31 weeks

loving carrying this little man around all the time.

b e s t e s t   f r i e n d s   e v e r 


halloween hoopla

Had so much fun Friday night at our impromptu Halloween party. I never love my husband more than when he decides we need to turn our night into a Halloween party &get all dressed up. 

Muslim cowboy and asian geisha princess
The night included an all-out dance party to spooky tunes (Monster Mash, Purple People Eater, the Nightmare before Christmas soundtrack, any song ending with evil laughs/cackles/howling, etc)... 

 Making homemade pizzza with the help of our new breadmaker (soo delicious!)... 

just a little scary

Carving our pumpkin (we each took a side)...

tums in the background of course

and watched as scary of a movie as I can handle (The Conspirator)...

I got too tired and we didn't have time to finish all our fun, so the next morning we continued our festivities by making homemade caramel and drinking hot apple cider.

We're all about making the most of the season at hand.

h a p p y  h a l l o w e e n i n g !


thirty weeks

original dress designed & created by the beautiful jean locke.
We are getting soo excited. He could be here in less than two months! It's hard to believe. We've bought him some adorable little outfits that I can't wait to see on him. I love my big belly. I love watching him tumble around and jab and kick. He's always up to something in there. I'm starting to forget I ever wasn't this big. The thought of being my previous size just baffles me. I've been going on walks and bike rides... and I always pay. I'm sore for days afterwards no matter what I do. But I have to prepare for the big L&D! I have the most handsome and supportive husband who never lets me forget to have fun and laugh at my silliness. We are so happy and so thrilled!


sparkles of happiness

We are in such a good place right now. Such a good place that I never want to leave! I want to build on this "good place" and only make it better. We feel so guided. Like two little butterflies happily fluttering in Heavenly Father's hands. He has us right where we are supposed to be and we are loving it. I can't imagine a better feeling than that. Knowing you are doing what God wants you to do and he is overseeing your life and direction. I always want to feel that way and have that direction and peace in my life. Heavenly Father let me struggle and go through a really hard time for a while, and then he so gracefully pulled me out and made me better. Not only made me better than I was, but made me better than I ever would have thought I could be.

my thankful list:

1. danny

He is too good. Always patient and always sweet. He never judges me. He always makes me feel like I am the best. He notices and appreciates every little thing I do. He gives me all the loves and kisses I need (which is a lot). He is always happily willing to take out the trash and scrub the tub and do all those dirty jobs I don't like. The other day at church he said...

D: "I like it when you're tired and helpless."

R: "Why? Because I don't bug you about stuff?"

D: "No, because I get to take care of you."

I'm glad he likes it, because he gets to take care of me every day for forever. We really are best friends. Like when you are a little kid and you want to have your best friend come over and you get so excited to play. It's just like that. We try to always take time to have fun together. The other day we went on a bike ride around the park. Another day we went on a walk around a nearby lake. Another day we went to the Homecoming parade with our favorite friends and had an ice cream date afterwards. I was looking through my blog earlier and saw all the fun things we do together and I'm so glad we still prioritize that. I never want to get so busy that we don't have time to sit and play Uno or just dance around the house or sing duets while Dan plays the guitar. We're still like two little kids in love, adore being together, painful to be apart.

I'm sure of it.

2. my parents

They are the sweetest. They are so good to me. I was telling Dan the other day that the best thing about them is their unconditional love. They define it. I know they love me more than I can even comprehend and they always will. I know I can call them any hour of day or night and they will answer. And every single time they pick up the phone and I'm on the other end they say "Hi Honey!!!!" or "Rachael!!!" in the most enthusiastic, sincerely excited voice as if we haven't talked in weeks, and we talk at least every other day. I look to them for approval and advice in everything I do. I am so blessed to have two amazing people who have raised me and I'm lucky enough to call my own. I absolutely love them!

3. dan's parents

They have loved me from day one, probably before I had even proven that I deserved their love! They have always treated me like their own. They are the most supportive people. Whatever Dan and I do, they are right there behind us cheering us on. They are always proud of us and our decisions. We love our Skype dates, each on our own couch, pretending like we are just relaxing in the living room together. We savor and cherish our moments together, as they are surely not enough. Hopefully that will change soon! I absolutely love them!

4. our baby

This past week or so my love for this little one has grown exponentially. He is such a part of me (literally and emotionally!). It has been so fun to have him moving so much more. He never lets me forget he's in there. I spend half my days with my chin down staring and my dancing belly. "I think that was his hand!!!!" "He's doing a somersault!!" I feel slightly underprepared and overwhelmed for what lies ahead, but that's only a small fraction of the peace I feel. I know I have felt nervous for all the changes that are coming my way, but I know when I see my baby's face it will all be different. I will feel like I am home. That all those fears were totally silly because this is what I am meant to do and who I am meant to be. I can only imagine the love I will feel for this little creature who will be the perfect blend of myself and the one I love more than anything else.

5. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Temple trip last week- perfection
Conference last weekend- nourishment to a starving soul

My scripture study has taken on a new meaning to me. I have set a challenge for myself and it has been the greatest blessing already. I feel like I am becoming a new person in Christ. When I read my scriptures I feel like I'm reading a story and I'm excited to flip the page. It's like it's a magical book that you open and happiness and peace and comfort and advice come shooting out in sparkles and lights from Heaven. Available to little old me, whenever I want it! How amazing.

It's the little things. How many times can I say this? The prayers, the scriptures, the Family Home Evenings, the little prayer that never leaves me heart, the best CD's on marriage that I have been listening to in the car... Heavenly Father blesses us soo much if we are consistent in the little things and prove our dedication to Him and his Gospel. We give an inch and he gives us ten acres back.  

I feel undeserving of my blessings. How can I be so blessed, so lucky, so protected? How can I have so much love in my life? I honestly, truly believe I am the luckiest girl on Earth. Picture a little red plastic heart smushed in between soft clouds of love and gold & silver sparkles of happiness and expensive down comforters full of blessings, that's me. Call it naive, but I feel it.


A Day at the Zoo

Dan has been a planning a day at the zoo for us. Tuesday is "two-for-one" day so we decided it would be the perfect day. Not to mention, the weather was expected to be beautiful. Dan got back from his early morning class and we packed up for our day long trip to Birmingham. I brought a pillow and blanket so I could take a nap in the car. Dan spent the drive up with Feist while I slept my little heart away. Next thing I knew, we were at Kohls! We bought a bread maker at a reject type store where products that get returned/are dysfunctional or unwanted for whatever reason. It didn't quite work, so we looked up where it was from and Kohls it was. We took it in, took them it wasn't working, and lo and behold... before we knew it we had a beautiful, brand new bread machine in our possession.

We are soo excited to make bread with our own wheat that we will grind into flour ourselves! How delectable and wholesome?!

We stopped by Bed, Bath, and Beyond to get a new down comforter (ours is a little battle-worn/unusable from the little tornado, we have been using a little blanket since and decided with the coming winter months it was time to splurge). We even upgraded to a king-size. Yay!

It was then time for the BIRMINGHAM ZOO! We had the most wonderful time! I was a little apprehensive as I usually get depressed from the animals being in captivity, but they seemed happy for the most part. Dan convinced me the zoo is helping the endangered species by having them mate and then once they mate they let them go and bring in new critters (I'm almost sure this whole story isn't true but I choose to believe it). At least I know they are advocates for the animals. Dan has been soo excited to go to the zoo for weeks at least. We saw the most amazing, marvelous, and hilariously entertaining animals.

humongous among us
Just to name a few... we saw an African Pancake Tortoise, an Alligator Snapping Turtle, an American Alligator, flamingos, a bald eagle, monkeys, orangatans, gorillas, lemurs, owls, a giant anteater, zebras, Reticulated Giraffes, Southern White Rhinos, a tiger, swans, an otter, an anaconda, ostriches, a kimono dragon, a red panda, kangaroos, hogs... (I could go on...)

they were hilarious just cleaning and grooming each other to no end

There were a few highlight encounters where the animals really went above and beyond to make our visit great...

Sealion exhibit- they just swim back and forth in the water, just gliding around and having a ball. They did some tricks for us and were so smart. We loved them (not to mention taking a little break on the bench while we watched!)

Lion encounter- There is a royal family at the zoo. Daddy lion, Mommy lion, and three little cubs that are 18 weeks old. They were the most precious and fun to see. We got to see the zoo workers feed them and were no more than six feet away! They fed them raw meat and then to keep the Daddy lion occupied while the cubs were still eating, they would spray goats milk in its mouth. What a treat! He was so majestic and strong. We learned that mother lions in the wild do not introduce their babies to the father until 8 weeks and 12 weeks at the zoo because the father can be dangerous to the cubs. The mother is always there by the cubs side protecting them and making sure they get along with Daddy. It was so amazing to see a whole family of lions so close!

you go mama
Lorikeet aviary- They have a bunch of lorikeets that are so very friendly. You can buy a little tin with food in it and then will come up to you and sit on your hand and eat. We, of course, did not feel we needed to spend $1.50 on that so we just went right on in. They love to fly from side to side and zoom so fast right by you (and probably at your face if you don't duck). They are so colorful and fun. I sat down on the bench for a minute and one of them came right up to me on the bench. He kept inching his way over and then started nibbling on my jeans and shirt! It was so great. He started on one side and worked his way all the way around, nibbling away and getting his fill on me and my purse. After a few minutes I got a little nervous and thought maybe he was enjoying himself a little too much, but we certainly had a special bond.


Elephant- The elephant was so beautiful and breathtaking! We were really close too and got to get a really good look at him for a few minutes. As soon as we came over he walked right over by us and stayed for a while. He was standing about ten feet away from us and he was turned around so his backside was facing us. My deep thoughts began and I said, "What if he passed gas right now?!" Literally before I could finish my sentence he passed some serious gas, right on command. He knew. We about died. It. was. the. FUNNIEST!!!!

i'm in love

Lastly but certainly not least...

THE LLAMA- We were walking through the barn where they have the barn animals. Dan loved it because he could pet and play with them (my allergies would not allow). We were about to the end and there was Mr. Llama, so tall and funny. He was eating. Dan stood at the gate, just looking at him and the llama stared right back. They would not break eye contact. Dan started making kissy noises at it; he thought they were friends. After a couple minutes of this uninterrupted eye contact, the llama had had enough and he viciously SPIT at Dan's face! And he has good aim. Got him right in the forehead. A little bit of half-way chewed food, a little bit of spit. It was the worst. And best. He must have felt threatened. Dan felt somewhat violated and a little sad that his friend seemed to be having different feelings. Grouchy old guy!

We loved the zoo. It was so much fun. After the zoo we went to Full Moon Barbeque. We were both utterly famished: headaches, grouchy, tired... nothing some food couldn't fix. I got a grilled cheese sandwich and a loaded baked potato and Dan got a BBQ chicken sandwich. We were much happier. :) We then spent a wonderful evening in the temple. What a wonderful place to go to feel the Spirit, serve, and put life in perspective. We are never happier than when we go to the temple together.

On our hour drive home we discussed our hopes and dreams and plans... and boyyy are they great. :)

Could our day have gotten any better? I think not.


twenty-eight weeks

dad, mama, and baby are doing fabulous! little dan is growing so much and getting stronger and stronger. mama is loving her H&M maternity jeans (highly recommended). daddy is loving football season. and baby is loving when daddy plays with him (poking, proding, etc). we are a happy family!

pardon my fuzzy camera. the lens got a little scratched as the lens cover worked it's way off while in my purse of a long day of travelling.. so now all our pictures have a fuzzball in the middle. will most definitely be needed a new lens before baby comes!


what are we fighting for?

there is so much to say. so much i feel. the difficulty is trying to express it. i am usually undersatisfied with my ability to express the deep and differing things fluttering around my heart.

my life evolves into something beautiful every day. not how or where i would expect it. but so much more. so much deeper. so much better than my petty mind could ever dream. i am in awe of my life. i am in awe of who i have become through the Lord and how who i have become is deeply intertwined with another human being, never to be undone. i am in awe of the happiness i feel every day, a happiness that seems so impossible and magically unrealistic to the cynical world. i have that. i know how to have it. i think that is one of my greatest blessings. it's something some people spend a lifetime trying to figure out and never do. i am truly, simply happy. i work for it every day. and i don't always have it and haven't always had it, but because of that i recognize how much i have it now.

i am loved. i love. my world revolves around it. love for my Heavenly Father. love for my dear sweet love. love for my dear family. and soo many more. there are so many little things that i have realized detract from the simple happiness of daily life. they are mysterious and ever-present. they seep into our lives slowly and we don't even realize it. we have to be so careful.

thursday night i saw my dear cousin joshua passing through birmingham while on his state-to-state tour. it was exactly what i needed. i needed the interaction. the conversation. the insights. the love. the music. the passion. the love we felt. that we really felt, so much that it didn't even need to be said. it couldn't be.

i've never seen one person play music like he can. if i was listening with my eyes closed i would never know it was just one person playing. he has such passion. such a presence. he feels what he sings. one song in particular that will be on his upcoming album. it really touched me. i only remember a line or two, but i remember how i felt when he played it. one of his biggest fans is this sweet, unexplicably dedicated autistic teenage girl. she was absolutely elated and star-struck to see him play. her sweet mother let her stay out past her curfew to watch his show and talk to him after. dan and i loved being by her. she could hardly contain her excitement. her hands would fly in the air towards the end of the song and she couldn't hardly even contain herself as she had to wait until it was over to clap. and then she would clap so enthusiastically with the most vigor and vim. after the show when she went up to joshua (with her mother's help) and could barely even look at him because she was so excited. her hands twirling her hair, her feet anxiously stepping up and down. i loved it because it was undeniable that his music talked to her soul. she felt his passion and there was something about his music that calmed her and thrilled her and spoke to her. and unlike the rest of us who hide our childlike excitment to conform with societal norms, she just proudly let it be known.

being able to sit and talk with joshua for a while was so perfect. we fed our souls with communication we needed and love we shared. i'm praying that his tour only gets better. that he will be able to connect with the people and find the wholeness he needs while he is away from his sweet lady.

the night just helped me put my life in perspective. what is important to me? what makes me happy? am i getting caught up in the worldliness that is so readily around me? what do i truly want out of life? am i prioritizing my choices to match my goals? i am trying and doing all i know how. i am excited for the future but i am perfectly content and happy with exactly where i am now.