Tag Archives: year in review

2017 in Review

A review of the lives of the Morrells in 2017.

 

This year. It definitely was better than last year, but it went way too fast. I mean, my baby girl is already one year old! How did that happen? We did a lot of traveling (local or back to Utah), got used to being a family of four, paid off a car, got a reliable and steady work-at-home-job, and more. So, on to one of my favorite posts of the year–2017 in review.

A review of the lives of the Morrells in 2017. Continue Reading

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.

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.

2015 in Review

I still cannot believe that this year is already over. It has seriously been one of the absolute fastest years I have ever experienced. It has also been one of the most stressful and anxious years as I came to learn more about myself. So, here is 2015 in review.

2015 In Review...all that happened, important posts, and recipes

January

January 2015 came with a sense of renewal for me. I was excited to move ahead and get myself where I wanted to be. I decided to do monthly goals this year with an overarching word. I started to really get into my blog and think about where I wanted to take it. I decided that I was going to go against the grain, and not be an expert in anything or find a niche. I decided to “un-brand” my blog. And, going with that sense of renewal, I decided to start defending my Mormon religion online by proclaiming that Mormons are Christians.

 

 

February

My goal for February 2015 was to focus more on my religion. I tried to participate more in Church, started a scripture journal and began over with the Old Testament. I shared my favorite scripture and what Mormons believe. We celebrated my birthday and Valentine’s Day by going to Tucanos as usual–I love Tucanos! I also began to get chronic bronchitis that would plague me for a few months! Rhys even got very sick, and we basically spent a week sleeping on the couch and his swing, waking up multiple times during the night. His sleeping through the night was thrown out the window.

 

 

March

I really had a cooking bug in March and came up with quite a few recipes. I also started trying to use my DSLR to practice my food photography. My students started really trying my patience, as well as Rhys, who was developing quite quickly. I tried to focus more on the little things that I absolutely loved about being a parent. Justin talked about his daily life and why he loves March. We discovered Rhys’s royal Celtic heritage while doing genealogy. And, that chronic bronchitis was kicking my butt!

 

 

April

The beginning of the month was General Conference, Easter, and Spring Break. We were able to spend it with both my family and Justin’s. This was a busy month–at school, we were trying to do state standardized testing, SAGE, as well as other projects. During this stressful time, I was definitely thankful for my favorite students. I had a lot of grading to do and wasn’t as consistent in content-based blogging this month. Again, that chronic bronchitis kicked my trash.

 

 

May

May was a very wet month–it rained almost every single day! It didn’t help my mood in addition to the chronic bronchitis, a toddler who was refusing to eat because he had discovered his agency, and my students who decided they were done trying in school this year. We made the decision to help me focus on my mental health and my job as a mother that I would not return to teaching the next year. I thought a lot about sleep training. I thought about children and behavior and what I like in them.  Rhys began walking! We celebrated Memorial Day weekend by taking my dad out for traditional Japanese ramen (it was his birthday and he had served an LDS mission in Japan). We also took advantage of the weekend of no rain by going to park every day. Oh, and the rain and wind caused a tree from the city park to fall on and total our old car, leaving us with only one car. Thankfully, the city gave us more than the car was worth and we were able to pay off a lot of medical bills.

 

 

June

During my last week teaching, I thought a lot about what I would miss and wouldn’t miss about teaching. I began my transition into being a stay-at-home-mother, and it was a whole heck of a lot harder than I thought it would be. I didn’t realize how much I had missed and appreciated those 5 hours of not taking care of a baby, even if I was dealing with preteens. My anxiety began to reach a breaking point. For my mother’s birthday, I decided to honor her with 15 lessons she taught me, as I have been more and more grateful for her as I am now a new mother. During Father’s Day weekend, Rhys and I went up to Idaho with my parents to visit with my dad’s side of the family. Once again, I defended my religion when I heard the SCOTUS decision on legalizing gay marriage.

 

 

July

Rhys turned one years old, so I shared the tips, tricks, and hacks I learned from my year of motherhood. Justin also had a birthday, and again, we celebrated true to form by going to Tucanos. Rhys’s favorite part was the Brazilian lemonade. I went to my doctor and got an inhaler for my chronic bronchitis and was diagnosed officially with mild asthma, as well as mild PPD and anxiety stress disorder and was given prescriptions for all three. Both Justin and my laptops broke, so I went on a month long hiatus of blogging. We went to Bear Lake with Justin’s family, and honestly, it was great therapy for me. We three had the times of our lives.

 

 

August

August was full of enjoying being a mother without the distractions of electronics, since we still hadn’t replaced our laptops. I also did a whole ton of reading. I started to get jealous  nostalgic of my teacher friends who were decorating their classrooms and preparing their curriculum. We bought a bike trailer so we could buckle in Rhys and I could bike all over, since we only had one car. We celebrated our 3rd anniversary by leaving Rhys with my parents and spending the weekend to ourselves at home. We also got our first set of family pictures, ever.

 

 

September

I began tutoring a student in SAT prep, making pretty good money. I also started looking for other types of working at home situations. I joined Swagbucks, and have hardly done anything with it, and signed up with Elance, searching for some jobs. I opened up about my trial of faith I had during the summer, and was grateful for the book One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp. Rhys and I created a routine for day to day. Blogging-wise, I began to be a little consistent, trying to find my style in pinnable images. I also noticed all my blogger friends going to Snapchat, but I held firm in my determination to not use SnapChat.

 

 

October

October was a very warm month for Utah. It was still in the 80s and 90’s most days. Rhys and I went on a lot of bike rides, to the park often, and spent a lot of lunches with my parents (who both work about 15 minutes from our house).  Justin and I got gym memberships for Vasa and I tag-teamed with Sharlee to talk about 6 Ways to Love Your Body. Rhys started loving “helping” me with chores so I shared some tips on how to have toddlers help with chores. I went to a Blogging Sleepover and felt completely renewed and content with my blog. Rhys dressed up as Luigi for Justin’s work trick-or-treating, and a doctor for our church’s trunk-or-treating. We spent Halloween with Justin’s brother’s family because our nephew was getting baptized, and we wanted Rhys to trick-or-treat with his cousins.

 

 

November

I started working as a virtual assistant for an online health and body coach, helping her create monthly newsletters, as well as transferring her Instagram posts to be blog posts, and creating pinnable images. I also decided to work on NaNoWriMo since I wasn’t working. But, I sucked at it! My blog turned 6 years old. I wrestled with my thoughts and feelings on the LDS Church’s new policy concerning children of homosexual families. Brad Wilcox’s book, Continuous Conversion became my all time favorite religious book. We said goodbye to my 18 year old brother for 2 years as he left to go on a 2 year proselytizing LDS mission.We spent Thanksgiving Break with my family, eating and eating and eating and eating. Rhys also played in the snow for the first time in his life, and he loved it!

 

 

December

We were greated with cold weather, finally, and snow–a lot of snow. Rhys helped me to create this year’s DIY ornament. I also helped to launch the new LDS women’s devotional and scripture study website, She Teaches Fearlessly. I talk about our mission here. My back and neck have been bugging me a lot and have been very painful recently. After receiving bad new about a potential new job opportunity for Justin, we made the big decision that we will not renew our renting contract for our townhome, and to move into my parent’s basement in mid-January until we feel confident about our finances again. Rhys had his first flight when we traveled to Georgia to spend Christmas with Justin’s parents. It was wonderful!

 

 

I am looking forward to next year and the adventures we will have!

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.

Top Posts of 2015

Blogging this year has been so much fun for me.  I’ve gotten a lot of engagement on a lot of my posts. I have learned a lot of things this year. And, I have loved quite a few of my posts. So, I’ve decided to make a few lists of the top posts of 2015. *There may be some overlap*

Top Posts of 2015 for The Morrell Tale

Top 10 Posts for 2015
1) Lessons from Disney’s Hunchback of Notre Dame ** This is actually a post from 2013! It’s amazing that it’s still getting a ton of views!
2) Lessons from Disney’s Tarzan **Ditto!
3) 6 Ways to Un-brand Your Blog
4) Missing going back to school and giveaway
5) Why I Won’t Use Snapchat
6) My Trial of Faith
7) Lessons from Disney’s Lion King
8) Monthly goals for 2015
9) What do Mormons Believe?
10) eShakti dress review

Top Posts for Each Month
January — 6 Ways to Un-brand Your Blog
February — What Do Mormons Believe?
March — Rhys is the Long-lost King of the Celts
April — Get Fit Thursdays // Meal Planning
May — Why I’m Not Teaching Next Year
June — How We Wore It // Casual Wear
July — Baby Tips, ricks, and Hacks
August — Missing back to school and Giveaway
September — My Trial of Faith
October — Lessons from Disney’s Hunchback of Notre Dame
November — Reminiscing and Favorite Things Giveaway
December — The Future of this Blog

My Favorites (in no particular order)
What Do Mormons Believe?
6 Ways to Un-brand Your Blog
Renewal
Why the World Needs More Bingley’s and Why I Married One
8 Ways to Encourage Your Kids
Love, Marriage, and Religion
My Trial of Faith
Why I Won’t Use SnapChat
6 Ways to Love Your Body
5 Tips for Having Toddlers Do Chores

My Favorite Recipes (in no particular order)
Semi-Southern Chicken and Dumplings
Orange Rosemary Chicken
Cilantro-Lime Fish Tacos
Brazilian Style Fish Stew

What was your favorite post from The Morrell Tale this year? Also, leave a link to your favorite post that you wrote this year for me to read!

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.

7 Blogging Lessons from 2015

I have learned absolutely a ton about blogging this year. I’d love to share these lessons with you.

Seven lessons I learned with blogging this time. I spent more time on my blog this year than ever before.

 

Collaboration is the Best

When you decide to work with another blogger to gain exposure, collaborate posts work best. Rather than guest posting, or sharing on social media, or even having the same content on both blogs, have half a post and your partner has the other half. That way, both of you will get traffic from each other. Also, group collaborations, like How We Wore It, is really fun because not only does it create traffic for all involved, but it is a fun way to get and keep new friends.

 

You Don’t Have To Spend Money for Graphics

I don’t use the membership on PicMonkey, I don’t have a subscription to a stock graphic site, and I didn’t buy PhotoShop. But, my graphic skills have developed throughout the year as I took more time and patience with PicMonkey and discovered other sites as well. Currently, I’m loving the free BeFunky Graphic Designer site.

 

Facebook Groups are Nice, But…

I’ve gotten involved with a lot of Facebook groups for bloggers, but honestly, aside from small stat and comment spikes every blue moon, they haven’t really been very useful in growing my blog. They have been useful for blogging/social media questions, but I haven’t really built relationships or community out of them. This is just on a majority. There are a few more tribe-like groups I’m a part of, and those benefit me more.

 

There are a lot of Christian Bloggers

I knew there were a lot of Mormon bloggers out there, but I’ve recently discovered the huge population of Christian bloggers. I love it because I don’t feel as awkward or overly religious anymore when I post religious posts. I also get a lot of comments on them because quite a few of my followers are Christian.

 

Remember the Why

Earl in the year, I was fed up with all the bloggers saying you needed to find your niche and you needed to be an expert in something if you wanted to survive in the blogesphere. I decided to go against the grain and “un-brand” my blog. During the Blogger Sleepover Soiree I went to a few months ago, this idea was brought back to me. What is my “why” for blogging? It is because 1) I want to because I thoroughly enjoy it, and 2) I love the friendships I make through it and want to build on that community. That is going to become my mission for blogging in 2016. I’m super excited for the ideas I have for this little space.

 

You Don’t Have to Do EVERYTHING

I’m not on Periscope or SnapChat. I don’t have a Pinterest-worthy image in every post. Not all of my posts are content-heavy. I’m not involved in campaign groups or affiliate programs. I don’t blog about the most popular issues. I don’t have a newsletter, nor do I have perfect photos. I don’t post every weekday (although I mostly do), and I don’t always have content-heavy posts. My blog isn’t necessarily continually growing. But, that’s ok. I’m learning, I’m expanding, I’m creating friendships, I’m remembering the “why”, and I’m still enjoying it. you don’t have to be perfect with everything to be a good blogger.

 

Just Because You are Consistent Doesn’t Mean Your Numbers Are

Even if you do post on your different platforms consistently, it doesn’t mean that you will get consistent or even greater views. Does that mean you shouldn’t blog consistently or often? No. I have a ton of ideas that I want to write, so I will. Remember your “why.”

 

What did you learn this year about blogging?
 

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.