Friday, September 30, 2011

A Meaningful Life: Good Books

Dear Cheyenne,

One thing I think that makes a meaningful life is filling our time with good books. I read a lot of classics while I was pregnant with you, and continue to do so.

I try to read a little of the original Winnie the Pooh books to you everyday. Right now you don't really get anything out of them, but I hope someday you will remember the little gems of wisdom A.A. Milne hides in these innocent stories. Older books are filled with real virtues, and sometimes that's hard to find among so much "fluff" that is produced today.

One of my favorite books is Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. I love the stories of the sisters with deep, loving friendships. I love how they serve others and help each other. I love how they practice self reliance and focus less on "society" and more on family. I want to read this book to you someday, or maybe we can even read it together. I hope I can teach you the principles of this book: love, friendship, and charity among others.

I've started making a list, even though it's a long way off, of all the books I want to include in our library. We don't have space for one in our house right now, but I hope someday we have a room dedicated just to books. I want you to see books as important, in no way outdated, and a wholesome way to get entertainment. I'm hoping that by making good books available to you, I can help you make good choices as to what will enrich your life.

There is one book that I think is more important, and teaches us more than all these other books combined. I read it everyday, and everyday I am uplifted by it. I have a goal (that I'm not good at yet) to read to you, Cheyenne, a little from this book, The Book of Mormon, everyday. Why do I want to read you this book? Because it calms my spirit. When I say words I don't really mean to your dad,  or when I think rude things about people I don't really know, this books helps me see where I am wrong. It helps me realize my own weaknesses, and things I can do to make them better. I use it as a source of strength in my life, and I hope I can teach you to do the same.

In time, I hope you come to see the books I see as important, as things that enrich your days. I want them to become a part of your life, and that they change you for the better. Because that's what they've done for me.



Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Pretty Normal

I love this picture, even though it is blurry and out of focus. This is pretty typical of our life. Cheyenne follows us around everywhere, whether we are brushing our teeth or sitting in the living room. She always has this smile on her face, and is usually using something (or your leg) to keep her balance.

Another typical photo of Cheyenne. One of her favorite things to do is dart for the fridge the second I have it open. I can't leave it open for one second or else this occurs...

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Dillon's Temple Trip

My little brother Dillon is going to college in the same town that we live in. It's so fun to have him around!
We give him dating advice, and he keeps Cheyenne entertained, so it's a great trade off.

Dillon turns 19 in November, and in our family that is when boys go on missions for our church.
Dillon recently got called to serve in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, which he is very excited about (my other little brother Derek is currently serving in San Fernando, California, speaking Korean of all things). One of the craziest parts about his call is that he has to report to the Missionary Training Center on December 14th, before the semester even ends! So poor little Dillon has had to squeeze in a lot of preparation while also trying to "live it up" his only semester as a freshman.

One of the best parts of preparing for a mission is that you go to the temple to receive your endowment. In our church (LDS), the temple endowment is a kind of like a "rite of passage" where you make covenants and promises with God you keep the rest of your life. I was able to receive my endowment right before I got married, and ever since I have felt more of God's love, and a stronger resolve to be like Him.

 To make it so my parents could be there for this special occasion, we met halfway(ish) in Twin Falls, Idaho.
This is the Twin Falls Temple (taken by Ben). 

Dillon, Cheyenne, and I on the grounds. "Best friends," obviously, by our pose.
I never noticed before but in this picture we have the same smile. Out of all of my siblings, Dillon has more of my same features. We look more like "Emerys" than "Flakes." 

My little sister Cassidy was so awesome and watched Cheyenne for us during the endowment session.
Afterwards, we went out to Wendy's to celebrate (you can't argue with the dollar menu!).
Here are Dillon and Cassidy, my two youngest siblings. Pretty cute don't you think?

On the way back, we stopped at my cousin Kristen's house. She and her husband Kevin were so nice to host us. She is one of my closest cousins, since she has a baby (Allison) just two weeks younger than Cheyenne, and we both got married in the same summer.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

A New Blog Title

I changed the title of my blog and here's why. It's something I've been thinking about for a while. You can also find this information under the page "A Meaningful Life." Be sure to check out my other pages (listed underneath my blog header).

The new title of this blog is "A Meaningful Life." I talked back in this post about what my mom did to make my life meaningful. I learned a lot of things from my parents, and I feel like I had a great childhood. Now as an adult I have learned maybe a few more things, and want to ensure my children also have a meaningful life. 

My wise older brother Joel once told me that if you want to ensure something happens, you tell everyone about it. That way you will be too embarrassed to fail because everyone knows about it. This is what he did with his weight loss, and he was very successful. I am hoping that by keeping this blog, I can similarly ensure success for my family.

I am still young, and our small family has a lot of life ahead of us. I am hoping this blog will help me start those meaningful traditions and follow through with them. When I decided to create a theme for this blog, I sat down and made  a list of all things I wanted to be sure to include. It was really fun mapping out my "meaningful life," and the list for "what I think makes life meaningful" was pretty long. However I am also excited to learn as our family grows and add things to my 'list' of what makes a meaningful life.

This blog is where I will chronicle all the things I think make a meaningful life, so someday my kids can look back and see that we tried to be deliberate parents. I want my children to know that we tried to be parents who carefully thought out what would make a good life for their kids. 

Going Public... One Year Later

One year ago we decided to make our blog private. Well now we are going public again (this time for good).

There are a few pluses to being private. Namely, you know exactly who is looking at your blog.

The saddest part about being private is that sometimes people who want to see you blog can't. Since I'm not planning on bearing my soul on here, I guess it's okay if a few random people see my blog, if it means everyone who wants to also can.

So welcome back if it's been a while and YOU'RE WELCOME to the rest of you who no longer have to log in to see our blog!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Family Pictures

We FINALLY got family pictures taken. I was pretty embarrassed to tell the photographer that this was actually the first time we had family pictures taken, since my baby has been alive 9 MONTHS already. We went up to Squaw Peak early on a Wednesday morning, and it was absolutely beautiful.

We were really pleased with how they turned out. Cate (recommended to me by my good friend Stephanie) owns Ciao Bella Photography. Cate was a pleasure to work with. She was even willing to make funny faces at Cheyenne that kept us all laughing. She's very affordable, does great work, and is a very nice person. I would recommend her to anyone!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Cheyenne's First Steps and other stuff

Okay so I don't actually have a video of her very first steps, but here is a video of her taking some steps:

Yeah it wasn't very far and she's still pretty shaky. But it's a start!

And she learned how to wave "bye bye."

We are pretty much in love with our little girl.

The little devil got away from me while I was trying to put on her diaper after a bath.

I always feed her naked, otherwise she's more interested in her bib than her food. 

One of her favorite things to do is peek over the bed while I'm on the other side.

Our Old New House (Part II)

Although we weren't initially planning on living in the basement, we decided to try it out for a while and see how long we can "stand" it. One the plus side, it has a ton of square footage, more than the apartment upstairs, put it's just poorly used (which we hope to change). We save a little money by living down here, and it's not as bad as I thought it was going to be. Although sometimes I have been known to yell "This kitchen is TOO small!" when I run out of counter space and break things.

For your viewing pleasure, a video tour of our downstairs.

A few addendum to the movie: one great feature I forgot to mention was that the light switch for the spare bedroom is actually up the stairs.   So you can get your exercise in for the day before you go to bed.

Here is what the shed looked like, pre-destruction. I thought it was pretty cute and quaint, but alas it was in such bad shape they had to tear it down in order for us to get a loan on the house.

The shed even had a bunch of junk in it from who knows how long ago. One thing we did get out of all that "junk" was a mower that wouldn't start. One Saturday Ben fixed that mower up and it runs like new! Anyway, we hope to put a new shed in the space where this one used to be. Maybe it can be as cute as this old one.

Here is a "before" shot of the duct Ben fixed. I know two inches doesn't seem like a big difference, but it was actually a big project.

...And here it is after. You wouldn't even know it used to hang down another two inches!

The door Ben put in. Let me tell ya, it's not easy to find a door this size.

Ben built the window to the right (can you tell how impressed I am to be married to a Mr. Fix It?).

You can't really tell in the picture, but Ben built a screen for this kitchen window upstairs, his latest project. One thing we are trying to do as we live in this house is to stay has historically accurate as we can. We could've easily gotten a cheapo plastic screen from Home Depot, but that's not how the built screens back in the day.

Ben's been putting to good use all his tools he had carted back from Illinois (by my dad. Thanks again!). We're so glad!

We love our new home, despite the mounds of work we still have to do on it. It's fun to create something and call it your own.