Favorite Posts, On My Mind

Peace, 2013.

Good gracious. Another year down…another HUGE year.  2013 was the biggest year in my life. Filled with many ups and downs, but as always, we came out with the ups significantly out weighing the downs 🙂

let’s do a little recap, yeah?

We finally found a little townhouse that we felt good about.  We were in the process of buying it and my Mom came down and we went over so I could show her it.  We walked into a house that had been flooded, EVERYWHERE!  It was a mess.  Obviously this threw off closing on the house by quite awhile.  It ended up being a blessing in disguise though because we ended up getting new floors, paint, counter tops, furnace, dishwasher, and roof all for free!  Ended up making our townhouse a SUPER good deal.

Random January Drive up Kolob Canyon.

One of the biggest moments of the year happened a couple days after Valentines day…I found out I was pregnant!! You can read about that HERE.  We also had my baby brother and cousin come and stay with us for a weekend which led to some ‘winter sports’ up Cedar Canyon:

The 3 pregnancy tests I took and the one I made Nate take 🙂

The title to our house!!!!
putting in our wood floors.

March was a fun month.  I had my 2 week long spring break, we announced that I was pregnant, went to San Fransico for track meets/my birthday (I turned the big 23), and my school moved to a new building and I didn’t have to be in a trailer anymore!

my classroom

San Fran with my Man.
We announced we were having a baby on Easter (March 31st) “Our Egg will be hatching…”


Not too much happened in April.  Just work and Nate went to lots of track meets and left me home 🙁 But the weather started getting better so I spent lots of time outside running and hanging out.  Towards the end of April is when I really started to feel better as far as pregnancy goes.

Nate eliminating my pregnancy craving.  Apple Juice was my biggest craving!
first pregnancy pic taken! I think I was 13 weeks here.

This month we found out that we were having a baby BOY!  I very slightly rooting for a girl, but the couple weeks leading up to the appointment I felt like it was a boy, so I wasn’t surprised when there was a little pickle between 2 legs 🙂  Now that I have my baby boy I can’t imagine having a girl first! (even though I still want a little girl 🙂 )  Other than finding out the gender, Nate kept leaving me for track meets and we tried to enjoy as much time outside!

20 Weeks Along!

on my walk around campus one weekend that Nate was gone


June was our month of travels!  We were gone almost every weekend camping and then the last week of June we flew to Victoria, British Columbia in Canada.  You can read about Canada HERE.  I am so thankful that Nate and I got to have awesome summer adventures/vacations before this little babe came 🙂

Quick trip up to Cedar Breaks with our good friends Tanner & Chole
Bryce Canyon
Bryce Canyon
Bryce Canyon
Angels Landing Hike…at 5.5 Months pregnant.

BEAUTIFUL Victoria Island

They had TONS of wineries and Cidery.  This is at a Cidery

our little cabin we stayed in right on the beach

Nate’s place he REALLY wanted to go to…

The whole reason we went to Canada – Cam & Lizzy’s wedding! 🙂

July was another jam packed month!  We put on the second annual Tour de Run and went to Lake Powell with Nate’s family (you can read about both HERE).  We tried to become fishers and just had lots of fun times with our families!  I was really sad when July was over and I headed back to work (I had July and half of August off for my summer break)  Summer 2013 was an AWESOME one.  

oh, I forgot to mention…Nate was a ‘Duck Dynasty’ man over the summer…haha.

watching a storm from the top of our house boat

Pretty sums up my whole Lake Powell trip.

we spent LOTS of time on the kayaks.

putt-putting on the tube…they wouldn’t even go fast enough for the tube to level out haha. oh pregnancy.
August was the return to work for me and the month that I hit 30 weeks and pregnancy got real.  My best friend, Christa, and my Mom and Sisters threw me an awesome baby shower.  Followed by 3 other baby showers by people in my ward, Nate’s family, and the SUU track team.  I seriously felt SO loved by everyone and their generosity and service towards me and our family.  I cried all the time about it 🙂  Thanks everyone!!
Baby Shower via Christa, My Mom, and Sisters
the best of bests.

September was a loooong month. With each passing day I became more and more anxious/excited to meet my little baby!  I finally did lots of ‘baby stuff’ and by the end of September, we were pretty much ready for baby boy to come…which made me even more anxious for him to come!  Luckily we had some fun things to keep us occupied….My Mom, Sisters, & I took our annual California trip.  We go and watch Jasmyn race in Riverside and then spend the rest of the weekend going to the beach, visiting grandparents, and just being ‘the girls’.  
crib skirt I made
visiting Lake Arrowhead and seeing my Mom’s old stomping grounds

Letters from my Baby shower! they look way cute in his room 🙂
37 weeks! Full term!

October 15, 2013 – 8:14 pm – Ames Anthony Houle 🙂
one week before Ames came Nate took me up the Canyon to see fall…something I really wanted to do…so glad we did!

39 weeks – 2 days before he came….so done being pregnant!

So little!

As mentioned on the blog (HERE) the first month or so was kinda a rough go for both me and the babe.  He lost a pound the first 2 weeks of his life and was not a happy camper…which lead me to not be a happy camper.  However, the better and better he did, the better and better I did.  November felt like a really long month because of all the adjustments but even through all of it, I have never felt so much love in my entire life.  Not only love for Ames, but love for Nate and my families.  And I received so much love from everyone, Ames, and my Father in Heaven.  I didn’t expect to feel so loved myself.  But I love it…get it!? haha.  Seriously though, my testimony in God’s love and in the Plan of Salvation was strengthened soooo much and continues to be strengthened each day.  We ended November with Thanksgiving up North with my family and then a quick trip down to St. George.  After he was born till mid-end November was the most challenging, but amazing time of my life.
One of his first smiles.  He started smiling at 4 weeks…which made my whole life better 🙂

I went and hung out with my sister for a little one night and came home to this. heart melt. (and yes, Ames does sleep with his eyes open sometimes. creeper.)
That one night that I sat and just watched him sleep for like an hour.

The result of playing too hard at the turkey bowl on Thanksgiving.
I ran my first race post baby on Thanksgiving….5k in 21:10. I felt really good & probably could have gone a little faster but I had no idea how to pace myself and didn’t want to over do it.  Us old out-of-shape post-collegiates were still good enough to bring home a pie & turkey!
again, heart melt. Ames LOVES sleeping on his Dad 🙂
I had to go back to work in this month and it was super bittersweet.  I love my work and coworkers but I couldn’t stand leaving my baby.  It felt really good to get out and use my mind but I kept filling unsure if working was the right thing.  I kept trying to convince myself that working wasn’t selfish and that it would make me a better Mom because I was taking some ‘me’ time.  Really, I just didn’t want to leave work because I really do enjoy it and love the people I work with.  But when we got out for Christmas break I had a couple nights where I couldn’t sleep very well.   And at 3:00 in the morning I realized I was feeling so unsettled because I was working. I realized that the sleeping baby boy in his pack n’ play next to me needs ME to be the one with him all day everyday.  And even more so, I need him!  I felt like I was short changing him and myself for not being there for him 100%.  I realized that this time in my life isn’t about me.  It isn’t about having a plush savings account.  It isn’t about having an established career.  It is all about a little dude that smiles so big at me every morning when I get him out of bed. Even though some days can seem super long  being home alone with him, I know that what everyone is telling me is probably going to be true: he’ll grow up way too fast.  So, I made the SUPER hard decision to ‘retire’ and stay at home with my little man so I can be there to watch him grow.  I have cried multiple times already about ‘retiring’ but since I made that decision and told my boss I have felt so relived.  Relieved…but nervous!  I feel kinda guilty about being nervous about being a stay-at-home Mom…but I have always been a very active person so I feel like I might go crazy being at home so much.  All you stay-at-home Moms out there…PLEASE give me the 411 on what keeps you sane!  Obviously I am going to love being with my baby…but, well, I think you guys know what I mean 🙂 Anyway – December 2013 was the month that I retired at the age of 23.

P.S. December was, of course, filled with awesome holiday activities.  We were able to go up North and stay with our families for 2 weeks and I loved every minute of it.  We got to play in some soccer games, go to the Melting Pot with Nate’s family, play lots of card/board games, spend hours talking, and just hanging out with some of the coolest people I know.  And we ended it with blessing our baby boy!  It was an awesome holiday season.

oh and P.P.S. we bought a new car! 2011 Chevy Equinox 🙂 We bought it from a dealership in Chicago and Nate had to drive home after flying there from Florida (he was there for a coaching convention). NBD, right? 🙂

phew, December, you were a big one!  Big month to end a big year!

playing too hard

big enough for the bumbo! 

the new ride.
All of the 9 (plus one on the way!) grand kids on the Houle side.
Christmas Carols
Last 4 grandkids have all been boys…and the one on the way is a boy!  It’s going to be a crazy time when they are all 2 & 3 years old 🙂
Cutting down our Christmas Tree!
blessing day! Ames was hungry and so not in the mood for pictures.

2013 was a great one, to say the least.  The biggest life-changing year to date, but all of the changes have only made me a better person.  I’m sure 2014 will hold some big adventures for us & I can’t wait.  But thanks, 2013, for being rad.  Peace.