Thursday, May 31, 2012

"It's a beautiful heart, not a perfect body, that leads to a beautiful life."

Today we're not feeling so hot around these parts.
I am getting over a stomach bug that hit hard last night, and Adam just caught it this morning (so sorry love!)...thank goodness it's his day off, and thank goodness the Littles seem to be doing okay.  I forgot to mention in yesterday's post, about the weekend, that Brooks was sick on and off.  But being his resilient self, most of the time you would not have been able to tell.

So today we're all doing a lot of this...

This morning, even with my stomach churning and my body feeling extremely lethargic, this baby girl's squishy face and dimpled knuckles on my chest couldn't stop a huge grin from stretching across my face every time I looked down.

Ava is now laying by my side on the couch, kicking her strong little legs. Adam and Brooks are both asleep in dreamland. And I just finished reading Heaven Is Here. Remember when I was so excited to start reading it? Stephanie Nielson's upbeat, yet direct and real, writing was humbling to say the least. I cried, I laughed, I got butterflies reading about her relationship with her husband, and numerous times I felt a deep sense of gratitude to God for all I have in my life...simple blessings that bring me such joy.

I wanted to share one of my favorite passages from her book.  After sharing her experience on the pathway to recovery from a plane crash that burned over 80% of her body, creating numerous scars and some disfigurement...she said this:

"I have accepted myself in a world that does not accept me, because I have learned--and more than any of the lessons of the accident, this is the one I wish I could teach everybody--that our hearts matter most.  Your heart matters most, so be gentler and more patient with yourself, and their hearts matter most, too, so be kinder and more compassionate to others.  It's a beautiful heart, not a perfect body, that leads to a beautiful life."

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Memorial Day Weekend

We celebrated the beautiful marriage of my cousin Shaun to his perfect match (welcome to the family Emma!) // The girls and I had a little too much fun in the photo booth at their reception // Family came to visit from out of town // Bowl after bowl of Marshmallow Mateys were poured for my awesome nieces and nephews // We played soccer at the park until it rained // We got full on homemade pizza, waffles, and cheesecake // Everyone sang "Happy Birthday" to my sweet sister in-law Kristen // We spent time visiting Mom Diane's and some of my Grandparents' graves // Adam surprised us and got off work early to meet us at City Creek // After a long weekend of fun, Brooks got caught some zzzz's on Grandpa's chest :)

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

GIVEAWAY {Bubble Statement Necklace} // closed

You see that necklace above? I absolutely love it. :)  Do you know what else I love? You, my readers!  And I'm so grateful to Cheerfully Charmed for offering one of you a necklace of your own!  In order to enter the giveaway, all you need to do is go to the Cheerfully Charmed website HERE, and come back and leave a comment telling me which of their fabulous colors you would choose your necklace to come in and why. 

For additional entries:
** Share a link to Cheerfully Charmed on a social network (a blog post, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.) and leave your comment(s) telling me which one(s) you used. 
** Follow Life Is Sweet, and let me know in your comment. :)

You'll have until next Tuesday, June 5th, to enter. Good luck!!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

"It's hard to beat waking up beside the person who's given you so many of the best days of your life."

While looking for an anniversary card for my handsome husband earlier this week, I came a cross the card above. Even though we're not technically "old married people" I still found myself smiling and nodding along as I read it. I ended up picking a different card, but I took pictures of this one and showed Adam last night, on our 4-year wedding anniversary eve. :) We both got a few good laughs while reading it together, then shared a couple sweet really does describe some of the aspects of how marriage is. And I wouldn't have it any other way.  The print is pretty small, so in case it's too hard to read, here is what it says:

Stuff only boring old married people like us understand...
That Friday night is actually the perfect time to go grocery shopping.
That no one else can drive you crazy quite like the person you love most in the world.
That it's wonderful to have someone you can always lean on...and possibly fall asleep on.
That it's hard to beat waking up beside the person who's given you so many of the best days of your life.
That "date night", although a nice idea, bears little resemblance to an actual date.
That the ten-thousandth kiss, in its own quiet way, is just as sweet as the first.
That "for better or worse" really means "for better or worse."
That love takes work. And time. A lifetime to be exact.
Happy Anniversary

Four years ago today we started this adventure called marriage.  And while Adam and I have shared incredibly romantic moments and have been on fun adventures, big and small, together...we've also done and said things we regret, then have eaten our fair share of humble pie and chosen to forgive. But through it all, Adam and I remember that we made promises to each other and to God that we'd put the other first, and that we would love and devote our souls to caring for each other, forever.  How lucky am I to have a man who keeps his promises. :)

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

2 // 2 // 2

It has been 2 months and 2 days that I've been a mother of 2.

...I've witnessed, for the second time, that my heart has grown to deeply love another person, a tiny baby girl who is half Adam and half me, more than I can say.

...I have come to find that 3 people (an adult, toddler, and baby) can manage to fit pretty well on a rocking chair together.

...I have been proud of myself for working through my anxiety of breast feeding while out and about and around other people. As long as they're comfortable, I'm comfortable. :)

...I have seen my sweet husband be the most amazing father. Adam can be wild and crazy with Brooks, and then knows when to change gears and be so tender and calm with Ava. Except when she's hungry and fussy, then he gets a little nervous. ;)

...I learned that it's actually pretty hilarious when, while nursing Ava, my sassy little Brooks managed to swipe one of my Lily Padz and put it on his head like a yamaka. ha!

...I've seen Ava smile more and more every day. Such a beautiful smile that girl has.

...I have learned that if I had three wishes for a magic genie, one of them would definitely be to have more than two arms.

...I have officially become numb to the grossness of diapers. When Ava was still in the tiny newborn diapers, I told Adam, "Hey love, just throwin' it out there...couldn't you say Ava's diapers are 'bite-size' and Brooks' are 'king-size'?" Yow-za.

...I've been so grateful for Brooks' independent spirit that has helped him be okay with doing his own thing when I need to take care of Ava.

...I've been grateful for a hard working husband who's patient and understanding of me. He'll ask how my day was, and sometimes it goes something like this... "Ava cried a lot today, and my back kills because she wouldn't let me put her down. Oh, and Brooks had a melt down at the grocery store's parking lot...don't worry though, another sweet mother I don't know offered him cheez-its and a juice box and he was all sorts of chipper after.  So after a good long nap for all 3 of us, we just watched movies and relaxed the rest of the day. I'm sorry the laundry isn't folded and dinner isn't ready." To which he'll reply, "Let's make some of your awesome turkey avocado sandwiches for dinner, and then I'll rub your back while we watch a movie." My kinda man.

...going on a walk to get some frozen yogurt, while wearing baby Ava in the Moby wrap and pushing Brooks in the stroller, hits the spot. Every. Time. heart continues to melt daily when Brooks wants to hold his little sister. He likes to lay down, then have me lay her next to him, with his arm out and under her head. :)

...taking a long, hot shower (which does not happen very often) has become like 15 glorious minutes in a spa.

...I've learned that in no way, shape, or form are girls guaranteed to be more feminine or dainty. Ava's toots and burps are barbaric. Haha!

...I think that yellow and blue are my favorite colors to put my baby girl in.

...I was more than okay when the other night was just a frozen-pizza-kind-of-nightDiGiorno and Frescetta how I love you.

...I now know that we weren't doing "round 2" of the baby was "round 1" again.  Ava is so different than Brooks was when he was a new babe...she's not quite as easy, but definitely just as sweet. :)

...I have learned that co-sleeping is okay...and I actually kind of love it.  But within the next week or two we'll be working on her sleeping in her bassinet. Let's hope I, oops I mean she, can do it. ;)

...a sock bun has been on top of my head 5 days of the week. lack of sleep makes me do crazy things. Like answer the door with my baby girl on my right shoulder, exposing my left side that was covered but oh-so obviously not "hooked up"...dang you nursing bra.

...that lack of sleep just mentioned also made me care even less than I would have before that my son, standing next to me when I answered the door, was still in PJs and had jam all over his face, at 3 in the afternoon.

...I've learned even more that it's okay to just cry. Letting go of a few tears, or a whole bunch of tears, can do wonders for my heart and mind.

...I've depended on prayer more than ever...especially in those moments, that happen all too often, when I feel overwhelmed and under qualified.

...getting out and spending time with friends and their little ones on a regular basis is a necessity. I love being able to  see my boy play, and I enjoy good conversation. Win-win!

...comparing myself and trying to measure up to other mothers gets me absolutely no where. Same thing with comparing my children to other little ones. We're all different, and our various strengths and weaknesses compliment each other, just how it should be. :)

{ my sister took these pictures on the first Sunday Ava was home...I'll treasure them forever }

Oh and look what came in the mail today!
A belated Mother's Day gift from my sweetheart...I absolutely LOVE it.
Thank you Adam. I love you, and I'm so glad Brooks and Ava are ours forever.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Chocolate Hazelnuts Milkshakes

Growing up in the Northwest  meant I was lucky enough to be surrounded by lush green, I grew to love rain but also really appreciate sunshine, and we had my beloved Burgerville, a local fast-food joint only those in the great NW are fortunate enough to have. Whenever I go home to Vancouver we make sure to eat there at least once (as seen herehere, and here), usually on the way to or from the airport, sometimes both. ;) One of my favorite things to order from their menu are their seasonal milkshakes. The shake that makes me weak in the knees (you didn't know a shake could do that did you?) is their chocolate hazelnut milkshake.  Oh my.  I don't think I've had a sip of that epic shake in years...and decided it had been long enough.  I have had a generous supply of Nutella on-hand since Easter (thanks Dad!), and hoped that the heavenly chocolate hazelnut spread would do the work for me.  I whipped some up last weekend with Adam, then yesterday for Brooks and me. All of us loved it! I can't claim that it is quite as good as Burgerville's, but it's pretty close and definitely gave me the sweetest nostalgic feeling of home.

Serves: 2

6 scoops vanilla ice cream, barely softened
2/3 cup milk
1/3 - 1/2 cup chocolate hazelnut spread (Nutella)
1 - 2 Tablespoons hazelnuts, finely chopped
Optional garnish: whipped cream and a pinch of chopped hazelnuts

Scoop Nutella into a microwave-safe dish and warm up for 15 seconds and stir, then repeat. Combine all ingredients (the more hazelnuts the nuttier the flavor & texture will be, and the more Nutella you use the sweeter & more chocolatey it will be) in the blender and mix. I blend it 'til it is just combined because I like my shakes thicker. Pour into glasses, and top with whipped cream and a few pinches of extra chopped hazelnuts. Enjoy!

**I'm sharing this over at Whipperberry. :) Go see what other recipes, ideas, and projects others are sharing!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Friday & Saturday in polaroids

{ polaroids created with this app }

Enjoying great food and beautiful weather with my favorite people...makes for a wonderful weekend indeed!

One of my favorite parts of the weekend was enjoying the cherry-topped VaNIElla cupcake from The Sweet Tooth Fairy. I put the cherry aside and proceeded to act like a teenager, showing off to my hot date by tying the cherry stem in a knot with my mouth...still got it. ;)

What was your favorite part of the weekend??

Spiritual Health:
Read 2 Peter 1. Verse 2 stuck out to me..."Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord,"
Physical Health:
I'm back in it! :) Went to Boot Camp at the gym, bright and early this morning with Kira :)  I used half the weight she and the rest of the class used, and it still got me feeling the burn!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Our XXXS wrestler

{ Are those little buns not the cutest things you've ever seen?? } 

Seeing Brooks flex his muscles in his first, XXXS, wrestling singlet (Adam was SO excited to buy it for his boy while at the Olympic Trials supporting his brother Ben) got me Little B seemed to instantly turn into a Big B.  But then I realized how loose it is around his small hips and legs and I felt a bit better. ;) Will I ever get over my anxiety of my little ones growing up much too fast?? Probably not.

I really am excited though to get him into wrestling in a few years and see how he likes it. Adam has told me numerous times about how much wrestling influenced his life growing up. He'll tell you it kept him in shape and kept him out of trouble. :)  He wasn't very good at the start...but worked hard, trained long hours, and  dedicated himself to excelling at the sport. *Brag time*...he competed at the state level three times and took the state title his Senior year of high school. I married a Champ. :)

Both of our Dads, three of my brothers, and all three of Adam's brothers also could say it's in Brooks' blood. ;) 

And speaking of wrestling...on Monday I watched the news to catch a clip that involved my brother in-law Ben.  It shares an incredible story of a teenage boy who struggled with autism and bullying, but wrestling and training with Ben helped him overcome the odds. :) SO inspiring! Click here to watch :)

Spiritual Health:
Listened to President Ezra Taft Benson's talk from April 1989, "Beware of Pride." I definitely needed the reminder to not seek for the approval and praise others, but to seek the praise of Heavenly Father.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Summer is...

So it is still May...but when you have a day like today, you can't help but feel like it's summer. :)

We had friends over, two for me (Kira and Adriana) and three for Brooks (Grant, Avery, and Samantha). Everybody wins! ;) After eating our lunch of watermelon, salad, and hawiian pizza that I jazzed up with coconut and almonds (turned out great!), we headed outside to enjoy the warm weather! We soaked up some sun, the kids had fun in the sprinklers (for about 5 minutes;), and we all sipped on coconut limeades and strawberry-coconut margaritas (virgin of course;).

Love those friends, and love days like these.

Spiritual Health:
Read John 13...I was really touched by the conversation between Christ and Peter (in verses 8 & 9) as Christ is about to wash His servants' feet..."Peter saith unto him, Thou shalt never wash my feet. Jesus answered him, If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me. Simon Peter saith unto him, Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head."

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Heaven is here

These pictures, and 10 more like them, are from yesterday after Brooks woke up from his nap. I should've been doing the dishes and preparing for our dinner guests, but Brooks wanted to lay by his little sister in our bed, and I couldn't help but join them. Brooks and I laughed and laughed (he can be quite the ham) and I just made sure our Ava-sandwich didn't get too squished. ;) Oh how I love those two.

It only lasted a couple minutes.
But it was heaven.

Our little family life at home does not, I repeat, does not solely consist of moments like that.  (Soon after our sweet time on the bed, Brooks had a melt down, and Ava, our super-pooper, had a blowout). But when a really good moment happens, I soak it up for all its worth.

And today, during Ava's feedings, I've absolutely loved reading the words by a woman who also treasures up the sweet moments with her children. My Mom gave me this thoughtful Mother's Day gift...Stephanie Nielson's book, Heaven Is Here.  Being a rather slow reader I'm just to chapter 5, but I already feel inspired by her beautiful spirit and love for her husband and children that just exudes from her writing.  I've followed along and read Stephanie's blog for almost four years. There's no denying that even after her unthinkable trials, she optimistically looks at the future with faith. She appreciates each day she has as a gift, and makes her home a little piece of heaven for her husband and children. Stephanie is superwoman in my eyes. :)

And my Mom is getting arriving Thursday night!! :) We. Can. Barely. Wait.

Spiritual Health:
Reread Neil L. Andersen's General Conference address,"What Thinks Christ of Me?"
"Our journey of discipleship is not a dash around the track, nor is it fully comparable to a lengthy marathon. In truth, it is a lifelong migration toward a more celestial world."  I loved that he used the term "migration"...which I believe generally happens in groups.  And isn't that how this life is?...we need each other, to help and serve each other to be truly happy and to grow closer to Christ.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Mother's Day Weekend

(Photo from Saturday's video chat...we got to "see" Mom/Grandma Stum twice this weekend! :)

This Mother's Day weekend was sweet, and tender. Saturday morning Adam headed to the funeral of one his employees, Tim. It was a rather sudden death, and such a tragic loss. Tim was a man with such a big heart...I've heard numerous times from Adam that, "He'd give you the shirt off his back."  He was always so, so kind to Brooks when we'd come to the dealership, and Adam loved working with him. His passing definitely reminded us to savor every moment together and to not take each other for granted. And it made me even more grateful that our little family is together forever, no matter what happens to us in this life. 

Later that day, Adam said he wanted to take us out to sushi for an early Mother's Day celebration. I thought it was a perfect idea. :) On the way, the sun was shining so bright that I mentioned we should order the sushi to-go and then enjoy it at a park...we had a lovely time to say the least. I love spending time with those three!

Sunday we slept in, and then enjoyed some time just with Ava before sweet Brooks woke up.  Then Adam put on my apron (love him), turned on the iHome and danced with Brooks in the kitchen (Brooks' favorite thing to do as of late), and made us an amazing cinnamon french toast brunch, with fresh parmesan-topped scrambled eggs and cold, juicy watermelon. When we were almost finished we thought we'd have my Mom join us via FaceTime :) and we loved every minute talking to her! After a sweet church meeting (maybe a little sweeter for me holding Ava, while Adam was having a bit of a wrestling match trying to keep Brooks in his seat, thanks love!) we headed to the Kjars for a wonderful evening of delicious food and family-time outside.

Overall, it was a simple but oh-so sweet weekend I never want to forget. :) 

Becoming a mother to my children, right behind becoming a wife to Adam, is the most important and incredible thing that I've ever done in my life. While sometimes I feel like I'm just playing house with my two babes, I do my best not to take this job lightly. I love Brooks & Ava with all of my heart and every part of my soul.  And I'm so grateful to have two incredible examples in my life of women who treat their motherhood with reverence yet with such a passion!!  Adam and I love both our Moms...they are incredible women, and both are loving, motherly-figures to all they come in contact with.  We're so blessed to call them ours.  I am so glad that we have Mother's Day to celebrate them and all they have done and continue to do for us, and our children. Love you both!

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