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.

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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.

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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.

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{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.

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{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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!



 

Thriving in 2015 | January Update

Just like that we’re a twelfth of the way through the year! January is a notoriously difficult month for many. I feel like it’s right up there for me with July. One of the largest hurdles to get through this month was finding balance and the energy to do everything that I wanted. Pregnancy mental exhaustion hit a few times this month in waves that left me just wanting to play on Instagram all day. That said I was ready to get a jump-start on my goals for the year and have a few exciting things to share. Here’s how things went —

Finish 4 Craft Projects That Make My Heart Happy 

This was a goal that really stood out at the end of last year’s recap looking over 2014. I realized that when I had set the goal last year to sketch, I was really wanting to welcome more creativity and artistic projects into my life. I just wasn’t open to the idea of “crafty” projects, figuring sketching was the cool kids thing to do. Turns out when you set goals because you think it’s the cool kids thing to do, you don’t do them. And when it’s a goal that would make you genuinely happy, you run off to Michael’s and buy bamboo knitting needles and wool yarn week one of your new year of goals and hop right to it.

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Thanks to some helpful YouTube videos (like this one) I’ve gotten the hang of casting on + a basic stitch well enough to knit a neat and tidy little rectangle. It took me a few tries, but wasn’t bad! In one of the videos I learned that bamboo needles are great for beginners — much less slippery and more sticky, so harder to drop stitches and easier to take it slow. I’m hoping to be able to whip out a knitted infinity scarf in no time!

Complete 24 Credits Towards a BA Degree at UVU or Similar

This one of the most exciting updates for this month. I have been trying to get back into school since earning my Associates Degree right before we moved to CA a few years ago, and this semester it finally came together. I was ready to register for classes in November, knowing that the make or break it would be gaining residency, a $10,000 difference in tuition for a year. By some miracle (tender mercy) I was granted residency after I appealed their first decision to withhold it.  Knowing that I’d be giving birth right before finals I am taking a block class — majors + careers exploration and a full length class — an English Lit Class. As long as everything keeps going well I will be 6 credits closer to hitting this goal

Focus On Growth On My Blog + Social Media Channels 

I hit the 1,000 mark on Instagram halfway through the month! Which feels good.

Read At Least 1 Fun Book a Month 

I started the year with the book Running With the Mind of Meditation on the flight home from Alaska. Truth be told it was a book Landon had picked out for himself that I just completely took over. Written by a Tibetan llama the book is completely up my aisle and makes me interested in running for the first time in a long time. The basic premise of the book is that the body and mind are both weak when untrained, and that it is only through training and practice that we can become strong, in both realms. I loved his reminder that though people say “_____ is my meditation” (running or cooking for example) those things aren’t truly meditation. It may be calming or good for your soul, but that’s not meditation.

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He recommends starting small with increments of time of meditation or running, and being gentle with yourself. If your mind wanders in the beginning of practicing meditation for example, acknowledge those thoughts happened, and then refocus on the breath. “If we do not push ourselves enough, we do not grow, but if we push ourselves too much, we regress. What is enough will change, depending on where we are and what we are doing. In that sense, the present moment is always some kind of beginning.

Landon and I went to a guided meditation class at 3B Yoga midway through the month, probably inspired by this book, and it was a great experience! Sitting still without moving for 45+ minutes is a challenge in of itself, let alone focusing on only two phrases for a handful of minutes with each inhale and exhale. I’ve found myself applying things I learned in that short class already, and would love to make attending those classes more of a regular thing. I got busy with my Lit class and ended up having to shelf this book in exchange for a billion other books, so I’m looking forward to finishing this next month.

Focus On Nutrition and Hitting Macro/Micronutritent Goals 

Feeling a bit overwhelmed with how to go about calculating my own macros for the last trimester of pregnancy, I reached out to a coach to help calculate them for me. I told her my end goal weight  (a gain of 25lbs total for the pregnancy) and current level of activity and I was given macros to focus on hitting within +/- 5g daily: 250g carbs, 120g protein and 71g fat. My attempts this month to hit them could’ve been a million times better, so I’m ready for the fresh start of February and being more conscious about my diet. Now’s the time to get this locked down, while my macros are high! (thank you growing baby)

Contribute To Our Income This Year

I set this goal unsure of how of if it’d come together this year but knowing that it was important to me. And then before I knew it Landon’s cousin who helps run and design wedding dresses for Elizabeth Cooper Designs asked if I’d be interested in spending a Saturday with them helping with their wedding dress trunk show. I of course said yes, and then proceeded to spend the money on a Sakura Bloom sling before it’d even happened. Judge me.

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Check out her blog post here all about the trunk show and to see some of the girls in their dresses. (Photos above by Kristina Curtis Photography) I was a little concerned once things got going that I’d just tear up all day — the girls trying on dresses just looked so beautiful, turns out I love weddings, and, I am so pregnant. Luckily I kept it together and had so much fun getting to spend the day with them.

Learn Landon’s Love Language

Since the beginning of our marriage I’ve been sensitive to specific gender expectations. When we were first married I remember rushing to get ready for church on a Sunday, and at some point he asked if I could iron his shirt. I don’t remember the context of the situation, and if he had to be at a meeting before church or was just wanting a hand. I immediately said no — fearing setting a precedence and not being open to the idea that he felt like he needed a hand.

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The book, the 5 Love Languages, has been such an eye opener for me as we’ve read it out loud together in the evenings last year. I’ve come to see that for me this is a trust issue, and that I’m ready to take small steps to help learn his love language and to express my eternal love for him that I feel, in a way that speaks to him. We believe, with a solid certainty, that my love language is quality time + his is acts of service and/or words of affirmation. This month I made a greater effort to help clean up the house during the day — to help our evenings be more peaceful, and to help him know that I care. I found it so helpful when I posted about this on Instagram to find that a couple that we’re friends with is opposite of us — the wife’s love language is acts of service is and the husband has tried harder to help clean the house the past 4 years of being married. This taught me, and reassured me, that love languages aren’t gender specific. And my poor husband who cooks every dinner for us since the beginning, isn’t a 1950’s man, and I need to stop worrying that he’ll turn into one.

Experience a Natural + Intervention Free Birth In April 

This post is getting entirely too long, but! I wanted to end on the exciting note that I’ve chosen and hired a doula. I met with two midway though the month, and the second was exactly what I felt like I wanted. We’ve met a second time to go over paperwork so I don’t have too much more to share about this just yet. Except that I feel like it’s exactly what I needed.

[Posts From This Month]

Our Little Winter Camping Trip
26 Week Pregnancy Update
My First Impressions of the Sakura Bloom Linen Sling
Our Weekend in Park City with Columbia Sportswear
Tiny House Dreaming + Planning
My Second Trimester Favorites 
and our trip to the Hogle Zoo 

Ok so that’s been my January! I’d love to hear how you’re doing with your 2015 goals.

 



 

Goals for 2015 That Make Me Stoked For this Year

Alright you guys, here we go again! But first I have to confess that I started drafting up this list of goals at the end of November, because I was just too excited to wait. Nerd alert?  I am just all about goals. But if you’re not, and you have another system for getting the most out of life stick to it, seriously. This is just what works for me.

For 2015 here are 40+ goals I will be focusing on, chosen from my favorite categories:

Creative
Continue to collaborate with brands that I’m passionate about
Focus on growth on my blog + social media channels
Finish 4 “craft” projects that make my heart happy
Grab a sketch pad and pencils and put those suckers to use
Participate in 2 courses on blogging or photography — either live or online

Education
Complete 24 Credits towards a BA degree at UVU or similar
Become more politically and socially aware
Highlight one social or political event +/or philanthropic group once a month
Read at least 1 fun book a month

Fitness
Have a monthly yoga pass to a studio year round
Track lifts yearlong and set goals for squats, bench press, deadlifts, etc
Run a 5K with Landon and Paityn
If I like the 5K, run longer races
*I reserve the right to decide to not keep up with running after a 5K and to not be upset about this*
Focus on nutrition and hitting micronutritient goals
Learn my macros needs with the help of a coach
Complete a cut + bulking phase to completion

Financial
Create a financial plan for 2015
Contribute to our income this year
Pay off credit cards and our car; only have school loan debt
Shred credit cards, again
Start a savings account for our first home, even if it’s a silly little amount

Marriage
Learn Landon’s love language
Find new ways to fill his love tank monthly
Read 6 books about marriage, love or intamacy this year
Have more creative dates and time together

Motherhood
Become creative with feeding Paityn breakfast + lunch
Post meal idea updates for her monthly
Breastfeed our second little one for 18 months
Experience a natural + intervention free birth in April

Service
Attend the temple twice a month
Serve at least 2 hours in the community once a month308ba500b9d557c5b746a5059d1c42e7

Spiritual
Read the New Testament cover to cover
Make journal writing work for me and a nightly thing
Read 6 books that focus on spiritual matters

Travel
Explore Utah and appreciate our time here
Get passports for Paityn and I
Make a travel bucket list

And finally,
Happiness of Pursuit Inspired 2015 Goal
Take a dream honeymoon inspired trip (Banff, Fiji, etc) with Landon this year and the next 4 years!



My monthly recaps of my 2014 goals can be found here + my year end review of 2014 goals here. Here’s to sticking with goals through the end of the year! #knucklesemoji

Making 2014 Count | Year End Review

2013 was an extremely difficult year for me. I did the best I could to stay present through the good and the bad, but without goals to shoot for and guide me through the year it ended up being so much less of a year than it could have been. I can’t tell you what a night and day difference 2014 has been. I followed the lead of Kelli Murray and others with choosing a word to focus on and to make 2014 count. I chose growth, feeling the need to push myself and knowing that “doing less” definitely wasn’t what I needed this year. (But it may be what you needed.)

With the help of this list of goals I truly believe I was able to accomplish things I wouldn’t have otherwise accomplished. Resisting tanning beds completely for example was huge for me, and something that I hadn’t done for an entire consecutive year since before freshman year of High School. In 2012 and 2013 combined I honestly believe I read 2 books total. In two years. Because of my specific goal of a book a month, I read over 20 this year. And it felt so good.

Here is a quick recap of how I did with focusing on my goals and the idea of growth the past 364 days:

My personal 2014 goals
 ||

Be more comfortable + independent with driving
Become more athletic: lifting, running and yoga
Have a gym membership/setup all year
Be knowledgable of the week’s current events and news
Purchase art supplies, sketch in the afternoon
Purchase an instrument I can love + and progress with: piano or flute?
Read a new book a month
Resist tanning beds completely
Work on Spanish speaking desires again

Cook dinner for us daily
Try a new recipe a week
Have electronic-free time with Paityn daily / Love her more
Keep a daily schedule
++No soda for the rest of the year
Prepare emotionally + physically to have another little one (:

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Create a desk workspace

Invest in an iMac and/or DSLR camera
Learn beginner Photoshop techniques and/or InDesign
Revisit NASM CPT, become certified by December
Publish 52 blogposts a year
Register personal URL + blog email

Come to know and love Christ more deeply
Finished the Book of Mormon a 2nd time
Read the New Testament
VT 100% for the next two years

And the few shared goals Landon and I accomplished ||

Get Kyra caught up with Outdoor Gear
Move into a cute new place for Landon’s new job
Start career in the outdoor industry
Earn credit scores of 740+ : the excellent range 
Never have more than $150 on a credit card (had this for a few weeks!)
Shred credit cards (and then we brought them back out again for school)

I learned that my personal goals meant more to me, than our shared goals meant to us. So we’ll have to reanalyze our shared goals and decide what we want to do for those in 2015. Part of the problem for a handful of them was that we didn’t expect to move suddenly to Utah to be students again. So the reality of our goal of saving $5,000 for a house for example, turned into going $5,000 in debt to help Landon pursue higher education.

Another problem with some of our goals was that they were too concrete: “ready + pray 365 together” “ready and study 52 talks” with the idea that they would magically become daily and weekly things. When they didn’t, we pushed the goal out of our minds instead of rethinking the goal in monthly increments with a fresh start every first of the month.

So learn from us! And be kind to yourself with your goals. Maybe 2014 didn’t go how you thought it would, but that’s ok. Take some time this week to consider why you didn’t accomplish certain goals, and then join in with me with setting a long list for 2015!landonkyra27



“I am so thoroughly convinced that if we don’t set goals in our life and learn how to master the techniques of living to reach our goals, we can reach a ripe old age and look back on our life only to see that we reached but a small part of our full potential.” M. Russell Ballard 

photos from our Growing Love Series, taken by Andrew Faulkner

Goal : “Be Healthy”

With the New Years Resolution season quickly approaching I wanted to dissect ways that you and I can focus on health this next year. Anytime I hear someone making a decision for their health or because “it’s healthy” it makes me consider what we call healthy and why. Here are some specific ways that we can focus on our health in 2015:

Nutrition :

We Can Focus on Macronutrients  —
Macronutrients, or Fats, Carbohydrates and Protein, are the three nutrients that determine the calories in any given item. By focusing on having the right amounts of each daily we can see benefits aside from maintaining the weight that we’d like.

  • A proper amount of carbohydrates daily helps fuel our day to day needs as well as a solid workout in the gym. They are needed for the central nervous system, the kidneys, the brain, the muscles (including the heart) to function properly, as well as intestinal health and waste elimination.
  • A proper amount of protein daily aids the body with growth (especially important for children, teens, and pregnant women), tissue repair, immune function, making essential hormones and enzymes, and with preserving lean muscle mass.
  • A proper amount of fats benefits the body with normal growth and development, energy, absorbing certain vitamins ( like vitamins A, D, E, K, and carotenoids) and hormonal balance.

A micronutrient focused goal for 2015 could be to learn to troubleshoot what your body’s personal needs are, and what ratio of the three macronutrients makes you feel your best. A great place to start is to track your normal diet on MyFitnessPal or a similar app for a few weeks. From there, once you’re more comfortable with the process, you can begin to tweak and shoot for specific goals: like eating 1g of protein per lb of bodyweight for a month.

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We Can Focus On Micronutrients —
Micronutrients are the nutrients required in smaller amounts, compared to macronutrients, to keep the body in prime condition. Micronutrients do not contain calories/energy, and I feel it’s important to point out that eating micronutrient dense food does not necessarily equate to weighing your ideal weight. Tracking your macronutrients/calories determine your weight and body composition.

A focus on micronutrients, vitamins and minerals, comes from an understanding that our body has many needs. Project Healthy Children, for example, aims to educate parents and communities that proper micronutrient intake can mean the difference between a healthy productive life and one full of illness. Five that they focus on a global level are folic acid, iodine, iron, Vitamin A, and Zinc. You can find out more here. A micronutrient focused goal for 2015 would be to aim to hit 100% of your essential vitamins and minerals without relying on a multivitamin. Or it could be as simple as taking a multivitamin.

We Can Focus On Hydration —
Are you drinking enough water? If not this is another goal that you could add to your list in 2015 to focus on your health. Benefits of drinking an adequate amount of water for your body’s needs include an improvement in endocrine gland function, fluid retention alleviation, improved liver function — increasing the percentage of fat used for energy, nutrients being more easily distributed throughout the body, regulation of body-temperation, and an improvement of metabolic functions. (NASM textbook coming in handy!)Lifefactory-water-bottles

Something to remember is that “thirst alone is a poor indicator of how much water is needed.” Natural thirst returns once we’re back to consuming what we need. So til you reach that point a more accurate ways of tracking hydration would be keeping track throughout the day or by paying attention to the color of your urine.

Body Composition:

We Can Focus On Body Fat Percentage —
Weighing yourself can often times be a great indicator of your overall health. But if you’re sick of the scale, feeling jaded by the number you see there, or feel that the amount of muscle you have is giving a skewed picture of what you’re working with learning your body fat percentage can be a great thing to focus on.

If I were to want to know my body fat percentage and I was confident that it would only help me on my fitness journey and not set me back emotionally, then I’d find where the cheapest Bod Pod was in an hour vicinity of my home. For example where we live in Utah there is a University 10 minutes away from me that will test for $20 and another 40 minutes away for $30. The Bod Pod tests based on air displacement and has the same range of error that a water tank has (2%). I just so happen to not be a fish in water so I’d rather test on dry land ;) You can find a Bod Pod in your area with this link. And here’s a link from the nearest Bod Pod University location for me, if you wanted to geek out on 4 pages of info on this with me.

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Goals for a body fat percentage focus on health could be upping your body fat above the essential fat range if you are considered underweight, lowering your body fat percentage if you are in the obese or overweight range or focusing on lowering your body fat percentage while increasing muscle mass to achieve a certain aesthetic result.

Fitness Abilities :

We Can Focus On Specific Fitness Abilities —
I borrowed from this Men’s Health article to help think of 10 standards to test your fitness level:

  • Bench 1.5 Times Your Body Weight
  • Run 1.5 Miles in 10 Minutes
  • Touch the Rim
  • Leg-Press 2.25 Times Your Weight
  • Swim 700 Yards in 12 Minutes (Do
  • Do 40 Pushups
  • Run 300 Yards Sub 1 Minute
  • Touch Your Toes
  • Toss a Basketball 75 Feet Kneeling

Though these standards might not all apply precisely to a woman, I believe the idea behind them is the same. There are various ways to become more fit, as the above standards show. Upper body strength, upper body power (throwing the basketball), upper body endurance (40 pushups), lower body power (jumping), lower body strength, peak aerobic capacity, and flexibility are all important.So if you find yourself in a rut or unmotivated in the fitness department, hopefully this reminder of the various ways that you can improve your fitness helps light the fire under you. Start with whatever makes you the most excited and go from there!


Now I wanted to jump into a few aspects of health that we might not typical first think of when considering health focused goals at the start of a new year.

Mental Health

We Can Focus On Our Mental Health —
“There are many kinds of mental illnesses that affect the way the brain functions. They can affect thoughts, behaviors, emotions, and the ability to understand information. Mental illnesses are different from everyday experiences of sadness, feeling upset, or daily problems. Mental illness makes normal living difficult.” “Realize that a mental illness cannot be overcome by willpower alone. It does not indicate that a person lacks faith, character, or worthiness.” More here.

Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. MentalHealth.gov categorizes mental health into a few different categories:

  • anxiety disorders: OCD, phobias, PTSD, panic disorder
  • behavioral disorders: inattention, hyperactivity, defiant behavior, drug use
  • eating disorders: anorexia nervosa, binge eating, bulimia
  • mental health disorders in combination with substance abuse
  • mood disorders: depression, bipolar disorder, seasonal affective disorder, self harm
  • personality disorders: antisocial personality disorder, borderline personality disorder
  • psychotic disorders: schizophrenia, hallucinations,
  • and suicidal behavior.

While this is a heavy topic, and one that I have no background in, I am a huge proponent of health. And I want to believe that we live in a world where mental health is just as important, if not more, than any other focus of health. Perhaps if you have concerns that you need help with from one or more of the above mentioned topics then this is the year to take the first step and begin to get help. We’re all in this together.

Emotional Well Being / Spiritual Healthtumblr_lzsu2tTqcn1r1nydzo1_1280

We Can Focus On Our Emotional and Spiritual Health —

The path to great emotional well-being is one that is more personal and less of an across the board formula than say, weight loss. But I’m willing to bet that we can each come up with 3 ways to could work on emotional health and well-being in the next year. Could the role of forgiveness be applied in your life in a way you’ve been neglecting? Could a focus on stress or anger management help lighten your daily load? Even a focus on smiling or laughing more freely could do wonders for the soul.

Along the same lines, are there specific ways we can focus on our spiritual health this next year? With that journey being one of the most personal I’ll hold back from a list of suggestions, but wanted to make sure to not leave it out. The body, soul and mind are so intimately connected, that to focus on one and to neglect the other seems like such a waste.



I am so excited for a new year full of goals and focusing on bettering our lives and circumstances. I hope that this post gives you pause to stop and think before setting a vague resolution or goal “to become healthier” this next year. What aspect of health do you want to focus on, and why? I believe there is power in knowing the why behind our goals.

I hope that this post doesn’t come off as preachy. I love goals, and will be posting my long list of goals to focus on this next year here soon. Because I was too excited to wait to draft those up.

 

Making 2014 Count: November Update

November is officially over, but oh it was a good one for our family. We saw our first snowfall then proceeded to play in the snow every Sunday since, Landon was an awesome sport with celebrating my birthday all week long and for Thanksgiving break we got to head out to Nevada to spend a few days with his family. This was also the month that I finally really started to feel like myself again with this pregnancy, which made focusing on goals for the year so much easier. Here’s how things went this month:

Invest in a DSLR camera

Towards the end of the month I finally decided on a Canon Rebel SL1 and I couldn’t be more excited to have it. I made the decision for this camera for a few reasons —

  • I have an unexplained positive bias for Canon, so I didn’t fight it.
  • The price was right. Once we have life figured out and finances in order I’d love to grab a full frame camera, but for now I can start from the beginning of learning photography and my way around a DSLR.
  • It just felt right in my hands. And I did try to fight that for awhile, thinking a T3i, T4i or T5i was the more acceptable way to go. But after looking at stats between the SL1 and her older sisters (cousins?) I realized I wouldn’t be missing out on anything by going with the smaller body.
  • Bonus that I love already but didn’t expect to : a touchscreen LCD on the back.

The plan from here is to grab a lens and get to work with practicing! After reading what other photographers prefer with lens I found the idea of sticking with prime, or fixed focal length, lenses resonating with me the most. The 50mm f/1.8 is the most painless to pick up and comes with raving reviews, despite it’s low cost. Here’s a post from a Beautiful Mess + one from Jasmine Star, about prime lenses if you wanted to read a little more.

Moving forward and looking into 2015 once I get settled in with this new camera and lens I’d love to look into taking an Ecourse or live class here in Utah about photography. Let me know if you have any recommendations!

DSLR Photography Class

Read a New Book a Month

After my frustrating experience earlier this fall with picking up books with content I didn’t want to invest time on reading I needed something light and fun to read. Though some might disagree with me on the adjectives of “light” and “fun to read” when it comes to this book, Me Before You was exactly that for me. It wasn’t moving, life changing, or even terribly though provoking. But I needed that.

Me Before You is a younger read, I’d put it in a 25 years or under audience category. It’s focused around topics that can be a trigger for some like degenerative disease and the right to death with dignity laws. Because I haven no personal experience with either I was able to curl up with a comfy blanket, relax and casually read. You might not feel the same, so I wanted to included that warning to help save you some time. Landon, for example, just couldn’t stand me sharing anything about the book. It literally made him feel sick.

Finish the Book of Mormon [a 2nd time]

This has become an especially meaningful goal as the end of the year has drawn close. The Book of Mormon is a key part of my faith and yet before this year I had only read it once cover to cover. I believe that spiritual strength and peace comes from reading scripture. So for 11 months I’ve marked in yellow every time the Father, Son or Holy Ghost has been mentioned, marked anything that could apply to my life in red, and marked notes in the margins and on Post-It notes.

I had hoped that I’d have time to read the New Testament this year as well, but I just took too long getting through some of the longer parts in the Book of Mormon, so I’ll be saving that for next year to make that a more meaningful study as well.

Become More Athletic: Lifting, Running and Yoga

When a friend is there for you for different seasons of your life, that friendship is strengthened like no other. Going through this second pregnancy with focusing on staying active has helped to make exercise feel like a constant in my life that I can always rely on. This month has taken a little adjusting for figuring out how to fit in me lifting, along with Landon running up in the mountains before or after he gets home from work (we share a car) but it has been so worth it when we make it work.

Because this pregnancy has been complication free as well I’m able to keep up with everything I was doing before I was pregnant, and trying to increase the weight on my lifts as often as possible. The only change I’ve had to make thus far is switching from the flat bench to the incline for bench pressing, and that’s just to play it safe.

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Publish 52 Blog Posts a Year

And that’s how November went as I tried to focus on my 2014 goals. I’m excited to have 30 more days in December to finish the year off and then to write a whole new long list of things to focus on in 2015!

Making 2014 Count: October Update

Happy Halloween! After a workout this morning I’ve had a relaxing Friday afternoon which has been perfect to think over how this month has gone and how I feel about the progress I’ve made with my yearly goals.

When some of my favorite blogging women from Kelli Murray to Jessica Garvin came together at the start of the year and asked their readers to choose a word to live by in 2014, I knew exactly what I needed: growth. I was happy with how my life was going, but I needed more. I had untapped energy and wanted to stretch, to be stretched and to thrive.f632aba606c08e6b2ee291b19b8edef2

This month more than ever, I feel that my efforts have been successful and that this has been such a good thing for me. I can’t imagine this year or a future year without specific goals aimed at achieving a larger idea. My marriage has been strengthened, my inner confidence has grown tenfold, things that used to occupy by time (beauty youtube videos, say what?) have been replaced by things that make my life feel meaningful.

Here are a few of my success from this month:

Being More Independent + Confident with Driving

The day that we drove to our new condo to move in, I followed behind Landon in the car with Paityn in the back seat. The sun was shining, a good song was on, and I felt like I was home for the first time in a few years. It felt good to be behind the wheel and feeling like I was somehow a more truer version of myself now that we were back in Utah.

Since then I’ve made more of an effort to offer to drive when Landon and I are together, and to be more confident offering to to go pick something up by myself. I’m known for saying how much I’d rather walk or ride a bike somewhere than drive, but I get that driving has its perks. So I keep working to be more confident behind the wheel, even on the freeway home from Salt Lake, by myself. Which was a complete success, by the way.

Read a New Book a Month

Last month I attempted to read three different books, and wasn’t able to finish a single one of them. I had found myself back in a rut of somehow choosing books about abuse or similar issues, and that wasn’t something I wanted to invest my time in. So heartbroken I closed each book, one by one, before getting to turn the final page. Which is so unsatisfying. Being in an already transitionary phase of life, I had a few days there where I wondered if I just needed to take this as a sign and move on away from my blog and even from these goals.

Looking back, it was a ridiculous thought, but I took a break from doing an August update and it was just what I needed. Now I can admit, what was I thinking when I choose books based off of the cover alone? A quick scan on Amazon reviews for books in the future probably wouldn’t hurt.

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I’ve found myself absolutely loving and excited about the three books that I mentioned in my 16 Week Update: Guide to Childbirth and Spiritual Midwifery by Ina May and Hypnobirth: The Mongan Method. I’ll post my full thoughts of the three and my hopes and goals for my second experience with birth once I’ve finished all three.

Become More Athletic: Lifting, Running and Yoga

I may not be at my lowest body fat percentage or level of fitness for the year, but any workout that I make the time for while pregnant feels like it counts for so much more. First trimester nausea did something magical for me: no longer am I (nearly as) concerned about my growing and changing body and suddenly I’m excited to just not be sick all the time and to have energy again.

Landon and I have kept up on our rock climbing double dates with Josh and Chelsea and they’ve quickly become my favorite. I’m not quite sure how long the harness will work with my growing belly, but I’m soaking up all the climbs we can get! I try to make time for yoga and a lifting sesh or two a few times a week and can’t wait to start running with Landon in the evenings again once his knee heals.

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Every workout that I get to do now has a greater purpose than before. It benefits the growing little one that I’m sharing my body with, it helps keep pregnancy complications and aches and pains at bay, and prepares me to have the birth experience that I want.

Invest in a DSLR camera

I have been researching and asking around about DSLR cameras the past few months and am eager to have one show up at my doorstop so that I can get started with learning my away around one! I have fallen in love with the idea of prime lenses. I have Photoshop + Photoshop actions just begging to be put to use. And I have goals and a vision of what I want my blog and social media photos to look like, and the iPhone just isn’t quite cutting it. Fingers crossed for some amazing Black Friday deals and an exciting update next month! Canon Rebel, I’ve got my eye on you.

Growth With the Blog

This goal had begun at the beginning as simply registering my URL from heykyra.wordpress.com to kyrafaulkner.com. From there, and after getting to attend the Outdoor Retailer Show I realized that I had larger goals for this space. From time to time, and when I felt like it could be successful, I contacted brands that I was passionate about and felt that we could collaborate. Those relationships have been such a source of confidence and growth for me. So towards the end of this month I sat down with a notebook and brainstormed a few new brands that I’d love to work with moving forward and how each collaboration could be successful. I may not hear back from everyone, but I really think there’s power in putting yourself out there and in being a bit more brave than you were before.

Publish 52 Blogposts a Year

Which puts me at a total of 94 posts for the year so far once this goes live! Hiatus during the first trimester and everything.

I hope your October felt like it was a major success + that tonight involves a steady supply of sugar! Feel free to check out my past updates from the year HERE. And let me know what goals you’re currently working on or crossing off your list as complete!



Making 2014 Count | August Update

I’m excited to document the significance of August for our family as we are striving to focus on growth as much as possible. This was a big month of accomplishing goals that I honestly didn’t know if they were going to happen this year. Here are a few goals we focused on or got to cross off from our list of goals for the year:

Move Into a Cute New Place 

I have had the moving bug since the year began, at least. But knowing it’d be insane to move just for moving’s sake in the same city we stayed put and waited for the right time. Which turned out to be mid August, where Landon’s new job ended up being a full-time student again. We love our new place — a condo that we’re renting, the area, and all of the fun things we’ve done since being back in Utah already. This world is a big place, so I know we’re not all supposed to feel like the same place is what we consider home. But for me, Utah has my heart. And feels a bit like heaven.

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Start Career in the Outdoor Industry (Landon)

For the past two years I’ve been married to a handsome man who works as a Social Worker with foster children and their parents. This handsome man of mine has a heart of gold but he just was not thriving in that career. What was supposed to be a year off from school before returning to focus on additional schooling in the psychology field turned into an extra year after that while he tried to discover what would be the best fit for him. Teton Sports2

I cannot emphasize enough how amazing it is to be the wife now of a man who is happy with where his career is going. This transition back to student life has come with a significant pay cut, partially due to the cut in hours to make everything fit, but we’re investing in our future at this point. And that feels so much better than having extra money in our bank account.

Love Paityn More

My relationship with my sweet toddler feels like it’s gotten just the fresh start that I needed. While the 9-5pm life had its perks, like seeing Landon more often and regularly, it made me fall into a routine that just wasn’t completely working. With a new schedule, a new place and fresh mountain air we are just thriving.

It also helps immensely that our ability to communicate and understand each other has just skyrocketed, and that feels amazing.IMG_2110

Revisit Becoming NASM CPT Certified

Since returning to Utah the land of Universities I have felt eager to return to school. But before I jump into paying tuition it only made sense to revisit the option that I had already paid for — my personal training program. Where I’ve gotten into trouble in the past is remembering that there are multiple paths that can come from being a certified trainer and that I can make the route that I’m passionate about work.

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The problem is that I have almost over a year to complete the course still, which isn’t helpful. But I hope that as I begin to dive into the textbook this time that I can start to make sense of it all, at to be certified by this December.

Publish 52 blog posts a year

PS, I’m killing it with the no diet coke goal this month.

Making 2014 Count | July Update

I can’t believe that when we wake up tomorrow it’ll be August! Here in Northern California it looks like that still means 106 outside, but still you guys, August.

I don’t know about you but I didn’t feel lit on fire about my 2014 goals this month. July is just such a sleepy, odd-numbered, middle of the year month, and I just don’t thrive in the month of July. It was a great month! But I wasn’t thriving. I got to spend a week with my family, up my workout routine, go on adventures with Landon, and a few other successes so we’re totally doing an update still.

I also wanted to take a second to share that this month is taking an interesting and special turn where it comes to our future. Landon has been all in with one path for his future career and hustling til something came together. We had complete faith that something would happen. Every disappointment was followed with a “that’s ok! we’ve got this! all learning opportunities! we’ll get the next one.”

And then early this week, Landon felt led to change his approach, and quickly. I won’t say too much more because there are a lot of details to figure our in the next few weeks but once we can share we will! But please send good vibes our way, we need the extra help. Change is good! But also a bit nerve-wracking.

On Being More Knowledgeable of Current Events

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When I came up with my goals in January I felt disappointed that I was so out of touch with current events, topics and news. In school I had a professor who felt strongly that we needed to be interesting individuals, and that included opening the newspaper in the morning and having things of worth to discuss.

Earlier this summer I had a friend post on Facebook that he had a pageant participant who needed a little brushing up on her current affairs knowledge. When a few friends suggested she signed up for the Skimm, I decided to hop on board too. Though it helps takes the stressful edge off that the traditional news has it’s a bit too cavalier for me. An example headline reads “What to Say When Picking Your Next Vacation” and the next 8 sentences will explain why North Korea is still out of the running. Let me know if there’s a similar app or site that you use and love.

On Reading a Book a Month

This month I stepped away from the book section at target and joined the social media book club on Instagram with reading: Daring Greatly by Brene Brown. It was this quote that convinced me to join in with reading instantly:

“We love seeing raw truth and openness in other people, but we’re afraid to let them see it in us. We’re afraid that our truth isn’t enough — that what we have to offer isn’t enough without the bells and whistles, without editing, and impressing. I was afraid to walk on stage and show the audience my kitchen-table self — these people were too important, too successful, too famous. My kitchen-table self is too messy, to imperfect, too unpredictable.

Here’s the crux of the struggle: I want to experience your vulnerability but I don’t want to be vulnerable.”

IMG_1485Brene Brown, with a PhD in Social Work took a research route after earning her doctorate. She draws on extensive (12+ years) research on shame, worthiness, courage, vulnerability and the path to wholehearted living. I can’t praise this book enough. I feel recharged in my belief of being vulnerable, reminded of what vulnerability is not, enlightened on types of armor or masks that we put on, and determined to be shame resilient.

To bring this home, here are common replies from participants when asked what vulnerability is to them: sharing an unpopular opinion, standing up for myself, asking for help, saying no, starting my own business, helping my 37-year-old wife with stage 4 cancer make decisions about her will, initiating sex with my spouse, hearing how much my son wants to make first chair in orchestra and encouraging him while knowing that it’s probably not going to happen, calling a friend whose child just died, signing up my mom for hospice care, the first date after my discover, saying “I love you”  first and not knowing if I’m going to be loved back, and getting pregnant after three miscarriages.

Vulnerability is so much more that owning and sharing our stories, it’s a key part of healthy living. She shares, “Do these sound like weakness? “Does showing up to be with someone in deep struggle sound like weakness? Is accepting accountability weak? Is stepping up to the plate after striking out a sign of weakness? NO. Vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage.

So seriously, go get this book. I promise you won’t regret it.

On Eliminating All Forms of Debt

I’m excited to share that we attacked our debt in a big way this month. Between the two of us Landon and I have 3 bank credit cards that serve different purposes, and two of them had accumulated balances that were really causing us stress. We’ve been on a rollercoaster with those cards and had all three at $0.00 before we left for Alaska last summer, and then they went right back up, one tiny purchase at a time. So we have all three of those cards once again at $0.00 which just feels good. We have less that $1000 left of personal consumer debt left to pay off + less that $5000 on our car.

I’m hesitant to share this, because things may quickly change. I am very anti debt at this point, and even feel strongly about this when it comes to homes. But like I mentioned before we’re feeling led to look at another option for our future, and it’ll include debt. And that scares the heck out of me. But I’m relying on faith with this one and excited to live a life free of the burden of carrying around credit card debt.

On Sending Birthday Cards

Do phone calls + blog shout-outs count? No, no they do not. But it was my sweet sister Kelsey’s birthday yesterday and it was fun to talk to her for a few minutes last night. Kyndra’s birthday is in 5 days, I’ll see if I can get it together for hers ;)

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On Publishing 52 blog posts a year

This month was more of a month of introspection than anything, which was reflected in what I was posting. Here are my posts from the month of July:

I have jitters in my stomach just thinking about what next month’s update could possible say + where we could possibly be. But we’re going to take this journey one day at a time and see where it leads us. As my mom says after a lot of our phone calls, “never a dull moment!”