Tag Archives: 2016

2016 In Review

My year in review, focusing on family and the blog

I am so done with 2016! It’s been a wild ride. I’m not saying it was terrible like all the memes you’ve seen so far. I mean, yeah, some pretty crappy things happened in 2016, both in my family’s personal life and in our nation, but some great opportunities also happened. And, we ended the year with such a gift: our precious Evelyn Morgan! These year in reviews are one of my favorite things to do for the blog at the end of the year. It also helps me remember that the main I blog is for me, and I love documenting my life.

My year in review, focusing on family and the blog

January

January started off with us scrubbing our rented townhouse and packing up. We were moving in with my parents due to finances. I also created a really impactful Mission Statement for 2016: Be Intentional, Have Contentment, and Bloom Where You’re Planted. Rhys turned 1.5 years old and was definitely a toddler!

Recipes: Apple Braised Pork Chops, Chicken Corn Chowder Casserole (C4)

February

I turned 26 years old. We started to get hunkered down living in my parents’ basement. We were being spoiled with comfort, food, and love. It also snowed quite a bit, and Rhys had so much fun playing in the snow with his aunts. I also got pretty sick due to the inversion in the air, and I had a down cycle in my depression. But, I did some self-love and got my hair and bangs cut and dyed a deeper red. We also met up with some friends for free zoo day.

Recipe: Root Beer Pulled Pork

March

I got my blog redesigned and switched over the Word Press. I fell in love with the concept of grace and heavily focused on it in my scripture study. I found new ways to workout at home because I didn’t have a gym membership. Justin surprised me with a day of self-love and self-relaxation in Salt Lake all by myself. It was definitely what the doctor ordered. Playdates were also plentiful, as was seeing friends and having girls’ nights. I decided to test my SAHM skills and make a DIY Bead Run for Rhys and he absolutely loved it. I was called to be our congregation’s Young Women Laurel Advisor (girls 16-18). We also discovered that Rhys is afraid of the dark.

Helpful Blogging Post: Blog Post Checklist

Very easy to make and a lot of fun for toddlers to play with and decorate.

April

Being Rhys’s mother was the highlight of my month. The days otherwise seemed to be pretty monotuous with staying home while everyone else worked or went to school. Disney Junior and Nick Jr were on a lot. Toddler toys were always strewn across the floor. Walks to the neighborhood playground were taken. Running became a habit again. We went to Idaho for my nephew’s baptism. My sister got engaged. And, unbeknownst to us at the time, I became pregnant!

Helpful Blogging Posts: How to Create a Pinnable Image with BeFunky, My Experience Redoing Pinterest

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May

I had terrible headaches and morning sickness and finally took a pregnancy test. The first trimester totally kicked my butt, so I didn’t blog a lot in May. I reflected a lot more about my relationship and belief in Christ. I also had to learn to trust in God because a week after we found out I was pregnant, Justin lost his job, which meant we lost all insurance for the pregnancy and for Justin’s chronic condition. And…of course, no income. Wedding planning also took up the entire family’s time. Needless to say, it was a tough month.

Recipe: Glazed Pineapples and Teriyaki Burgers

Tulle skirt and pink wings!

June

Again, first trimester headaches and morning sickness controlled my life. I spent most of the days laying on the couch. Thankfully, my mom quit working (as my dad got a better paying job) and took care of me–when she wasn’t in full panic mode doing last minute details on my sister’s wedding. My 16 year old sister and I planned our other sister’s bridal shower and it was beautiful. It was also fun comparing the similarities and differences between my sister’s wedding plans/themes to mine and so I wrote a post on how to have an inexpensive wedding. Madison’s wedding was beautiful. Justin got a new job located in Texas, but had to do training in Los Angeles and Atlanta for many weeks. We also announced our pregnancy.

Recipe: Turkey Gyro

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July

Justin was gone during the first week of July–Independence Day, Rhys’s second birthday, and his own birthday. We celebrated Independence Day by going to the local parade, where my youngest sister was playing in the marching band. We also watched fireworks–Rhys loved the colors, but hated how loud it was. For his birthday, he got croup for the first time ever and was pretty sick for quite a bit. You can definitely tell he was sick with how flushed and red his face was in his 2 year old pictures! We moved to Texas and Justin left to do more out-of-state training while I tried to set up house myself…with a toddler and pregnant! I was definitely missing Utah. But, I decided to re-evaluate my life: my goals, my relationships, my blessings, my relationship with my Savior. And, I began to have a more positive outlook.

Helpful Blogging Posts: BeYOUtifully Made Blog Redesign

Rhys's 2nd birthday

August

We began to settle into Texas. Justin spent the first week and a half of August away, meaning we spent our 4th anniversary apart. But, we really felt truly welcomed by our church congregation. Just about every week, we had guests come and welcome us and introduce themselves. I began to make friends. Rhys and I spent a lot of time at the library or mall. We also transitioned Rhys to a toddler bed rather than his crib, and tried different tricks to help him be more willing to eat. I also was 20 weeks pregnant and we found out we were having a baby girl!!! I also started doing some free lance writing.

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September

Justin no longer had to travel for work. But, since his office was a 50 minute commute away, and we only had one car, it was really annoying whenever I wanted to the car to go out and about with Rhys. However, Rhys and I were able to settle into a pretty solid routine. We finally had our entire apartment completely set up. We visited the local Farmer’s Market. I mentioned that I let Rhys watch TV, one of the main reasons being that it was helping his communication skills. I had another low round of depression.

#blogtemberchallenge 2016 Day 8: A tour of our first home in Texas!

October

I didn’t do a lot of blogging in October. But, I did really get into reading a lot. I was also working hard on free lancing so that we could afford a second car’s monthly payments. But, I did mention how confident I was in how I looked this pregnancy. I also shared how we were able to easily transition Rhys to a toddler bed from his crib. Rhys started to understand Halloween–thanks to Nick Jr and Disney Jr Halloween specials. He also learned a new word: “spooky” and loved being a “spooky ghost” (“ookee ost”) with a blanket over his head. He chose his own costume this year: Marshall the fire dog from PAW Patrol, and we went Trick-or-Treating. He loved pointing out the different decorated houses and said “ookee ows” (spooky house), then would go up and say “eese” (please) for the candy. He had so much fun!

Maternity fashion can be cute and comfortable!

November

We got a second car! It’s my very own mom car: a royal blue 2008 Mazda CX-9. I love it; it’s so spiffy! Rhys and I went somewhere out of the house basically everyday just because I could! It was such a nice, freeing feeling. It finally started to cool down…meaning not shorts weather, but not long sleeve weather. We went to 6 Flags for the first time ever with Justin’s company–Rhys had the absolute time of his life on the kiddie rides. I thoroughly enjoyed watching him. I began to love Texas, even though I still love Utah more. We also tried, and failed, potty training. I opened my Etsy shop, The Morrell Tale Design, for digital prints after some encouragement from family and close friends (although I have yet to see a sale…..). We also had our first Thanksgiving to ourselves. Having lived in Utah our entire married lives, we were able to spend all major holidays with family. But, this year, it was 1) too expensive to fly to Utah, and 2) I shouldn’t travel with my 3rd trimester. We were grateful, though, to have a small, quaint, Thanksgiving and begin our own traditions. We also got our maternity/family pictures done.

The Morrell Tale Design Etsy Shop Grand Opening Giveaway

December

It is now finally sweater weather–mid 40s to mid 50s. We had a small cold snap: a weekend spent in the 10s and 20s. We went to 6 Flags again, while I was 38 weeks!! pregnant, to set up our season passes for the next year. I have also been focusing on the special moments with my first born We decided to begin the Elf on the Shelf. His name is Jingle, and Rhys loves finding him in a new place every morning. We’ve had a lot of parties to go to…our congregation is very social!!! I went to a Relief Society ornament exchange and a girls’ night out white elephant gift party. Justin and I also got a babysitter–our very first real, not family, teenage babysitter, to go to an annual adult only white elephant gift party hosted by a couple in our congregation. Then, the next day, we left him with our neighbors (in our congregation) to get all dressed up and go to Justin’s company’s fancy Christmas party. Rhys is starting to understand Christmas: the secular Santa/Frosty/Rudolph part and the Nativity part.  We made our 4th annual Morrell DIY ornament for the exchange.  On the 23rd, we were surprised by Evelyn coming a week early! It was so nice to be able to have a family of four (plus my mom who flew in) for Christmas.

Recipe: Rice Krispie Wreaths

How was 2016 for you?

Tayler from The Morrell Tale.com

Tayler is a work at home mom. She does free lance articles and dabbles in graphic design and virtual assisting for bloggers. She spent 3 years as a history and English teacher. Her passions are her husband, two children, history, reading, nature, and her Savior, Jesus Christ.

Intentional August Goals

We are entering into the 8th month of the year. What are your intentional goals?

How is it August already?!?! Seriously! It seems like just two weeks ago I was setting up my goals for July. It was definitely a busy month and I really needed to re-evaluate my year. So, I feel like I am really going to rock this month!

We are entering into the 8th month of the year. What are your intentional goals?

How I did in July

Blogging

Blog at least twice a week. | Success! I now have a lot of ideas for the blog and I can’t wait to write them!

Work at least 5 hours a week doing Virtual Assisting. | No. But, at least an hour a week. Ha. I have been putting out feelers and I think I found a second client to do Virtual Assisting for!

Health

Exercise at least 3 days a week for at least 20 minutes. | No. This didn’t happen. But, I did “workout” a lot…moving, unpacking, scrubbing, swimming, walking around the mall.

Make healthy choices with food and portions. | At the beginning of the month, I did. But, once I moved, then, we ate a lot of junk, soda, and take-out.

Family & Marriage

Enjoy the last bit of time with my family before moving to Texas. | I did. And, I already miss them!

Move to Texas and get our apartment set up. | Well, it’s about 80% done. I really just need to organize shelves and hang pictures.

Give Rhys at least 30 minutes of my complete attention, electronic free, every day. | I was half-way successful with this. But, I will be better!

Personal

Read scriptures every day. | For the most part, I was successful with this–either reading scriptures, Mormon theological books, or daily devotionals. 

Finish at least two books. | Began, read, and finished four books!

August 2016 Intentional Goals

Blog

  • Blog two times a week.
  • Do at least two things a week to improve/edit/update different aspects of my blog.
  • Work at least 5 hours doing Virtual Assisting.
  • Put out more inquiries and proposals for collaboration, guest posting, and sponsored opportunities.

Health

  • Exercise at least three days a week for at least 20 minutes.
  • No soda on weekdays.
  • Increase intake of water.

Family & Marriage

  • Do something loving for Justin every day.
  • Spend intentional time with Rhys every day.

Personal

  • Find more opportunities to be a WAHM.
  • Write in my journal at least once a week.
  • Try to keep the house clean every day.

I can do it!

What are your intentional goals for this month?

Tayler from The Morrell Tale.com

Tayler is a work at home mom. She does free lance articles and dabbles in graphic design and virtual assisting for bloggers. She spent 3 years as a history and English teacher. Her passions are her husband, two children, history, reading, nature, and her Savior, Jesus Christ.

Re-evaluating

It is never too late--never too late to start over, never too late to be happy. Jane Fonda. Make sure you reevaluate your goals for this year and push reset if you need to.

This summer has been hard.

I was so proud of myself the first third of this year–even though we had moved in with my parents due to financial reasons, I was being active in my goals for the year. I was positive, happy, relieved, and in a good place. Then, around the end of April, all that started to fall apart.

True, many things happened: Justin lost his job, my sister got engaged and was planning a quick wedding, my mom’s health deteriorated, my dad was switching jobs, I got pregnant, I started having terrible migraines on top of morning sickness…

I will be honest: I gave up. I gave up on trying. I gave up on my attitude. I gave up on enduring. I gave up on my appearance. I gave up on being present with Rhys. I gave up on being active. I gave up on being an intentional disciple of Christ.

I spent a lot of time on the couch, listlessly surfing the net, trying to pass Rhys off on Justin or members of my family or having him sit in front of the TV, and napping a lot.  And complaining a lot–one of Justin’s biggest pet peeves.

It is never too late--never too late to start over, never too late to be happy. Jane Fonda. Make sure you reevaluate your goals for this year and push reset if you need to.

[ctt title=”It is never too late–never too late to change, never too late to be happy. -Jane Fonda @themorrelltale” tweet=”It is never too late–never too late to change, never too late to be happy. -Jane Fonda @themorrelltale” coverup=”U0exJ”]

I am truly embarrassed of my behavior, attitude, and reaction to these trials. I had completely forgotten (or disregarded?) my mission plan for the year of 2016:

Be intentional, Have contentment, and Bloom where you are planted.

None of that was happening. I wasn’t living life intentionally, I definitely wasn’t content in my position, and I wasn’t trying to bloom in our situation. I was always looking to the future. When would we have a job? When would we have a place to call our own? When will I feel better and have more energy and motivation? When will I be a better Mormon? When will blogging be fun again? When will Rhys stop watching so much TV?

The problem was, I wasn’t being active. I wasn’t searching for a solution. I was expecting things to fall into my lap.

Thankfully, Heavenly Father was looking out for us the whole time. We had been able to save up a bit not paying rent for the first half of this year. He gave Justin a wonderful opportunity (and it’s really true what they say in the job industry–it’s all about who you know) with a job that would provide a lot of opportunities for rising as well as doing what Justin loves. We were able to find a nice apartment within our means close to stores, malls, church, restaurants, and Justin’s job.

This move has been the perfect time for me to step back, re-evaluate myself and my mission for this year, and hit reset.

Moving two weeks ago was difficult–Justin and his brother drove the truck from Utah to Texas, Rhys and I flew out the last day, and we spent 12 hours (most of it sleeping) with Justin before dropping him off at the airport. He’s been doing training out of state the past 5 weeks, and still has 2 more to go. I had to unpack myself–pregnant, with a 2 year old, in a new state, without friends or family. Most days went well–my Type A and anxiety motivated me to get the house to a liveable standard. Some days were very hard–I felt so trapped and lonely and had a bad case of the green monster seeing others’ apartments and living situations. (Be forewarned–this is our living quarters for now…unpacked but not necessarily set up. It’s real and it’s raw. No photoshop. Also, those are NOT beer bottles–they are root beer and birch beer. Justin collects them.)

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However, throughout all of that, I made sure to be more intentional about my and Rhys’s life:

Every morning, whenever Rhys woke up, we would cuddle in my bed while he drank a bottle. He knows that I do scripture reading in the morning, so if I don’t start, he crawls over me to the bedstand, grabs my scriptures and my devotional book and puts them on my lap. Starting each morning studying the Word of Christ really helped (even if sometimes it was hard to concentrate over Rhys watching Disney Jr on my phone).

I made sure to have breakfast with Rhys at the table–not the TV–every morning. We both would get dressed (even if “doing my hair” meant wearing a headband and a ponytail). I even made a point to brush Rhys’s teeth.

Cleaning up messes as they were made and adhering to Gretchen Rubin’s rule of “if it takes less than 3 minutes, do it”. Yes, we watched a lot of TV as I unpacked, but I also made sure to turn it off every now and then and play with Rhys. We’ve explored our new town, going to the mall to play on the playground almost every day. We’ve walked around our apartment complex getting fresh air. I’ve napped when Rhys has napped, and felt refreshed afterwards.

We make dinner together, and dance to music while we do it. Dinner is at the table while Facetiming either my mom or Justin. Then, we swim in the pool. After Rhys goes to bed, I have some more FaceTime with Justin and make a point to read at least 30 minutes before going to bed.

Numerous times throughout the day, I try very hard to keep Christ in my mind–all He’s given me, all the Grace I’ve had, all the gifts I can be thankful for, all the peace I have in my life. When I’ve felt very down the past two weeks, I’ve knelt down and poured my heart out to Him, even if Rhys is climbing over me trying to figure out what I’m doing. And, it has helped tremendously. Probably the most important thing. He has blessed me with Rhys. Rhys has taken such good care of me only as a two-year old can. When I was having a panic attack and crying my eyes out, he brought me his special blanket and popped a pacy in my mouth. When he’s seen me sad and downtrodden, he’s given me many kisses on the lips and hugs. His smiles and cuddles and laughs lift my soul. He wants so badly to help with the chores around the apartment. I could go on. Christ has shown Himself helping me through my son.

It started raining the other day while Rhys and I were on our way to Chick-fil-A for dinner. Hard, Texas rain. With lightening. I loved it. I was so excited for it. And, it brought immense happiness and peace to my heart. I thanked Heavenly Father right then and there silently. Then, I thought to myself, I should have a teaching moment with Rhys. I told him that Jesus gave us the rain and we like rain. I told him to say “Thank you Jesus for the rain.” And, in his gibberish, he did. That was a great night.

So, here I am, in the middle of the year, re-evaluating and hitting reset, just like Danica of Danikan Skywalker is.

This is the start-over that I need. With Christ at the front of my mind, and my son being my main priority, and the determination to be a supportive wife, I feel that I can keep up with my mission statement for this year.

Ever day is a new day. It is never too late to start again. It is never to late to set reset. You can do it and so can I.

[ctt title=”Every day is a new day. Don\’t be afraid to hit reset. @themorrelltale” tweet=”Every day is a new day. Don’t be afraid to hit reset. @themorrelltale” coverup=”1Z1M4″]

Tayler from The Morrell Tale.com

Tayler is a work at home mom. She does free lance articles and dabbles in graphic design and virtual assisting for bloggers. She spent 3 years as a history and English teacher. Her passions are her husband, two children, history, reading, nature, and her Savior, Jesus Christ.