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    Family, Lifestyle

    Curren’s Birth Story

    I have been meaning to write these words for a long while. But every time I get a minute and begin the process, the words just don’t come. I feel they are words that deserve more than a quick write up. They deserve the most eloquent language… but it feels difficult to express the deep emotions I felt that night on to the blank screen. Nothing I say will pour over enough light on what I felt that night. But I will try!

    We had long awaited your arrival. Years, actually. I knew I wanted you badly.. so did your dad. I thought about you often, what you would be like, what you would look like, what you would bring to our family. But nothing I ever imagined compared to what you are and what you have given all of us. You are perfect.

    The morning of your arrival day felt very different. From the get-go I was very emotional. I cried unexplainable tears, feelings of some anxiety… an overwhelming sense of love, some anticipation… after all, it was 5 days after your “due date” and we knew the time was nigh that you’d be making your grand entrance. That morning, I knew it. I felt it in my bones.
    We dropped your brother off at school and I had a feeling this would be the last time I kissed him goodbye as my only child… you’d be here soon and he would be sharing it all with you. Even us, your parents. This thought brought me so much excitement, but if I am going to lay all my emotions here for you to read, I will say, there was a little tinge of guilt there. Your brother, I thought, may not be so excited to “share” his mama with you. But I was wrong.

    I went to my last appointment with our midwife that afternoon. I cried through our entire appointment… still not knowing why. She told me it was because labor was near, my hormones were all out of whack, and we would be seeing you soon. I knew she was right. She asked me if I wanted her to “sweep my membranes” to help get things going. I said yes and within a couple of hours things really started moving!

    Your Dad and I went to lunch and I had contractions the entire time. I was timing each one. I remember for a slight moment, your dad went to get a drink refill. He was gone for maybe a minute or two, not even leaving my sight. But while he was gone, I had a contraction and felt so vulnerable sitting there in the restaurant surrounded by strangers, just knowing my life was about to be dramatically changed. I craved familiarity, comfort + home.

    I had a little overnight bag packed for Ezra, he would be staying at Uncle Nate and Auntie Tay’s house if you decided to come at night… so we dropped off his things at their house and headed home.It wasn’t until about 9:00 that night that my contractions began getting stronger and closer together. You were well on your way. I felt like it was time to call the midwife and when we did, we received what we thought was the worst news we could imagine. She wasn’t able to come. Being that we were planning on having you at home, and that we hadn’t met or spoken with any other midwives or attendants, I really felt like my world was caving in. It was on speaker phone as she explained to Clay that from the time we saw her that afternoon until then, she had come down with a serious illness and wasn’t able to make it to our birth. I was mid contraction while hearing the news, fell to the floor and I could not stop the tears. I felt like my birth plans were flying out the window and that they were not longer possible, that we would then be rushing to the hospital and into the unknown. But that wasn’t the case.

    Michelle, our midwife sent a backup, and although I was very reluctant to accept in that moment that things were going to be ok, they were. They were more than ok… they were wonderful.
    From the moment Paula walked in our front door I felt at peace. Just her demeanor, her voice, her presence calmed me. Her and her attendant moved around with such ease and confidence, made themselves acquainted with our home and our supplies. She told me that it was a beautiful night to bring a new baby into the world. She told me to walk outside and ground myself. She told me the sky was beautiful, more than usual. Before that, I had not paid attention to anything except each contraction and the increasing amount of pressure and discomfort. But the moment I walked outside, looked up at the stars, I felt different. I felt connected with you. I felt in control, but most importantly, I felt humbled to be your mother. This was an important night for me and for you. I felt a love for you so strong already and all my fear was gone. She asked permission to hear your heart beat, I agreed and we could hear it steady and strong… so real and so close.

    We moved through dilation pretty quickly. I felt my body knew what to do after going through this process with your brother. I had prepared with a little bit of hypnotic techniques, set the mood in our home, lit candles and played music that relaxed me (and you)… but mostly, my body had done this before and was not afraid.We swayed back and forth, we laid on the bed together, he rubbed my shoulders and my back. Your dad was the perfect partner and the best support. He was there, every waking second. He held my hand, stroked my hair, never leaving my side.

    We said the words “open, open, open” to allow my body to resist tension and relax through each contraction. I wanted to make your entrance as easy as possible for you, and I felt that letting my body run its course without resisting was the best thing I could do. Now, I will not go on and say that everything was perfect. There was a small moment where I had a glimmer of worry. I had anticipated giving birth in the water in the birthing tub like we did with Ezra. This was my plan and I was not going to veer from it. But when I got in the water, it was not agreeing with me… or you! My temperature spiked and your heart rate started increasing so rapidly. I became dizzy and I remember hearing your pounding heart on the doppler and knowing it did not sound right. In that moment I was nervous and light headed, but Paula was not. She knew what needed to happen. She laid me on the bed and with the next contraction, broke my water to get things moving more quickly. She then helped me to the shower where I knelt on the ground and felt the cold water pounding on my back while having some of my worst contractions. But my temperature and your heart beat quickly returned to normal, so we tried the tub again.
    It wasn’t long until I began feeling dizzy again, sitting there in the tub. A wave of panic came over me when I knew it wasn’t going to happen in the water. See, some say that during an unmedicated birth, the water acts as a sort of “natural anesthetic”. I believed that, had Ezra in the water, and I wasn’t prepared mentally to give birth without it. But it was happening, you were coming, the water wasn’t going to work for us, and that was that.

    I crawled up on our bed and we didn’t have to wait too much longer. Your dad knelt by my side, held my hand and I breathed through what were the worst pains I will probably experience in my lifetime.

    It’s funny, in those moments, even when you know what is happening, you forget what you are working for. You lose focus because the pain takes over your brain and you begin to think “why are we doing this?!” But my midwife, knowing what I must be feeling and where my mind was at, kept saying, “You will be meeting your little boy soon. He is coming. You are almost there, he is almost here.” These words meant everything in that moment.

    I can remember every detail of the next few minutes that happened and although it seemed like I pushed for a lifetime, it was only a mere seven minutes. A few hard pushes and you were here, just like that, like you had always been here, always been in our lives. The attendant lifted you up and handed you to me, so new, so perfect, eyes wide open. I felt like I KNEW you. And you me. I laid you on my chest, felt your dad hugging us both and I began to cry those gloriously exhausted tears of relief and joy. It is those moments I want to remember, both of you and your brother. Those first few minutes of life will always be my most precious memories. 3:41 am on September 27th… moments we will never forget. I put you next to my breast and you began nursing immediately. I couldn’t believe it, just like that, you knew what to do. We sat there for the longest time… your dad, you, me… just living it and soaking it in, memorizing every detail. You were here, you were ours, and we loved you more than I felt it were possible. You are three months old now and have really put your mark on our family. You have changed everything. Ezra loves you so much, and after the first time he met you, I knew we would not have any problems with “sharing mama and dad”. He loved you from the get-go. He is always anxious to show anyone that comes over his “cute baby brother” and at least once a day he will say, “I am so happy our new baby is here!” But I do think he is growing a little impatient… he really can’t wait until you can really PLAY together! 🙂 I know you two are going to be so close and that makes me the absolute happiest.

    You have so many people in your life that love you, Curren. So many people that are so happy you are here, that will lead and guide you. that will be there for you in all stages of your life, especially us, your mom and dad. You bring us the most joy, you and your brother are our greatest treasures. I hope you always know that!

    *Thank you so my sister in law @taylergolden for capturing such beautiful photos for us!

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    DIY, Lifestyle

    Christmas Card DIY + Instax

    Okay you guys, I CANNOT get enough of this thing! I’m seriously obsessed. The FUJIFILM Instax® SHARE SP-3 SQ prints instant photos straight from your iPhone or from their app… it’s addicting and so fun. I have about a million little DIY projects I want to do with them! But to show you what this thing is all about, I decided to use it to make our Christmas cards! I wanted to make this super easy for you all to duplicate, so scroll down to download my Christmas card templates! I call this Mary’s Merry Collection. Because well, they have the word “Merry”… which I realized after the fact. 😂

    Anywho! I started by choosing my favorite Instagram photos from the Instax Share app. You can connect your Instagram account, choose from your photo library OR take photos directly from the app. Then I printed A BUNCH of them for our cards! I had the idea of printing my favorite photos that we have taken throughout the year so everyone had a slightly different card. 😊 I then printed my card designs at home, printing 2 to a sheet, and cutting them out.

    Then I went crazy with ribbons and bows.

    So if you are still working on your Holiday cards, this is something you can do so easily yourself at home. Get creative! Go crazy! Use tons of glitter! Make them your own.

    Happy Creating + Happy Holidays!

    CLICK BELOW TO DOWNLOAD THE CHRISTMAS CARD TEMPLATES! 🙌🏻

    Merriest Wishes

    Merry Christmas

    Merry and Bright

    *Thanks a BUNCH to Instax for partnering with me on this post!

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    DIY, Eat, Family, Lifestyle

    Holiday Tablescaping

    Location: Home Sweet Home

    Tis the season of gathering with friends and family and eating way too much good food. My kind of season! This is one of my favorite tables I have ever set because it was so easy! I usually use the same dishes for every occasion and just mix the napkin colors, greenery and glasses. (This year I also bought the salad plates from the Hearth and Hand Collection and Target.) The key to a simple table setting is buying neutral dishes/glasses/serving ware that can adapt to all seasons! That way, by adding only different greenery and splashes of color here and there, you’ll get a whole new look. This was actually a setting for Thanksgiving, but I think it works for both holidays.

    The one thing that brings the drama is the live garland. I absolutely love it! And it smells wonderful! I bought a few to go above our fireplaces and had one extra… so I put it on the table! I always go out to my yard to see what I can forage right before dinner and was SOOO excited to find a lemon tree! HA! (or bush…) It was pretty small. I can’t believe I had never seen it before! So I grabbed a few lemons, some red berries from a tree and tada! All finished. 🙂

    The place cards were made with THESE from World Market (but can easily be made yourself), a stick of cinnamon, a small clipping from the garland, some berries and twine. Easy peasy!

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    Lifestyle, Travel, Utah

    Salt Lake City: A Travel Guide

    Location: Salt Lake City, Utah

    Clay and I (and the two boys) just got back from a little fall getaway to Salt Lake City and Park City and SHEEESH! I had missed that place! So many great memories living there while going to college. I went to school at the University of Utah and those were some of my best years. The fall time there especially gets me feeling all nostalgic. I wanted to share a bunch of our favorite spots! We were only there for a few days and I was LONGING to just stay for a month and go back to each of our favorite spots. Alas, we couldn’t. haha So writing them down to share with YOU is making me feel a little less sad about that. 😊When writing this little Salt Lake City guide, I didn’t really realize how much FOOD I have been missing! We moved away from Salt Lake about 4 years ago… and when thinking back on EVERYTHING I wanted to share, most of it was the FOOD. HA! I also have to mention we stayed in Park City at the Marriott Mountainside Resort and it was SO nice! Right next to Main Street and Park City resort… the best location.

    We were also there for Halloween… which explains Ezra’s batman mask. 🙂 I had never done Park City Main Street for Halloween in all the years I lived in Utah and I can’t believe I missed this! It was so much fun… everyone went ALL in costume and walked store to store where people were handing out candy. It was so cute. Also, it was during the day! Perfect for small kids AND you get to actually see everyone’s costumes! 

    EATS

    Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner

    Park Cafe

    A Salt Lake City favorite! Be prepared to wait for weekend brunch. But don’t fret! It’s right across the street from Liberty Park. Take a stroll while you wait.

    Gourmandise

    Hit up this spot for lunch. The Balsamic Blueberry Grilled Cheese or the Cauliflower Tabbouleh. You will NOT be disappointed. But save room for dessert! That’s what this place is REALLY about.

    Sawadees Thai Restaurant 

    This place will always have a spot in my heart. 😂 This is where Clay and I had our second date. Where he ordered his food a #13 on a scale of #1-#10 spiciness. They did not refrain. He was SWEATING bullets and just trying to get through the meal. He thought he was being funny? Or impressive? It worked though, totally broke the ice… (or fire?) Anyway, this place is crazy good. Get the pineapple cashew fried rice and pad Thai. YUM!

    Cafe Rio

    This is just a Utah staple. 100% NON authentic Mexican food but 100% tasty. I get the pork tostada every time. Extra cilantro, house dressing.

    Red Iguana

    Rated best Mexican joint in SLC

    Happy Sumo

    Some of the best sushi I have ever had.

    Eggs in the City

    We used to stop by this place on the way up the mountain to snowboard… really great breakfast.

    Eva

    The best little tapas place! I was obsessed with this place in college… Clay would never go with me because he “hates small food” 😂 But it is my faaaaaavorite. GO!

    The Robin’s Nest

    Best Sandwich in SLC IMO. I used to work in the Wells Fargo Building across the street and would walk here just about every day. It is UNREEEEAL.

    The Pie

    The famous University of Utah / SLC pizza joint.

    Best Coffee Houses/Desserts

    Gourmandise

    This should also go here in the dessert section. Yummy pastries and baked goods… get the eclair or fruit tart!!!

    Hatch’s Chocolates in the Avenues

    The best hot chocolate in the state. Seriously… I’m pretty sure they won that award. Get it with peppermint, its unreal. Also, just the chocolate in general… handmade chocolates, chocolate covered oranges, chocolate marshmallows, you name it. The caramel apples are also 👌🏻.

    Eva’s Bakery

    Cutest storefront and super yummy treats!

    Nostalgia (Coffee House)

    Best coffee house vibe for sure.

    Les Madeleines

    I used to go here with a girl friend of mine and just chat and chat. It is sooo good. Try the Kouing Aman. Wow.

     

    Getting Out

    9th and 9th in Sugarhouse

    A quaint little corner with some really cute shops. The Children’s Hour is one of my favorites. A cute, eclectic shop, not just for kids!

    City Creek Mall

    Here you will find your basic mall shops but in a not so basic setting. Set right downtown across from temple square, this open air mall has a stream running through it. So pretty!

    Park City Main Street

    Park City is just a short 20-30 minute drive up the canyon from Salt Lake City. There is so much to do here, but my favorite is browsing downtown Main Street. Go walk through The Mercantile, Prospect or Flight Boutique… all my favorites.

    Olympic Park 

    The Utah Olympic Park is a winter sports park built for the 2002 Winter Olympics… go check out all of the actives, especially the downhill tubing run and Alpine Slide. Great for adults + kids!

    The “Heber Creeper”

    We took Ezra on the train and he LOVED it! It is an old train set in beautiful Heber Valley. Take the train around the lake while listening to a fiddler and maybe even take part in a “train robbery”. HAHA!  And if you are visiting in the winter time, be sure to check out tickets to do the Polar Express! It sounds magical. Santa Clause, pajamas, snow, hot chocolate… I know Ezra would be LOSING HIS MIND with excitement. 🙂

    Ensign Peak

    Get the best view of Salt Lake City from this gorgeous hike! Sits right above The Avenues, my old neighborhood… such a BEAUTIFUL setting.

    Temple Square

    Get to know the history of the city and what makes Salt Lake really special! Beautiful, serene, you won’t want to miss it.

    Thanksgiving Point

    A nonprofit complex housing gardens, an interactive farm, cafes, shops & the Museum of Ancient Life… so much to do here. They also have a Museum of Natural Curiosity especially for kids!

    Happy and safe travels to you! I’d love for you to add your favorites in the comments section below!

     

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    DIY, Lifestyle

    Nothing Wrong with Gifting a Little Personal

    Sometimes finding that perfect gift is hard. Sometimes it seems impossible. Sometimes you put it off and then you stuff a basket full of socks, a tie, underwear, candy and whatever else you can find last minute because let’s get real… the holidays can get so crazy! But this year is different!! I am totally feeling on the ball and not going to procrastinate… I will find the perfect gifts!! I actually have a few gifts already which makes me one step ahead from every other year. Woohoo! 🎉  Read more…

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