the last month Ryan and I have had a super tough time trying to get Elijah to go to sleep at night. We have spent hours each night attempting to reteach him how to go to bed, stay in bed, and fall asleep. It's been excruciatingly difficult for us. We have followed countless pieces of advice to no avail. We go through our standard bedtime routine every night. We have tried adjusting his bedtime hours a few times. We have tried giving him zero attention or interaction while he is inappropriately still awake. We have tried lots of love, discussions, & attention during his tantrums. And we've tried a little of something in between. And I can't even begin to describe the feelings of inadequacy, frustration, anger, then guilt after especially rough nights if I lose my temper. That Sunday school lesson made me realize something incredibly comforting: my son is teaching me to be a better person! Through this experience and time of opposition, I am learning to be more patient. I am learning to try new things and ask others for help. I am learning to be more loving and more compassionate. I am so thankful and fortunate to have Elijah in my life. He shows me he loves me in such sweet innocent ways every day. I love him so much!

Okay now onto the lighter more fluffy loveys in my life! I love my dog Mercedes - she is the best snuggle buddy ever! I love my mom - she is a bit crazy this tax season time of year, but the work ethic and big heart she has toward her clients is inspiring. I love my brother and sister in law - they are so fun to hang out with and it's awesome that they randomly show up on my doorstep for no other purpose than to say hi and to do nothing together. I love my in-laws... they are those people in my life I know I can call at any moment for any reason and they will be there for me if I need them. AND When they're out of town it makes me appreciate them being in town so much more. I love my dad and step mom - what great examples they are to me that you can change anything about yourself if you put your faith in it. I love my extended family and friends - every person and relationship is unique, and every single one shows me love and gives me the opportunity to reciprocate love. I love Jamba juice & Cinnabon - what would I do without you when I'm running late to work and need to redirect my co-workers attention to something more fun than my tardiness? :-) I love photography & Kodak gallery - they provide me so much happiness and endless hours of productive (sometimes wasteful) enjoyment. Since I've been pregnant I also love 7-11 - their Slurpee's make my back-achy-bath time so much more fun! I love decorating things - my house, cookies & cakes, parties, my blog - really doesn't matter what I decorate just as long as I have something to decorate, I am a busy happy girl. I love being a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints - so many blessings being part of this church and of course eternal happiness. I love working, shopping, and all things shiny and sparkly.

So there. My Love Love Loves. Happy Valentines Day. What do you love???

XOXO - Sara