Lots has changed around here! WE MOVED! We first moved to Arizona from Rexburg in June of 2014 when Blake got a job at General Motors. General Motors was a great company for Blake to work for and he enjoyed his time there! In January of 2019, Blake got offered a job in Logan, Utah. He started work in February and we were all moved in with my parents on March 1. We put our things in storage while we tried to sell our house that we had just bought haha. We are so grateful to my parents for taking us in. Our house is now sold in Arizona. Closing will be in June and we will move to our new home in Smithfield around that time! We are excited for our new adventures there. I was pretty sad to leave Arizona, but we have enjoyed being in Idaho with family. Arizona will always be special to me, but you just can't beat the country and mountain views in Idaho. Right now, everything is green. June is my favorite month in Grace.
I sure do love all of the people we left behind in Arizona. I had made lots of great friends in both of the wards we lived in. I had met new friends through my photography business. I was thinking yesterday how many amazing people found me through this very website who I now think of all the time and consider friends. I feel rich with great friends, great family, and great love in my life! Thanks to all of you!
We took these pictures in October. I still haven't printed them. Don't be like me! The two years before we took these pictures, Linden screamed the whole session. Somehow we got darling pictures those years too, but it was a nice change for Linden to not be screaming!
If I try to make my life sound pretty, this is what I do on a daily basis ;)
Just kidding, there is no way to make it sound pretty.
I set my alarm for 7:20 but don't get out of bed til 7:30... I scold my 6 year old because he's not dressed yet... I do this three more times until we are almost late for school. I feed him an ego waffle, bowl of cereal or granola bars. Now you are getting to know all the little details of my life!
I get home and try to get myself and daughter dressed for either preschool, dance lessons or for her to just come to the gym with me. I try to work out every day, although that doesn't always happen. My days are spent having play dates, cleaning, editing pictures, or doing other photography responsibilities.
I pick up the kids from school, feed them, and then we start the bed time routine! By this time I am pooped! I love crawling into bed when my kids go to bed! I either scroll on my phone, work on the computer, sleep, or watch tv! I love watching tv. Ive also recently been reading personal development books. Do you have any book recommendations for me?
On the weekends we like to work on house projects, go on family outings or dates, and go to church. Blake works 2 jobs and is in a masters program so we are really busy around here.
Change and transformation is a huge part of life. I have changed in negative and positive ways over the years. I’ve spent days, months, weeks and years dealing with depression and anxiety. I would think, “Why am I so sad when I have so much joy surrounding me?” That’s one of the most frustrating things about depression and anxiety disorders. You feel numb, and sick and broken when you “should” feel joy, blessings and happiness. I spent years being unhealthy mentally and physically; both of those things played off of each other.
Over the past year I have been able to drastically transform my life. I exercise almost daily, I eat food that nourishes my body, I meditate and try to get myself back to positive thinking when I am in a negative place. I rest and relax with out feeling guilty about it. I find joy in my family and in my life. I don’t have it all figured out, but I am in such a better place than before. I’m so grateful for modern medicine and all of the resources to help us through these situations. I’m so grateful for my patient, charitable husband.
I am not ashamed to admit that I have done mental health counseling and I take antidepressants. Talking about such a raw subject does make me nervous and afraid.
My appearance has changed a lot physically, but I don’t feel more beautiful than I used to be. I know I’ve always been beautiful and I’ve always been loved even though I complain about my physical features. I can now live a happier, healthier, more joyous life because of the changes I’ve made to improve my physical and mental health.
One thing I know is that I didn’t have my experiences because I wasn’t good enough, or because I was being punished or because I wasn’t trying hard enough at life even though that wasn’t always clear to me. I’ve learned so much from my trials. I can relate to others who are going through similar things. I have a greater love and sympathy for people who are struggling. I know my mental health journey isn’t over. I’m grateful for the hard things I had to endure because that’s how I get closer to being who God wants me to be.
I wanted to write this when I started seeing people post pictures of how aging has affected . All of the posts I have seen are full of beauty 10 years ago and today. We are all beautiful children of God on a Divine journey.
Below I have shared pictures of me from 10 years ago, 1 year ago, and today! I was thinking how I’ve changed so much in a year and if I would have done this a year ago I would have negative aging results... but that isn’t true! I was beautiful even when I wasn’t as healthy as I am today. I hope you know you’re beautiful as well no matter what condition your physical appearance is in.
These two have grown so much in the past year! I wanted to write an update about each of them for memories sake! I always go back and watch old videos and it surprises me how much I have forgotten in just a few short years.
Dawson! This boy impresses me every single day. He is so kind and sweet. He makes ME feel special. He loved playing T-ball earlier this year. He was all excited about getting a medal. He and Linden often play games where there is a trophy involved. He graduated from preschool in May and started Kindergarten in August. He has done really well academically and achieved the Honor Roll the first quarter. He loves loves loves legos. We have an insane amount of legos at our house. He is still obsessed with sea life and I swear he knows of every sea creature ever. He also loves dinosaurs and is very knowledgable about those too! He is a smart little guy! He loves working in the garage with Blake. He got a real tool kit for Christmas and has built a few things. He is a pretty fast runner and loves riding his bike. He sounds like a typical little boy, but there is just something super special about him. He has a kind heart like his daddy.
Linden is our little princess. Like she is really a princess! Haha. She pops her foot when you hug her, is ALWAYS singing and wearing a pretty dress, and always wants to have princess make up. Her most favorite thing to do is go to preschool! She loves all of her little friends. She is also doing dance lessons and that's adorable! Linden gets kind of bored at home with me all day. She is much better behaved when she has Dawson to play with or other children. She has a darling little voice and communicates like she is a grown up.
We just loves these kids so much! They're the sweetest little best friends. They always request to have sleep overs in the living room on weekends. They have their moments, but they also love being around each other.
It’s been a minute since I’ve introduced myself around here! I am a small town farm girl from Idaho. I love the mountains and scenery you’ll find in southeast Idaho. I love the community and people from my little town. Living in a small town is like having 900 family members who have your back. I say 900 because that’s the population... and I didn’t even live in city limits! It’s an hour to the closest Walmart from the little town I lived in for 18 years. I’ve since moved to Rexburg Idaho and I am now living in queen creek Arizona with my husband Blake and our 2 little kids. We have grown to love Arizona and the people we’ve met here. At first, we were the only people from our family living here besides our Aunt Peggy who was here half the time. In the past year my sister and her husband, mother and father in law and brother in law have all moved to our same little town! Can't wait for more family to move here ;)
When I left my little town after graduating high school, I went to college at BYUi where I met my husband. We were married just over a year after I graduated high school and that’s when real life began! We have conquered a lot together and it’s crazy how you can grow to love someone even more than you did the day you married them!
I got to do an internship with a local photographer in Idaho and that was a huge turning point in my photography career. I was blessed to learn many business and photography skills. I don’t pick up my camera just for fun as much as I’d like to, but I am happy with my growth and progress over the past 7 years. It really makes me happy taking photos for others and running a little business.
Here in Arizona I have met several friends who enjoy photography and also have businesses so it is so fun to talk to them and trade secrets. I am all about community over competition. I love spending time with my family in the mountains. We love going camping even though it’s tons of effort haha! I of course love watching TV and sometimes even write “watch tv” on my to do list. It’s a priority sometimes 😂 My days now consist of school pick up and drop off, t-ball practice, dance lessons, and caring for my little family. I started working out again a few months ago at fit body bootcamp and its my favorite. I love working out and pushing my limits.
We had these photos taken before we moved out of our very first home that we owned! I love them. Thanks to my friend Kacy for taking them for me!
That’s just a little bit about me! Thanks for reading :)
Don't worry, friends. We made it home from camping, but not that easy. We did have the most fun time relaxing as a family. It was nice to be unplugged from technology, work, and school and enjoy each other. We scored a blow up paddle boat at TJ Maxx the other day so we took it out and paddled around at Woods Canyon Lake! Dawson thought we were the coolest. He kept telling all of the fishermen to look at our cool boat.... It surely was impressive.
To start off our trip, our car broke. Blake fixed that and we left a day late. Then we forgot our dutch oven so we bought a knew one. Thankfully we have three dutch ovens now. #dutchovenforsale
Then, on our way home we got a flat tire; Our second in just a couple of months. And we were still on the mountain. THANKFULLY, I had wanted to stop and take a picture of the view at a look out where we had service, and THANKFULLY we have free towing. Also, in AZ you can ride on the back of a tow truck in your own car. Guys, could our FAIL have worked out more perfectly.
We made it home from camping, and I got the sweetest pictures of my two little munchkins. Best of all, I have the sweetest memories that I will cherish forever!
I'm just laughing. My pictures are so cute, but don't be fooled. My house is a wreck, I am exhausted, annoyed, and want a knew car.
One thing is for sure though, I am grateful.
Happy anniversary to this hunk of love!
Blake and I have been through a lot of hard things in the past five years. It is because of him that we survived. It's because of his stength, faith and ability to push through anything. If you ever have the chance to really get to know Blake, you will consider yourself lucky to know such an incredible person.
I am so happy I picked such a good man to go through this life with. I feel quite blessed that I get to keep him for eternity.
Thanks for being YOU, Blake! I love you more than ever!
Thanks to Samantha Jane for our wedding photos. Still love them!
For the first time since my brothers wedding in January, my whole family was all together. It is getting pretty tricky for us all to be together.
We are also blessed to have my grandparents in Idaho. I haven't seen my grandpa for six years! They moved to Ohio shortly after I graduated from high school. He was able to meet my children and husband for the first time. It has been great to spend time with them.
It was appropriate for me to make my family take a family picture as our quality time together. Literally, that was the activity. I am pretty sure my siblings all love/hate me. They love having these sweet pictures, but hate getting their pictures taken haha.
I have so many memories of our Idaho trip to share that I don't know where to start. We spent a week at the lake with Blake's family, went boating at Alexander, went to the fair, spent time with my grandparents, took family pictures, and so much more. I'll have to share more pictures, but for now, here are these sweet memories!
Do you know those times that you laugh so hard, and then think about what you were laughing about and start laughing again? That has happened to me A LOT in my life. It happened to me last week, actually. I came across this story. SHE IS HILARIOUS! I know we could swap motherhood stories and die laughing over and over again.
Dawson laughs really hard A LOT. He always has, and his laugh hasn't changed at all since he was a baby. He makes us laugh really hard constantly, too. He is a comedian. The time he made me laugh the hardest happened earlier this year. I kept laughing over and over again. For days and days. Hours and hours. Months and Months. Now I am doing it again.
Lisa, Natalie, Melissa and the kids had driven from Idaho to come visit us. To help you understand the situation, Melissa had a baby who was three months old and Linden was about seven months old. Jack and Ellie were two and Dawson had just turned three. These children are all cousins, and the adults are either siblings or siblings in law, and Lisa is my mother-in-law. We had two double strollers, a single stroller and a baby carrier and sometimes another single stroller to get around. Melissa and Lisa LOVE shopping. We shopped a lot. I had just potty trained Dawson about two months before they came.
We went to Arizona Mills Mall in Tempe to go the the Aquarium. It's an hour drive to that mall. We met up in the Food Court and played on the Carousel for a while and then walked around and shopped a little. Before we made it to the Aquarium at the other end of the mall, it had already felt like a full days work. One of them had a blow out and had his shirt rinsed in the sink and was still wearing poopy clothes. We looked like a mom club pushing so many strollers all in a row! I'm sure Dawson drank my soda, and some of Blake's. I'm also sure it was hard to find a bathroom, and that he was having to much fun to ask to go.
It had been hours since he had gone potty. I know, I was failing at motherhood! Eventually, we made it through the Aquarium. At the end, there was a playground much like the ones you see at McDonalds. It also had a sitting area for parents! SWEET! Us moms from the stroller mom club hadn't sat down like all day, or week. SOOOO much shopping and caring for children.
I remembering saying to my husband, "I bet Daws needs to go potty," but didn't do anything about it.
There were a lot of little families happily playing on the playground. A little boy came down to see his mom. This mom had medium short hair that spiked up everywhere.
The spiky hair lady then yelled, "WHY ARE YOUR SOCKS WET?"
I wasn't clueing in yet... but then there was some chatter. Things like, "It wasn't my kid; my kid is still in diapers." "Mine too!"
I still didn't quite get it.
Mom's were checking pants.
Melissa asks, "Did Dawson go potty?"
In my head - al;skdjfal;ksdjf lkjflkajflak dsjflk!
SO THEN ALL THE MOMS STARTED CHECKING THE KIDS SOCKS! ALL THE KIDS HAD WET SOCKS! And still the chatter. "My kid is in diapers." "It's not mine!"
I secretly brushed by Dawson, felt his shorts and swiped him up then told my mom club, let's go. We booked it out of there so fast you wouldn't believe. Melissa asked me if it was Dawson. I shook my head no. She had a little smile cause I am sure she kind of knew.
Then as soon as we got 100 yards away from the aquarium I started hysterically laughing and it didn't stop for 9 hours.
Dawson chaffed as he walked to the car.
"Dad my leg is wet! It really hurts when I walk!"
And I just really couldn't stop laughing about all of those parents in commotion about the wet socks. Or the fact that my kid peed in a jungle gym, AND I SCATTERED WITH A FIVE STROLLER CREW! Clearly it wasn't completely obviously that it was one of those kids from the five stroller crew.
And then we went to IKEA. I didn't stop laughing. I laughed the whole way home. I texted all of my friends and family and told them the story. I still wake up laughing in the night. Am I evil?
To the mom who had to clean poop off of a boy and bathroom for twenty minutes and probably wants to get banned from Chick-FIl-A... I want to be banned from the Aquarium! Haha! You are so courageous! I flaked, but I still laughed hysterically, just like you!
It's so funny being a mom. And embarrassing.
I'm so sorry for what happened. Next time, maybe I'll admit it was my kid and buy everyone a new pack of socks.
Arizona can be difficult in the summer! I was about to cry taking these pictures because the blazing heat was death. I went and got my swimming suit on and did snow angels in the toddler pool! It felt amazing! These pictures were worth it!
I do love Arizona. It has blessed my life in many ways. I have met so many great people. I've grown in many ways, and so has my family. I am going to share some of my favorite things we have done in Arizona. We haven't necessarily done them in the summer, but we've done them none the less!
McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park was incredibly cool! The exhibits, history, and model railroads are a must see! It is super fun for all ages! Grandmas, toddlers, school aged children, and parents. You can spend as little or as much as you would like. We spent $20.00 for three adults and two children. We road on the train, went in the museums, played on the playground and looked at the AMAZING model trains. I will go back every year for sure.
I love camping and fishing at Bear Canyon Lake. We are camping/mountain people, however. You have to love the wild. haha. If you go a little farther than the Lake there are some isolated areas.It is refreshing to get away from cell phone signal and responsibility and enjoy family time relaxing together! There are a lot of lakes in that area for fishing, boating, playing in the water, etc etc. Arizona has a lot to offer and places that are not deathly hot, too!
We also enjoyed visiting the Grand Canyon on our camping trip to Flag Staff, Arizona! Both places were incredible! I would love to go back this summer and do something more adventurous in the Flag Staff area.
Also, refer to my blog post about our San Diego trip! I am excited to explore more in California and go to Disneyland some day!
Now, for some daily life in Arizona...
Chandler Public Library has been a favorite place of ours to go for story time. It is nice to go in the summer time because you get out of the house on a weekly basis. They have a reading area for little toddlers that is convienient right after story time!
For my San Tan Valley friends, the Anthem McDonalds is always a good idea. The Playground is really big and nice; We go there probably more than I realize in the summer! The community I live in has so many parks! My kids love going to the park. In the summer it is nice for them to go and burn energy and it's lovely to go and do that indoors! Dawson doesn't complain about getting chicken nuggets either.
We have also been to the Phoenix Zoo. Someday I would like to go to one of the other zoo's in the area. I had a great laugh watching the 4D movie of RIO with my cousin Sam!
During the wonderful, cooler months in Arizona I appreciate this state and tell my family I would never move back to Idaho. They are enduring the nasty winter while I am enjoying the beautiful weather. Meanwhile, in the Arizona summer, Idaho is AMAZING, AND I WANT TO MOVE TO IDAHO. SUDDENLY I HATE ARIZONA AGAIN! HAHA.
So...We go to our community pool, the splash park in Queen Creek, play in the sprinkler, color with side walk chalk, color in coloring books, paint with finger paints, play in the hose in our underwear (the children) and watch lots of movies!
And, we visit Idaho. I can't wait to see you Idaho!
Okay, people... I just about tried to google ideas for naming this post. It could have been, "Happy Father's Day" or "My Dad." We will see what it actually ends up being!
I knew if I googled something, nothing would actually fit the true character of my dad. The options my brain was bringing me were "Pull Up Your Panty Hose," and "Don't Miss Me too Much." Those are things my dad says a lot. Haha. So I guess I will name this post after panty hose and you all can question my sanity.
For Father's Day, I gave my dad a video with a lot of pictures I had collected. I was trying to make it for him for his 50th birthday in February, but that didn't happen! My brother and Ashley decided to *elope* (just kidding) so I didn't have a lot of time. Then we accidentally drove two hours in the wrong direction trying to get to my dad's birthday party at my own life long home. Can I win at life? NO! I can't!
I think I have so many wonderful stories to tell! What I mostly want to tell you about today is, my wonderful dad, and my trip to see him for Father's Day, too!
If I could think of the most beautiful place on earth, it would be Grace, Idaho.
I was blessed enough to go home for Father's Day and spend the day with my parents, sisters and brother! It was such a joyous day! We watched the video I made for my dad about ten time, we took a trip to the dam my dad had been working on, and we went on a beautiful bike ride. I couldn't get over the fact that there were wild flowers growing on the side of the road, and it was so green! Grace is so peaceful and unbelievable in the summer. It's such a breath of fresh air.
As we watched the video of my dad and as I created it, everyone in the world would be able to tell that he is an all around good guy. No one has to convince me of that because I already know.
Work ethic is put into action by my dad himself. He is sturdy, protective, reliable, loyal, steadfast, unshakeable, generous, hard working, and never gives up. I have loved looking back on an old peice of paper my mom once showed me. It has all of the goals they had when they were first married. I loved it because they have exceeded far more than what they had set goals for. That is the power of hard work.
I loved every second of being with my family. I'm so grateful my sweet husband was able to stay with my children. The kids also had the stomach bug while I was gone! Bless your heart Blake. You're amazing.
Happy Father's Day from the blog, dad!
I'm happy to be celebrating this country with my family and enjoying these fun traditions this Fourth of July weekend!
Earlier this week, Dawson was being really whiny. To get him to stop crying, I asked him if he wanted to see his friend Emmett. Of course he did! We weren't able to see Emmett that day, but he never stopped talking about it. He wanted to have a party! On Saturday I had to drop by Molly's house to grab something. Emmett wanted to see Dawson and Linden just as bad. That night we invited them over to play games.
They brought sparklers, and we whipped out our left over fireworks from last year. (Blake and I bought tons of fireworks last year with out communicating, haha)
We were giggling because Emmett was scared of the fire. He has been told his whole life not to touch the hot fire then this one particular day he is supposed to get really close to it and all of a sudden it's supposed to be fun! Parenting is ridiculous, haha.
I have a free minute so I would like to share some tips with you of how to get images in low light with out using your flash on your DSLR camera.
Set your camera on manual mode or "M." Make sure the flash doesn't pop up.
Set your ISO to 1600 or greater. Mine was set to 4000-6400 in these photos because it was very dark. My only light source was the fire works. Your DSLR camera may not go past 3200, but check it out and see what your camera will do!
Since it was so dark I had my shutter speed on 1/80 or 1/60. That isn't ideal when taking pictures of children because you could possibly photograph some motion, but it seemed to turn out okay!
The aperture was on F1.8. I was shooting with a 50mm lens. You may not have a lens with an aperture that opens that much. Just try to get the *f* number as low as you can.
Now, if you want to take pictures writing with fire, that is a different story! You will need to get out your tripod, and set your shutter speed very slow!
I challenge you to get your DSLR out while you're shooting off fireworks! Capture some neat pictures of your sweet family this fourth of July.
I hope you all have a great Independence Day!!
I went to Californa for the first time ever! I don't count the layover, that one time. Haha. It was SO pretty! Okay, taking our kids on a vacation for the first time somewhere besides our parents house was a little sketchy, but we made a lot of great memories!
We we were going to go camping over Memorial Day weekend, but then we decided that it might be too cold in tents for the children, however we NEEDED a vacation. Californa was perfect since we had been wanting to go since we moved to Arizona.
We were happy that we hit the perfect beaches for our first time. We highly reccomend La Jolla Beach to see the seals and Coranado Island. We also did a Bay Cruise with Flagship Cruises. It was extremely fun and educational! We also had tickets to go in the USS Midway Museum but that will have to wait. We just had too much we wanted to fit in to our short stay. I know when we do get to go, we will love it. It's a museum on water in an actual air craft carrier. I just think you all need to go!
I was really sad that I had forgotten to take my camera on our bay cruise, but I did my best to take pictures at the beaches! I will cherish these priceless images and memories forever!
It's hard to believe Linden actually turned One! She is the sweetest little girl with just the right amount of sass! These pictures were spontaneous and quick and I was so happy that we got some good smilies out of her! She loves walking, feeding her baby doll, getting her own way, EATING, holding moms cell phone, and music. She really just enjoys life! I can't forget that she loves her big brother and loves to play in the sand box. :)
I know this isn't a proper "first blog post" But I will get to that later. Here are some cute pics of Little Linden Lou! Happy ALMOST 13 months old!
Hi there. I'm Nicole. I'm a small town girl from Idaho who loves photography, my Savior and my family. You'll find me in the mountains with my camera around my neck begging my husband, "lets just take one more picture of your S'more." I love to blog about my photography sessions, family life and much more! Come read along.