Silver Lining

May 22, 2015

just a little excited over here

 This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #ShareYourSummer #CollectiveBias 

It's almost June 3, and June 3 is going to be a magical day. Why? Because that's the day that my little brother comes home!

John has been sweating it out in Colombia for the past two years. He's been building houses, digging trenches, helping people get the legal licenses they need, and teaching anyone who will listen about love and forgiveness (to read more about LDS missions, click here!). In almost all of his weekly emails home, he casually mentions something like wading through flooded streets with the water up to his knees help a family move their belongings to higher ground. You know, just casually wading through a street. A flooded street. That has knee-deep water. To help a family he met yesterday. Just another Tuesday in the office.

To say we're excited to see John again is an understatement. In typical crazy person fashion, I've been anticipating his return for months. Do I know exactly how many days until I see him again? Yes. Twelve. Have I already cried in happy anticipation about it? Yes. Do I have a paper chain counting down the days? No, but now that I think about it, why haven't I already made one of those?

Who wouldn't be excited to see their little brother, right? But also, he's never met Claire! I am so so so so so so so so so darn excited to finally introduce Claire to the last of her many uncles. Can you picture how happy it will be when John and Claire finally meet?!? His flight actually gets in at almost midnight, so I'm not sure how happy Claire will be. In fact, those first moments when she's up in the middle of the night surrounded by airport chaos and yelling and hugging strangers might not be the most magical.... But John has a month after he gets home to cement his status as the favorite uncle before we move. No time to waste, Elder Wilson! Get to it!

I'm excited to partner with Coca-Cola today to share our plans for John's return. We made him a little gift basket with all the essentials: pictures of the family over the last two years, some of his favorite candy, a family favorite movie that came out while he was away, and a little note with some of the music, movies, books, and pop culture he needs to catch up on (the phrase "literally can't even" is accepted as a complete thought now, and you have to hashtag everything these days). And what could be more perfect for an American homecoming than a Diet Coke with his name on it??

We also made the cute little signs pictured above for Claire to hold at the airport. Assuming she's not screaming because it's midnight and she's supposed to be in bed asleep. :)

I picked up John's personalized Coke at Walmart. They have the biggest (and by far the most organized!) selection of 20-ounce personalized Coke bottles. Find your name here!
AH we are just so excited for June 3. Bring on the summer! And share a Coke with a loved one while you're at it. Happy Friday, and thank you so much for reading and supporting the brands that support my little family. It means the world to me.

P.S. See a related video with Claire here.

May 20, 2015

It's Self-Appreciation Day! (I made that up.)

Lately, I've been thinking a lot about how we show people we appreciate them. Not just on Teacher Appreciation Day, or Father's Day, or Boss' Day, but every day.

We show appreciation to our friends by making hot chocolate when they come over for a venting session at 10pm, talking to them on the phone when they move far away, and waiting in line with them for a Black Friday deal they're excited about.

We show appreciation to our significant others by filling up their car with gas, by cooking dinner for them, and by putting down our phones so we're not distracted when we're with them.

Parents show appreciation to their children when they compliment their children's efforts to master a new benchmark or skill, when they go to work to provide for them, when they read to them, and when they ceaselessly take pictures of their every move (actually, I think that last one's just me.)

Teachers show love and appreciation to students by spending their weekends planning lessons and grading papers, by spending their precious recess breaks outside playing basketball with them, and by coming in during the summer to plan and prepare for students they haven't even met yet.

It goes on and on. We show our appreciation for a good blog post by commenting. We show appreciation for a good business or shop by leaving a positive review. We show appreciation to our car by changing the oil and performing regular maintenance (I'm still working on the regular maintenance part on my car).

Now comes the hard part: showing appreciation for our bodies.

I was actually doing fine with this for a long time. Look, my body is growing a baby! Look, my body birthed a healthy beautiful baby girl! Look, my body is feeding a baby! Look, all this exercise is making my body get stronger and leaner! My baby belly is going away!

And then came the cruel twist of fate. In the end of November, I finished my Insanity program and stepped on the scale. I had finally lost all the baby weight (HOORAY!). And then I turned around to look in the mirror and just started laughing. It was one of those high-pitched insane cackles. It was a Curse you, powers that be, for making my pre-baby weight and my pre-baby body entirely different things! type of laugh. Hahahahaha! How funny! Fate has thwarted me once again! Hahahaha! It's like all my hard work was for nothing! Hahahaha! Also, I think I'm one second away from crying! Do you know what I'm talking about, or am I the only one who has those types of laughs? (Maybe I'll write more about my post-baby body on a later date if I'm feeling brave enough.)

Let's just say that the scale and the mirror said two totally different things. And it made me feel resentful towards my body. I felt somehow betrayed, like it wasn't doing what it was supposed to be doing anymore. My body must have failed me somehow, because I lost all the baby weight, but still didn't look or feel quite the same as I did before.

But, I'm trying to love my body nonetheless. I'm trying to focus on all the great things it can do, and not on the small things that aren't perfect. And just like everything else, I show my appreciation for my body by treating it right and spending time on it.

One of the biggest ways I do this is by moving my body. I take Claire on walks all the time, which includes lugging the big stroller up and down from our third-floor apartment. I go jogging. I go to the rec center (on the days work ends early enough). For the first time ever, I'm trying to exercise because I love my body, not because I hate it. It's a big shift for me, but it's a good one. I'm trying to make every day Self-Appreciation Day.

These pictures are from a little family walk a few days ago. (The location is #4 on this list of my favorite places to take pictures in Provo.) We love this park, and we love it all the more because of the beautiful boardwalks and wetlands hidden away in the corner.

Another thing I do to appreciate my body is eat food that's good for me. This is basically the lifelong struggle of my life. I WANT ALL THE CANDY, ALL THE TIME. I do love the light, delicious taste of this Kozy Shack® Simply Well Tapioca Pudding, though. And at only 90 calories and with no sugar added, it's an afternoon snack indulgence I can feel great about. (Find them on Instagram here.) #SimplyWell

What do you do to show your body appreciation for what it's done for you?
What are your favorite at-home workouts 
for those days when exercising at home 
during nap time is your only option?

May 18, 2015

recent photoshoots

Photography has been a lifelong hobby of mine. In fact, there may or may not be 500 pictures of my chubby pubescent face on an old hard drive somewhere to prove it. I took them with my mom's old point-and-shoot camera when I was fourteen... although I'm secretly hoping that hard drive got thrown away somewhere along the road. I think the world can do without 500 pictures of my braces smile!

Luckily for the world, I've started turning the camera around, and photographing other people's infinitely cuter (braces-free!) faces.

People are my favorite thing to photograph. Human subjects are infinitely more high-stakes and stressful than shooting, say, a landscape, but they're my favorite. Maybe it's because of all the details you can capture in an image. Maybe it's because personality and individuality really shine through in photographs. But really, I think it's the memories. A good picture captures not only an image in time, but a memory. It says so much more than the sum of all its pixels. (I feel like that's vaguely profound. A good picture is much more than the sum of its pixels. Somebody slap that on a cute background to make one of those weird semi-inspirational but not actually inspirational at all memes that gets pinned a million times on Pinterest. No? It's not actually that profound? You're right. Moment's over. Moving on.)

This was a shoot I did about a month ago for my friends Carly and Ryan. They're also moving to Arizona this summer, and even though we'll be on opposite sides of the huge Phoenix metropolis, I'm excited to hang out with them and their baby girl!

I also got to take senior pictures for my twin sisters, Hannah and Carley. Are they babes or what?! I remember little first grade Hannah and Carley, and how I used to teach them piano lessons. Now they're all grown up and saving China! (Name that movie.) But seriously, they are gorgeous. Bonus points if you can tell them apart!

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