Too Sweet Not to Share

Jan 30, 2014

Some days I cannot believe my luck that I get to do life with this lady. Everly is so fun. She's happy and playful and smarter than I ever imagined a baby could be. She's curious and bright and into everything. I mean everything. About a week ago she got the cleaner (all natural!) out from under the sink and was walking around with it (she does this, just collects treasures as she explores). My dad commented that she had it and we put it out of her reach. Or so we thought. A few days later my mom and I were looking for the cleaner and couldn't find it. Not five minutes after we stopped looking Everly came walking up to us with it in her hands. I still have no idea where she'd put it or how she knew that's what we were looking for. She's just so clever. 

Everly has been sick the past few days and it's been hard on us all. She's congested so she has trouble sleeping and has been missing her nice long nap. The result is crabby baby central around here. And yet, she's still so sweet and fun. Even when she's not feeling well she lights up my world. These photos were from a day of dress up she and I had a few weeks ago. Sometimes we like to put on fancy things and play. This time I took out the camera. The pictures were too sweet not to share.

xo Sue

Kind of a Meal Plan

Jan 27, 2014

When I first lived in Japan I was great at meal planning. I had a little calendar and a menu and a grocery list that was easy to navigate. When I got pregnant that all changed. For 9 long months I couldn't even think about food without wanting to throw it up already. Meal planning went out the window and I fell into survival mode. If something sounded good (which almost never happened) I ate it. Because that was all I could eat. Shortly after E was born I got back to life a little bit, but we travelled and moved and it was difficult to plan anything. Well we're back. Mostly because I'm sick of having to pick something for dinner at 5:30 every night. And then realize that I don't have everything to make whatever it is I want. At the same time, I hate inflexible plans or over scheduling. So we came up with a compromise. We plan 10 meals for 2 weeks, leaving 2 days a week leftovers (which we always have!) or eating out. We take our list of meals for the 2 weeks, do our grocery shopping, and hang it up on the kitchen cupboard or the fridge where Aaron can see it. Then we pick what we want the day before so I can do any prep I need to and still have plenty of time to get dinner on the table. I love our system! It makes me so much happier not to have to dread or avoid dinner time. Plus then I have an excuse to try all the recipes I pin and never get around to. It's like a win-win-win.

A few of the recipes we've tried the last two weeks are fried chicken, chocolate cake with peanut butter frosting, citrus chicken, enchilada soup, tortilla chips, parmesan chicken, and buffalo chicken dip. I honestly enjoyed every single one of those new recipes. I also made beef & broccoli (my own made up recipe), spaghetti with meatballs (pretty standard stuff there), and a few other things. Basically we had a great variety of food and I didn't have to stress. If you want to check out tried and true recipes (and occasionally crafts) follow my Real Life Pins board! I leave little comments on what I thought of the recipes too.

So what about you? Do you meal plan? I'm always on the lookout for some great new recipes!

xo Sue

It's Been Busy

Jan 24, 2014

This week has been intense and a little overwhelming. For the past six months I've been working with an amazing group called Sacred Pregnancy running their website and doing various other fun things for them. The past few weeks I've been working on a big project, an amazing and beautiful ecourse, that has been a huge thing to say the least. Well this Saturday is day one of the ecourse so I've been working furiously with Anni all week to get kinks worked out and pages tweaked until everything is just right. Like I said, it's been intense. And of course my sweet little blog has been neglected. E is lucky she got her 11 month post! I'm lucky I even remembered it! But I wanted to share two fun images from this week. 

These balloons are so special to me. The 21st of January is my grandma's birthday. She's no longer with us and hasn't been for more than half my life, but we never forget her. Every year on her birthday we take balloons, tie birthday notes to them, and set them free. Wherever she may be, I know she gets and loves every single one of them. Last year there was a helium shortage in Utah so the only balloons that were sent came from Aaron and me in Japan, and my 8 months pregnant belly. I've sent balloons every single year since she passed, no matter where I was. It's such a special celebration for me. The celebration of her beautiful life. 

My other favorite picture from this week is a mega close up of my little lady. She's become enthralled with my phone and steals it every chance she gets. A few days ago I turned around to her lying on the bed with it out in front of her and when I took it back I realized she'd been taking selfies. I'm not sure how she figured that one out, but they were priceless. 

And even more priceless... this video. It's not just dada anymore. It's daddy.

xo Sue

Eleven Months Old

Jan 22, 2014

My sweet baby girl. Somehow time keeps passing by. I've never noticed how quickly it does that until this lady came into my life. This month I tried to keep a list of all the new things she learned because they were so amazing to me. And there were so many! I know I didn't manage to keep track of them all, but these were just a few of my favorites. Everly...
  • Waves
  • Smacks her lips
  • Says "yeah" to questions
  • Drinks from a straw (it's very messy)
  • Holds her arms out to be picked up
  • Brings me things to share 
  • Says "uh-oh"
  • Head bangs (daddy taught her that one, then she taught Lizzie)
  • Climbs in and out of the toy car
  • Says "da-dy"
  • Climbs down from the bed and couch
  • Pushes her shopping cart around the house
  • Clicks her tongue
  • Gives hugs when she's asked
  • Gives kisses (sometimes with tongue)
  • Runs from "I'm gonna get you!"
  • Tries to sneak and get dog food
  • Understands "No"
  • Walks backwards
  • Runs
  • Slides my iPhone on
  • Stomps her feet quickly and laughs 
  • Points to 'nose' (hers and others)
  • Climbs onto everything

The list could continue. She has grown and changed so much in the last month, it's just amazing to me. She has four beautiful teeth now and nurses like a champ with them. At first they were painful but now I hardly notice them. Fun fact: Everly had no interest in her pacifier until we moved to Utah. Once she saw how much Lizzie loved hers, Everly decided that a pacifier was indeed for her. I don't mind though, she's only little for a very small amount of time. We're still loving the family bed. Since we don't have a king sized bed we've taken two queen sized mattresses and pushed them together to make all three of us comfortable. She takes up 2/3 of one, Aaron takes a whole one by himself, and I'm squished into the 1/3 that's left between the two of them. And I wouldn't have it any other way. She's gained maybe 1/2 a pound over the last month but she's so active that I believe it. 

Everly loves to run, jump, climb, and play- all things I didn't think I'd say before one year! Next month I'm prepared to shed a lot of proud/happy/nostalgic mama tears over the first birthday of my sweet lady. I am not ready but it's coming anyway. I'm planning a fun little party for some family and close friends the weekend before her birthday. It's going to be so wonderful to celebrate Everly with the people we love. 

xo Sue

In A Bread Sort of Mood

Jan 17, 2014

I love to bake. LOVE. All my husband has to do is hint that he'd like something sweet and I'm off making cookies or cupcakes. It's a 2-3 times a week occurrence around here. Last week I was in a bread sort of mood so of course I made two different types. The first was this simple homemade bread. Fran posted the pictures/recipe and I knew immediately that I'd be making bread that day. And it tastes even better than it looks. The other was this uh-maze-ing banana bread that Shelly shared last Christmas. It's the best banana bread recipe I've ever made and now I don't bother with others. I stick with my tried-and-true recipe from my sister. 

Do you have any go-to recipes for yummy breads? I'd love if you shared them! I'm always on the look out for something simple and tasty. 
xo Sue

A Contributor

Jan 16, 2014

This past week on Instagram I've been participating in a mini project hosted by We Are the Contributors. If you haven't visited their website or read about their projects you should go check them out. They're so creative and inspiring. For this mini project the goal was seven days of selfies and I remembered to do one That's not always easy! But they were a lot of fun to do and I'm glad I participated. These are my seven. I tried to do something a little different each day and there's only one full on, looking at the camera and smiling, selfie in there. Some days it was hard to come up with a different idea and some days they just appeared as if from nowhere. My favorite picture is the lips. That one was too fun. 

xo Sue

The Nonchalance of a Fashion Blogger

Jan 14, 2014

Everly won't usually hold still for a picture no matter how much I plead. Then on a whim she decided to hold still for three. And she did it all with the nonchalance of a fashion blogger. She's mastered the distant look, the casual surprise, the hand in the hair, and the effortlessness of it all. Before she's even a year old. Please, tell me how she does it. 

And this last photo, oh this last photo. I know the coloring is all wrong and completely grainy. It came out so dark but I did my best to salvage it and I love it anyway. She was smiling, I was smiling, we were playing. The camera caught it. It may not be a perfect photo, but I needed to save it. Because I'm usually the one behind the camera I don't have many photos of us in the moment, in the action, just playing as we do every single day. I needed this photo. And I love it so much.

xo Sue

Magic at the Piano

Jan 13, 2014

My mom bought this piano when I was seven years old. I'd been taking lessons for a year and playing on a small keyboard but I'd become frustrated with it. I couldn't play loud or soft on a keyboard and I wasn't able to practice those parts of my lessons. When I was little I was convinced the highest form of torture was my mother making me sit on that bench for 30 minutes and plunk out my songs. Now I'm so grateful she did. I can sit down with a piece of music and muddle my way through it a few times, making beautiful music out of notes on a page. 

Sometimes Everly likes to go to the piano and practice her own songs. She never plays the same song twice and they have no titles or notes to read, but they are beautiful bits of music. She loves to make sound. Her face lights up at the noise that follows when she pounds proudly on the keys. It's a delight to listen and watch as my daughter develops her own love affair with the piano. I hope it carries on forever.

xo Sue


Jan 8, 2014

I came across this phrase on my Facebook news feed a few days ago and it got stuck in my head. I tried scrolling back through to figure out where or who it came from but I couldn't find it again. I threw together this quick little graphic to put on my phone and remind me of the words I love. I've slowly been connecting more to my Mother Earth and the fire inside myself. These words practically leapt off the screen at me and I haven't stopped thinking about them. You know when you hear (or read) something off hand and it just resonates with you? These are my words. They're still echoing in my chest and bouncing around in my brain.

Do you have a phrase or a mantra that you love? I would love to hear it. Leave it in the comments for me! 
xo Sue

15 Things You May Not Know About Me: Pregnancy Edition

Jan 6, 2014

I really enjoyed writing the 15 things you may not know about me. I feel like I opened up a little bit and let people see a side of me they don't normally see. Mostly because they're random facts that I don't usually talk about on the blog. Today I'm doing another round of 15 things, only this time it's about my pregnancy.

  1. Everly was an unexpected but VERY welcome surprise. I do believe she knew what she was doing when she decided to join our family. If I'd waited until I was ready I would have waited forever. It also taught me that there is never a good time to have a baby. You just have to trust yourself to be strong because life is never the same again.
  2. I would push my tummy out farther when I was early on because I wanted to look pregnant long before I actually did. I hated having to announce I was pregnant only to hear "you don't look it" like that was a compliment.
  3. I started wearing maternity jeans when I was only 12 weeks. I didn't need them but they were so comfy! I secretly still want to wear them but I don't.
  4. I could still button my "pre-pregnancy" pants the day before we went to the hospital. But they looked weird and honestly were uncomfortable. It made me happy that my butt didn't grow though. 
  5. Due to HG (hyperemesis gravidarum), I lost weight and was so sick I didn't know if I would make it to the end. It was a very unpleasant 9 months. It's also a really scary thing to deal with, especially when the doctors don't diagnose you until it's far too late to be cautious or monitor.
  6. I meditated every day for the last four months of my pregnancy. I was very in tune with Everly and my body and knew when things were not right.
  7. We thought we were having a boy but were delighted when we found out she was a girl. I think deep down I wanted a girl but I didn't want to be disappointed if it was a boy so I just told myself that's what it was. 
  8. We picked Everly's name as soon as we knew we were having a girl. Or more accurately, we picked 2 names but I liked mine better so I just started using it. I knew if Aaron hated it he would say so but instead he fell in love with it just like I did.
  9. E was born in Japan, on a teeny tiny military base. She was the only baby in the hospital the entire time we were there (less than 24 hours).
  10. One of the few things I could keep down was bacon. It stayed in my stomach at least half the time I ate it. It was like magic. Coincidentally, Everly loves bacon now.
  11. I bought books for E my entire pregnancy and had quite the collection by the time she was born. Aaron used to read to my tummy. Now we read them together and I absolutely love it.
  12. E was breeched until 37.5 weeks when she finally flipped her stubborn bum over. It was scary for me because if she hadn't flipped they would have forced me to have a c-section. I was so grateful to her for flipping. She was born exactly 3 weeks later.
  13. I had a doula for my birth and I recommend one to every single pregnant mom I meet, no matter what kind of birth they want. I already wanted to be a doula before E was born, but my personal experience with one lit a fire inside me.
  14. E was born after 13 awesome, intense, painful, beautiful hours of natural labor (2.5 hours of pushing). It was the most amazing experience of my entire life.
  15. The moment I saw her perfect face I knew every second of the last nine months had been totally worth it. I was deeply in love and completely unprepared for what came next (no matter how many books I'd read!). 

I love my daughter deeper than words can express. My pregnancy was rough but also beautiful. I loved growing my daughter and giving her life. I feel so blessed that she chose me for her mama. I cannot believe the beauty that she brings to the world. Her light shines so bright, I'm always in awe. 
xo Sue

Falling In Love With Myself

Jan 3, 2014

This year I am going to fall in love with myself. I wrote a bit about it in my post about intentional living, but I want to share more. Self love. It's a difficult topic. People seem to confuse loving yourself with being conceited or self involved. But I don't believe I can be a great mother to my Everly without loving myself. She deserves a mama who loves herself and teaches her to do the same. Everything I do now is motivated by Everly in one way or another. I want to be a better mother, a better wife,  a better person because she deserves better from me. Always. I want to teach Everly that she is absolutely perfect and teach her to love herself. I believe the best way to teach anything is by example. It's becoming more and more important for me to love myself.

There are a lot of things I like about me. There are also things I don't like and that's what I'm going to be working on this year. Every time I look in the mirror I see a flaw. I want to work on turning my flaws into strengths and accepting my imperfect body and soul as they are. If there's something I cannot accept I will change it. It will be an ongoing love affair.

The past year over at Alex's blog she's been writing all about self love and it's been inspiring. Every time I read one of her self love posts I find myself nodding along with her writing. I may not be just like her or going through the same experiences, but the lessons she learning are universal. Alex said "I am okay with embracing all parts of me now. I embraced for the first time this year, my bravery, my creativity, my strong will to survive (more on that in a minute) my sense of humor, my ability to be a good friend, my questionable fashion sense, my impeccable ability to bake desserts, and my way with words. I also embraced the fact that I'm completely negative, I'm a bitch, I despise spending time with people, I despise people, I feel that I have to answer to no one in this life, I'm incredibly difficult sometimes, I'm neurotic, and want nothing to do with the majority of people whose paths I cross. I'm fine with all this! Yay go me self esteem blah blah honesty blah."

Today I'm embracing myself as this imperfect woman, imperfect wife, imperfect mother. Sister, daughter, friend, confidant. I am all of these things, imperfectly. I love that about myself. Perfection is boring. I am a flawed individual. But I am strong and smart and curious and above all I have a good heart, a good soul. I have blossomed from the girl I used to be into the woman that I am. The right words often escape me in describing how deep my feelings run. This is hugely personal to me. When I look at the photo above I can easily pick out flaws. They practically leap of the screen. Today I choose to pick out the strengths. The bags under my eyes are not those of a sleep deprived woman, but those of a mother who loves her daughter so deeply that she stayed up half the night rocking, nursing, and comforting her to allow her to get some sleep. My Everly is young. She will not need me forever. But she needs me now and I am everything for her. The woman in this photo is strong. She is brave. She is vulnerable. And she's a mother who loves fiercely.

xo Sue

Living Intentionally

Jan 1, 2014

I've never liked the word resolution. It makes me feel like I'm not a good enough person and I have to make improvements on myself. While this may be true (I know it is) I don't enjoy the word that's plagued every January of my existence, reminding me that I'm not good enough. The past year has been exhilarating and exhausting. I'm ready to start again. This year I'm doing something a little different. I'm giving myself a word to live by. My word for this year is simple, but it resonates deeply with me.


I'm going to live with intention. I'm going month to month, week to week, day to day. I'm taking it a few steps at a time. I'm not going to overwhelm myself with the five year or ten year plan, or even the one year plan, just an idea of where I want to grow this year. So many days I feel as though life just passes me by. Day to day nothing seems to change, but when I look back over the months and years everything is different. I want to change that. Especially as I watch Everly grow and change. Her life will not just pass us by

I'll be documenting my intentional living on my blog because it's important to me and I want to share that. There are a few things that are very personal and I haven't decided if they'll pop up here or not. Either way, this is going to be a beautiful year. I want to share my intentions for the year, and just for January. They become more real to me when I commit here. Most are pretty simple and I'm okay with that. It's the little things in life, right?

In 2014...
  1. I will read at least one book a week. I have no excuse, except I had a baby and now there never seem to be enough hours in the day. Over winter break my family has been around more, including Aaron, and I've had some extra help with Everly. I've used that time to read a few great books and my goodness, I love reading. I always have. I'm making time for it again. I'm also trying to find a local book club.
  2. I will post on my blog 2-3 times a week. I'm already pretty good at this but I'm falling in love with blogging again and I want to keep it alive.
  3. I (we) will take a family picture every month. It's pretty self explanatory, but I want more pictures of all three of us. We did pretty well taking them this year but they were sporadic. 
  4. I will search for things that make my soul happy. I'm on a journey to finding myself. I don't think I'll ever reach the destination because I'll never be ready to settle. Each destination will breed a new journey. I'm a soulful and complex person, and I'm enjoying every second of this life. I'm awakening new talents and passions and learning to share more of myself with the people I love. There's nothing I would rather do than make the world around me a better and more beautiful place.
  5. I will fall in love with myself. That's all I want to say on the matter because I'm writing a beautiful and in depth post about self love that will come in a few days. I hope you love to read it as much as I've loved writing it. 

In January...
  1. I will paint my nails once a week. And take off old/chipped polish. Don't laugh. I'm the worst at both of these. And I feel prettier with painted nails. That's all.
  2. I will go to the gym with Aaron 3 times a week. We're giving ourselves a month of gym time  for a new years present to's see if we like this new place that opened up. And we're going to go. This is another thing that's soft of fallen to the side since E was born but I always feel better about myself when I work out. And I want to feel good about myself. 
  3. I will have three new birth clients. I am intoxicated by my work as a doula and I'm going to push myself harder and farther to do more good. It is amazing to be a part of the birth world and watch strong, powerful women give birth to our future. Women are spectacular. 

Tell me friends, what are some of your goals/resolutions/intentions for 2014? Leave me links to your posts in the comments. I'd love to visit and read them! 
xo Sue