10 years

Ten years ago, Brad and I were married! 

I am still amazed at how we were brought together.  We met through the internet on a website called LDS Singles Online.  My roommates and I had joined it over the summer and had been on a lot of fun dates, but none of us met anyone that we were super excited about.  Then about a week before my "free trial" was going to end, I got an email from Brad.  He told me he was from California, but that he wanted to move up to Utah and was looking for a good place to live in Salt Lake and asked my advice.  I obliged him and even looked at the roommate board at the Institute for him...after a few back and forth emails, we decided to chat on AOL Instant Messenger.  During our conversations we both quoted a few Adam Sandler movies...and I know this is so cheesy, but that was what really hooked me and made me want to know more about him!  It was a really stupid thing that we had in common, but it worked.  :)  (Stop looking at me SWAN!)

It all began at the end of August 2001...then we spent hours (added up probably equaled DAYS) on the phone...and I flew to California to meet him at the end of September, a month after the first email.  I will never forget how nervous I felt...I was already 99% sure I wanted to marry him (even though I had NEVER met him in person)...   As I came down the escalator at the airport, I spotted him at the bottom waiting for me.  We made eye contact and as cheesy and dramatic as it sounds, the instant I saw him I knew I would marry him.  I was shaking and grinning from ear to ear and he gave me the best hug ever!  We were both elated.  Two grinning goobers so in love and so oblivious to everyone else.  That time really feels like a dream now that I look back on it...

The 2nd night I was there, I just couldn't contain myself any longer, and I told him I wanted to marry him.  I will never forget the look on his face...and how his eyes looked like they would pop out of his head!  I totally shocked him!  But then he just smiled the sweetest, most happy and contented smile...and I knew for sure that he wanted to marry me too.  :)

My brother-in-law took our engagement photos and I love how happy and YOUNG and skinny we both are...look how adorable:

This is the one we chose to send out with our announcements.
 We met online in August 2001, met in person September 2001, officially engaged October 2001 and married December 2001!  Talk about a whirlwind romance!  Some people (in fact probably MOST people) thought we were crazy...we hardly knew each other.  Well, as cliche as it sounds, we felt like we had known each other our whole lives...we just KNEW we were meant to be together. 

We were married on a drizzly, cold December morning in the Los Angeles LDS Temple.  The same temple that his parents and my parents were married in.  It was beautiful.  I remember just being so happy...I didn't even care that it was raining and that we had giant golf umbrellas in our pictures...I was married to my best friend, soul mate, partner...and that was all that mattered.

Now here we are, ten years later...  We have four handsome sons and are enjoying every minute of our crazy, chaotic life!  I am so happy I married him...he is an awesome husband and such a good daddy...  I love knowing that I can rely on him 100%...and trust that he will ALWAYS love me and take care of me and our babies the best way he can.  I love how hard he works to provide for us, and how dedicated he is to his family.  I love that he tells me I'm beautiful, changes diapers, helps with dinner, folds laundry, bathes the kiddos, tucks them in, helps with the dishes, etc, etc.  I am so lucky to have him and so proud to be his wife.  Even though sometimes I have to put up with THIS:

I wouldn't have it ANY.OTHER.WAY. 

I love you babe, Happy Anniversary! 

Here's to many, many more years of happy memories filled with lots of love and laughter!



Source: tumblr.com via Shari on Pinterest

There is a woman at church who I have recently become friends with.  This woman is a little rough around the edges...someone who on first glance most people don't give the time of day.  (sad to say, but true.  I'm sure you all know people like that...)  I sat with her at a Relief Society dinner earlier this year, and learned a little bit about her. 

Since then, I'd smile and say 'hi' but never really had another conversation with her.  Then after I had Aleks, I came to Relief Society night and chatted with her quite a bit about babies.  I found out that she had a still birth -- the baby had Trisomy 18 (I think that's what she said), and then her other son (now an adult) is autistic.  Of course hearing about her trials made me feel sad and almost guilty as I listened to her share these hard things with me all while holding my perfectly healthy new baby boy.  My heart ached even more when she went on to tell me how badly she wishes her autistic son could get married, because she knows he would be a great father.  He just loves babies and has a special way with them.  As soon as she said that, I told her that the next time I saw him at church, I would ask him if he wanted to hold my baby. 

Well, I did just that, and you should have seen her face light up when she saw how happy he was to hold my baby.  I could tell that it really meant a lot to her, and that made me so happy!  I really, genuinely wanted to show love and compassion for her and her son, and felt like that was the perfect way to start.  

Well, 2 weeks ago, as she was leaving Sunday School, I noticed she looked really down.  I asked her if she was going home, and she said yes, and I noticed she had tears welling up in her eyes.  I asked her if she was alright, and she said that she had asked her mom if she was a burden (she and her son live with her mom right now) and that her mom replied, yes, she was a burden and that she had no idea how much of a burden she was.  She told me that she tries really hard to help out and to make life easier for her mom, but it never seems to be enough, but she just can't afford to live somewhere else. 

Wow, it took a lot for me to not start bawling right then and there!!!  I just reached out and gave her a huge hug and told her how sorry I was to hear that.  I also told her to please call me anytime she needs someone to talk to...  She seemed a bit shocked when I hugged her...but then she hugged me back and then she left and I sat down and wiped my own tears away. 

Ever since then, I have had the above quote running through my head.  I have heard it before, and I have had it pinned on my pinterest board for a while now...but I really believe it is true.  Even if she hadn't shared those personal things with me, I still think I would have been her friend.

There have been others like her that I've met in my life, people who have seemed lonely and maybe didn't have many friends...and I've always been drawn to them.  I just can't stand the thought of someone thinking or feeling like no one likes/loves them or thinks they are worth being friends with.  I truly believe that Heavenly Father puts those people in my life for a reason...and I hope they feel the same way.

Knowing that we are ALL His children, is all it takes to open up my heart and give someone a chance.

I hope that my new friend from church knows how special she really is... and next time I see her, I plan on telling her...just in case she doesn't know.  
I just came across a magazine called Seeing The Every Day.   Wow, I am so intrigued!  After browsing their website, I kept coming back to the "Why" tab, because I just love this poem-like explanation of their magazine:

Why Seeing the Everyday

Our lives are the sum
Of each moment and interaction.

Each day we work, eat, laugh, teach, play, read, remember…
And work at it all again the next day.

Within seemingly small moments we find opportunity
To build relationships, develop character, find joy
For the price of our time.

Life's most essential possibilities are realized at home.

Where we share, teach, grow, learn, serve, give
Our best without praise of fanfare.

Because every effort, every moment matters
In the development of a person.

Nothing is really routine.

To all who see the everyday

I think I would like a subscription to this magazine :)  Click HERE to read more about it.


helpful tips

I was looking through an old notebook from Time Out For Women (2006), and came across some helpful tips for the home...so I thought I'd share!  (I didn't write down who this is from, so I am sorry I can't give credit where credit is due!  If any of you know who gave these tips, do tell!)

1.  No meals on wheels.  Sit down and eat at the table.  *Keep the crumbs in ONE place.

2. Stop dirt at the door. *Sweep walkway, porch and entryway.

3. Don't make 2 jobs out of one. *Use splatter guard, cover things in the microwave, etc.

4. Make the moment count:
-Clean as you go
-Wipe as you work
-Pick up as you pass
-Look back as you leave

5. Leave any area better than you found it.

6. Clutter attracts clutter.

7. Develop a system rather than conduct a search. *Short-term filing, long-term filing, everyday purge/sort/select.

8. Assign a home to everything in the house. "Pick up is part of play."

"Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful." -- William Morris

9. Do today's work TODAY. *Mothers must be of good cheer before they can expect their family to be.

10. Skim before you scour. *Don't scrub anything before you wipe off everything. *Surface clean & then go deeper when you have the time and energy.

11. Be prepared. There is NO substitute for preparation!

12. Put the house to bed before you go to bed. *An ounce of evening is worth a pound of morning!

13. Keep house, don't clean house.

14. Revitalize your life by keeping the Sabbath.

15. Develop good habits. *It's just 3 weeks to a better me! (You know, they say it takes 21 days to develop a new habit! Don't give up!)

Friends, I found ALL of these tips to be useful back in 2006, yet what did I do with them? Not a darn thing. Closed the notebook and put it on a shelf never to be looked at again until 2011. Well, I think Heavenly Father knew that I would need them again and that's why He led me to them today. I am (and have been for a long time) completely unsatisfied with how I run my house...from laundry to dishes to meal planning/preparation to decorating it to make me happy to be in it. I know it's not January yet, but my resolution for 2012 is to start KEEPING my house. Making it a home that we are happy to be in and love to look at!

What are you planning on changing/adding to your list of goals for 2012? I'm curious to hear what y'all are going to be working on!

xoxo, Shari

give away on my photoblog

I know not all of you out there follow my photoblog, so I wanted to increase my audience for this give away that I'm doing right now.  Go check it out HERE and please, nominate someone!  Thanks!

xxoo, Shari


accepting/loving/being grateful for my body

I read this on another blog this morning, and it truly hit home with me.  I am NOT loving my body after 4 kids and lately have been feeling pretty sorry for myself and very insecure.  This short article - especially the parts I highlighted - were exactly what I needed to hear.  I am 100% sure that there are others out there who also need to be reminded to love/be thankful for our bodies.  xoxo, Shari

From Dr John De Martini

The greatest art form that exists on this planet is the human body – a magnificently structured temple of sacred architecture. Are you grateful for your body? Some people are but most people take this wonderful gift for granted. Many people complain about the shape of their body – I’m too fat, too thin, too short or too tall. They spend a great deal of time in front of the mirror focusing on what they perceive as imperfections of their body rather than focusing on its magnificently balanced perfection. Being grateful for your body and for the multitude of its powerful gifts can make the difference between experiencing wellness or illness in your life.

One of the reasons why some people beat themselves up about certain areas of their bodies is because they are comparing themselves to a fantasy of a magazine cover they think they are supposed to look like. After working with thousands of people, I am convinced that for every part of our body we don’t like there is a part we admire. If we are putting ourselves down in one area I can guarantee we are proud of another area. We may not like our thighs, but we admire our eyes. We may not like our thin hair, but we admire our skin. We may not like the shape of our body, but we like the shape of our lips and our smile and so on.

Begin to train yourself in becoming grateful for all parts of your physical body that you currently dislike. Think about your head – How can you be grateful for it? For your hair? Your scalp? Your eyes? Your skin, nose and lips? Ask yourself, ‘How does this serve me?’ When you are grateful for all parts of your head, work your way in your mind through your body from head to toe, identifying each and every part inside and outside of you. Keep asking yourself how that part of your body serves you until you are truly grateful for every part of it.  (I LOVE THIS IDEA!)

No matter what your physical body looks like, you have things you like and dislike, or even admire and despise, about yourself. Everyone practices the same math of fifty-fifty, right down the middle. Both things you like and dislike are going to serve you in your life and the wisdom is appreciating this balance and being grateful for it. When you do this and take the time to see all parts of your body are serving you in your life to appreciate it for what it is, you empower yourself. Recognize the magnificence of your physical body and find a way to look at it in a new way – with awe and gratitude.