Slapdash Diaries..

Monday, May 2, 2016

Life Update!

So.....hey everybody! How have you been for the past, oh, eight months? I definitely fell off of the blogging bandwagon and I am pulling the pregnancy card and blaming that (in fact, if you look at when my posts kind of trailed off, it's basically exactly when I found out I was pregnant, haha. Stinking morning sickness). BUT, I miss blogging and feel horrible that I've done basically nothing to record this period in our lives, especially since a lot has changed in the past few months, so I'm here with a little life update! Here's what's new in the Mizukawa clan:

1. We are having another baby!: Since I've posted about this on Facebook and Instagram, this isn't really new news, but definitely the most exciting! Little girl #2 is joining the family at the end of this month. I'm going to do a separate post all about this pregnancy and especially about finding out I was pregnant, because it was pretty awesome and miraculous and I don't want to forget anything about it. I wrote about the pregnancy we lost last year, and so it's an understatement to say we are incredibly grateful and excited that we are adding to our family again so soon and without complication this time. Here's to hoping she doesn't come early because I am feeling a tad bit unprepared. We did get her car seat out, we've got the crib set up (since Ella just stopped sleeping in it a few weeks ago....) and washed and put away all of her newborn clothes, so if she DID decide to come early, we would at least have a way to get her home, a place for her to sleep, and something for her to wear. We could swing by Walmart for diapers on the way home from the hospital, so we are basically good to go, right?

The main reason I'm feeling so disorganized is....

2. We moved!: We were going to be a little too close for comfort in our beloved apartment with two kids, so we moved about 25 minutes up the road to a slightly bigger place. This too, deserves its own post, but suffice it to say, it's been an adventure so far! Our new place is a duplex that was built in 1940. It has no A/C, no dishwasher or garbage disposal, and a lovely bird's nest right above the front door. Can you believe it was available?! Needless to say we are getting quite a deal on rent :) It DOES have a lot of natural light, garden boxes in the backyard, and cool old metal doorknobs, which for me made up for what it lacks in modern conveniences. I won't talk too much about the location just because *safetyfirst* but we've liked it a lot so far. We still live close enough to get together with my sisters and our friends, and as much as we miss Provo (it really is the best, despite what the haters will try to convince you of, haha) it's been good to have a change of scenery. We absolutely loved our old ward (I mean, we were there for five years. Does anyone do that in a student ward? No.) but it's been really fun being in a ward (church congregation) with a wider range of ages and more kids for Ella to play with.

Part of the reason we moved was also so that we could be closer to South Jordan, because....

3. Dave's going to nursing school!: So our plan ever since we got married was that Dave was going to apply for dental school. His dad and two of his brothers are oral surgeons, and he grew up working for his dad and seeing what he did, and since it interested him, it seemed like a natural fit. Last summer he was ready to apply: he took the DAT, got letters of recommendation, had finished all of the pre-requisites, the whole shebang, and it just wasn't feeling right to either of us. We didn't really broadcast it just because it was a little embarrassing, maybe (I might just be speaking for myself, here) to have gotten this far in life, have a child, and be like, "we aren't sure what we are doing with our lives!" So we kept praying about it and just kept moving forward with that plan because we weren't really sure what else to do. Sometimes I think that's what we have to do when we are having a hard time getting an answer to our prayers--try to be patient, and move forward until Heavenly Father's plan becomes clearer.

Finally, it got to be fall--and the deadlines for applications were looming. Those of you who have applied for post-graduate schooling know it's expensive just to apply! Not to mention the cost of flying out to interviews. So it was really getting to be crunch-time on making a decision, because we didn't want to waste the money. One day I was getting ready to leave the house to take Ella somewhere, and I just had this really overwhelming feeling that we should research more about nursing as a profession--which we had never even talked about. But it was such a strong impression that I just kind of dropped everything and did a little bit of research right then and there. Then I texted Dave about it, and he was totally open to looking into it more. So as we did some more research, we both just felt like this was going to be a better fit for him and for our family in general. In fact, it kind of seemed like what he should have been doing all along! His plan is to complete a BSN (bachelors of nursing) program, work for a few years and get hospital experience, and then apply to a CRNA (nurse anesthetist) master's program.

So we did a complete change of plans, rather late in the game! Hey, it would have been cool to figure this out like four years ago, sure, but what we lack in timeliness, we try dang hard to make up for in charm (mostly from Ella, though). Dave's been accepted to the BSN program at Roseman University, which is a great program for him because it's accelerated--it's designed for people who have most of the pre-reqs completed, which were pretty much the same as the ones he had taken for dental school, so it's not as long as doing the entire nursing core from start to finish like most schools. He starts in August, and we can't wait! We are really grateful for how quickly and smoothly everything has fallen into place once we made the decision--it was a huge answer to our prayers!

Okay, I think those are the major things that have changed in the past few months. Here are a few random pics, because no post is complete without some!:

Ella made the transition to her "big girl bed" pretty seamlessly, which was amazing! I totally expected it to be a nightmare, but Dave set the bed up and was like, "let's just go for it!" and I'm glad he did, because I would have procrastinated it and stressed over it for no reason (much like potty training). She does enjoy getting out and wreaking havoc in her room during nap time, but at night she does great. I think this was the very first night she slept in it. We just cracked up at how tiny she looks in a twin bed! She does have better bedding now, but she still has to have all of her baby blankies and 235 "friends" in there with her.

Our kitchen has virtually no dining space so our options for tables was quite limited by size. As in, when I saw this one described on KSL (our local classifieds) as "card table sized," I knew it would be right up our alley. She threw in the day-glo colored chairs for a steal of a deal and in my unrealistic aspirations they were going to be repainted white or have some kind of dark stain applied to them by now, but surprise, surprise, they are still crayon colored.

Ella thinks all of the baby stuff is hers (well, it did used to be so I can't say that I blame her). I'm a liiiittttlllleee nervous about how she will do with sharing. 

36 weeks belly shot

I've totally caught the DIY bug now that we have a new place to decorate and a budget of zero dollars. I bought this little nightstand on KSL and of course had great aspirations to strip it, sand it, and repaint it. Well, it's sat on our back porch for the last, oh, four weeks being rained on. Dave is a champion and finally took matters into his own hands. Honestly, at this point it's more of a pride thing for me to finish it, because I can't even stand the sight of the stupid thing.

Here's to hoping it doesn't take me 6 months to post again! Thanks for reading, all five of you who are still here! :)

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Dry Skin Drama--Restored Body Butter to the Rescue!

Hi everyone! Ok, I know it's been a hot minute since I've blogged. What can I say, fall, a new school schedule, the holiday season, and a few other changes in our routine totally got to me and I was swamped. But I'm back, and hoping I will get back in the blogging swing of things starting today :)

So it's November, which is one of my favorite months. Like everyone else, according to my Instagram feed, I love fall and all of the holidays, beautiful foliage, and fun activities that come with it. BUT, we live in Utah. Utah is basically the driest place on the planet (ok, maybe not but I did verify that it's the second-driest state after Nevada) and so when cold weather starts to hit, our skin suffers. Not just mine, but Ella's and Dave's as well. Growing up in Alaska, the long, cold winters were pretty hard on my skin. I think I permanently damaged my hands from blasting the heater in my little Honda on the way to school in the morning, and sticking my frozen little mitts right up on the heat. I would have chapped, cracked hands for months (super attractive when you're an already-self-conscious teenager), but life in the dessert is its own beast, as I've learned, and if I'm not careful I'm an itchy mess by April. When it comes to winter, I NEED something that works and doesn't have to be reapplied 50 times a day, because who has the patience for that?

Therefore, when Tiffany at Restored Natural Body Care offered to send me some of her body butter, I jumped at the chance to try it out! I've tried plenty of body butters before, but this one immediately stood out because of how natural it smelled and felt. Restored products are free of the 3P's: preservatives, parabens, or phthalates. The majority of the products are organic and there isn't a huge long laundry list of ingredients. The philosophy is that you don't need a huge list of ingredients and preservatives for something to be effective! Just choose simple, natural ingredients that work, like shea butter and coconut oil.

I tried the Lemon Fresca Body Butter which smells amazing! I love that this product is scented with essential oils. It smells fresh and invigorating. The butter is whipped, so it's nice and light, but a little goes a long way! The texture is a little greasy, just because the product is oil-based to avoid the need for preservatives, but it soaks into skin very quickly. In fact, that is wayyyyyy less greasy than more mainstream brands that I've used for years, like Aquaphor.

Another aspect of this company is the fact that Tiffany owns and operates it on her own! Everything is mixed, packaged, and shipped by her and her alone. Her story about how she gained interest in skin care is really cool, too. And she donates 5% of all sales to local nonprofits. Pretty cool.

If you are interested in checking out any of Restored Natural Body Care's products, you can use the code SLAPTHANKS for 20% off all orders until December 2nd. So if you're in the market for some new winter skincare (she's got a line of lip balms and scrubs as well), or you're looking for a unique Christmas gift, consider supporting a small business!

*I was compensated with product to review for this post. All opinions and thoughts are mine. Thanks!

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Twice a Month Grocery Shopping: First Month's Results

Last month I wrote a post about my new aspirations for grocery shopping less, utilizing more of what was already in our house, and hopefully saving time and money in the process. Here's the original post if you missed it!

So, a month in, I'm really pleasantly surprised with how not-overwhelming and cost-efficient it is to only grocery shop twice a month! As I mentioned before, I was previously spending about $70-80 on my "main" shopping trip each week, and then usually around $10-20 on little side trips throughout the week to get something we were out of, or something we were craving. In the three times I've shopped for two weeks at a time, I've spent between $100-$120 and so I'm really happy with that! I feel like meal planning for two weeks at a time has helped me notice bad patterns in our eating that might not be as noticeable if I were to just kind of fly by the seat of my pants. We also just naturally buy less junk food, because, let's be honest, you're probably going to buy one or two not-so-great things each time you do a bigger shopping trip, but if I'm only doing a larger haul twice a month that's not soooooo bad, right? Girl's gotta have her candy.

Full disclosure though, I haven't been perfect at not running to the store for other things. For example, we got together with some friends for dinner spur-of-the-moment once, and I definitely ran to buy the ingredients for that. And we ran out of eggs last week and I totally bought more because we use those constantly. So I'm figuring it out and it's a work in progress! :)

I also just have a general sense of satisfaction over wasting less food. I just read that the average American family wastes $1365-$2275 annually on uneaten, spoiled food--and based on our family's past habits, I'd believe it! Not to mention it puts a strain on environmental resources. I've definitely noticed that over the last month, I've become better at using what we already have in the fridge, even if it's not what I necessarily want right then. So yeah, the last few days before I shop aren't the biggest party (not that we are going hungry....I am reasonable.....but, like, if I want bagels I don't go buy a dozen bagels right then. Even though I really want to).

Shopping also doesn't take as long as I would have thought--even though I'm buying food for double the length of time, it doesn't take twice as long to shop. Still, I'd recommend leaving small children at home if at all possible....this is what happened the last time I took Ella with me:

Car-cart abandoned promptly when we discovered it contained no restraining device.

So it goes without saying that I LOVE not having to drag her to the store as often! Saturday is usually my shopping day, and it's great to wake up every other Saturday and not dread dragging her through the busy aisles (as I'm typing this I'm wondering why I don't switch to another day?....).

The very hardest part of this system is the meal planning! It just seems like such a daunting task and figuring out what's for dinner is always such a chore--I love cooking, and I don't really mind shopping, but planning is a pain. It's just that nothing sounds good, and I get bored of the same meals over and over, so I definitely take a while figuring out what we are going to be eating for the next two weeks. I set aside time after Ella has gone to bed, get the laptop (for Pinterest, duh) and my cookbooks, and just go to town browsing. I try to avoid too many of the same kind of meat for dinner (like, not all beef dishes, or chicken, etc.) as well as a few meatless things. My all-time favorite recipe site is Mel's Kitchen Cafe--seriously I don't think I've ever tried a dish I haven't liked! And, the Paprika app is the best for saving recipes that I love and will make again.

For lunches we usually just do sandwiches, leftovers, or pasta, and breakfast is usually cereal, toast, or scrambled eggs unless I'm feeling fancy, so that part is pretty easy to plan for. We usually do Costco once a month and I get the requisite Cheez-its, dried fruit, and fruit snacks for her royal tiny highness.

So, I hope this little report has been helpful! To sum it up, yes, shopping less frequently definitely takes some more effort and discipline but it's awesome to not have to deal with it as often, and it's saving us money and sanity!

Friday, September 18, 2015

Making the Sabbath a Delight....with a Toddler

Most of you who read this blog probably know that I am a member of the LDS church. We believe in the commandment that the Lord gave in the Old Testament to keep the Sabbath day holy (as many religions do), and set Sunday aside as a day of worship and rest, and a day dedicated to doing activities that will bring us closer to God. In return, we are promised that we will be blessed:

I believe He wanted us to understand that the Sabbath was His gift to us, granting real respite from the rigors of daily life and an opportunity for spiritual and physical renewal. God gave us this special day, not for amusement or daily labor but for a rest from duty, with physical and spiritual relief.--Elder Russel M. Nelson

But to be totally honest, in spite of how they should be, Sundays have not exactly been my favorite day of the week since I had Ella. It just didn't really fully sink until she was born that, when you're a parent, there aren't any days off! While the Sabbath used to truly be a break--from school, work, and other activities that I was participating in--with time for learning at church, personal study, contemplation, spending time with loved ones, resting, etc., now it's a little nuts.

What I wish was a reflective, peaceful day is usually comprised of: trying to get to church on time (when Dave and I both sometimes have assignments for our callings that take us away from home before our meetings), wrangling Ella and trying to get her to be somewhat reverent at church (aka shoving fruit snacks at her and hissing empty threats),  missing naptime (we have church from 1-4 this year--LDS congregations rotate meeting at different times annually), and trying to keep Ella happy and entertained all morning when we aren't really doing our normal routine. Needless to say, we are all a little frazzled and out of sorts by the time the day is over. If you have young kids, I'm sure I'm preaching to the choir, because I'm sure it's similar for you too (if not way harder depending on your circumstances--I mean, we only have one kid!)!

If I sound like a big fat whiner, it's because I have been. I've truly had a terrible attitude toward Sunday for the past little while, and sadly, I've sort of just accepted that it would be a stressful, frustrating, chaotic day while I have young kids, and I've been going through the motions rather than really consciously dedicating my day to the Lord.  In the talk that I quoted above (read the whole thing, it's really good!), Elder Nelson quoted this scripture:

“And inasmuch as ye do these things with thanksgiving, with cheerful hearts and countenances, … the fulness of the earth is yours.”--D&C 59:9-16

What an amazing blessing we are promised if we use our Sunday to rededicate ourselves to our Father in Heaven--and view it with gratitude instead of as just a day where our baby's routines get thrown off. :) So, like President Hinckley once said, I'm going to try a little harder to be a little better.

Here's what I've come up with:

1. Prepare

What's the old saying? If you fail to prepare, you prepare to fail? While that's usually reserved for those pseudo-inspiring posters in school hallways I think it has some application here. If I really want Sunday to go smoothly and be a day of rest and renewal, I need to work harder to get ready for it. Things like planning dinner, making sure church assignments like lessons and talks are taken care of before Sunday morning, and even getting the diaper bag packed so Dave doesn't have to get it pulled together if I'm gone in the morning. Plus, then we will have more time in the morning for constructive family activities, rather than scrambling to get out the door in one piece. Getting enough sleep is a huge one too! Since we started having church at one, I am totally guilty of thinking, "Oh, we can stay up late tonight because we can sleep in tomorrow." Well, with alarm-clock Ella that doesn't really happen, so then I'm tried and grumpy, and not really in a good frame of mind to get a lot out of church!

2. Communicate

This kind of goes along with preparing. If Dave and I both have responsibilities for our calling, home or visiting teaching appointments, and family plans (his parents Facetime from their mission and my sisters come over for dinner quite often) we need to talk that through and make sure we know who needs the car at what time and where Ella is going to be. Just talking through our plans and responsibilities for the day goes a long way.

3. Learn to say no

Reading through this, I'm realizing that I sometimes overextend ourselves on Sunday. Therefore, I don't really make it a day for strengthening my relationship with Heavenly Father, as much as a day to get any church-related responsibility accomplished, or making plans with loved ones.  While there definitely is room for those things on Sundays, I think I could be better at saying no sometimes. Often home and visiting teachers want to come by, or people want to schedule presidency meetings, and I always feel bad saying that another day would work better for us because I want to be accommodating. But I am realizing that crowding Sunday with too much is the fastest way for me to resent it instead of it being a day I look forward to, and pretty soon there is no time for the quiet time that I think should take place.

4. Embrace reality

Like I said above, before we had Ella, there used to be a lot more time on the Sabbath for relaxing, reading General Conference talks, writing in our journals, etc. As nice as those things are, and while I think we can still find time for them, the reality of our lives right now is that we have a toddler and she doesn't really care what day of the week it is, and she needs to be fed, entertained, and cleaned up after--that's just life :) And, we need to think about how we can use this day off from school and work to teach her about the gospel too. So, here are a few things we are going to try, to make Sunday a special day for everyone in our family:

-Family drives
-Walk around the temple grounds (we are lucky that we live close to two!)
-Have special toys/books/movies that are Sunday only (my mom gave us some of her Living Scriptures videos because....let's be honest Ella would freak if she couldn't watch a show after waking up in the morning. It's just the truth of the matter).
-Family home evening (Dave usually works Monday nights so Sunday works better)
-Just having pretty hymns on in the background as we get ready
-Visit extended family/members of the ward who might like company
-Trade off Ella duty with Dave so we can each have some personal time (that should probably be communicated early in the day, though, if it's going to happen).

5. Change your attitude

Admittedly, there have been a few Sundays where I've wondered what the point was of even bringing Ella to church.  But when I started to think about what I was teaching Ella by showing her that we attend church even when its inconvenient, things got a lot better. And when we were at our peak of hall--pacing (probably from months 10-18), I would just try to think of ONE thing I had learned or felt at church that week. Dave and I would usually trade off having Ella so there was at least a little time that I could sit quietly and listen or learn (I know that's not possible in some people's situations and I commend you!). And there's always light at the end of the tunnel....she's in nursery now and it's awesome!!!

Elder Nelson also said that we should think about what sign we want to give God, in relation to our activities on the Sabbath. I think just carrying that thought in our hearts as we go about our day makes our priorities and what we are doing fall into place naturally.

So there you have it. These are a few things we are going to try to do better at in our family. I really hope that in a few months I can honestly say that Sunday is my favorite day of the week. I'd love to hear any ideas for Sunday activities with little kids or how you keep them happy at church!

Thursday, September 10, 2015

My Fall 2015 Reading List

It's that time of year....the weather is cooling down, the leaves are starting to change, and Pinterest is flooded with pumpkin recipes. It must be fall! Time for a new reading list, but first, a few updates on my summer list:

-The Girl on the Train was over-rated and not nearly as suspenseful as I was expecting it to be. Mostly just depressing haha.

-This is Where I Leave You was really funny and well-written but really raunchy and I wouldn't recommend it or read any of his other books now, sadly.

-I ate Belong to Me right up (and I wrote about it here).

-How to Talk so Kids Will Listen (and Listen so Kids Will Talk): This is really good so far. I'm still working on it, and I like how in the introduction the authors suggest reading it slowly and practicing different techniques in the book before moving onto a new section. That being said, I think it's probably aimed at parents with kids that are a little older than Ella. Still helpful for the future, though!

And...the rest of my list I didn't get to. Instead, I went through a phase where I read the memoirs of Ann Romney, Hoda Kotb, and Kathie Lee Gifford. What can I say, I am a middle-aged cat lady in 20-something's clothing.

This fall, I'm not tackling anything too lofty, haha. These are all books that have been on my "to read" list on Goodreads for a while, and I was lucky enough to find Still Alice and A Walk in the Woods at The Dollar Bookstore today, so they made the fall reading list cut!

Small side-note: If you live around Utah Valley, you have to check this place out! There is a location in Orem and Spanish Fork. It's a used bookstore and all books really are only $1! And they actually have a lot of good stuff. I looked around for about half and hour and easily came away with several books I was pumped about (I think Carl's Christmas was actually the one I was most thrilled by. I really want to build up our Christmas book collection!).

Without further's what I'm excited to read this fall!

1. Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling: Ok, ok, I recognize that any girl under the age of 40 has already written about her excitement for this book to come out so I'll just add my name to the list. I really do believe that Mindy and I would be best friends if she got to know me, though. I just know it!

2. A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson: This book has been around for a while and I've heard how funny it is about a million times so I figured it was time to give it a try!

3. The Royal We by Heather Cocks: This seems a little more "chick-lit-y" than I'm usually into, but I've heard it's such a fun, cute story I am intrigued. And, isn't it a little bit based on Kate Middleton? So sign me up.

4. Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End by Atul Gawande: I found a recommendation for this book on Everyday Reading, and her review was so glowing, I was really interested. Admittedly this topic (the science of dying) isn't really normally my cup of tea, but I've been known to embrace some less-than-warm-and-fuzzy subject matter if it's written about in a captivating way (Nothing to Envy, anyone?).

5. All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr: This book had its heyday this summer and I want to see if it lives up to the hype! I mean, Pulitzer Prize? Seems pretty promising.

6. Still Alice by Lisa Genova: (I know, I'm late to the party on this one too haha. I have to hear a lot of good reviews before I take a chance!) The idea of a book about early-onset Alzheimer's seems almost too sad for me's supposed to be extremely moving and triumphant. Plus it's got a crazy high Goodreads average so that's a good sign, right? Also, I found it for $1. Sometimes that's enough to convince me to read something.

Let me know what you think! What's on your reading list this season?

Friday, September 4, 2015

Quick and Easy Homemade Cornbread!


I am the type of person that has to weigh the costs with the benefits when it comes to making something from scratch. Sure, I love to cook, but if it's going to take five times the effort and time, and create basically the same end result as a pre-packaged item....I'm afraid the frontier woman in me caves to convenience. Such is my train of thought when it comes to Pinterest-inspired endeavors like homemade cheez-its or fruit snacks. I'll pay the $3.50 and take the yellow dye 5, thanks! If I'm going to make it myself, it has to be significantly cheaper, healthier, or yummier than what I could grab at the store.

This *ahem* efficient attitude led me to believe that cornbread from a Jiffy mix was pretty much as good as it gets! What does it cost, like $.79? Just add milk and eggs and there you have it. Well, thankfully I have a great friend named Lizzie who introduced me to the wonders of homemade cornbread. When I first tried hers, I was like, "wait, why is this better than any other cornbread I've ever had in my life?" Come to find was made from scratch. Who'd of thought! No offense to the good people at Jiffy, but I was never going back after that.

This particular recipe is one that my sister-in-law Jenny Rebecca submitted to our family cookbook. We make is super frequently and it's SO easy and foolproof. Honestly, it takes like 2 minutes longer than using a mix would, and the result is exponentially better. Now that it's getting to be fall and I'm making soups and chili more often, I'm sure we'll be seeing it even more! And as Lizzie said, "It's basically just an excuse to eat cake with dinner." Hey, you won't hear me complaining.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

August 2015 Monthly Snapshot

This month started off with a bang for me with NYC (if you haven't seen my painfully drawn out and then the day after I got home, Ella and I hopped on a plane for a quick weekend in Wyoming for my grandpa's 90th birthday party! We wish Dave could have come, but he had a test the day after the festivities, so if we had driven we would have made such a long trip to stay such a short time. So Ella and I decided to just make it a quick girl's trip and fly one last time before we have to pay for her :)

Ella got to see Grandma and Grandpa which she (and I) loved. My mom let her have any and all junk food and TV that she wanted. She's not above buying Ella's love.

This was the only group pic Ella was in, as she promptly melted down beyond consoling after this wonderful shot. But here are my grandma and grandpa with all of their great grandkids! I told Ella she was crazy to cry because she got the coveted spot on the birthday boy's lap!

Ella got to hang out with her second cousins Kinley and Truman who are her exact same age! PS--I'm realizing that in every picture she has the same stone-faced, non-expression. I promise she is a happy girl! She just doesn't emote for the camera.

I loved comparing these pics that are pretty much exactly a year apart. I think that high chair was my aunt's as a baby! Gotta love the treasures you find at Grandma's house!

I love my Grandma and Grandpa Hopkin. They seriously have so much energy for people of their generation! My grandpa still has a huge beautiful garden and sent me home with some fresh corn. We had a conversation about family history and he had all kinds of names and dates he was throwing out off the top of his head. And my grandma couldn't be busier. She volunteers to do hair for the ladies at the nursing home, and many of them are younger than her! I hope I can be as spry as they are when I'm their age! It was a really fun weekend, seeing my parents and all of my cousins, some of whom I hadn't seen in probably like eight or ten years. I'm so glad we could make the quick trip and celebrate my grandpa.

We got together with some friends who just had babies! These guys were all roommates before we all got married and it's so fun to see everyone's families growing. I think they were laughing because Evan asked if I have an iPhone 4 (I do) with the most incredulous voice.

Dave had some time off of school between summer term and fall semester so we tried to squeeze in some fun family outings during the day before he went to work in the afternoon. My sister in law Marcy mentioned that she had taken her nephews and little girl to Chuck-e-Cheese and they had all loved the little rides ("rides" is used the little cars you put a quarter into....but they are the perfect size for Ella and Marcy's little girl) so we thought that would be something fun and indoors since it's so hot right now. Well....Ella freaked out on this one truck that rumbled and it was kind of a lost cause, until the very end when she decided she loved this trolley. I felt pretty classy hitting up Chuck-e-Cheese on a Monday afternoon but man was it a trip down memory lane. I used to LOVE that place.

I already posted this on insta, but we picked raspberries and I tried my hand at freezer jam! I was intimidated by the whole canning process but freezer jam was quick and easy so I'll totally be making more. And Ella went nuts in the berry patch. We will most definitely be going back! She was literally running from bush to bush, frantically shoving berries in her mouth. Thankfully she didn't make herself sick, and I thought it was a cool opportunity for her to learn that food grows from the earth (here I'm having this hippy dippy nature moment in my head and I can pretty much guarantee that Ella learned nothing of the sort). And don't worry, we paid extra at the end since she ate so many berries before we weighed them.

Another day was spent up north, visiting our dear friend Christine and her new baby and then eating our way through Salt Lake. If you live in the area and haven't already, PLEASE try Oh Mai. Seriously, the best sandwich of my life. And super cheap, too, for the quality. I'm salivating thinking of it right now!

We also grabbed donuts, hit up Trader Joes (it was a food-themed day, ok?) and took Ella to Liberty Park. I remember going there as a small child but had heard it was a great place for summer fun and I wish we lived closer because it was awesome! Splash pad, creek, aviary, huge playground, little rides, etc. Ella heartily approved.

And we finished things off with a morning at Bartholomew Park. I'm almost reluctant to mention this place because I am so in love with it and don't want it to become over run and gross, but who am I kidding, I'm not exactly the informant of the masses on this blog, so what the heck. It's this awesome man-made lake/pond that a benefactor built and donated to the city and it's awesome!!! Nice shallow water, groomed sand, nice walkways, bathrooms, parking lot, etc. Ella can just putter around in the sand forever. I think it just opened this summer and I am already excited to go back next year.

 And it wouldn't be a true recap of our month if I didn't mention that August 2015=naps from h***. Seriously, Ella probably napped like four times this month. Instead of falling asleep, she entertains herself in her crib with such tricks as taking off her diaper, climbing out of her crib (thankfully she hasn't hurt herself and I think mostly scared herself from doing it again), chucking board books and her water cup, tearing her quilt off the wall, and prying her dresser drawers open from between the slats and putting on all varieties of clothes. It's impressive, really. Good thing her mom thinks she's got the face of an angel, or I'd be mad :) I don't think she's old enough to give up naps, and she definitely falls asleep in the car/is crabby, etc. which leads me to believe she needs the sleep, so I'm not giving up yet.