Friday, August 29, 2014

Family Friday - Family Photos

For Russell's third birthday we decided we would take some family photos. Joe's parents were in town to celebrate with us and I thought it would be great to capture some pictures of both grandparents with Russell while we could. Of course you always hope people will live a really long time but too many recent events have led me to not put off the things that are important and I wanted to make sure that we could capture this fun moment in time.

I happen to have a wonderfully talented friend, Amy, who was willing to come out after a long day at work and help us capture some pictures of our family together. I actually hired Amy to work with me and it was one of those hires that from moment one I was completely confident that she was a good choice and would do a wonderful job. She's always been willing to do what it takes and has been so supportive of me which I've loved.

There was a funny moment during our photo shoot when poor Russell was staring up at the moon and he fell right back into his little pool. He was ok, though probably startled, but he started to get really sad when everyone was laughing at the whole situation.

I also want to share this picture because even Jared came out to be in the picture. I'm so happy that we caught a good photo of all of us together.

Russell is such a good little guy. The curious look on his face is one we see quite often as he explores his world. He's going to be starting preschool soon which is an exciting opportunity for us. I'm hoping he'll learn to interact with other kids his age and hopefully the experience will help him continue to develop his speech skills that his therapists started with us in our home.

I'm so excited to go through all our pictures and figure out which one will make the cut for our Christmas card. Usually I'm so far behind that our card ends up being a last minute endeavor but hopefully this year with these amazing photos in hand we'll be able to get something nice put together.

If you're looking for an amazing photographer and you're in the Salt Lake Valley (or surrounding area) I'm happy to connect you. Amy did a wonderful job capturing our family and I'm so excited that we got to share this time together. You can also check out her blog at to see other examples of her amazing work.

Is there something you've been wanting to do but have been putting off? How do you prioritize your time and energy to do the things that mean the most to you? I highly recommend not putting of the important things in life because you just don't know when things will change and you'll have wished you'd done something sooner. Tell people you love them, give someone a hug, or just get out there and be your true and authentic self. You deserve that.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Throwback Thursday - Green Chili Chicken Casserole

Oh yeah! I went WAY back on the blog to find this hidden gem. My Mom made something similar to this in the crockpot a little while ago and I had a thought that it would make an amazing filling in something like an enchilada. Well... this recipe is pretty much it. Yummy goodness all baked together into some filling and delightful goodness. I will definitely be making this soon. Hopefully I'll remember to take a photo. I guess back then I didn't take as many pictures of my food.

Green Chili Chicken Casserole

Check it out! If you make this let me know what you think. I'm pretty sure you could modify it if you want. YUM!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Wellness Wednesday - A New Journey

I am so excited to share something fabulous and wonderful with everyone today. I have wanted to get certified as a yoga teacher for a while now and I finally have the opportunity to take a leap and do it! The biggest barrier for me was paying for the training. I knew I could commit myself to studying and attending classes but if you've ever priced out yoga teacher training classes they can definitely be expensive. I am sure that in other parts of the country the cost is even higher than it is here in Utah so I feel blessed to be able to do this at this point in my life.
Backing up a little bit let me tell you a little more about how this came to happen in case you're new to the blog. I have always enjoyed yoga. Initially I liked it for the flexibility and physical challenge it gave me. Now I like it for the peace and energy I experience as well as the physical and mental support it brings to my life. I've been taking classes from my friend Tara and found that while I was practicing yoga and during the time after I felt better both physically and mentally.

Over the past couple of years since I had Russell I've had what my friend Amy and I have termed mystery illness. It's nothing severe enough to sound an alarm over and not consistent enough that you could easily go to a doctor and have them tell you what's wrong. In fact I've been to the doctor and had all sorts of blood tests done to see if anything was out of balance and of course everything has come back normal. I've had my heart checked again to be sure nothing was wrong there since I have mitral valve prolapse which I know can make you really tired if it's acting up. Of course that came back fine too. The only thing that has seemed to help me feel better has been yoga.

Russell, mastering down dog since before he turned 2.
I decided that I wanted to take a yoga teacher training course for myself so I could learn to take care of what hurt or bothered me at any time. I figured if nothing else, the discipline of learning everything for myself would be worth the cost and then if I wanted to teach later it would be a viable option for me. I love helping people and have always known my career would be helping people in some way. I feel that through yoga I can help others experience the peace and balance that yoga brings to my life. I also love that yoga is something I can do throughout my whole life to better take care of myself both mentally and physically.

When the opportunity came up for me to be able to get some money to support my dream of becoming certified as a yoga teacher I excitedly accepted it. It was one of those moments that you just don't know if you should run around screaming and dancing or pinch yourself to make sure you're not just dreaming. I felt amazed and inspired that someone else would believe in me so much that they would help fund my dream. Of course, being smart, I wasn't funded the entire amount. I would have to put some money towards my dream which helped ensure that I was really bought in and willing to put something on the line for myself. This split made it possible for me to finally take the first step to getting certified and following this new journey in my life.

Practicing a modified tree pose before he knew what it was.
I decided to sign up for the yoga teacher training at Bodhi Yoga in Provo, Utah. As I looked at all the options available, Bodhi Yoga fit best into my schedule and had the most comprehensive information online. I am definitely the personality type that wants as much information as possible before making a decision. I loved that there were sample videos online and plenty of information about what would be covered during the training. I also figured that since I loved the type of yoga I was practicing with Tara that I would surely enjoy the training I'd receive at Bodhi Yoga. I took the leap and signed up quickly, finding out that there were only two spots left for the Spring 2015 training.

It takes time to master down dog. This was the early stages of his practice.
I had the opportunity to drive down to Provo and met Syl Carson, the Founding Director and the woman who would be directing my training. I had heard from Tara she was wonderful and that the training was something she would definitely do again if she had to. From the moment I met her I knew my decision was the right one. Not only had she responded to my inquiries about signing up quickly but she is one of those people you meet and feel like you're old friends meeting again. I loved the energy she had and that was in her studio and knew that I would enjoy this opportunity.

Do it! Do it now! Start working to make your dream a reality.
Part of my training includes blogging about my experiences so you'll be seeing updates from me. This blog post is getting long so I'm going to save more for the next post. I am so excited to share about what I'm learning and doing through the blog. If you want to get an overview of the program I'll be participating in you can check out the video below.

I hope you'll come along with me on this journey. It's going to be great!

Monday, August 25, 2014

Motovated Monday - Creative People

Do you consider yourself a creative person? Do you feel you relate to some or all of these statements? Share your thoughts about what it means to be creative.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Throwback Thursday - Orange Curry Couscous

AHHH... After last week's revival of the Coconut Thai Soup I decided going back to another recipe would be a great idea. So this week I ask you to look back at Orange Curry Couscous. This recipe is SO good and would be perfect for anyone looking for a great side dish or a light and flavorful main dish.

I did find making the dressing for this recipe made a ton and I remember marinating some chicken in it and that was really good. I'm sure you could toss some veggies in the dressing and grill them up to go with the couscous and that would be awesome if you're vegetarian/vegan.

Don't wait. Don't hesitate. Get to the store for the ingredients to make this and enjoy some yummy bliss!

Monday, August 18, 2014

Motovated Monday - Follow Your Bliss


Find a way... Or make a way...

Follow your bliss...

Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors for you where there were only walls. 
~ Joseph Campbell 
(March 26, 1904 – October 30, 1987, American mythologist, writer and lecturer)

Friday, August 15, 2014

Family Friday - Happy Birthday Russell

Oh my goodness. My little Russell man is 3! It's hard to believe that three years have gone by since we walked through the uncertainty of his birth experience, watched him grow up hoping he'd be ok, and now seeing just how far he's come. It's amazing to me how much he's learning and growing every day. I wanted to share a few fun pictures from his birthday weekend.

Russell LOVES to swing and play in the park. When it's your birthday we'll "go outside", as he loves to say.
Simple hanging balloons and we're ready to party!
Only a grandma can let you stab your birthday cake before the guests arrive. :)
So glad my long time friend Tiffany brought her kids over to play!
The splash pad was back in action so we let Russell play and have fun.
Russell loves to step on the spots where the water comes out of the ground.
We are so blessed that this sweet little guy is doing so well. He's such a happy and positive light in our lives and I couldn't imagine a day without him. He makes us so happy and yes we do have bad days. There are times when we are tired, when he throws a tantrum in the store, or he just doesn't seem to want to do more than whine and scream but that's ok. I always try to remind myself that he is a kid and that kids don't know how to express themselves so sometimes they get mad or sad or fussy. I think it's easy to have expectations that kids will behave like mini adults but I know plenty of adults that can be just as bad as small children so I try to remember it's ok if he's not always smiling and happy all the time. I want him to know it's ok to experience and express a full range of emotions and that mom and dad will be there for him to support him and help him through it.

So, happy birthday little man! You are a wonderful blessing in our lives and we love you oh so very much! I hope he had nothing but a fun filled birthday weekend.

What do you do to celebrate your kids birthdays? Are you the parent that throws big themed parties with planned activities and coordinated decor? Do you prefer to take your kids to places that put on the party so all you have to do is show up and let the kids loose? Share your birthday tips and tricks. I'm always looking for new ideas.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Throwback Thursday - Coconut Thai Soup

I've decided to add a new feature to the blog and it's Throwback Thursday! A friend commented on an old post of mine and I realized there are some great posts hidden way back in the depths of the archives. So, on Thursdays expect to see a revival of old posts, photos from way back when, or other nostalgic goodness. Today I give you, Coconut Thai Soup. Yep, it's from an old Saturday's Supper so you know you want to check it out. This is actually on the menu for us this week. I can't wait to see if it's as good as I remember.

Can't wait to make Coconut Thai Soup again this week. YUM!
Let me know if you try this throwback recipe. I remember it was really good and can't believe I haven't made this recently. The book the recipe is in is 365 Days of Slow-Cooking and Joe and I are thinking it's time to break out the crock pot again. MMM... Happy cooking!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Wellness Wednesday - Celebrating Russell

This past weekend has been exciting as it was Russell's birthday! We had Joe's parents in town and it was fun to have them share in his celebration.

Russell got a cute pretend fishing set. One day Daddy and Russell will go fishing for real.
Russell also got a cute bike from my Aunt. He LOVES it already.

I think with birthdays it's easy to be reminded of all the things you want to write down, scrapbook, or otherwise make sure you capture it so you don't forget. After his family birthday celebration I felt inspired to write down some thoughts about Russell from this past year. The funny thing I found was that I had done that after his two year check up last year.

I know I could beat myself up for not having some cute scrapbook or wonderful template where I fill in the same blanks about him from year to year but I figure a few notes in a journal he can look at later work for me. Hey, more power to the folks out there who have time to go all out. Everyone's got to have a hobby and as much as I love that it's not what I'm choosing to fill my time with at this point. Maybe one day I'll scrapbook everything since I do own the supplies and have thousands of pictures of Russell. HA HA HA!

I love this little guy!!!
I got this journal from a dear friend of mine and I absolutely love it. It's where I write all my goals/hopes/dreams and memories about Russell and our family.
Thoughts about Russell from his 2 year check up. Some facts and some things about his likes.
This year I chose to jot down nicknames, his favorite shows, his favorite activities, words he can say, and his favorite foods. I think these things will be interesting to see as he grows up and changes.
Russell has some great things coming up in the next year. He will start preschool with other kids who have similar speech delays. We had his first IEP (Individualized Education Program) and we feel his class will be a good fit for him. I'm also hoping it will help him get ready for kindergarten so that it won't be as hard to transition once he's going to school more often. Overall he adjusts well to these classes so I think it's good for him.

At some point we'll get serious about potty training (he doesn't show a ton of interest at this point and can't speak well enough to consistently communicate his needs) and we're focusing on saving money to buy a house. I'm taking steps now to get familiar with the market in the area we want to buy and we're starting to flesh out the must haves vs. the needs and wants for a house. We completely understand that there is a difference between stuff that will be non-negotiable for us vs things that we would like but could wait on if they weren't there in an otherwise great house. Plus watching enough home shows I know the layout and "bones" of the house are far more important than anything cosmetic. With enough time, money, and work you can fix most things in a house but you can't really change the property or layout of the home.

We'll of course be focusing on helping Russell with his speech. I'm also hoping to find more activities we can do with him to help him learn new things and hopefully we can work in ways for him to play with other kids too. Overall we're excited for how far Russell has come and where he is going.

How do you capture memories about your kids? Are you the scrapbook master or do you toss everything into a box to do something with later? What are your thoughts about kid art? I have heard some people keep it all and others take photos and toss the original as new art comes in. I'm not sure which way I'll go yet.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Motovated Monday - What You Are
It's not what you are that holds you back,
It's what you think you are not.
~ Denis Waitley, American Motivational Speaker & Writer

If you're not following DoYouYoga on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter, you should be. You'll find articles on yoga, giveaways, inspirational quotes, videos, and more. They also have a great 30-Day Yoga Challenge that can give you a taste of what yoga is if you've never really done yoga before. Erin Motz makes things accessible for everyone and breaks down the challenge into different parts. This means you can skip around or focus on the areas you need the most help with.

Friday, August 08, 2014

Family Friday - Oquirrh Shadows Park and Splash Pad

Hey everyone! If you follow us on social media (Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter) you've probably already seen some of this but I wanted to make sure it all ended up on the blog too.

Oquirrh Shadows Park is located just west of Bangerter Highway off of 10600 South. If you're heading towards Daybreak and have seen the fire station there you're in the right place. I know the fire station used to (or may still be) a Bountiful Baskets pick up site so it should be familiar to some folks.

Over the Pioneer Day weekend this awesome splash pad opened up at what was already one of our favorite parks for Russell to play at. We love that it's right by the fire station so it's well trafficked by both law enforcement and other families with kids. We like that the play equipment isn't all just for big kids so there are things Russell can do. There's also a huge field where people play soccer or run around a track area that circles the perimeter of the park. Russell sometimes loves just running across the field while we follow behind. There are also pavilion spaces with picnic tables which make for nice resting spots when Russell needs a break.

Part of me hesitates to share information because then I know it will only get busier there but it's just too good not to invite everyone out to have a good time. The splash pad is available 10:00 a.m. - dusk every day, according to the South Jordan Parks and Rec site. They anticipate it being available from Memorial Day through Labor Day which seems typical for most pools and splash pads.

We have found the best time to go with the little ones is first thing when it opens or on Sunday. At that time there's usually more families with small kids which makes it fun for them and there's less chance that they'll get knocked over by the big kids who sometimes don't seem to pay attention to anyone around them. There are so many things the kids can interact with and truly I've seen all ages enjoying the space. Some cool parents are even out there with their kids getting soaked and having a good time.

One thing worth noting, that some people are starting to catch on to, are these little round buttons that are in the ground. (See the picture above.) There are three of them (one on the far west side by the water guns, one in the middle of the blue drain on the south side by the arches, and the other is on the north side by the river) and they are what turn on the water features. It's super smart so the water doesn't run all day if no one is there and great for the kids so they can start the features as they're playing with them. Sometimes you do have to wait a second before they'll turn on but it always seems to work out.

Another thing worth noting if you go with bigger kids, sometimes they want to block the water in the river thing on the north part of the splash pad but if they do that it tends to shut everything down. I'm pretty sure if enough water doesn't cycle through it auto shuts off so it doesn't burn out. At least that is what's happened in the past.

Anyway, if you're in the south end of the valley get your kids over to this new feature in South Jordan and have some fun! We love it so much and hope to see more parks like this in other neighborhoods. It's so great to see people getting outside and having fun together!

Do you have any favorite splash pads or public parks you like to go to? Any locals with kids around 2-3 that have any parks that are great for that age? If you ever want to meet up at our favorite park let us know and we can get something scheduled!

Wednesday, August 06, 2014

Wellness Wednesday - Expanding Your Happiness

If you've followed the blog for a while you know I am all about learning more about meditation as a tool to support a balanced life. Well, it's about that time again for another meditation challenge. Same format, totally free, and done by Oprah and Deepak Chopra, it's 21-days of potentially life changing goodness.

Go to to sign up today!
Meditation can have many benefits depending on each person. Some benefits you typically hear about include:
  • Gaining a new perspective on stressful situations
  • Building skills to manage your stress
  • Increasing self-awareness
  • Focusing on the present
  • Reducing negative emotions
Along with these benefits I found there are many ways you can incorporate meditation in your day.
  • Participating in yoga or tai chi (take a class or buy a good video to do at home - if you can't afford to buy a video check your local library. Our local library system has DVD's and CD's available and you can test them to see what you like before you spend any money.)
  • Practicing relaxed breathing (taking slow deep breaths in and out can help you calm down when you're stuck in rush hour traffic or when you can't get away for a full meditation)
  • There are many guided meditation options available online or on CD (probably not something you want to do in the car but you could make it a part of your morning or evening routine)
  • Many people even recommend a walking meditation where you focus on a mantra, through, or your breathing while you're walking (this is a great option if you're looking to use walking to get or stay in shape)

** The benefits and types of meditation with additional information were found here.

I am personally excited to start this meditation challenge. Happiness is something I want to focus on having more of in my life so don't be surprised if you see some insights and thoughts from this process in the future. If you're interested in giving this a try sign up today and let me know in the comments that you're participating. I'd love to stay in touch with people who have joined in!

Do you make meditation a part of your daily routine? How did you start meditation and what difference has it made in your life? Do you have any favorite guided meditations or routines you use. Share any tips you have for first time or beginners to meditation in the comments.

Monday, August 04, 2014

Motovated Monday - Lost in Life

A theme I've noticed lately in social media, on news stories, and even in day to day life is how quickly people judge themselves against others or how quickly others judge them. Whether it's how someone looks, what they wear, how they chose to parent, or a hundred other things just being yourself seems to be getting harder and harder.

I don't know many people who like the feeling of being under the microscope constantly and I for one probably put myself under the microscope far more than anyone else is ever doing. I have to try hard to remind myself that everyone has a different journey and just because you didn't make a million dollars, have a beautiful home, or drive the newest car doesn't mean all is lost.

I found this great infographic the other day and it reminded me that some people don't hit their stride until later in life. This graphic spoke to me, being in my 30's, but I know there are dozens more people who are rich and/or famous that didn't make their money until their 40's, 50's or later.
Not all those who wander are lost. 
- J.R.R. Tolkien

Try to be kind to yourself this week and remember that if you haven't figured out your whole life yet, that's ok. You can't wait for it all to drop in your lap but if you take small steps to uncover what you love and are deeply passionate about you can start to identify the little things you can do to take you where you want to go. I believe that anything is possible as long as you don't give up on YOU.

Are you working within your passion? Do you wake up every day excited to do what you do? How did you find your way to making a living doing what you love? Or, are you on the path to monetizing your passion so you can be the person who loves going to work every day. Share any tips you have for staying positive and working towards your dreams.

Friday, August 01, 2014

Family Friday - Getting in Shape

I tend to tease my husband that I want to get in shape. A shape that isn't ROUND. HA HA HA! I know I'm not someone most people would consider really overweight but for me and for what the scale says I am. Actually if you do a BMI check based on my weight and height I fall into the "overweight" category. See for yourself:

BOO! For real? Overweight! BLAH!!!
Now I know, one could argue that I'm not THAT far into the overweight category but that's not going to get me healthy again. I can tell for my body that things aren't right. I don't feel like I used to, I can't do as much as I have before, and I feel I get sick with mystery symptoms all the time. You know, those times when something hurts, itches, aches, or whatever but it's never consistent, isn't tied to any foods or drinks, and you can't ever duplicate it when you're finally in the doctors office. Yeah... Those mystery symptoms. I also know you could argue that I'm getting older and as you get older things change but if that's the case I'm changing for the worst and I don't want to be the person who hits 45 and can't make it across a flat parking lot without getting winded and sweating like I'd just ran a marathon.

It's HERE and I'm so excited to try PiYo!!!
So, I've finally decided the time is now to be accountable and get myself into shape. I can't take being so tired every day just from working. I don't even work a physically strenuous job so there is no excuse for me coming home and wanting to go straight to bed at 7 p.m.. I have realized that the most important reason for me to get in shape is for Russell and Joe. I want to be there for them for a long time and being the best and healthiest I can is one thing I can control.

Post Define: Upper Body workout. You can't tell but I sweat my butt off.
So in case you're interested, what I'm doing is PiYo. If you read my Wellness Wednesday post you saw the video and why I'm giving this a shot. So far I've done the Align: Fundamentals, Define: Lower Body, Define: Upper Body, and Buns workouts. They have all been amazing. I haven't sweat so much doing a workout in forever. They move fast but then they're done and I can move on with my day. I love the combo of pilates and yoga along with easy strength moves I can do without having to have a bunch of equipment in my home. Even having bad knees and crappy ankles I'm able to do these workouts. They show modifications that make it so as I'm starting I can do what I can and work to do the advanced moves later.

Post Buns workout. Yep, sweaty selfies are all the rage now! HA HA HA!
As you've seen through this post I've shared a few pics and look forward to sharing more about my progress. If you're interested in giving this a try and having some amazing support please let me know. My Beachbody coach is awesome and can get you connected to this program and our Facebook support group. I feel it's a great investment in myself and it's definitely already worth the money we've spent.

Making healthy choices matter. Big or small it adds up.
How do you stay fit as a parent? Is your family active or do you use other ways to stay in shape while having fun? How do you find time to workout during the day? Share your experiences or ideas in the comments!