The Birth Story

So I’m giving up on the whole blogging thing. It’s just not cohesive with my personality and feels really forced. I’m trying new ways to #sharegoodness.

But, as a last farewell, here’s a post written by my husband. We never got around to finishing it, so I’ll tell you the ending: (~SPOILER ALERT~) the baby came out.

I now turn the time over to Nathanael.

January 29, 11:00pm—We were 41 weeks. Most people would be trying every induction technique under the sun, but no, not us. Instead we got Coldstone.

This induced labor.

January 30, 3:45am—My wife wakes me up and says she’s having contractions. I say, “Okay, should we go to the hospital?” “No.” I fall back asleep. Periodically wake up and check to see if there’s a baby.

10:30am—Contractions stopped.

12:00–2:00pm—I whipped up a mean frozen pizza. We ate it while my wife cried. Contractions had resumed and were 10–15 minutes apart. Watched Princess and the Frog to prep for our move to New Orleans.

5:00pm—Watching Netflix to pass the time. We were watching a show about parents trying to live vicariously through their children.

5:15pm—Wife tells me to stop talking. She plays dead to deal with her contractions.

6:30pm—Secretly pack hospital bag so family doesn’t freak out. But then they see us leaving and freak out anyway. My father-in-law takes a picture of the moment.

7:00pm—Leave my wife in the car to get us food from Zupa’s. Wait in line hoping my wife’s water didn’t break all over the car. We eat our food on the way to the hospital and sit in the parking lot while my wife finishes hers slowly. Not exactly the hospital entrance you see in movies.

7:30–9:30pm—Sitting in a rocking chair watching another woman feelsky my wife.

9:30pm—We go back home because my wife hadn’t “progressed.”

10:00pm–January 31, 1:00am—Work on my Sunday School lesson while my wife plays dead again in a dark corner of the room every 4.5 minutes.

1:00–2:00am—Back to the hospital. Wife gets another feelsky. She is no longer playing dead—she is actually dying and asks for someone to put a needle in her back.

2:30am—My wife starts acting like she’s in Disneyland. I talk to her a little and then go over to my luxurious couch/bed that I will inhabit for the next two days. We sleep.



And that’s as far as he got. Long story short, there appeared a wriggling, giant, purple, screaming baby who grew up to be the sweet, easygoing, ridiculously pleasant Marius who is currently asleep in my arms :).

Over and out! For now…




Family, Life, Pictures


I have a baby now. This event has changed me in a lot of ways.

For example, I can no longer remember irregular past tense verbs—they get conjugated just like the rest of ’em. One time I said, “I waked up at 3am,” and Nathanael had to point out my error. The other day I said, “I already shaked it,” and I KNEW in my heart that something was wrong, but it took me an entire second to figure out what it was. That’s like a decade in editor years.

But besides that, I’ve gotten a much needed dose of humility (but obviously I have a long way too go if I’m still quantifying my own humility). I say, “Good job,” when a certain someone toots instead of reprimanding him. A smile has become the most wonderful thing on the planet.

I’ve never been a fan of newborns, but I am a fan of this one!! Not to mention the man holding him.

M and N

Trying in vain to get him to look in the mirror instead of at the lights.

Marius faces
Everyone should be a mom. And if you can’t be a mom, be a dad.

I mean, it’s a struggle sometimes but a good struggle. It just wouldn’t make sense if keeping another human being alive and teaching them everything (we’re talking everything, people) they need to know weren’t at least a little hard. However, hard things yield greater rewards. I’m thinking exercise, reading scriptures every day, peeling fresh garlic, dating, practicing a skill, detangling curly hair, making friends in a new place, acquiring Christlike attributes, getting through the Waterloo chapter in Les Mis, etc. etc.

Okay, you get the idea. The end.

Family, Gospel

Family History: From Frustration to Success

Week 0: Initial Thoughts

I know family history is important, because our leaders keep mentioning it over and over again. But how the heck do you do family history? If old ladies can figure it out, surely I can. What if my mom has already done everything?

And, like, how do I find the information required to really put a life sketch of my ancestors together? Supposedly they have records online (that’s what indexing is for), but am I really supposed to take some random birth record’s word for it that these people really existed? I don’t know, but the whole thing seems kind of sketchy to me, like we’re building this super precarious scaffolding based on unprovable facts and one day it will just topple over. How do we prove anyone who is dead was once alive? I DON’T KNOW. I just really don’t get how to do this.

Week 1: Trying to Take Action

The family history consultants in the ward announced a class about FamilySearch at the BYU library! Timely. Unfortunately, when I arrived at the library, it turns out the class was at a different time than I thought, so I’m going to accept defeat for today and try again when they have the class in two weeks.

But I was seriously impressed by the amount of people who were in the library working on their genealogy. I never really realized/appreciated the amount of resources our Church has been putting into this effort—the websites, the indexing program, the family history centers, the family history missionaries, the classes, and so on. Again, these are signs that it’s important.

But I’ll just index again this week because indexing is my family history safe place.

Week 2: Nothing

Giving myself an undeserved break.

Week 3: First Class

Nathanael and I went to the “Where Do I Begin?” class taught by Kathryn Grant. She was amazing! She answered my questions and told us some helpful tips, the most applicable of which for me were:

  • Focus on English records from 1800-1905. (I was trying to go waaaay back.)
  • Start with what you know for certain. (Like adding records to grandparents.)
  • Follow the spirit. (Go figure.)

Just talking to Kathryn was super helpful because she was once in my shoes: trying to do family history, failing, getting frustrated, and feeling like she was never going to be able to do this and it wasn’t her thing.

Week 4: No Progress

Had dinner with friends this night, which sort of took up the afternoon and evening and night. I had such good intentions.

Week 5: FamilySearch Glitches

Discovered that the maternal grandma I have on my tree is a duplicate. However, FamilySearch went into a technological meltdown every time I tried to merge them. But I figured out a different way to do it. I stopped there because this is about baby steps, right?

Week 6–7: Ignoring Promptings

After patting myself on the back for just getting my tree slightly straightened out, I went on a family history hiatus for the holidays. But don’t you worry: the Spirit was giving me some very obvious, strong reminders that I’d been neglecting an important work. I am a slothful and not a wise servant, so I let other things get in the way for a while.

Week 8: First Success


I started with my maternal grandpa and noticed that he had ZERO records attached to his profile—like birth, death, marriage, etc. I took it upon myself to become the record-finder for my family. And FamilySearch makes it ridiculously easy, because they basically find the records for you (just click on a person and look on the right-hand side. BAM! Records). I found records for his birth, death, and burial. I also corrected a birth date for his sister while I was at it, because it was hugely wrong and I found a record that said the correct year—and guess what? It made her available for temple work. I feel useful!!

Week 9: Second Success

Finished finding records for my grandpa (I also expanded to using Ancestry.com, which was easier than I thought it would be). So grateful for the indexers out there making this stuff available. Onto the next victim! Eventually, my goal is to just flesh out the records for my tree (back to 1800) and then see what temple work can be done. I’ll also probably try to collect stories on the way, because I know nothing about my mom’s family! Maybe I haven’t found any new names, but I’m making sure everything has been done right, which I think is just as important.


Here’s the moral of the story: if you’re frustrated at family history, you’re not alone. But if you have even the most basic of computer skills, you can figure it out with a little help. If anyone needs assistance knowing where the heck to start/how the heck to start, I’d be happy to help you! It’ll be like the slightly-less-blind leading the blind and it will be fun.

[UPDATE: The BYU Family History Library does webinars now, so anyone can receive some family history education from them. Perfect timing.]

Family, Life, Pictures

I’m Bad at This

Blogging is so tedious! But here I go to #sharegoodness.

This is what has been happening lately:

Christmas break.

I wasn’t a grinch this year! I even suggested Christmas music a couple of times, which is an enormous deal. I was really trying to enjoy my last obligation-free time with my love while he was on Christmas break and while I’m in this delightful period of no work, no school, no nothing.

Christmas 1

Nathanael and I recreating our post-engagement picture two years later. | My dad had a fancy choir concert at Abravanel Hall. | My sister bathed our cat and he looked so pathetic afterward! | Making slushies out of freshly fallen snow (just plain snow for me).

Gingerbread 1

My family made gingerbread houses (from kits, naturally), and theirs looked a lot cooler than ours.

Gingerbread 2

Piping icing is apparently harder than it looks.


Nathanael’s first Christmas with the in-laws!

New Year’s.

My friend Anna, who has put up with me for the longest of any of my friends (16+ years), threw an awesome New Year’s Eve party which was perfectly timed because Nathanael had been saying, “I’ve never had a NYE in Utah before,” like it was going to be something special. That made me nervous because I had zero ideas of what the crap married people even do in Provo on New Year’s (hello, the singles dances were the obligatory activity for like 6 years of my life*). So thank you, Anna.

Also, the picture on the right is from the amazing moment where Nathanael actually picked the right box for Deal or No Deal at the local arcade.

Also, the picture on the right is from the amazing moment where Nathanael actually picked the right box for Deal or No Deal at the local arcade.

* Those singles dances. Maggie, Kenzie, and I always had such high expectations for them, which were sometimes met but usually not. My favorite New Year’s memory is when Kenzie and I sang “Drink with Me” (from Les Mis) in her kitchen while drinking Martinelli’s, while her mom looked on in amused disbelief that we were actually that weird. Which reminds me of the time Maggie sang the entire “Star-Spangled Banner” in that same kitchen. Okay, time to get off Memory Lane because no one can even appreciate how funny that was unless you were there, and I know you weren’t there.


Nathanael started his last semester. THAT IS AMAZING.

Being pregnant.

My stomach gets bigger every day. This is a weird experience. I also have to say that pregnancy is approximately one gajillion times better than people make it sound, so for all you ladies out there worried about it—don’t be. As with most things, pregnancy is what you make it. (Excluding those few people who do legitimately get really sick. That seriously blows. But even then, a helpless attitude certainly wouldn’t improve the situation . . .)

Lots of lunch.

  1. Had lunch with Rebecca. Everyone needs to know her, but since this is impossible, read her blog. I found out at this lunch that she can read minds.
  2. Had lunch with Maggie and Kenzie, naturally. Loved talking to them about all the important stuff, like circumcision. 😉

Fancy film festivals.

Not really. But sort of. The putter-onners of the Ash Festival sure did try to make a fancy black tie event, the sort of effort I appreciate, even if I can’t appreciate the artsy movies they showed. But mostly, Caitlin and I look soooo bored and entitled in this photo and it amuses me.

“Dad, you’re taking pictures of us WRONG.”

Hobbies, Life

Shelbey blog

So it’s pretty common knowledge nowadays that everything we’re used to using is bad for you. Who knew that applied to candles, too? Apparently the burning paraffin and the burning scents are toxic to breathe.

My mom loves candles, so for Christmas I decided to make her some candles using only organic beeswax, organic coconut oil, and natural substances for fragrances (like dried lavender, cinnamon, lime zest, etc.). That’s why today I’m going to show you how to COMPLETELY FAIL at making candles!!!

Here are the two recipes that inspired me. May you have better luck than I did:

How to Make Beeswax Candles

DIY Autumn Cinnamon Spiced Candle

What I did was basically triple boiled the things . . . which wasn’t how they did it in either of those tutorials but I hate reading instructions, so I didn’t bother really reading through their processes (similarly, when cooking, I look at the ingredients, scan the instructions, and fill in the mental blanks with whatever I feel like doing). Maybe that’s where I went wrong. Just a thought.

triple boiling

It was slow going, but all seemed to be going well until I took the candles out to cool. Almost immediately, all the scented ingredients either fell completely to the bottom or floated to the top. Stupid chemistry. I don’t know how the lady in the second tutorial achieved some adorable speckling of cinnamon throughout her candle because I pretty much proved it’s not possible.


And guess what? Despite me putting like five zillion times the recommended amount of scented stuff, these candles smell like NOTHING. Nothing, I tell you. Not even beeswax.

Lastly, only the wax within a half-inch radius of the flame actually melted (do you love all that burnt lavender too?). I had this dream that these candles would burn like normal candles do, where all the wax melts, but apparently my vision was too lofty.


Aaaaand this is reason #120 why I am not a lifestyle/health/homemaking blogger. Don’t worry, my mom is still keeping up the charade that they’re the greatest candles she’s ever seen.

Dreams, Family, Life, Marriage

Staying at Home

If you think about it, it’s pretty amazing to have one person completely enable all of your dreams in life.Handsome NathanaelYou want a gorgeous, hardworking, funny, golden-hearted husband? Here I am. You want an eternal marriage? Same here, let’s do it. You want to live in a flat in London and do makeup for and/or play Christine in The Phantom of the Opera at the Her Majesty’s Theatre? Umm. . . (Okay, maybe not ALL of my dreams. I dream big.)

So obviously one of my ambitions is to be a mother and nobody’s employee or boss, not even my own. I make a terrible boss of myself.

You should work.

But I don’t want to.

You’re a terrible person.

I know, I am, which makes me too depressed to work.

So that’s where Nathanael comes in.

Job interview

Off to one of his second-round interviews.

This human being is going to work every day for the rest of his life so I don’t have to. (Well, let’s be honest, I’m going to be working freaking hard, but it’s a very different field.) In fact, on our first date he told me that one of his goals was to make enough money so that his wife could be a stay-at-home mother. (He also prefaced that statement by saying he didn’t want to offend me, and in my mind I was like, Offend me? Marry me!)

I just finished my last job hopefully ever—unless Disney wants to hire me to be a princess—and I have never felt so liberated! Being in the workforce has never been fulfilling to me, and that’s not for the lack of good jobs with fantastic people (Jenn, Jeff, Dennis, Annette, Chani, David, Lisa, Sarah, Jess, Estee, Anne, and so many more). Let it also be known that I hugely admire people who work hard and build their careers.


My last job was teaching adorable children like this robotics (don’t ask), so it’s not like I’ve been doing slave labor here.

But I’m FREE!

I know this opportunity doesn’t come to everyone who wants it (or hasn’t come yet), so I’m just really grateful that it’s my turn (T minus 6 weeks until baby).