Tag Archives: happy

Focusing on the Small and Making the Most of Life

Last weekend, Justin and I took a Babymoon. It was a nice, relaxing night away, full of missed opportunities that could’ve ruined it, but it didn’t.
I do have the say that one thing Justin and I are pretty good at as a team is making the most of things and focusing the small things to make our days together better.

by making the best of all things we make the most of ourselves

Originally, our plan was to spend a whole weekend at a very nice Bed and Breakfast in Kamas. We’d have a whole suite to ourselves, enjoy the nature, and explore the old part of town. But…Justin’s International Folk Dance team performance was smack dab in the middle of Saturday. With our busy schedules of teaching, finishing college, weddings, and other big events, it was the only weekend we could go. So, we decided to get a 1 night package at the Radisson in Salt Lake. We chose a “Bed and Breakfast” package.
We wanted to spend as much time in Salt Lake as possible, but Justin’s dance performance started later than we anticipated. Instead of focusing on lost time, I was enjoying the fact that I was able to watch my husband dance and enjoy himself. (As well as hang with my parents who wanted to see their son-in-law perform.)

When we got home and loaded the car, we were excited to get to Salt Lake quickly. But, before we even got to the half-way point, we heard about a major crash near Salt Lake that was causing 1 hour+ delays on I-15! It should only take 40 minutes to get to Salt Lake, but this would’ve caused us to spend 2+ hours in traffic. Well, we knew of a back road route behind Lehi, that follows the Front Runner route, so we took that drive. It was a little out of the way, but it really only added about 10 minutes to the drive. We considered it an adventure and enjoyed the scenery.

Make the most of life.

After we checked into the hotel, we were surprised with a coupon book for the City Creek Center Mall. We were excited to use it (as well as hopefully do some shopping for Rhys and I). We headed over and started looking at shops…no maternity shops, and the one baby store didn’t have anything we really liked for newborn boys. Also, the coupon book wasn’t that useful as we weren’t planning on shopping in expensive stores. Instead, we enjoyed just walking around and window shopping. Not that big of a deal if we didn’t end up spending money.

We had dinner at the Cheesecake Factory. We loved it the last (and first) time we went, so we knew it’d be fun again. We got there just barely before the dinner rush and only had to wait less than 10 minutes to get seated! Awesome! We found an entree we really wanted to eat (their entrees are huge, so we split them and then just get 2 slices of cheesecake). But, they were out of ingredients for that. So, instead, we just went with our 2nd choice and decided to add an appetizer to it. The food was still delicious and the waitress was very good, so we still enjoyed it.

We went back to the hotel to drop off our Cheesecake for later, and then headed to the Gateway Mall. We found a maternity store and I started trying on maternity jeans (I am in desperate need of maternity pants). Then, I noticed the tags…the cheapest was $150!!! No FREAKING WAY IN HEAVEN would I EVER spend that much on a pair of jeans that I’d only be wearing for the next 3 1/2 months! That was the only maternity store, so once again, we left empty-handed. There were no baby stores, so we couldn’t get anything for Rhys. I was starting to feel down. Then, we headed over to the theatre to see if there were any movies we’d want to see. There weren’t. And I was getting tired–mentally, emotionally, physically, because of the pregnancy. So, we sat down a bit. I was disappointed. We couldn’t really shop like we anticipated, we couldn’t see a movie we wanted, we had brought nothing to entertain ourselves in the hotel room because we hadn’t expected to have to entertain ourselves, and this was the only night for our Babymoon.


As we sat, we saw many teenagers in prom attire, facing the cold wind that started blowing. The sun was setting. I started to realize, it’s ok. We aren’t a fancy couple, we aren’t an extravagant couple. We are here to take a breather from life. We wanted to get out of Provo and we did. We didn’t want to bring electronics with us and we didn’t. We were outside and enjoying walking around Salt Lake with each other. That was what mattered–we were enjoying time with each other that we typically don’t get without homework, family, grading, or laptops distracting us.

We got up and went to Barnes and Noble because it’s a book store and we have to it’s my weakness. We looked at baby books for the fun of it and saw some cute baby journals. We also looked at the board games, just to see what they had. And we found Rummikub, one of the games Justin and I love the most, but don’t own! It was a good price, so we bought it. We decided we could play it in the hotel room! We were really excited that we had something to entertain ourselves with!

In the hotel room, we sat up the bed with cheesecake, Rummikub, and turned on the TV, which happened to be showing The Goonies, one of Justin’s favorite movies. It was very fun to play and eat. Afterward, we went down to the indoor pool. I was cold the whole time, but we still had fun–we hadn’t gone swimming since August! Justin then went into the hot tub. I desperately wanted to, I love hot tubs. But I didn’t for Rhys’s sake. After a bit, we headed back up to the room for pajamas, then headed downstairs to the lobby to get some Starbucks hot chocolate…but, they had closed up shop. I was sad–I was looking forward to Starbucks hot chocolate all evening. But, I decided it was ok and I’d get some in the morning.

The Happiest People Don't Have The Best of Everything

We had planned to have breakfast at the buffet in the morning, then go the Music and the Spoken Word at Temple Square. But, Justin wasn’t feeling too well. So, although I really wanted to go, we stayed in the hotel. We turned on the TV an watched Jumanji and Hook while cuddling. We hadn’t laid in bed, cuddling for a long, long time considering I leave early in the morning. So, it was very relaxing and definitely needed.

So, although things may fall through, or there may be hiccups in life, always try to find the positive side to it. Focus on the small and make the most of it. I love being married to Justin for that–he makes it so easy for me to do.

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.

Why I Love a Clean Home

~ The peace it brings knowing that I don’t have to clean
~ The peace it brings knowing I won’t be embarrassed by visitors
~ How much brighter it makes the home look
~ How much bigger our apartment looks
~ I can actually light a candle and enjoy it
~ We have clean dishes that can be used
~ I can sprawl on the floor
~ It doesn’t look so much like a college apartment
~ I know what clean clothes there are
~ I don’t feel I’m suffocating because of the amount of dust
~ There’s an unexplainable relaxing feeling
Justin likes clean houses because:
“Open houses=open minds”
“If the house is cluttered, you’re mind feels cluttered”
As a full-time working wife with a full-time student with a part-time working husband, we are hardly ever home. When we do get home, it is dinner time. We are hungry and tired. We relax as best as we can before hitting the books again. There is hardly anytime to put away clothes or wash dishes. It adds to the stress of our week. And it continues until the weekend when we do marathon cleanings. 
But, doing that and finishing all lesson plans, and grading (or homework for Justin) is a lot to do on a weekend. Weekends are supposed to be relaxing!
Which is why, now, our goal for the week is to not have anymore than a 2-day mess. We are starting slowly and will work our way up to being clean all day every day.
Wish us luck! I really like our small apartment when it is clean!

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.

Lessons From the First Year

As of yesterday, Justin and I have been married for one full year.
We met August 2011. Started dating October 2011 after I gave him a lot of crap about not wanting to date anyone. He proposed March 2012 and we were married for all time and eternity August 3, 2012.
We are currently (thank you scheduled posts) having the time of our lives during our first anniversary–post to come. But, this past week, we have given some serious thought to our marriage–what we have gained, what we have shared, how we have grown, what we have learned. 
Justin is very quiet and stoic. Yes, he is socially apt and active and can sometimes be the most animated and enthusiastic person in the room, but he’s a thinker. Justin will think things through before talking, especially if they’re serious. He’ll keep things to himself unless he feels it’s important enough for others to take note or worry about. He is also the more grown-up of us two and will hold his tongue so I can win or if he thinks he’ll just cause more tension between us.
Justin is a very hard worker. Justin hates school–he hates the system and the expectations and not being able to see instant results. But, he tries his absolute best for me and our future family. He thrives at work because he knows he’s doing it well and is rewarded for doing it well. 
Justin is very tender-hearted. Although he has promised he will never watch Titanic with me and hates chick-flicks, he is still very tenderhearted. He loves me through the depths of his soul and beyond. He loves little kids to the point where he has already made plans to kidnap his 3 year old nephew. I have seen how he acts with his nieces and nephews and I know he will be an amazing father. He also melts when a scene in a show or movie or picture includes a kid and their stuffed animal. I love that about him.
Justin is one of the most generous people I know. He is always willing to do service and help others. When we have friends visiting, he is more than willing to pay their share of the meal or activity. He always talks to those whom I wouldn’t talk to (like some of the weird people who have moved into our apartment complex)–he feels that they may not have anyone else talking to them and wants to show them someone will listen to what they have to say. Justin will always immediately drop whatever he is doing and give a blessing or perform an act of service to those who are in need of it.
Justin has the most heart-melting smile. His smile fills his whole face and shines through his eyes. I have always loved his smile and ever since the first time he smiled at me, my heart skips a beat.
Justin makes puppy-eye faces when he looks at me and then says, almost pouting, “I love you.”
Whenever he thinks or concentrates hard, his forefinger rests on his temple and his thumb is under his chin.

I complain/whine too much. It is one of my favorite things to do. I do it even when there is no real need. Not only does it get on Justin’s nerves, but it also is getting on mine, too!
I need to unplug/stop grading sometimes. Our first few months were very hard because not only was I a newly wed, but I was a new teacher, and just starting to become a serious blogger. Balancing everything was hard and sometimes I didn’t give Justin the attention he deserved and needed. But, throughout the year, I got better at learning to quit grading and we’ve made standards of when I should unplug.
I am lazy. Justin has always warned me about how lazy he is, but I am, too, by asking him to get me stuff. Justin jokes that if I am in the kitchen and he is in the bedroom, I’ll ask him to get me a drink of water. It’s not that bad, I promise, but I have caught myself quite a few times and decided to get it myself.
I feel I still have to find the balance between being a nagger and not delegating/asking Justin to help. We all have a picture of ourselves as an ideal wife. But, we aren’t–it’s just “ideal.” Justin doesn’t expect me to keep up with my lessons and grading, come home straight after school, clean the house, have dinner made, and an empty schedule for the night. That’s near impossible. But I feel that way sometimes. I am still learning that it is ok to ask Justin to do a load of dishes, pick up his pants, or even scrub the tub! But, in my mind, I still hesitate because he is a full-time student and works 25 hours a week. How do you handle that balance of delegating and not being a nag?
Tayler is forgiving and patient.  Despite any attempt to say how impatient she is, she remains a very understanding and long-suffering individual, at least when it comes to me.
Tayler perseveres through her goals. As soon as she has her heart set on something, she will stop at nothing to attain it.
Tayler seriously underestimated the amount of food I eat….only half joking.
Tayler is terrible at lying.  That comes either when she says the infamous “i’m fine” or when it comes to planning a surprise.  She carries her emotions on her sleeves and is very easy to read.  That also applies to positive emotions too.  When she’s happy, everyone knows it, hence being terrible at hiding surprises.
Crying Patterns.  Whenever she is hurt, or sad, or tired, she starts crying from her left eye first.  When she’s overjoyed, it starts from her right eye.
Tayler is very detailed.  There must always be specifics.  Even down to the last tsp of oil in a brownie mix.  She is infinitely better at explaining details than I am.  However, I tell the story better…
Despite my utter disdain for it, I tend to deal in absolutes.  I can’t watch a TV show or movie part way and finish it later, and I struggle with doing homework, as I feel I need to get it all done in one bout, and if I feel I don’t have the time to do that, I’ll do it later when I feel I have the time.  Sometimes, that includes taking out the trash….
I need to see results for my efforts.  I mean, who doesn’t? However, I have noticed I try a lot less at something if I know I won’t likely see the results of my labors.  Sometimes, it boils down to the “Honey can you do the dishes?”  Why bother?  They’ll just get dirty later in the day.  I can do it then….right?
I really don’t stress out.  What I often mistake for sheer apathy is my tendency to not worry about much.  I figure things will work out once certain actions are done, and if nothing can be done about it I tend to not think about it.  This really contrasts how Tayler views/does things.  She’s gotten after me for “not caring enough” about something.  Clearly, we need to find some kind of balance.
I really need to do romantic stuff…Apparently, I was a lot more romantic when we were dating.  Those same efforts may have diminished once we got married.  However, that doesn’t mean that Tayler still doesn’t need something “mushy” every once in a while.
Old Habits die hard.  All of those things I said I was gonna do/be/become when I got married?  Yeah…….about that…..I might like Fire Emblem too much.….Maybe….
Sometimes you just need space. “I don’t want to talk about it” right now doesn’t mean “I don’t want to talk about it ever.” We both need time to gather our thoughts and piece through our emotions before we confront each other.
Try to budget. Keyword=”try.” If you have a set goal of what you want to spend that month, you will end up spending less than you would’ve otherwise. Unless of course, you are both exhausted from work/school that day and go to Carl’s Jr., Pizza Pie Cafe, Sizzler, or Costa Vida for a quick dinner.
Take Time to Talk. We’ll sit and talk for hours on end (and maybe pull out the laptop for a complete list of Disney movies as we make our expansive list of characterized song subjects). We really like to go on walks Sunday evening. It’s cooler in the evening and it is a very peaceful way to conclude the weekend. We talk about anything and everything: memories, plans, religion, family, school, work, dreams, etc.
Getting Sick Sucks. It causes all sorts of worrying and you just feel helpless as your spouse coughs up a lung. Tayler got sick all the time at the beginning of the school due to being a first-time teacher in a jr. high. Then, it all passed on to Justin who already has a weakened immune system! Make sure to stock up on a lot of Vitamin C, fruit, soup, electrolytes. And don’t be afraid to ask for help from close relatives or friends! We need to do better with that.
Follow religious patterns together and have Christ be the center of the home. We are both Mormon. We were raised Mormon and our families have been Mormon for generations. It is who we are. When we first got engaged, we discussed patterns and traditions we wanted to include in our family: attend church every week, visit the temple when we could, have family scripture reading and family prayer. While we were engaged, we met with our Bishop and he talked about the “love triangle.” We are at each bottom angle and Christ and Heavenly Father are at the top. The closer we get to them, the closer we get to each other. There is a quote in The Family: A Proclamation to the World that says: “Happiness in family life is most likely to be achieved when founded upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ. Successful marriages and families are established and maintained on principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work, and wholesome recreational activities.” We are striving to that and will raise our children on these principles.
Take Time Away from Life for Each Other. Unplug from electronics every now and then. Have fun. Just because you have married your spouse, doesn’t mean that you don’t have to woo them anymore. Go on dates. Have tickle fights. Go on drives, ride bikes, play video games or board games together. Surprise each other. Have fun. Put away grading or homework for a while and do something together.

We have loved our first year of marriage. Sometimes it’s hard to believe it has already been a full year and sometimes it feels much, much longer. It has been an exciting journey to see how much more fully and deeply we love one another than we did on our wedding day, which was exponentially more when we were engaged, which was much, much more than when we were just dating.

We can’t wait to spend the rest of time and eternity together!

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.

One Year

Tomorrow is my 1st year anniversary with Justin.  We were married in the Jordan River Temple in South Jordan, Utah on Saturday, August 3, 2012. 
I realized I never really put many pictures of our engagements and wedding on the blog (all is on my Facebook page), so today, I thought I’d share a few of the favorites!
(May 12, 2012–Provo Amphitheater)

( Late July 2012–Castle Park in Lindon)

My siblings were a big help during the bridals–carrying my shoes, bouquet, and train. I am so grateful my mom asked for a picture with them!
Wedding Day!
(August 3, 2012–Jordan River Temple & the Thatcher’s Residence in Alpine)

All our friends from our apartment complex

Our adorable little nephew! Justin and I have made several plans to kidnap him.

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.

The Type of Mother I Want to Be

A blogging friend of mine, Kate from Raising the Rogers, invited me to be part of a link up today. The topic is What Kind of Mother Are You? Well, I’m not a mother yet, and Kate knows this, so she asked me to answer what type of mother I hope to be.

I’ve thought about this for numerous weeks. What type of mother do I want to be? How much do I want to be like my mother? What do I want to teach my children? What is most important to me? Then I realized something big about my own personality. My life revolves around Industry. 
Now, I don’t mean being a workaholic and making as much money as possible–that’s not what I want to instill in my children. No.
I’m thinking of Benjamin Franklin’s virtue of Industry (he has 12 others, sort of like his own Happiness Project, which I think I’ll talk about in a different post). 
“Lose no time. Be always employed in something useful. Cut off all unnecessary actions.” -Benjamin Franklin
Dictionary.com:  energetic, devoted activity at any work or task; diligence
I am talking about Franklin’s holistic view of industry. That is what I want to teach my children–to not necessarily always be doing something, but be engaged in working toward something. And, I want to teach it to the in 4 different areas (listed least important to most important).

(This is not the only thing I want to focus on as a mother, but it is what came to my mind today.)

When I first got my driver’s license at age 16, my mom handed me the keys to the car and told me to go out and search for a job. I did and I have been working ever since. My dad has always had at least one job. He taught me the determination of “pounding the pavement”  until I got the best job I could. I want to continue these teachings to my children. Because of my parent’s philosophy of working hard, I felt I could be independent, and I was. I graduated college without any debt, went on a study abroad to Great Britain, maintained a 3.8 GPA and juggled 3 jobs. All my siblings right now have a job, including my 13 year old sister who babysits. If my children can understand the importance of working and being able to rely on yourself and depend on yourself, making you independent, they will grow up that much more mature.

I want my children to grow up with the peaceful feeling of a nice, clean, organized home. Their home should be their safe spot, their refuge. I have started a series on femiology.com called “A House of Order” to help relay my ideas and knowledge of organization. But, I wouldn’t have this knowledge if my parents hadn’t taught it to me. Before kids get jobs, they need to already know how to do hard work. I learned to clean and help with chores at an early age. Of course, they were age appropriate. I didn’t start scrubbing bathrooms until I was almost in middle school. But, I learned why it is important to keep a clean house and I want to help my children understand they can be more relaxed and less stressed if their rooms are clean and the dishes are done. Then, I won’t have to worry about how they will do on their own. As a freshman in college, I had numerous roommates ask me how to do dishes or a load of laundry or how to scrub the toilet! I want my kids to know and prepared.

As a teacher who will eventually be a mom, I want my children to know that their parents only expect them to do the best they can. If that is straight A’s, wonderful. If it is C-s and D+s and they gave it the best effort they could exert, , than what more can we ask of them? I was a straight A student in grade school, but I remember in 9th grade with my first AP course, I got a D on one of my report cards (in history, no less!). I was so scared of what my parents would think and say and thus, how they would punish me. But, when my mom saw, she said, “It is ok, hon. Everyone is bound to have a bad term.” She knew how much effort I had put into the class and she wasn’t disappointed. She felt bad because how I felt, but that was all. I want to teach my children I won’t be disappointed in them if they try their best.

More than that, though, I want them to always be trying to improve themselves. As a Mormon, our family and home will be centered on Christ. We will go to church every Sunday. We will have family prayer and family scripture reading every day. I will teach them the lessons, virtues, and standards of our church and how to be a tolerant, loving Christian. But, I want them to take it into their own account as well. I want to teach my children the importance of independent daily prayers and scripture reading. I want them to know how much I love my Heavenly Father and Savior and how much I depend on them. I want them to follow that example and get to know their Heavenly Father and Savior as well as I am getting to know them.
Industry also includes hobbies and talents. And I don’t mean videogames. Yes my husband and I are gamers and yes, we will probably play videogames with our kids, but that is not being industrious. I want them to find a self-improving hobby and grow their talents. Whether it be arts and crafts, music, sports, writing, or some other talent, I want them to find their niche and I want them to shine. I want them to be diligent and determined. I want them to always be improving some aspect in their life.

I want to instill the concept that Charity is the true love of Christ. To be truly Christian, we must love and serve our brothers and sisters and neighbors. I want to somewhere, have these scriptures showing in our home:

1 Corinthians 13:4  Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up.
Moroni 7:46-47 (found in the Book of Mormon) Wherefore, my beloved brethren, if ye have not charity, ye are nothing, for charity never faileth. Wherefore, cleave unto charity, which is the greatest of all, for all things must fail—
But charity is the pure love of Christ, and it endureth forever; and whoso is found possessed of it at the last day, it shall be well with him.
I want to teach my children the importance of loving everyone and being tolerant of others. I did not grow up in Utah, being a military brat, and I met and became friends with people from all walks of life. They all have their failings, but so do I. They all have wonderful characteristics that I could only hope for. That is what I want my children to see–the good in everyone. I want my children to be willing to reach out a helping hand to someone who is hurt or in need. I want my children to be willing to make friends who can’t very easily. I want my children to be loving.
In trying to teach the concept of Industry in these 4 areas, in trying to get my children to be “always employed in something useful”, to be actively engaged, to be diligent in their doings, I feel that my children will grow up happy and successful.
After looking back at this, and looking back at Benjamin Franklin’s 11 Virtues (Temperance, Order, Resolution, Frugality, Moderation, Industry, Cleanliness, Tranquility, Silence, Sincerity, Chastity, Humility), my definition of Industry becomes a blanket term for all of these virtues. Maybe, to make it easy on myself, I’ll just read them Benjamin Franklin’s Autobiography in which he goes into detail of trying to achieve all these virtues and tell them to be like him. (I’m only half kidding, but I do think I want to read this to them and have them be aware of it, as well as the concept of a Happiness Project throughout their lives).


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.