2019: Word For the Year & Goals

Word for the year:

  • Energetic
  • Faithful
  • Grateful

Goals for the year:

  • Baby Step 2 | Complete the Dave Ramsey Baby Step no. 2 by August 2019
  • Baby Step 3 | Complete the Dave Ramsey Baby Step no. 3 by end of year 2019
  • BYU Pathways | Complete the BYU Pathways Program by end of summer 2019
  • BYU-I | Register for at least 1 BYU-Online Course this Fall Semester
    • Map out degree with advisor. Calculate est. graduation date

  • Cooking | Master a new dinner & dessert recipe a/mo
  • Daily Schedule | Establish a daily schedule for 2019: stick to it
  • Date Night | Create a habit in scheduling in date night & of using babysitters
  • Scriptures | Read / Listen to a Book a Month
  • Minimalist | Have a minimalist mind-set in 2019
  • Teach | Teach Paityn how to read
  • Schedule Fun | Schedule time for fun with the girls each week
  • Run | Lean into the discomfort of running, continue making progress with adding on miles
  • Workouts | Maintain the habit of the gym 4x a week

How about you? What’s your word for the year and / or goal that you’re most excited to focus on this year?

Take Two

A game of lost and found happened quickly (without me realizing it) with my motivation for earning my degree.

I enrolled for the two online classes this winter, oh so very pregnant and learning about Paityn in her new phase of life as a toddler. I passed one and didn’t the other. It wasn’t because they were very difficult! Whether it was the lack of a teacher in life to please, like I’ve claimed; or the awkward possibility that I expected it to be easy, and when it wasn’t, I fell back on the excuse that being a mother is important and that being a mother is enough.

Yes, yes it is! But arguing the merits of motherhood has nothing to do with me falling behind on reading for an English class.

At the end of the day that was an excuse. I quietly swept the idea of going back to school under the rug, and moved on. I figured it would “make more sense down the road”. Even more awkwardly, what that really meant was, I was figuring it would be easier down the road.

This role of being a mom isn’t going anywhere. It’s never going to get easier. Gaining an education wasn’t meant to be easy.

But it is a very personal journey.

So again, I’m following the pounding in my heart again that begs to be listened to. To give this another go. To make going back to school make sense, despite our frequently-moving-ways.


Thriving in 2015 | April Update

I’m a big believer in making goals work for you and to make them fit naturally into your life (while using the idea of grace liberally.) Being in a major transition stage of life I completely skipped an update for March. Whether that was a good thing or not I’m not sure, because I definitely wasn’t focused on making progress with my list for the year. But!  I wanted to make sure to check in on the good things that happened in April and to refocus on what I’d like to make progress with this next month.

The good, the oh so very good! :

Experience a natural + intervention free birth in April You guys, I did it. One of my biggest goals for the year was to have the opportunity to experience birth in it’s most natural form. And I did it. And that brings me unspeakable joy. You can read about my birth experience here and why having a doula was key to making this goal achievable.


Breastfeed our second little one for 18 months Though there will be a few different stages to go through to make this goal possible, we have one of the biggest ones out of the way: establish a latch that works for mom + the babe and have the baby show that she’s gaining the proper amount of weight. At her two week visit she was up an ounce from her birth weight which shows that we’re right on track. Patyn’s jealousy about Hudson nursing seems to be diminishing with each week as she begins to understand that little sister needs to eat, and that I’m the one to help her. Now I just need to accept again that my chest is large during this phase of motherhood and that it’s going to be large until I have a reduction someday. And that that’s ok. *deep breath*

Read 6 Books That Focus on Spiritual Matters I picked up two that seem amazing, I just need to make curling up with them and reading a priority. 1. House of Learning, getting more out of your temple experience ++ 2. The Continuous Atonement by Brad Wilcox because he’s one of my favorites. Have I linked his famous talk lately? If not let me, because it’s that good. Here.

Read at least 1 fun book a month I may need to rewrite this goal before it falls under the category in my mind of — “well I missed a few months so now it’s too late.” The point of this goal is to be continually reading a fun book. Which I am, just a little slower than last year. I’m still working my way through Better Than Before and have the best intentions of picking up Running with the Mind of Meditation again after and finishing it. Instagram << Reading. I need to be reminded this on the daily.

What I’d like to refocus on/work on in the month of May:

— Serving in the Community (at least!) Two Hours a Month
— Explore Utah and Appreciate Our Time Here (series beginning soon)
— Become Creative With Feeding Paityn Breakfast + Lunch
— Post Meal Idea Updates For Her Monthly
— Become More Politically and Socially Aware
— Highlight One Philanthropic Group Once a Month

What I need to focus on but don’t really want to: Create a Financial Plan for 2015 ;)

What goals are you focusing on this next month? xx

Birth Story | Hudson Elle

{our last night as a family of three}

Our evening began with a cute dinner date, our phones put away and focusing on each other. We laughed at clips of a show playing off in a corner and Paityn trying to eat her meal. The sweet simple love for each other was palpable. I wore my orange maternity dress, and for that hour I wasn’t uncomfortable or even necessarily feeling pregnant. The past few nights of exhausting contractions felt years away as the rain felt softly outside. It had been so important to me that Landon and I be emotionally close and in sync the night that I go in labor. At the time it had felt like just the break from pregnancy exhaustion that I needed, but it turned out to be the start of our birth story.Hudson2

We ran to the car through the rain with only one girl to buckle into her car seat for our last time. Once  inside I pulled out my phone to check what I’d missed. The decision about a blogger opportunity that I’d been refreshing my email over all week came through, and it was positive. Excitedly I read Landon the details as we drove home. It felt like just the sweet gesture that I needed to get through a few more days of pregnancy. That if I went to sleep that night and woke up on the due date still pregnant that it’d be ok.

Luckily, my body had other ideas. So as we cuddled up on the couch to watch a movie, and I tried to focus despite my excitement over the collaboration, my body began to really prepare to bring this little girl into the world. I didn’t begin to notice the consistency of contractions till I was set up to fall asleep on the couch for another night (our bed having become too miserable to sleep on) and I found myself leaning over the arm of the couch playing on my phone through waves of back labor. I knew things could carry on for a while, and that the odds of it phasing out eventually were good. I acknowledged that the next day could be a long and tiring one, and tried to not stress over that fact.


{the real deal contractions}

Eventually I wanted to be near Landon so I crawled into bed next to him and started timing the contractions, not wanting to wake him up knowing that he had a long day of work tomorrow without the option to take a nap like I would. Around 2am I gently woke him up, letting him know they were 5 minutes apart, lasting around a minute, and that I wasn’t sure what was going to happen from there. We stayed in bed and talked till it was too uncomfortable to lay down through each one.

I killed time doing my hair and packing a few things in our hospital bag before getting into the shower finding so much relief feeling the water hit my contracting torso. And then a contraction came that scared me. There I was, not even sure if I was going to ‘go into labor’ that night, and I was experiencing a contraction that stopped me in my tracks. Everything around me disappeared as I attempted to calmly breathe through it. I got out of that safe haven of comforting water to talk to Landon — it was time to assume this was the real deal. As he woke Paityn and got ready to take her to my aunt’s the doubt stayed in the back of my mind. “If I could barely make it through that contraction in the shower how was I ever going to do this?”

Taking one contraction at a time, standing still and finding one spot on our floor to focus I got through each one while worrying about cleaning our house for our doula Gloria who was now on her way down from Salt Lake. I encouraged Landon to grab some food for himself quickly on the way home from dropping off Paityn, knowing it could be a long journey for both of us till the little one arrived. When he got home though I was too nervous to continue laboring at home. You always hear how much faster the second baby comes, and that knowledge was making me tense as I could feel the energy in my body changing — the rushes becoming stronger and closer together. I had Landon call Gloria and see what she thought about meeting at the hospital. Originally the idea of laboring as much at home as possible had sounded so lovely, but just a few hours in I was ready to be checked in. I’m so grateful for her response: “I want you to be wherever you’ll feel safe.” You guys she was the best. And it just got better from there.


{checked into the hospital}

The worst contractions of Hudson’s birth were by far the 5 or 6 that I had in the waiting room while they checked us in. Totally our fault for not pre-registering. And thankfully they were fine having Landon answer all the questions and provide our information. Taking each one at a time I stared at a spot on the wall or floor, feeling thankful that we were at least at the hospital knowing that these contractions weren’t going to phase out like the previous three nights that week. As they wrapped up the paperwork and I watched the nurse come around to let us in, tears fell that I didn’t try to stop. It felt so good to let some of those fearful emotions go with each tear — the fear of not having help from my doula in time, the fear of having the birth go too quickly leaving me feeling out of control, the fear of not being able to do this; I was doing this.

Gloria, our doula, arrived just minutes after I was pulled into the side room with two nurses to be checked for progress. “Kyra, you’re doing awesome!” she greeted me with the warmest smile, and I believed her.  I was doing awesome. Within minutes I was walking down to the room where we’d stay for the birth and recovery process. I was dilated to a 7 and most definitely, in labor. In the comfort of my own v-neck tee, boy shorts and socks I labored with the help of Gloria and Landon, bringing little Hudson closer and closer to greeting the world.


Going into, or rather anticipating a natural birth, I knew that positive words really resonated me. So that’s what I expected Gloria’s role to be — to help remind me of my goals, to let me know that I WAS doing this and doing it well when I thought I wasn’t or couldn’t any more. I had no idea just how much I would physically rely on her. My need for her help was as primal as it gets — I could not have gotten through each of those contractions from a 7 to a 10 without her. It was a powerful but simple need. So I sat on the edge of the bed, closing my eyes and going inward as each rush began — Gloria pushing firmly on my knees and Landon pushing on my lower back. I breathed, then later moaned through each one. When I had things under control my breathing was steady and my voice was low. If one intimidated or scared me there was an audible change in my voice, hearing it rise in pitch. She was right there giving me a breath or sound to imitate — a yoga “ohm” for example, and we would go back and forth, me trying to relax and coax my voice and fears down to her deepness till we were in sync and the contraction had ended.

All the while Landon was there, and his physical proximity was one of the most spiritual changes between my two birth’s. For this birth I was able to take the lead, showing what I needed, and he was able to support me. With Paityn he was just as involved, helping hold up my legs that had no control or feeling due to the epidural and helping coach me through pushing her into the world. This time everything felt simpler in the most beautiful way. His head resting against my upper back as he applied pressure to my lower back is a feeling I hope I can always recall. And if not I wish I could bottle that emotion up, because I fell in love with him so many times over in those moments, but didn’t realize it till a few days later.


Still in my t-shirt bra and socks, just how I wanted, I began to feel the involuntary need to push at some point after 6am, after checking into the hospital a bit before 4am. Within minutes, after being cleared to follow the lead from my body (and after my water accidentally breaking all over my doula) I started the second phase of labor. Similar to the contractions before, once each was over it was over I was able to open my eyes and take in my surroundings. Working with my body I pushed with each rush, resting in between. But at some point early on with pushing I realized how fearful I’d become again. As I rested between two more contractions I layed back on the pillows that were propping me up and thought back to Paityn’s birth when it came down to buckling down and pushing that little girl into the world or being wheeled off for a C-section. I told myself that I needed to find that place again. With the next contraction I grabbed my legs after being scared to do so before, and lowered my chin.

A few minutes before 7am, the energy in the room became chaotic. My eyes still closed through each contraction, focusing inward and willing the child into the world, the music disappeared and more staff came into the room. Landon’s face who had been right next to mine, cheek to cheek through the pushing was now facing me telling me that I needed to do this. That Hudson was stuck and that we needed to get her out. The midwife (who was unfortunately the one that I hadn’t met yet, my appointment with her being scheduled for later that day) who had been there out of necessity up to that point in my mind became just who I needed. With eyes open now I made fearful but unwavering eye contact, doing everything that I could to lean into the contractions and push the little girl out while she helped assist with turning her shoulders. And then in the most satisfying moment ever she was out at 7:01am. Our little Utah baby.

It got a little dramatic after that, but I’m writing this story so I’d like to rewrite it a little. Because as disappointing as it was how chaotic it got as our request for delayed cord clamping was denied (as well as getting to do skin to skin right after) and my midwife rushing the placenta being expelled, the room eventually cleared till it was just Landon, Gloria and I and this little babe and all of her dark hair. All 10lbs 9oz.

IMG_1143I was disappointed that I didn’t get the chance to revel in that glorious post baby moment when all is right in the world and pain isn’t even close to a word in your dictionary. I wish they would’ve calmed down a bit, and not rushed the Pitocin into my IV lock and began the pressure to make a decision about taking other drugs to combat the possibility of hemorrhaging due to having a large baby. I wish I wish I wish. But it’s ok. She is here, and this is my birth story, it’s not going anywhere. I did it. We did it. She’s here.

I had gone into this birth wanting it to be a spiritual experience, and as we left the hospital as a family of four I left with the reminder that spiritual doesn’t mean that it has to be overwhelming or full of tears. That things of a spiritual nature can instead often be simple and peaceful — everything resonating with what you believe in.

gloria 2

Along with that reminder, I left having been taught about trust on levels that I didn’t expect — learning to trust myself, my instincts, my body; and learning to lean and trust others.

Thriving in 2015 | February Update

February, the month of love. I’d like to think that I get an extra pass to love Valentine’s Day as much as I do simply because Valentine was my maiden name. Whether I do or not this was such a good month for Landon and I.

After a few long weeks of getting used to Landon working full time and continuing on with school (pre-reqs for an MBA program that his BA at the University of Utah didn’t cover) we were both so exhausted. It just wasn’t working. So one Thursday in the second weekend of February I started the day with opening the Bible and reading a chapter or two, something I hadn’t done in weeks. The day ended up being one of the nicest that I’d had in a long time. I cleaned the house room by room, my spirit getting lighter with each cleaned part of the house.

As the time for Landon to come home came closer I felt more and more at peace suddenly with idea of Landon stopping mid semester with classes. I had been so stubborn every time we’d talked about it before, saying he just needs to put in the time and follow the feeling we both got last summer. But once I opened my heart to the idea of dropping the classes, my burden was light. It wasn’t until it was about time for him to walk through the door that I realized there was a chance he wasn’t having the same feelings that I was. That he could quite possibly kiss me on the forehead, grab his books and turn right around to go to class.

Within a few minutes of he being home I tentatively asked, “how are you feeling?” I smiled and he smiled, and we both just knew. We’re not to the level of marriage of not needing words so we shared a few thoughts back and forth and that was that. “Let’s party!” he said, and party we did that night together with a little meat and cheese plate + sparkling cider.

I’m a bit hesitant to share this story now, knowing that everyone’s journey balancing gaining additional education and career goals are different. Some might think or say “oh just stick with it! The time apart will be over in time and it’ll all be worth it”. But it isn’t worth it to us now. And I can’t begin to describe the closeness in our relationship now that we’re on the same page with this decision. Unity in marriage is a beautiful thing.


Which seaways into how I’m applying this to my goals this month: a way that I worked on leaning Landon’s love language. It was totally a dual effort. But it is a positive example to me of being flexible with plans, valuing his needs and thoughts, and supporting him with future career goals.

24 Credits Towards Bachelor Degree
Let me tell you, the time to be in school is when you’re single, or heck even married. But I’m coming to terms with the idea that there is no easy time to be in school once you’re a parent. My block class finished at the end of this month and oh, it kicked my butt. I have one more class that lasts through the end of April and then it’ll be time to decide if I want to take summer classes on campus (because I’ve run out of online classes that’d apply to my degree) while trying to balance a newborn and establishing breastfeeding. All advice is welcome!

Finish 4 Craft Projects That Make My Heart Happy 

The first thing that I created this month was my Hello Hoop Embroidery with Cinder and Honey which you can read more about here! The next project on my list is mastering the sugar cookie with the help of The Alison Show’s Cookie Party ECourse. Heck, I’d take just getting the sugar cookie down. But first we need to add some basics to our kitchen setup like a rolling pin for starters. We’re such newlyweds sometimes.

cookie party
Have a Monthly Yoga Pass to a Studio Year Round

IMG_8833I haven’t pulled the trigger on this as I’ve been putting money earned from helping Elizabeth Cooper Designs with their trunk shows towards the doula fee (which we finished off this month already!) but I was able to attend a few classes this month as well as doing a few yoga seshes at home. I can’t begin to tell you what a different they make in my day and in how I view this pregnancy. I’m not an emotional pregnant mama, but prenatal yoga gets me every time.

I can’t help but wonder what this means for me after having our little on in April. I’ve been in love with lifting for 2+ years now, but yoga is pulling me back in a serious way. Dreams of studying yoga and having a very regular practice are flooding back.

The list of what makes me me cramp lately at the gym is steadily growing — everything from from deadlifts to the stairmaster. So this may just be a case of “lack of consistency brings a lack of interest.” We shall see!

Other goals that I focused on this month included working towards reading the New Testament cover to cover (I made sure to start my day with a chapter almost every morning this month), continue to collaborate with brands that I’m passionate about (I have some exciting projects to share soon!), and being more creative with Paityn’s meals (more on this later).

[Posts in February]
31 Week Pregnancy Update
a Post for Our Birthday Girl — 2 Years Old!
Hello Hoop Embroidery Loom Project 
a Few Thoughts on Why I Blog
Sakura Bloom Sling Diaries VI Entry

I truly hope February was good to you! Let me know if you saw progress with your goals this past month or what you’re wanting to focus on in March! I’m ready to get back to reading books that I like. All of this reading for school is killing me.

Why I Blog

My Pinterest has been flooded with posts all about increasing your traffic, moving your site up on the rankings list, how to boost your blog’s SEO and sticking to a blogging schedule. Blogging can easily become a numbers game which in of itself isn’t a problem. But it can be if it makes you lose sight of why you began blogging in the beginning.

Here’s why I blog —

I blog because my memory is terrible. And because this is a phase of life that I’m going to want to remember.
I blog because it’s a creative outlet that makes my heart happy.
[Anything that makes your heart happy is something to hold onto.]
I blog because it pushes me to be more today than I was yesterday.
I blog because photos are my love language.

I blog because I want to encourage you to live your best life.
I blog because I want you to know that you can make it through that rough patch that you’re going through.
I blog to join in with sharing the message that motherhood and marriages are beautiful and to be celebrated.
I blog to join in with moms around the world, sharing that despite our stories of how we got to this point being all over the board, we’re more connected than we are different.

I blog because it allows me to explore ideas, thoughts and to start conversations.
I blog to provide resources and to be informative.
I blog as a way to show the Creator that I am grateful for what I have.

Blog collaborations are always so validating and exciting. They tell me that what I’m doing is working, and that I have something to offer brands and companies that I adore. But at the end of the day, they aren’t why I blog. At the end of the day, I want every post to be aligned with my core reasons of why I blog.

I’m not in this to make money. I’m in this to encourage you, and to remind myself, that we are capable of great things. So from the workout leggings that I share that won’t show your bum while you squat, or the baby products that make life easier to the posts about my relationship with my sweet husband, little toddler and growing baby bump, I hope that they uplift and inspire you from time to time.

That’s what I’m here to do.



Hello Hoop Art | Embroidery

I mentioned in my January goal update post that I’m currently working on broadening my view of art from just sketching to other mediums. Sketching regularly last year sounded like a great goal to shoot for but it wasn’t for me without the structure of an art class like I’d had a few years ago; so I didn’t make the time for it. So far already this year I’m making steady progress on teaching myself to knit but also started + finished my first of four craft projects  — an embroidery project.

Back in that day I learned how to cross stitch and worked on a few hoops as a 10 year old. I tried picking it back up a few years ago, working on a project for a birthday present for a friend, but it was just too time-consuming and felt never-ending. It honestly would’ve taken me months to finish. A typical cross stitch pattern is full of counted stitches, all in an x shape, that paint a picture. It usually includes items that are not only outlined, but filled in completely.

This go round embroidery designs appealed to me for how simple they were and for all of the white space. I looked around for a bit trying to find designs that were similar to an Instagram account that I followed: Cinder and Honey, and then realized I should just hit her up since I loved those the best.

Cinder and Honey Embroidery Etsy

I contacted Caitlin, the girl behind Cinder and Honey, explaining my goal, and asking if we could work together. I: purchase everything from her minus the stitches — the materials, the hoop, and the design predawn on the fabric. I was cautious to acknowledging that this could be overstepping artistic boundaries and no worries at all if it wasn’t something she was interested in! Thankfully she was game and said, “let’s do it!”

She typed up instructions and tips for me that she included in the package, and suggested I hopped on over to YouTube to fill in the rest. Here’s one of my favorite video that I found explaining 7 basic beginner embroidery stitches should you want to venture out on your own embroidery project.

Within a day of starting on the hello design, I had finished, and it felt so good. This included attempting to do the entire “hello” portion in the split stitch that you’ll see in the video I linked above. It didn’t turn out how I liked it so I carefully un-stitched it all, then used the same thread to do the hello again, this time in the basic back stitch. For a first timer, I love how it turned out!

Cinder and Honey Embroidery Hoop Art

All that is left to do now is to cut the excess fabric around the hoop, glue it to the frame, and hang near our door. Have you done an embroidery project before? Let me know if you have anything fun or designs to attempt next!