Saturday, December 31, 2011

Resolution Wrap-up

Time to evaluate how I did on my resolutions this year.

1. Learn how to be a good mother & enjoy and embrace motherhood. I have thought about this a lot. Even though it may seem like I complain a lot about how much I miss my job or how boring I've become, I am so grateful for the opportunity to be a mother. This has been a year of learning for me as I've tried to adjust to being a stay-at-home mom. It definitely has not been easy, and I don't feel like I'm the best mom I could be, but I'm glad that I get to be the one who experiences Emily's life first-hand. I'm grateful I got to be the one to watch her learn to crawl and take her first steps and learn to eat with a spoon and say her first words. I'm grateful that I understand her words that she tries to communicate and I'm grateful to be the one to try and teach her new things. I know I've got a long way to go at this whole motherhood thing, but I'm grateful for the chance to try.

2. Get back in shape. I don't know that I'd say I'm back in shape, but I was able to train for and do a few challenging races this year, including my century bike ride. And I was able to run a 10K again.

3. Enhance my friendships. I sort of gave up on this one after I tried inviting people multiple times to things and they never would come. And then I haven't really tried again after we moved. Maybe when we move again.

4. Stay mentally/intellectually challenged. I have been able to keep up my freelance work a little by doing at least one project each month, so at least I did that.

5. Don't become lazy, frumpy, or a recluse. I think I've done ok at this one.


1. Attend the temple once a month. Not so great at this.
2. Earn enough money between the two of us so we won't have to dip into our savings. Check!
3. Be positive and focus on what we have instead of what we don't. Uhhh....we tried.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011


Christmas this year was fabulous! We were so spoiled and had so much fun visiting with all of our family. We started off the festivities by dressing Emmy up in her cute Santa dress and taking a picture by the Christmas tree. She wasn't very happy about that plan.

Then we headed off to the Livelys and tried again.

Emmy loved their Christmas tree! We had a fun Chinese dinner and watched some Christmas movies.

Then it was time to open presents! Emmy was so funny opening her presents. One of the first presents she got was a little doggie. She loved it!

After opening a couple of presents on Mom's lap, she decided to help herself to the rest of the presents under the tree. She would go grab one and start opening it as fast as she could.

And then throw the paper up in the air. It was pretty much the cutest thing ever and I let her open some of mine too so she would keep doing it. It was hilarious!

After awhile we put Em to bed so we could open our own presents.

Then we played Settlers and ate fudge and cookies. The next morning Santa came to our house!

Em wasn't nearly as excited about opening her presents this time.

She just kept looking for her doggie and her baby. And then she carted them around all morning.

We finally got her to open some presents on Christmas morning. She loved this fun animal magnet book.

Matt got his favorite and cookies!

We then went to Matt's parents' church to hear their choir program and then went over to the Shepherds for more presents and Christmas dinner. Buddy the Elf made an appearance.

He came to give Matt a Christmas gram. He got a Noodles gift card and some syrup. Rivers was pretty funny opening his presents....he would tear off a small strip of paper and then hold it up for everyone to see.

Em kept looking for more doggies, seriously as she was opening each present she kept asking, "doggie? doggie?". She thought all her presents were going to be doggies. But then she consented to read books.

We played games and ate snacks for the rest of the day. On Monday we headed down to my grandma's house for the big extended family party. It was a great Christmas. We had so much fun and then we took lots of naps on Tuesday.

I love to see the temple

Last weekend we went up to SLC to see the lights at Temple Square. We made sure Emmy was bundled up nice and good.

She did not know what to think of her mittens.

Em loved the lights! She kept saying, "more? more?"

She especially loved all the Christmas trees! I think she is going to be sad when we take down ours.

It was a fun evening at Temple Square.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Christmas choir

I have finally started going to ward choir practice again. I haven't been since before Em was born, and I sort of missed it. Not like I sing great or anything, but I enjoy the music and being able to get to know people better. Anyway, so we have obviously been practicing Christmas songs for the past several weeks, and 2 out of the 3 songs we are singing make me get teary every single time! I can't even hardly get through them.

The first one, When Joseph Went to Bethlehem, reminds me of how Matt was about a year and a half ago in the delivery room. He was so nervous to become a daddy, but his baby girl loves him so much. Anyway, here are the lyrics... it's the second verse that gets me.

When Joseph went to Bethlehem
I think he took great care
To place his tools and close his shop
And leave no shavings there.
He urged the donkey forward,
Then, with Mary on its back,
And carried bread and goat cheese
In a little linen sack.

I think there at the busy inn
That he was meek and mild
And awed to be the guardian
Of Mary's sacred Child.
Perhaps all through the chilly hours
He smoothed the swaddling bands,
And Jesus felt the quiet strength of
Joseph's gentle hands.

And close beside the manger bed
He dimmed the lantern's light,
And held the little Jesus close upon
That holy night.

If you want to listen to the music, click here:

The other one is about a little shepherd boy who feels inadequate because he doesn't have a fancy gift for the Christ child like the wisemen have brought. I can't remember all of the lyrics to post, but it is beautiful.

Anyway, I love Christmas music and the spirit it brings.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Merry Christmas to all...

...and to all a good night!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

A girl and her Christmas tree

Emily loves our Christmas tree.

Every morning when she wakes up, she runs to it and says, "dat, dat" which means "lights". Then when we turn on the lights, she yells out "Nooey!". I'm not sure where she got that from, but it is hilarious. Maybe it means "pretty"???

I tried to get it on video, but it's much better in real life. I just love how her face lights up and she exclaims "nooey!" with such awe when the lights come on.

And she does this every time she sees a Christmas tree anywhere. I love it!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Christmas card

Our annual Christmas card. Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011


Years ago my Aunt Tracey gave me these nativity magnets. Now they are one of Emmy's favorite things to play with. She will stand at the fridge and rearrange them multiple times a day. And to my surprise, she could point out all the pieces when I would ask her where the camel was or the angel or whatever.

She was very annoyed that I interrupted her to take a picture. Ha!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Couch play

Em's new favorite pastime is playing on the couch. It is hilarious. She runs from end to end throwing off the pillows and faceplanting in the couch. She also leans back on the couch in between runs. Of course the time I was recording this, she decided to start picking her nose in the middle of the video. Ha!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Day of Thanks (and Domestic Failure)

Thanksgiving was (mostly) great. We ran our annual Thanksgiving Day race. I even did the 10K this year instead of the 5K, and it was great! We had a yummy breakfast at my parents' house after the race, and then had Thanksgiving dinner at Matt's family's house. I have been sick for the past week, and now I think Emmy is starting to get a little sick. It was so sad...she was so unhappy. :( Anyway,  other than a bit of sickness and my domestic failures, it was a great day.

So for Thanksgiving I was in charge of jello, rolls, and pie. Well, the pie was voluntary. I like fruit pies, and I knew there wasn't going to be any there, so I decided to make some so I could have some fruit pie. I was determined to make all of my assignments really delicious and beautiful because last time we had Thanksgiving at Matt's, I brought rolls and they didn't rise so they were these little tiny hard things that were gross. So I needed to redeem myself.

So I made the pies the night before. I thought they looked ok. But it turned out that the pear pie had way too much nutmeg and the cherry pie didn't have enough filling to crust ratio. I overcooked the rolls and they just didn't turn out as tasty as they normally are. And the jello was a complete disaster. My family makes this amazing 12 layer jello that is so pretty and yummy. But for some reason when I made it this time, it turned out runny and watery and so all the layers were all mushed up together. I almost cried. I even got up at 5 a.m. to make those rolls and spent 2 days making that jello. So much for redeeming myself.

Anyway, despite my domestic failures, everything else was delicious and it was a fun day and we have so much to be thankful for.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011


I took Em to the aquarium yesterday. She loved it! She would run from tank to tank pointing and yelling, "ish, ish!" It was hilarious.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Emmy Funnies

Just some random pics and funny things Emmy has been doing lately.

She loves playing with her Halloween candy. She loves to take it out of the bucket and shake it and hide it under the couch. When she can't get it out, she comes over and says, "stuck!" and wants me to get it out from under the couch.

When she takes her shoes off, she says "shooz-ahh". She always does this in the car. When she tries to put her shoes on she says, "nah" for "on".

She loves to brush her teeth and hair, but she doesn't understand the difference between the toothbrush and the hairbrush. She just says "ush".

I just really love this outfit. :) She looks like such a big girl!

She loves to go in my room and get my stuffed animals, and throw them from the bed to the floor. She can say all their names too. (Rocky, Nala, and Sammy). She gives them all kisses and hugs first though.

She can do her farm animal puzzle all by herself, and knows what all the animals are. She can't say all of them yet, but she can point to them on the puzzle. She calls a lot of things "nooey"s. I have no idea what that means, but she says that for bird, bear, heater, Ariel, and probably a lot of other things too.

She LOVES her books. Especially the ones we get at the library. She will sit and look at them over and over and over. She also loves pizza. Every time we have it, she snarfs it down. And every time she hears a noise coming from the direction of the door, she runs to the door and yells "Daddy!" because she thinks it's Daddy coming home. Oh what a little funny girl!

Monday, November 7, 2011


This is how I find my honey watching his Utes football games. He also paces. :)

Friday, November 4, 2011


I have had a few people ask how we do our budget, so I thought I'd share. I am not a tight/exact budgeter nazi, I don't like to balance the checkbook, and I don't like to use cash. So we wanted something that was a little more flexible, but still allowed us to keep track of our finances. It took us about a year or so to find something that worked for us, but we did and have been sticking to it ever since, and it has worked with any income--large or small.

For our monthly budget, we use our online banking system at Utah Power Credit Union. With the online system, we have the ability to create sub-accounts that you can transfer money easily between. So we created a sub-account for each category of spending that we do. Our categories are: Savings 1 (this is for our house or other big stuff we need to save for), Savings 2 (this is for fun stuff that costs a little more like vacations or bikes and stuff), Checking, Matt, Christy, Emily (we each get our own individual accounts that we can spend however we want), Food, Gas, Medical, Entertainment, Clothes, Car (for repairs & stuff), Gifts, Misc, & Mission (we wanted to start a mission savings). Our retirement and insurance and stuff is taken out before we get our checks, so we don’t count that in our monthly budget but we do have them take it out before we even see the check.

Since it’s all online, we both have access to it at anytime. We have figured out what our fixed expenses are that we absolutely have to pay every month (tithing, rent, utilities, etc.) and listed everything out on a Google Doc. At the start of each month, we calculate our income for the past month, subtract the fixed expenses and then divide the rest up into these sub-accounts forthe  non-fixed expenses. Since we know approximately what our monthly income is, we can determine how much goes into each account every month. (Of course this changes whenever we have an income change.) If we happen to have more income than our estimated amount, we get to put it into whatever account we want!

When we purchase something we just transfer the money from the corresponding sub-account into the checking account. We pay all our bills from the checking account at the beginning of each month. When the sub-account for a certain category runs out, we can’t spend anymore for that category. We also use our credit card for everything and pay it off every month. This way at the end of each year we get quite the nice cash rebate.

It’s nice because it’s real-time and you can see exactly where you stand at any time. Of course you have to be diligent about getting online and transferring the money every time you make a purchase (or every few days or so), but it has worked well for us. They even have a mobile app that Matt uses to do his stuff on his phone. It’s also nice because we each get our own “allowance” each month that goes into our individual sub-account and we can spend this money on whatever we want.  We can save for Christmas and birthdays all year in our Gifts account, we can save for medical expenses and car repairs, and we know we have some money each month for fun stuff in our Entertainment account.

Anyway, like I said, it took us awhile to come up with this solution to our budget, but we have been using this method for awhile now--both when we had a large income and when we had a very small income--and it has worked really well for us. And now...3.5 years after getting married, we've both gone to grad school, had a baby, took a couple vacations, paid off Matt's car (mine was already paid off), saved enough for a down payment on a house, and have ZERO debt. I'm pretty proud of that. :) 

One more thing, we always pay our tithing and fast offerings first. And we have always had at least a little to put in each account every month. And we have always had enough in each account to pay for everything we need and a lot of what we want. And I know that is a huge blessing. For example, when Emily was born, we had pretty much exactly the amount we needed to pay all the hospital bills in our medical fund. Another example, we always have enough to have a weekly fun night even if it's just getting a Redbox and a $5 Little Ceasars pizza. Sometimes it's been tight, but I haven't really felt deprived.

We could probably do even better, but for now this is what is working for us. So there you have it.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Trick or Treating

Trick or treating was fun! We only went to 4 houses (the grandparents and auntie's) but we had a lot of fun. Since Emmy doesn't eat candy, and we shouldn't eat candy, we just went to the relatives, but I really wanted to take her and she was so cute!

Here she is checking out her trick or treat bucket.

She was not at all interested in taking any more pics, but at least these are better than the last go-around.

She just wanted to wander around.

She was much more interested in the doggies than the candy.

But then at our last stop (Grandma Lively's), she kept taking handfuls of candy and putting them in her bucket. It was hilarious. And then she was shoving pizza as fast as she could into her mouth. Ha! Happy Halloween! P.S. I may or may not already be planning next year's costume. :)