Welcome to the world miss PENELOPE RAE! We got our beautiful baby girl Friday night. She came in weighing a dainty 9lbs 5 oz and 20 inches long. We're all doing great...busy, but great :) Here are just a couple photos of our sweet pea. I'm sure I'll be posting more later :) x x


THE NURSERY! (Come on, did you really think I'd actually have her early? BUT, she is still scheduled to come this Friday though! Wahoo!) So I don't know if you remember me posting about my plans for our baby girl's nursery, but just in the nick of time I did it! I finished. Phew. Of course, what I had hoped to do in one month took me three...which in all honesty, there was a few times I didn't think I'd get it done that fast. Look, I made that! My first quilt along with the bed skirt. I think I was more nervous about the bed skirt, though especially since I just did a rag, block quilt. The mobile became a modge-podge of a few different ideas thrown into one. And I decided to go with the the bird silhouette instead of owls because it was simpler. Here is where I plan on spending a lot of time :) And finally, the changing station. Another place I will be spending a lot of time. There is a possibility I overdid it with the ol' message boards. Oh well, go big or go home. But now there is a place to put photos of all the people that love her.


So I don't know if any of you remember any of my mentionings (complainings) of Phil interviewing for summer internships the last few months...but I'm happy and grateful to say the three month process of applications, interviews, fly-backs and everything that entails is over and that we received and accepted an offer to: in: NEW YORK! NEEEW YOOOORK! I know, I know. Fits me and my big city ways perfectly, but we all know it was only a matter of time before I ended up in the Big Apple. Or more so, the reality being that is the last place I ever thought I'd live...even if it's just for 12 weeks :) In the very least it should make for some great blog-fodder. Now if any of you have any tips on how to get my big city girl on, let me know. (I'm already doing pretty well with the "big" part, but the "city" part needs some serious help.


So Ryder is at the stage where he can say prayers himself with some help (one of us telling him what to say). Well, it's been a delightful surprise these last couple of weeks to see him start chiming in a few things on his own. I don't think Phil has had a prouder moment as a father than when the other night Ryder told Heavenly Father thank you for boogers and football games.


Two is the magic number! It's the number of weeks exactly before my induction date and it's the number of centimeters I am dilated! TMI? (I'm just so excited about that because the farthest I ever got with Ryder, on my own, 10 days past my due date, was a 1..."maybe a 1.5", said my dr.) Anyhow, with time running out, I'm still feeling so unprepared in so many ways, so I was hoping to pick your brains for some advice. Specifically, in regards to bringing a second child home. Ryder knows about her as much as he can understand. We plan on having a low-key, play-it-by-ear holiday, and as a special bonus, since I'll mostly likely be having her 2 days after Phil's finals I will have his help for two weeks. So, do any of you have ideas about how to help Ryder with the adjustment and different ways to include him? And advice in how to manage two at a time? Any tips on getting a good routine going? I love a good routine. Please share your wisdoms!


With our baby girl's due date quickly approaching, I feel like I'm rather unprepared. I sit there and think of the things I need and I can't come up with anything, but I'm still left with that "you forgot something" feeling. I feel like with your first baby you have to get everything so your list becomes long, yet very simple. But with the second you figure you have everything you need and so it makes it really easy to think your good to go and forget some things that a) didn't last thru Ryder b) I didn't need with one child that I need with two and c) apply to girls that don't apply to boys. You see, it makes the shopping list for the 2nd child much more complicated than the first. So instead of worrying my little head about things I need, I like to concentrate on the wants...like the curtains I want to put in her room (I've become a little obsessed with her room, updates to come later) or this diaper bag and ingenious diaper changing kit. Both are from Kalencom: I become very critical about the necessity to combine practicality and cuteness in any bag, but especially a diaper bag. Why I love this one: -It has a laminated cover so I can wipe it clean -It comes with a laminated and matching bottle/sippy holder, pouch and changing pad -It comes in multiple designs,patterns and colors I have also been on a long lost search for the perfect diaper/wipes/changing pad holder. I've even considered making my own, thinking I could do a better job. Not with this puppy. Why I love this one: -It has the same "wipe-clean" surface with multiple designs and patterns -It can fit in a regular purse or bag when you grow out of a diaper bag -I wish it showed you how it unfolded, because that's what I love. After you undo the pad a pocket for the wipes and dipes fold out. It's so cool!


Explanation: I had to call this phase I'm going thru right now "Gestation" because, well, there is no other word to describe the last leg of pregnancy. It is currently effecting every aspect of my life. Cons: I'd rather stare at a toy/piece of garbage for an hour willing it to disappear rather than bending over and picking it up. I'm becoming more limited to what I can wear. It's quite tiring to get ready for the day and I yearn for the time to wear normal clothes and fun accessories. And well, as far as accessories go, I've just got one really big one that if I choose to adorn myself with anything else, it just seems like too much. It takes me twice as long as usual to do normal daily tasks I can't stand up without my pants falling down and my shirt riding up. I'm sure there has been more than one time that has gone beyond my noticed where I've been walking around in public in a completely inappropriate fashion. My face starts taking the shape of a circle. I think I might have to finish this later so I can go take a nap Pros: I love feeling her move I love getting ready for her arrival I love when Ryder gives the baby hugs or kisses I love eating and not feeling any sort of guilt whatsoever


I have been wanting to write a post about this for awhile now... I've been thinking a lot about "phases" lately. I believe one the of the best pieces of advice to a new mother confused, worried, elated about their child's actions is, "Everything is a phase". After being a mom for a short period of 2 years, I have found this to be very true. There is an end to sleepless nights, just as there is an end to immobility, innocence, and drool. Whether good or bad...everything is a phase. However, I don't think this piece of wisdom should be limited to children. Nor should it be limited to just children and mothers, but I believe it's quite applicable to anyone living and striving for happiness. I have been a person who has always had a difficult time with two things: 1)adapting to change 2)living in the moment And lately I have found myself repeating, "everything is phase" in regard to my personal adult situation, actions and surroundings as opposed to my child's. And I find it comforting and helpful with these two issues. I find it helps me to a) realize--whether good or bad--it's not going to last forever, and b) that I better enjoy all the good parts within each phase before they're gone. So my point: I feel like my life right now is one big change after another and I think it would be fun to narrate my reaction to these changes through phases. Here are my ground rules. 1. My current phase can be called whatever I want it to be called. 2. I can totally overlap on phases. I mean I figure I'm going through at least five at any one time anyhow. 3. Phases can repeat themselves. 4. I do not control how long the phase lasts (or maybe I do...hmmm) 5. I do not plan on being very serious through this process, but hope I will come upon some valuable and helpful thoughts. Finally, I thought before I started posting about phases, I thought it would be helpful to remind myself of my constants: 1. The Gospel of Jesus Christ 2. I am sealed to my family for eternity 3. My Savior loves me and understands me 4. Phil 5. Ryder ...or maybe I just need to list my constants all the time :)


(Ryder a couple of weeks ago right before getting his haircut) So Phil has been in New York City the last two weekends interviewing for summer internships. The first weekend was fine, but being almost 8 months pregnant and trying to be a fun and entertaining mom to a two-year-old was a little tiresome. So as you can imagine, I was very excited about my plans this weekend to head up to Tremonton after dropping Phil off at the airport. However, as fate would have it, the night before Phil left my jaw started hurting. Thinking I had some random tooth ache, I tried to ignore it and plowed through cub scouts and helping Phil get ready for his trip. As the pain intensified and spread I knew things weren't looking good. I went to bed early and woke up at 2 a.m. never really being able to fall asleep again because of the pain. I knew I had to get an antibiotic which = coming back home instead of going to my parents. So I went to the doctor. My ear didn't look that bad so she diagnosed me with a sinus infection. She prescribed me an antibiotic and asked if I wanted Loratab since I had told her Tylenol wasn't doing anything. Never really a fan of using narcotics, I said "nah, I'll tough it out until the antibiotic kicks in". Great, I got what I needed and I figured I could go to Tremonton after Ryder and I had a nap. But a slew of bad luck ensued. The pain worsened (which meant no nap for me) three pharmacy visits (I decided in the end I wasn't too good for the Loratab if I ever wanted to sleep), a dying cell phone and a snow storm I knew I needed to stay home. (I know what you're thinking, "a silly sinus infection". But I tell ya, I get these waves of pain that I'd easily rank an 8-9 on the frowny face pain scale. I mean I could still feel it as strong as ever on the Loratab people! I don't know if it's because I'm pregnant or what, but it's weird, painfully weird. Any of you ever experienced a rather painful sinus infection?) Being sleep deprived and pregnant and in pain, my cute little boy saw me cry way more than he ought to have yesterday. But I am so grateful for his sweetness this weekend. We have obviously been very laid back, but he has been on his best behavior. And that in addition to his little acts of sensitivity have broken my heart over and over. My favorites: -waking me up by crawling on my bed and saying, "mommy? Hug?" followed by a much needed round of hugs and kisses -asking for "kayafus issook? kayafus issook?" (Christmas music?) while we ate our mac and cheese for dinner -holding my face and patting my cheeks with both little hands while asking "mommy, awight? mommy awaight? (Mommy, alright?) Today has been a much better day. Ryder and I have had quite a bit of fun not leaving the house and doing whatever we wanted all day and I'd like to think I'm feeling a little bit better. I'd even go as far as to say with everything that happened, this weekend (excluding yesterday) was still better than last.


Holy cow, I don't know if we could have crammed any more Halloween activities into October. It seems like the whole month, particularly the last three days, has been one big party. Here is a little recap of our Halloween festivities. 1. We visited a pumpkin patch with the BYU MBASA (MBA Spouse Association) 2. We went to Cornbelly's and had a blast 3. We met my sister and Aunt Robyn at Gardner's Village for witch days (we forgot the camera) 4. We went to the MBASA Halloween party where even I did a little dressing up 5. We went to the Omniture Halloween party, thanks to Autumn and Sean for the tickets. 6. We went to Tremonton to spend Halloween with my parents and trick or treat in their neighborhood. 7. We're still trying to recover


Months, that is. And I couldn't be more pleased about it. I am so excited to meet this little girl, I can barely stand it. Oh, and to have my body to call my own might be a little nice too :) For posterity's sake and anyone else who cares, here is a little update with my pregnancy thus far: A little photo: Another little photo ;) (A little glamor to embrace my hugeness or a little somethin' to fit the spooky holiday season. Your choice) Eating habits and cravings: I find the weird cravings to be something of the past. The only thing I do crave by the truckloads is MILK. Oh, this delicious, glorious, chilled, white beverage is utterly heavenly to my senses. I can and do drink it by the gallons. My favorite (and probably only healthy) snack food is Jonagold Apples. They are like candy to me. Now if only, I ate them "instead" of candy as opposed to "in addition to", that would really be something. Lately, they've been very easy to find on sale too which is a plus in my book! Oh, and my ability to eat portions the size of my house seems to be every increasing at this point of the game. I find if I stay super busy (or in other words heavily distracted)I manage to keep my food intake fairly reasonable. Weight gain and appearance: Yeah, right. I don't even like to know. Don't make me show you my glamor photo again. Interesting symptoms: She (so did Ryder) really likes to sit on nerve that goes through my lower back and right leg. It's kinda painful and doesn't help with my efforts to suppress any and all waddling inclinations. My sleep is a getting more and more restless. This didn't happen to me with Ryder until the last month. Gooky dreams to. I haven't had it too often yet, but the heart burn...oh it's fierce. What to expect: I find it continually fascinating how much I've forgotten about being pregnant since Ryder. It seems like everything that happens is an "oh yeah, I remember this". I just hope it all comes back to me really fast after she is actually born. I can't promise any more photos of myself for awhile (like 4 months) because one thing I do remember is that the 7 month point marks the end of the "I'm feeling good, doin' fine/Oh look, she's pregnant, how sweet" phase and opens the door, in a rather quickly manner, to the "I can't move because I'm an inflating hot air balloon/She must be due tomorrow" phase. I tell ya, I don't know what crazy exponential growth goes on...but it's crazy...and exponential.


My goodness, it's like the more I try to blog, the less I actually do it! This gets on my nerves because I really like to blog. I find it rather therapeutic. But the second I tell myself I'm going to try and blog every other day or so, two weeks manage to fly by at the speed of lightening and I haven't blogged once. I know this probably doesn't matter to any of you, but alas, there it is. So I'm going to attempt to take a page out of any goal making 101 book and "make my goal realistic". Whatever. I've decided that my new realistic blogging goal is going to be once a week. Obviously, if I can allow myself to blog more than that, I will. (I am my own master). But I feel with the holiday season upon us and a brand-new baby after that, limiting myself to once a week is pretty realistic...eh? Or not? I guess we'll shall see.


I'm feeling so much holiday cozy goodness that I'm having a hard time channeling it. So far it's amounted to listening to Christmas music* in October and sniffing my pumpkin spice candle like it were cocaine. Anyhow, there has got to be a better way... I think one of the reasons I love this time of year so much is that it gives you a reason to decorate you house...every month...for the next three months, if you so choose. My holiday decor has definitely room to grow I'd say, but I that's okay because that means I have room to build on it every year, right? Anyhow, the thing about the fall is that you have your Autumn/harvest decorations and that go with the entire Autumn season. Then, you mix in you Halloween-specific items for October and Thanksgiving-specific items for November. Christmas is its own event. Unfortunately, I take out my Halloween-specific items and I've got nothing to replace it with. Where did I go wrong? I do think finding cool Thanksgiving decorations is a bit more difficult than finding Halloween decorations though. But I'm up for the challenge so come along on my pretend shopping spree for such items:) First off, at Target I found this really cool Thanksgiving plate collection. I'd buy that in a heart beat. Simple, yet very festive. I found these glass jars at Pottery Barn. I love that they put wheat stalks in there, PLUS you can switch them up for other holidays. Instead of a cornucopia with plastic fruit, there is this really cool pumpkin and gourd collection (also at PB). I still feel like I haven't found many "Thanksgiving-specific" items...however, if Phil and I were donning the below hostess set, no one would ever doubt our Thanksgiving spirit. Why doesn't anyone make fun Halloween and Thanksgiving music?


Oh hello, October! Hello! Besides this time of year being my most favorite time of year I was very excited to get September over with because I knew a lot of stressful items would be all taken care of and we would be all settled in. However, we couldn't go out with a bang. For the last week in September I had the typical glucose test for gestational diabetes and my rhogam shot (for those with RH negative blood) due at my 29 week mark. Well, I tested positive for gestational diabetes. I was like 2 points over. Grhhh. So I later that week I had to go in and do the ultra-glucose test. Talk about nasty. I had to fast for 12 hours (do you know what that's like for a pregnant lady?), take that delightful orange syrup beverage, and go in once every hour to get my finger pricked, 4 times. But, I didn't have it, to my pure and utter relief. Can you imagine Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas with no sweets? Torture. Pure torture. I mean, how hideous it would be to actually have to eat healthy. That's lame. But it's all over now. And my beautiful October is here. We had General Conference to kick off the wonderful season with our annual "Family Fall Walk" (It's one of our first declared traditions, so it's kind of a big deal) We took a drive up beautiful Provo Canyon and even though it was a little rainy took a little walk, collected leaves and shot some photos. And now I can just relax and have fun getting ready for the arrival of our little girl while soaking in the holidays.


So. I'm totally excited about getting our new nursery ready. I get to combine two things I love: decorating and babies. However, with most aspects of design (decorating, not babies) I find trends change and my personal tastes even change. I end up doing one thing and wishing a few months down the line that I had done something completely different. That combined with a mad nesting instinct has made me very indecisive and picky about how I want to decorate our little gal's room. After looking through tons of bedding sets, I just can't seem to find what I'm looking for. Here is a list of the things I want:
  • Color. I can't decorate a room in just two colors. Are you kidding me? The rest of the rainbow is feeling left out. Plus, I love yellow and blue with pink. So something with color.
  • Not Too "Fru-fru". I as girly as the next girly-girl, but butterflies and flowers in pastel pink and purple isn't the look I'm going for.
  • Patchwork Feel. Oh how I love the eclectic and cozy feel of patchwork quilts. I want to incorporate this look into her bedding and nic-nacs throughout the room.
So what I have come to realize is that I'm going to have to do this myself. Any custom-made crib bedding set I've seen has been a minimum of $200 but more commonly $300-$400. Have I scared you yet? Doing this would mean in the month of October (November & December I need to devote to Christmas and my large cumbersome self)I would have to:
  • Clean out her room (right now it's being used for moving left-overs)
  • Paint her room
  • Re-paint the crib and changing table (most time-consuming project by far)
  • Sew a crib bed skirt
  • Sew a VERY simple baby quilt (I'm scratching the bumper because they don't help my fear of SIDS)
  • Sew a pillow
  • Put together/find a couple of nic-nacs to decorate
Can I do this!? Or have I lost my mind? Tell me I can. Here are some fabric swatches and photos of other ideas. Tell me what you think or if you just think I'm crazy.
So these are the fabrics I'd be using. All but that yellow-striped one are Heather Bailey. I'm hoping six is enough. Most examples I've seen use more. I love a good yo-yo and I'm thinking I could make this $75 puppy out of my scraps. Hello. How cute are these. I saw a pattern to buy on esty for a stuffed owl pretty similar to these ones...they just don't have the cute dangly legs.
It's probably important to mention at this time that I don't really know how to sew....hmmm...


Ryder here. Shhhhh. Don't tell anyone, but I decided it was high time for an update about...me. And since my mom hasn't seemed to get around to it in quite awhile, I thought I'd take matters into my own hands. I mean, come on, I've got people who need to know these things! Well, toward the end of the summer we got to live with Grandma and Grandpa Shorten for a few weeks where I... Went camping and tubing and Crescent Bar Got really good and helping my dad wash the car Made the jump from my crib to a bed! Cool huh!? (This is during the transitional stage. I have an actual bed now, don't worry.) Got to celebrate my birthday and open presents from Grandma and Grandpa! It was a VERY HOT few weeks... Then we moved to Utah! So my dad could go to school. (This is me in my new room and my new bed.) And even though I miss my family and friends back in Seattle, I do get to see and play with my cousins a lot! I also finally turned two and got to celebrate my birthday again and I got my very first bike! Woosh, I'm lucky. I've also been busy watching BYU football games with my dad. Go Cougars! So as you can see it's been an exciting few weeks! Not to mention my new found love for taking pictures. That silly flash just makes me so happy! BYE!


Remember that silly T-shirt brand that came out in the mid-nineties? Hehe... anyway... Not to say that my life is hard or that I'm heavy with trials or anything, in fact, on the contrary, I am incredibly blessed. This I know. What I didn't know was that these past few weeks... moving, starting school, figuring out how to pay for everything...was going to be a lot harder than I had originally anticipated. I didn't know what I was expecting, but I think it had something to do with this comforting image of being welcomed into the open and familiar arms of Happy Valley and that money for school and insurance for our impending arrival would start growing fruitfully from that cherry tree in our front yard. Not so, my friends. Not so. It's been an interesting move for me and one that's included growing pains and mature perspectives, that I could stand do without. I shant bore you with the details, but after complaining to my mom on the phone one evening, she told me I should read a talk in this month's Ensign titled "Lessons from Liberty Jail" by Elder Holland. Did you read it too? It's a goodie. Besides putting my life into perspective and making me feel unbelievably blessed, it made me love and respect the prophet Joseph Smith more and helped me to feel of my Savior's love. That latter one is particularly easy for me to forget when I'm super stressed and frustrated :) One of my favorite quotes from this talk states:
"We must not succumb to the fear that God has abandoned us or that He does not hear our prayers. He does hear us. He does see us. He does love us."
See now, I like to describe that feeling as frustration, or anger or confusion, when I think I'm going unheard. But it's neither of those feelings. What we are truly feeling is fear. Yes, it is a total lack of faith to fear God's abandonment, but why else would we fear His absence, if we did not know full and well the blessing of His presence? So, for me, correctly identifying those times as fear is another reminder to me that "He does hear us, He does see us, and He does love us". He is not going to be by our side one moment only to leave us to fend for ourselves the next. He is constant. But alas, I am not, but hopefully, through life's experiences and a whole lotta time, my faith will be just as constant as our Heavenly Father...that's the goal, anyhow :)


Phil giving his I'm-in-1st-grade-back-to-school pose
So it's official. Monday was Phil's first day of classes. A mere three days later, he is swamped with homework and trying to figure out how to study again. I ooze pride for this boy. I never get stressed about him succeeding. I see him get stressed about him succeeding :) but I get to lay back and quietly take joy in his dedication knowing he is one of the few aspects in my life right now that is sure, dependable and stress-free. And I can't thank him enough for it. Go get'em tiger!
Our future MBA grad