September 17, 2018

Beauty Sickness

I'm not really sure how to start this post, but I know that I need to write it. The other night as I was laying in bed, my brain would not shut off. All kinds of thoughts in regards to this post were flooding my brain, it was sort of magical in a way. One thought would flow into another and another and another. It was amazing!

I guess I should start with what brought these thoughts to the surface. I participated in a conference earlier this year where a woman by the name of Renee Engeln spoke, she is a professor at Northwestern University. I was intrigued by the things that Renee was sharing. When I learned that Renee had recently written a book, Beauty Sick, I knew I needed to read it. I checked it out at my local library and devoured it. I read parts of the book out loud to Andy and we were both floored by the things we were reading and learning.

Over the years Renee has conducted A LOT of interviews and done a lot of research studies involving women and girls from varying demographics. Throughout her book she cites research that has been done worldwide regarding women and how they view themselves and other women. What she discovered was that as a culture we have a big problem, we tend to base a woman's worth off of how beautiful she is. Beauty is considered power and is something that is highly sought after. While this may not seem like a bad thing, it is. It leads to depression, disordered eating, bad spending habits, it takes up brain space-- meaning that we focus so much on how we as women look that we aren't thinking about the things that truly matter and are of importance in life.

Think about it for a minute, how often do you find yourself adjusting your clothes? How often do you look in the mirror? How much time do you spend getting ready? How much money do you spend on clothes and makeup? Do you read beauty magazines? Do you obsess over calories? How much time do you spend working out?

Now take a moment and think about what else you could have spent that time and money on?

Are you starting to see the problem? It's called Beauty Sick and it is a real thing.

One of the things I noticed in the interviews that Renee conducted was that every girl and woman she interviewed had a story. They could tell you when they first became aware that it was important to be beautiful and how that affected them. For the majority of the women this awareness happened when they were going through puberty. It was often times brought on by comments they overheard other women making or a comment that was directed specifically to them. This caused me to pause and think about my own life.

Beauty Sick Timeline:

The earliest recognition I have came when I was in Kindergarten, I would have been 5 or 6 years old. I wear glasses for reading and a boy on the bus called me four eyes.

During 4th Grade we moved and I started attending a new school. A group of girls in my class were "The Spice Girls" and they wanted me to bring my athletic clothes to school so another girl could wear them and be Sporty Spice. I wasn't good enough to be in the group.

In 5th Grade I was invited to an end of the school year party/sleepover with the popular girls. They asked each girl present to close her eyes and they would tell her what animal she looked like. Some girls were told that they looked by bunnies or peacocks, I was told that I looked like a possum-- that stung. I quickly learned that those were not the type of girls I wanted to be friends with.

By middle school puberty had started, I was self conscious about my developing lady parts and didn't want people (especially boys) to know that my body was changing.

In P.E. we had to run a lap around the track each day and I was usually the first girl to finish. Some of the older kids would yell at me, "Run anorexic girl run!" I had what we like to call the "Noack Skinny Gene." I was constantly hungry and I would eat all the time. It didn't matter what I ate, I could not gain weight.

High school was brutal in some respects. My brother was a wrestler and they didn't have anyone to wrestle in the lower weight classes, I was small enough that they tried to recruit me-- I declined. Cross country was my sport. One day our coach decided to measure our body fat, he didn't like that I was 18% body fat. I didn't eat junk food for two weeks and dropped down to 12% body fat. Hindsight is 20/20 and I didn't realize that trying to cut body fat isn't necessarily a good thing.

High school also came with lots of comments from those close to me that I needed to dress more feminine, that I looked anorexic and that I would want plastic surgery someday.

I let those hurtful comments roll off my shoulders. I didn't care what anyone thought of me. I was happy just being me.

During my college years I found myself in a bit of a different situation, I found myself living with someone who made it their personal business to point out all the things they thought were wrong with my body. I was told nearly everyday for four months that I was fat and that I had a stomach. This particular individual would proceed to parade around and talk about how sexy they were.

Up to this point I had only ever been called fat once in my life, but after hearing it everyday for months I began to believe it. I would look at myself in the mirror and think, if so and so says I'm fat then I must be fat. I soon found that I was putting myself down and criticizing the way I looked. I wasn't happy and emotionally I wasn't in a very good place.

I began seeing a counselor for other reasons and she suggested that I start doing the things I loved again. I began hiking, writing and exercising again. Zumba became of source of not only physical strength but emotional strength as well.

I distanced myself from the person who put me down all the time.

It's taken several years, but I feel like I am finally starting to feel like the younger version of myself. Carefree and happy. I don't dress to impress, I rarely wear makeup and I don't compare and I am happier this way.

Beauty sickness is a real thing. It is important to remember that each and everyone of us is a child of God. We are created in his image. Yes, we may have flaws and imperfections-- but God doesn't make mistakes. Instead of focusing on the things we don't like about our bodies, we should be grateful for the many wonderful things that our bodies can do. Our bodies truly are a gift from a loving Heavenly Father. He didn't create us to be miserable and critical of each other, he created us to have joy. Let's not only be kind to one another, let's be kind to ourselves.

September 8, 2018

Two Answered Prayers

In life we all have or struggles and our challenges. For the past two years or so, I have faced two challenges that at times were a test of my patience and sanity. Let's start at the beginning.

Shortly after we purchased our home, we could hear a lot of hammering going on late at night next door. We weren't sure what our neighbors were up to. We soon learned that they had built an unpermitted bedroom in their garage (this is against city code). Next thing we knew a troubled teenage boy moved into said room, then his girlfriend moved in and his friends began to come and go at all hours of the night. These minors would smoke weed outside our bedroom window and Bubba's window and wake us all up, it was really annoying and we didn't know what to do about it.

Fast forward to earlier this summer. My neighbor stopped me one day to tell me that she and her fiance had broken up (the troubled teenage boy was his). She had basically told him that she didn't want the girlfriend living in the garage and that she wanted him to lay the law down with his son, he didn't do it so she broke off the engagement. About this same time she lost her job. She wasn't sure if she was going to sell the house (it had nearly doubled in value), rent the house or stay in the house.

She decided to rent the house. She said she picked out a couple that she thought was close to Andy and I in age. She said they had a little girl around Bubba's age.

The first prayer that was answered was that we were able to go outside in our yard and not smell weed, we were no longer being woken up at night, the unpermitted room in the garage that had the potential to burn our house down was torn down and we no longer had to worry about teens breaking into our house to find money for weed.

Now to the second prayer.

Since we purchased our home I have made friends, but most of the people I am friends with are older than me and in different phases and stages of life. I have longed and cried and even pleaded with Heavenly Father to help me to become friends with someone who was in a similar phase of life as me-- pregnancy hormones have made these feelings of loneliness all the more intense. Someone who was religious, not necessarily LDS. And someone who would be able to go and do things on a whim without having to have it planned days in advance.

About a month ago my second prayer was answered. My new neighbor is a year old than me, her daughter is a month older than Sawyer. She is Christian and we have a lot of similar views on parenting and living a healthy lifestyle. She too has struggled to make friends with people who are in our same phase of life and hold the same beliefs that we do. We talk and go walking nearly everyday and our kiddos love to play at each other's houses.

I feel so truly blessed that a loving Father in Heaven has answered not only one of my prayers, but two. I feel so incredibly loved and blessed. A heavy weight has been lifted off of my shoulders.

I know that Heavenly Father hears and answers our prayers. The answers may not always come according to our timetable or in the way that we want them to, but they will come in the way that he sees fit.

September 4, 2018

A Visit From My Sister & A Weekend Of Canning

I talk to my sister Sadie quite often, she is one of my best friends. Earlier this week she called and said, "I know you guys are going to be working on projects, but I was wondering if I could come down." I jumped at the chance to see my sister. I know, I've been getting lucky in the family visiting department lately.

I had previously made plans with my neighbor Tiffany to teach her how to can tomatoes on Saturday. Friday morning we loaded Bubba and his friend Ella into the car and headed out to my favorite farms. We came home with an entire trunk full of produce (150+ pounds of tomatoes, peaches, melons, corn, etc), the trunk was so full that I had to squeeze a box of peaches in between the two car seats in the back seat.

Saturday morning my sister arrived, Tiffany came over and we got to work canning. It was a lot of work and it took us the entire day, but we all had a great time. When it was all said and down we canned 70 quarts of tomatoes. Sadie and Tiffany were surprised by how easy it is to can tomatoes. They were both really proud of their work and are looking forward to using their tomatoes this winter.

Andy, Sadie and I took turns watching and entertaining Bubba while the canning took place. He did surprising well, not having someone play with him 24/7. Andy was even able to sneak some pressure washing in.

A clown outfit by Dad as we like to call it. Bubba loves to put things in the trash! Climbing is a close second.

I'm gonna be a cowboy someday!

Do you like my fishing pole? Check out the tan line on my feet.

Last summer we started pressure washing and staining our fence, we got half of it done but the other half still needs to be finished. I asked Andy if he could try and finish the fence before the baby comes, and he said yes. Here's hoping the weather holds out long enough for us to get it done. The projects that come with being homeowners are never ending.

On Sunday we went to church and Sadie entertained herself while we were gone. After church we decided that it would be fun to try walking on a new trail, Fall Creek. The trail said it was bike friendly so we opted to bring the stroller instead of the backpack-- bad move. We quickly learned that this trail was not paved and not bike friendly unless you were on a mountain bike. Andy was awesome though and he pushed Bubba as far as he felt he could. Bubba loved off roading in his stroller. We will definitely be heading back to this trail in the future, next time we will bring the backpack instead of the stroller.

Father & Son.

After our walk Bubba and Andy decided it would be fun to throw rocks off of the bridge and into the river, they both loved it!

Sadie and I stayed up late talking, sister bonding time.

Sadie & I making the face.

The next morning she left really early, she wanted to beat the Labor Day Weekend traffic on the way home.

Andy finished pressure washing the fence. We bagged up the last of the frozen blueberries, we froze the peaches, I shredded and froze all of our zucchini and canned two more batches of salsa. It was a busy day for us. We both felt though that we are making progress and that is a good feeling.

August 27, 2018

Lightening Our Load & Paddle Boarding

The past two weeks have flown by! We have been spending a lot of time indoors recently because of the thick smoke that is in the air. The smoke has been blowing in mainly from the 600 wildfires in British Columbia, Canada, but we have also had smoke from fires in Oregon and Washington. The air quality has been pretty bad and being pregnant it affects me more than it normally would. Bubba loves being outside and he has not enjoyed being cooped up.

A boy and his chickens.

Two weekends ago we decided to dedicate our Saturday to cleaning the garage. The garage wasn't finished when we purchased our home. I can't tell you how many hours have been spent insulating it, hanging sheet rock, mudding, taping, installing lights, building shelving and creating an attic space-- it's been a ton of work, mostly for Andy. In the meantime we have had stuff strew all over the garage, I cringe inside every time I walk in there.

Andy decided that he really wants to put a gym in the garage. I told him I was on board with that if we could get it cleaned up. I told him money for his gym equipment could come from anything we found in the garage that we were no longer wanted and sold. We sold over $150 worth of stuff in a matter of a few days that was pretty awesome. We have a lot more to sell yet. We took a trunk and a half of stuff to Goodwill and Bring Recycling. When you look at the garage it doesn't look like we did much, but we both know we made some serious progress.


This past weekend my Mom came down to visit, this was the first time she had been down in quite some time. We took her paddle boarding on the McKenzie River, she had never been before. Aside from the smoke (the smoke rolled in right before we were scheduled to board and it was the thickest smoke I think I have ever seen in my life), she really enjoyed it.

My Mom.

Andy and I tried to take Bubba out on the board but he wasn't having it. Each time we tried to push off into the river, he would freak out. At least we got some cute pictures of him sitting on the board.

Andy went out on a board for a few minutes. When he went to push off into the river, Bubba decided that it was a good time to try and run to Daddy. He biffed it and ended up floating in the water (he was wearing a life jacket). He swallowed some water and started to panic, I scooped him up as quickly as I could and put some dry clothes on him. We feel very blessed that we were all kept safe.

Afterwards we went and grabbed some lunch at Mucho Gusto. It seems like that is the place we go each time my Mom comes to visit (she loves it).

The rest of the evening was spent playing board games, making and eating black bean brownies and visiting with my 85 year old neighbor and friend, Barbara.

The next morning my Mom headed home and we went to church. We were glad my Mom was able to make a trip down, it's always a treat when family comes to visit.

August 15, 2018


I think I am beginning to understand what nesting is. We bought our house just before Bubba was born and I was adamant that we weren't going to unpack our boxes until after we painted the entire house, yes the entire house. When we came home from the hospital a lot of stuff was everywhere and still in boxes, so I didn't really go through the nesting phase.

This time around though, I am definitely nesting. I have this desire to purge and go through everything and I mean everything. I want to go through the cupboards, closets, boxes in the garage, the bookmarks on my laptop and all the files saved on my computer and our server. We need to update our insurance, resell items we no longer use and meet with an attorney to draft up a will. I want to digitize all of our cds, yes we still listen to cds. I want all of our projects finished: staining the fence, repairing the chicken coop, cleaning the garage, fixing my car (the alarm has randomly been going off at all hours of the day), pressure wash the house and walkways. I want my pantry shelves filled, the canning done and meals in the freezer when this baby comes. It doesn't help that I am a neat freak (that's a trait I inherited from my Dad and I am grateful for it) and that everything in my house needs to stay clean in the process.

Then there are the fun things I want to do like hike, camp and paddle board before this baby comes.

I have been feeling quite overwhelmed lately and have been struggling to find a balance between the need to get done list and the fun list. I decided to unplug from social media for a week to try and help me get stuff done and it's been working. I'm not sure how long my social media fast will last for but it sure has been nice.

August 13, 2018

A Wedding & Silver Creek Falls

This weekend was fast and furious. Andy had Friday off and so we were able to get some things done that had been needing attention. We stayed up until 2:00 am Saturday morning canning applesauce, we hadn't planned on staying up that late but we wanted to get the apples finished. We were up at 7:00 am and out the door before 8:00 am to head up to Portland for my cousin Cooper's wedding. He was sealed to his sweetheart Natalie in the Portland Temple. We are so happy for them and proud of the decision they made to be sealed in the temple. You could tell that Cooper was really happy, he was all smiles.

After the sealing we took photos outside on the temple grounds and it started to rain. Bubba loved the rain! He ran around splashing in the puddles.

Then we headed to a buffet in Beaverton for lunch. Bubba ate a little bit, but he was mostly interested in grabbing all the "dirty" napkins he could find and putting them in the trash-- this is one of his favorite things to do. Strangers got a kick watching him. A few people stopped me to ask what we were all celebrating and what church we went to, it's always fun to have missionary opportunities.

There was a break between the luncheon and the reception so we went to look at a double B.O.B. stroller, it came home with us. Then we headed to our hotel to try and catch a few ZZZs.

The reception was held outside in a family friends backyard, it was beautiful! I was amazed by how many people attended the reception, it was a good turnout. I loved being able to visit with a lot of my extended family.

I found these gems on Andy's phone of Bubba at the reception, they aren't the best quality but I love them! My baby isn't a baby anymore. 

After the reception we headed back to our hotel for the night. Bubba was adamant that he was not going to sleep in his pack and play so we pulled him up into bed with us-- I am not sure how other people do this, it was a very crowded queen sized bed (our bed at home is a king). None of us slept well that night. Bubba kept putting his face in my armpit and kicking Andy, it was rough.

Bed head.

The next morning we went down to the hotel pool to swim, Bubba loved it! They had a pool that came up just past his waist, it was perfect. As he was running across the toddler pool to Andy, he ended up stumbling and his face went into the water. A split second later his legs were pointing down, his mid section was floating on top of the water and he put his arms down to try and push himself up, but they didn't reach the bottom of the pool-- thankfully Andy was able to pull him out of the water before he inhaled any of it, drowned or freaked out. The Lord was looking out for us.

Looking extra pregnant this day.

We decided that since we were in Salem, we might as well make the most of the day and enjoy spending time together as a family. We headed to one of our favorite hiking trails that was nearby, Silver Creek Falls. We strapped Bubba into the backpack and hit the trail. Bubba loved the waterfalls! I tried taking some pictures of him and Andy and Bubba refused to look at the camera, his eyes were locked on the waterfall behind him. When Bubba wasn't looking at waterfalls, he was stealing Andy's hat and knocking on his head like it was a door-- silly boy!

You could tell that we were hiking during the dry season, one of the big waterfalls was non-existant and the vegetation was covered in dust from all of the people who have walked the trail this summer.

I loved being able to take in the beauty around me. God really is the master creator. I can't help but marvel at the plants and vegetation and think of God when I am out in nature. I am grateful to live in such a beautiful place.

When it was all said and done we hiked about five miles. Bubba did great! I was a little worried about how he would do in the backpack, this is the longest hike we have taken him on so far. I think it is safe to say we were all very tired and ready for bed by the time we got home.

August 6, 2018

Canning & White Water Rafting

This weekend was a busy one, but it was a good one. On Friday night Andy and I set out to can apple juice from the apples we had picked last weekend. Things didn't go the way we had anticipated, the apples didn't seem to have any juice, I didn't even know that was possible. We quickly changed our plans and decided to make/can applesauce. We stayed up way too late to finish one of the three boxes of apples.

The next morning was an early one for us, as we had previously made arrangements to go white water rafting on the McKenzie River with my brother Jake and his girl friend Larae (it was her birthday present). Larae had never been rafting before and Jake told her she was going to be in a boat all by herself, she was a little freaked out until she learned that he was pulling her leg.

The water was really cold! I chose the best seat in the raft, I stayed the driest. We all had a great time and can't wait to go again!

"The Face"

In case you were wondering, I asked my doctor if I could go white water rafting and she said I could go until I was 24 weeks pregnant. We cut it close by going at 23 weeks.

On our way back from rafting we stopped at the fish hatchery to see the sturgeon and feed the trout (my brother loves fishing and thoroughly enjoyed this).

Then we grabbed some Mexican food for lunch and headed home to see Bubba who was with the babysitter. Bubba had a blast with the babysitter, I don't think he even missed us.

We stayed up late with Jake and Larae and played board games. We don't get to play board games very often these days, but when we do we sure enjoy ourselves.

This is his favorite puzzle! He gets so excited each time he puts a piece in.

Helping Mom clean the humidifier.

We were sad to say goodbye to Jake and Larae. Bubba loved playing with both of them and so did we.