Sierra's View

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Wednesday, June 27, 2018


Hi blogging world.
It's only been six months. Not that long, eh? ;)

I'm not sure if you heard the news, but T Money and I are expecting a baby! I am almost 22 weeks today. We are having a girl! 
I thought I'd share with all of you this awesome news. There is lots of "news" happening in our lives. From new jobs, to school, to teaching, and new church callings. I've been meaning to "tell the world" about our lives because I love to document. Unfortunately, though, this blog hasn't given me the outlet that I needed before, if that makes sense. And that's okay. I strongly believe there is a time and place fore everyone and everything in each of our lives. 
But that's not what I wanted to talk about. 

That's what I wanted to chat about. 

Pregnancy is hard and it sucks. 

Yep, I said it. 

I feel like, so often, we talk about the excitement and joy and happiness that accompanies pregnancy. Yes, there is no doubt that those feelings are exponentially true. After all, you (well, I) have a baby in your STOMACH! You are growing a human! What a miraculous, wonderful, special occasion. 

Which then has you question, oh, wow, yea, I have a human growing inside of me. It's scary and emotional and it does things to your body that you didn't even know could happen. 

The honeymoon phase of pregnancy is great. You are so thrilled for a new baby to arrive in your home. You want to tell everyone and have them share in your joy. You want to find out the gender and start decorating and buying clothes (all of which I did! And which I shared with friends and family). 

I love that I can share my excitement about my pregnancy with people when they ask how I'm doing. I am so grateful that people are excited for us!  

What I don't share when someone asks me is this: 

I hate that I don't have a "cute" baby bump (I just look like I've gained weight at this point. So much for a cute bump that just pops out..). 

I hate the insecurity that stems from pregnancy. I hate that women make comments about others' cute bumps and not mine. I hate that I care so much about that (like who cares? I know, logically, that everyone carries a baby differently). I hate that I don't want to socialize because of this anxiety and insecurity. 

I hate that I don't have the energy or stamina to do things anymore. I hate that I have the urge and need to do fun things, but I can't. Every time I try to push myself, my body tells me to stop and slow down--which frustrates me! 

I hate that I feel lazy and tired all of the time, even after being active and exercising and trying to drink tons of water. 

I hate that I worry about pre-eclampsia or gestational or all of the other physical scares that could come with a woman who is overweight and has PCOS like me. (I am so happy we were able to get pregnant on our own without fertility, even with PCOS. How amazing, huh?). 

I hate that I can't feel baby girl move yet (Why can't I?!) while everyone talks about how much they can feel their babies kick. 

I hate that I am constantly worried if baby girl is okay. If she's healthy physically and that she'll be cute (I feel so stupid admitting that, ya know?). 

 I hate that I'm almost 22 weeks and I am still nauseous some days. I hate that I threw up for 18 weeks and now I am still feeling crummy some days. I am grateful that I am not throwing up every morning, but I was hoping to "feel the 2nd trimester honeymoon phase" at this point. 

I hate that I had a hard time being so excited for baby girl until recently because I was so sick and so exhausted for so long. It's hard to be so excited when your best friend is a toilet for weeks on end. I felt guilty for this for awhile. 

I hate that I worry about all the anxiety that accompanies planning for baby girl. Are we going to be able to buy everything for baby? Am I going to have the nursery ready? Will baby have all of the supplies she needs? It sometimes goes as irrational as: Will I know how to take care of a baby?! Haha. 

I hate the fear of having to balance everything this next year: teaching full time, getting my masters degree, new baby, tanner in school and working full time. (I keep trying to remind myself that it's temporary!). I'm worried for me and my baby. 

I hate the weight gain and the stretch marks. I hate the round ligament pain, sciatic nerve pain, constipation, and smell of pregnancy (TMI?). 

I feel guilty for not being one of those women who just "loves to be pregnant!!!!" because, well, frankly, I have had a rough pregnancy. And I guess that's okay to not love it. 

I hate that I can't focus. I try to start a book and I can barely finish it, I try to write a paper for my master's degree and I cant think of words to write, I try to talk to Tanner and I can't even finish my sentences (pregnancy brain is real!!). 

I hate that my emotions, hormones, and mental illness seem to be overriding. I am irritable and sad, even when I try not to be. I hate that my emotions can change on the spot. 

I hate that I need so much sleep!!! Haha! (Even more than usual. And I love to sleep). 

I hate that I have to eat like every hour otherwise I become sick and hangry to the maximum (it's really annoying). 

Pregnancy sucks. I am grateful and excited, but I hate the way I feel physically and emotionally. The guilt and sadness and fear that accompanies it can be scary. The stretch marks, weight gain, nausea, and tiredness can wear you out. But I can still be excited and grateful. And I'm learning that those two don't have to be mutually exclusive. Which I'm trying to remind myself, but it's challenging. What I want to tell you is that you can be happy AND sad. You can be grateful and not excited. You can be thrilled and depressed. All at the same time. 

I've always been one to struggle with change and this, well, quite honestly, is a HUGE change happening in our lives. It's an exciting, wonderful, scary, emotional time. But I know that I will be so grateful that I get to go through it. Because anything difficult is worth it in the end. 
I cannot wait to meet baby girl! 

I saw this on Facebook the other day and I had to share it. It is so relatable in so many ways.
Women are amazing. 

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Life Update (January 2018)

We didn't send out a Christmas or New Year's Card this year (okay, well, we haven't sent out a card since our first year being married..that will happen when we have children. Maybe), so I wanted to give you an update of what's happening in our lives.

Tanner: is still working on his marketing degree and going to school part time this semester. He hates school (ha) and trying to plow through. I keep telling him he shouldn't have married a teacher because I value education far too much :). He is working hard and doing what we can to get that degree! 
Sierra: I, on the other hand, love school. I just started my master's degree in educational leadership part time. I am going to school to become a vice principal, principal, teach teachers' at a college level, or to become a TSA (teacher leader for new teachers). I have not decided what exactly I want to do with this degree, but I felt it was time to progress in my career and to open other doors. I'm not sure if I will be able to leave the classroom though! If that's the case, I will just get paid more (because, you know, teachers get such a large salary). 

Tanner: is working at a digital marketing agency full time. Unlike school, he absolutely loves it. I have never seen someone get so many promotions in a year so quickly. I am proud of his hard work in his career. 
Sierra: I still love teaching Sixth Grade (I know, what's wrong with me?!). This year has been such a breath of fresh air! Even though it's been an adjustment and there has been a learning curve because I started the English side of the Chinese Immersion, I love both of my classes. Going to school and working definitely causes a little bit of stress, but I am managing my best to stay organized (which I actually love to do...Ha!).

We finally graduated from primary! Haha. 
Tanner: Called to the Young Men's (the youth/boys). It's a good thing he's so "cool" ;) 
Sierra: I am the Cub Scout Committee Chair. Yikes. I basically have to help plan pack meeting and organization of paperwork for leaders and the boys. Fun...

Tanner: Playing in a soccer league. He loves to run and play soccer for cardio! It's fun to see him learn a new sport!
I don't think I've seen someone as into sports as he is. Well, okay, maybe my dad.
Hunting and fishing, as usual, are included in his life. I'll take fishing, but I haven't been able to catch the hunting bug yet. Ha!

Sierra: I opened an Etsy shop of my nature photography cards! I don't know how much longer I'll keep it open, but it was fun to have people be able to see all of my photos and message me if they are interested. I am working out and continuously working on my stupid PCOS. Health issues are honestly so exhausting.  I am still hiking with Saylor a ton! I joined a choir called Utah Millenial Choir. It is so awesome (and so time consuming!). It is so awesome to be a part of something so musically powerful again! And, of course, it feels so good to sing again!

Both: We both have so much family here in Utah, (most of my siblings moved here!!) so we are spending so much time with both of families. It is fun, but definitely an adjustment for us! We have, this past year, become huge game people. We love strategic, funny board, card, and other games. We both still love to travel and have some fun adventures planned for the year. We both love to be outside enjoying nature with our Saylor doggy and watching some good quality movies at the theatre. We are trying to be patient for the next step of our lives to happen (cough, baby cough), but it just isn't going as I had planned (Stupid PCOS), which, if you know me, I do NOT like. I think I need to learn something. Alas, we have so much to be grateful for!

As always, follow Instagram for more updates!! 

Monday, January 1, 2018

"Best Of" 2017 & 2018 Word/Goals!

Best Nine on Instagram 

Happy New Year!
Does anyone else hate New Year's Eve as much as I do?  staying up late is not one of my favorite things. I'm old now. It's fine.

Obviously, writing on this blog was not a priority to me in 2017. I felt guilty about that, but, honestly, because my word for 2017 was patience, I decided to be patient with myself and let the blog go. And that's okay. I tried to document the best moments of the year, which, ultimately, is all you guys care about, right?

2017 was an interesting year. It definitely had some incredibly positive moments, but, also, it was a difficult one for me in many facets of my life. I am looking forward to starting a new year and having 2018 be even better!

Before I tell you my word for 2018 and some of my goals, I wanted to review the "Best Of" from 2017.

Best Overall Moments of 2017: 

Hikes!!!! (This one is Cecret Lake). (Every Month!) 
4th Anniversary Interview with T Money (July) 
Flying in Grandpa's Plane on the 4th of July 
Strawberry Days Rodeo (June) 

Started my New photography etsy shop!!!!!! (November)

Auditioning, making singing, and performing with Utah Millenial Choir!

Best Travel Experience of 2017: 

Florence & Cinque Terre, Italy (January

St. George/ Palm Springs, California (Spring Break) (April)
Joshua Tree National Park (May) 

Capitol Reef National Park (June) 

Glacier National Park (July)

Waterton National Park (Canada) (July)
Charlesworth Reunion-Flaming Gorge, Utah (July)

Crescent Lake, Oregon--Cabin w/ Ainge Family Reunion (August) 

Best Books Read in 2017: 

(and on goodreads) 

And word for 2018 is: 

I am doing a lot of things in 2018 that I am excited, nervous and a little stressed about. I am starting my master's degree in educational leadership while teaching full time. I will be teaching teachers about the new science core and helping write the new core for the state of Utah. I am going to continue to deal with my PCOS and work on being healthy. We are working on starting a family (which is a battle with PCOS...and no, I don't want to go into it). I am singing in MCO Choir, continuing my Etsy shop of photography, and working on my church calling. I will be busy, but a lot of doing those things requires stepping outside of my comfort zone. I am working on using that courage to be more self-confident in my spiritual life, physical life, emotional life, my relationships, and my career. I am planning on traveling alone this summer and doing things to better myself, which, ultimately takes courage. I have some goals for 2018, but there are personal so I don't feel comfortable sharing them. But all of the goals surround my word: courage. I want to progress and grow this year!

Here's to 2018!!

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

3 Essential #LubridermHacks to Keep Skin Hydrated During Winter!

Sigh. Christmas is over and the dreadful winter months are among us. I don't know about the rest of you, but love the cold during Christmas time, but as soon as January rolls around, I want summer.  I   am tired of my skin being so dry during the cold months!There are many ways to keep your skin hydrated during the cold winter months. Here are some of the best ways to avoid that dry skin.

1) Apply Before Bed. 
Every night, before bed, I put on my lotion. I make sure to apply more lotion than I think is necessary. I usually use Lubriderm to keep my legs and arms hydrated the best.

2) Put Lotion on Hands and Feet with Gloves and Socks! 
I know some people don't like to wear socks to bed, but if you are worried about your feet or hands getting dry, I have put on some awesome Lubriderm lotion on my hands and feet and then wear socks/gloves to hydrate them throughout the night!

3) Apply Lotion on Hands Multiple Times a Day! 
Keep some lotion in your car, office, purse, etc. so that you are applying and re-applying multiple times a day!

I buy my favorite Lubriderm lotion at my local Walmart in the Skin Care section. You can find yours there, too.

1. Instant Redeemable Coupon (IRC) located on select Lubriderm product for $3.00 off through March (find packs at your local Walmart stores). Please note that the offer expires April 1, 2018.
2. $7.97 Walmart rollback pricing on 24 oz. Lubriderm products through February 7, 2018.

Final price will be $4.97 when the IRC and the Rollback pricing are combined (a savings of 41-44% depending on the product!).

What are some of your favorite ways to keep your skin hydrated? I love this video that Lubriderm has shared!

LOUNGING | Lubriderm from Tribal DDB Toronto on Vimeo.

Friday, December 15, 2017


via Twitter

Or, as my Chinese Immersion students would say, Ni Hao!
I have some exciting news!!!! I have officially opened my Greeting Cards Etsy Shop! I have been wanting to do this for some time and I have finally made the jump to just do it. I posted on Instagram last week about starting to sell these cards and I was absolutely blown away by the support that people gave me!

What is the shop? Now, I am not sure if this Etsy shop will succeed (oh, but I hope it does!), but I figure that I love to take nature photography and this is a great jump start into sharing one of my hobbies with others. I am, by no means, a professional. And I like to stick to photographing nature when I'm out hiking or thinking. I love to photograph people, but I definitely don't feel comfortable selling my work for that. This shop, though, is my nature photography that I have taken and transferred onto greeting cards. They are blank and are awesome gifts to give to friends and other little knick-knacks. I don't know about you, but I love writing in blank, quality cards.

How this shop came to be: My mom, dad, and husband have been bugging me for about a year to start this shop. They have all incessantly told me that I have such a good eye and that I should share my photography with friends and family. So, I'm doing it. And if it fails, it's okay. Because, guess what? I can just go back to making these cards as a hobby. Also, life is full of failures, but I may as well try.

How can I help? By purchasing some cards, of course! You can click on "Sierra's View Photography Cards" in the header at the top of this blog or on the picture to the right that says Etsy Shop.
But even more than that, you can
 1. Make my shop a "favorite".
2. Give me a 5 star rating on my Etsy shop.
3. Also, if you are interested in sharing on your social media sites (Instagram, Blog, Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat, etc.), I would love to give you some cards for free to try out! Just let me know.
4. And, lastly, just share! Share my posts on Facebook of me selling my cards!

I am starting to question if I am crazy or just feeling really motivated these days, but I have a whole lot of things going on in my life (if you have noticed that I haven't written in awhile-- this etsy shop, teaching full time, getting my master's, writing new core and advancing my teaching career, singing an intense and wonderful choir, church calling, exercise/health stuff, other social and family stuff..), and I will expand on this on another post here in a few days, but I want to do this and I am tired of waiting around for it to happen!

Here are some of the photos that I am making into cards!!

Thursday, November 2, 2017


You can tell that the school year has started because I only read six books over the past two months  (ha!). In the summer months, I find that I read so much!  The stress that overtakes a teacher during the school  year is a real thing, friends. And sometimes, to be honest, the last thing I want to do is open a book and think. However, with that being said, weirdly, on other days, I find that's all I want to do. Unfortunately, those first few months of a Teacher's school year, it is the former, rather than the latter. 

Outliers: The Story of Success // Malcolm Gladwell 
Genre: Nonfiction/Self Help 
Rating: 4/5 stars (see more on GoodReads)

Summary: He asks the question: what makes high-achievers different? His answer is that we pay too much attention to what successful people are like, and too little attention to where they are from: that is, their culture, their family, their generation, and the idiosyncratic experiences of their upbringing. 

My thoughts:  A great novel. I only gave it 4 (not 5) because it wasn't "life changing" for me. With that being said, it was a phenomenal novel with very interesting thoughts about the benefits of being an "outlier". A great, interesting, easy self-help read

Favorite Quote from the book: “Those three things - autonomy, complexity, and a connection between effort and reward - are, most people will agree, the three qualities that work has to have if it is to be satisfying.” 

The Lies We Tell Ourselves // Robin Talley
Genre: Historical Fiction  
Rating: 3/5 stars (see more on GoodReads)

Summary: In 1959 Virginia, the lives of two girls on opposite sides of the battle for civil rights will be changed forever. Sarah Dunbar is one of the first black students to attend the previously all-white Jefferson High School. An honors student at her old school, she is put into remedial classes, spit on and tormented daily. Linda Hairston is the daughter of one of the town's most vocal opponents of school integration. She has been taught all her life that the races should be kept separate but equal.
Forced to work together on a school project, Sarah and Linda must confront harsh truths about race, power and how they really feel about one another.

My thoughts:  ** spoiler alert ** Ugh, I don't know where to start with this book. 
The first half was so enticing and interesting. I couldn't seem to put it down. It tore at my heart strings of what these young people had to go through in the process of integration in 1959. With that being said, the second half was kind of frustrating to me because I felt like the author was too focused on a political agenda (that didn't to do with race, which is what I thought the book was about?) I don't mind a political agenda if I pick up the book knowing that, but I assumed this was more historical fiction with issues on race rather than her coming out as a lesbian. Anywho, it was a good read, but the story went a totally different direction than I thought. Wasn't an amazingly well written novel, either

Favorite Quote from the book: “We punish ourselves so much in our own imaginations. We convince ourselves everything we do, everything we think, is wrong.For eighteen years I've believed what other people told me about what was right and what was wrong. From now on, I'm deciding.”

The Magnolia Story // Chip & Joanna Gaines 
Genre: Nonfiction/Biography 
Rating: 4/5 stars (see more on GoodReads)

Summary: The Magnolia Story is the first book from Chip and Joanna, offering their fans a detailed look at their life together. From the very first renovation project they ever tackled together, to the project that nearly cost them everything; from the childhood memories that shaped them, to the twists and turns that led them to the life they share on the farm today.

My thoughts:  I mean, who doesn't love Chip and Joanna? Not only am I obsessed with this show and it's my dream to have land and Jo decorate my classic/vintage/farmhouse style home, I thought this novel was good! It definitely wasn't life changing or the most amazing writing I've read, but it made for a quick, interesting, intriguing, fun read. 

Favorite Quote from the book: “Don’t quit, and don’t give up. The reward is just around the corner. And in times of doubt or times of joy, listen for that still, small voice. Know that God has been there from the beginning—and he will be there until . . . The End.” 

Kill the Boy Band // Goldy Moldavksy 
Genre: Fiction (Humor) 
Rating: 3/5 stars (see more on GoodReads)

Summary: We were not planning to kidnap one of them. Especially not the most useless one. But we had him—his room key, his cell phone, and his secrets. We were not planning on what happened next.We swear.

My thoughts:  Hilarious, funny, ridiculous, edgy, and keeps you interested. This novel is not the best written or must amazing book ever written, but it was entertaining and keeps you interested. A quick, easy read--a great audiobook. (Note: lots of F words, if that bothers you!).

Favorite Quote from the book: “Because the truth is, it isn't worth loving something if you aren't going to love it all the way.” 

The Gifts of Imperfection // Brene Brown 
Genre: Nonfiction/Self Help 
Rating: 5/5 stars (see more on GoodReads)

Summary: In her ten guideposts, Brown engages our minds, hearts, and spirits as she explores how we can cultivate the courage, compassion, and connection to wake up in the morning and think, No matter what gets done and how much is left undone, I am enough, and to go to bed at night thinking, Yes, I am sometimes afraid, but I am also brave. 

My thoughts:  I just finished reading this for the third time (listened to it once and read it once) and every time this book teaches me more about the strength in my imperfections. Seriously such a fantastic self-help book; one that really "speaks" to me. This is, truly, one of my all time favorite books that I havee ever read. I am such a perfectionist and this helped me in so many different ways in my life. 

Favorite Quote from the book: (Oh man, how do I just choose one?!). “Authenticity is a collection of choices that we have to make every day. It's about the choice to show up and be real. The choice to be honest. The choice to let our true selves be seen.” 

We Should All Be Feminists //  
Genre: Nonfiction
Rating: 4/5 stars (see more on GoodReads)

Summary: With humor and levity, here Adichie offers readers a unique definition of feminism for the twenty-first century—one rooted in inclusion and awareness. She shines a light not only on blatant discrimination, but also the more insidious, institutional behaviors that marginalize women around the world, in order to help readers of all walks of life better understand the often masked realities of sexual politics. 

My thoughts:  Brilliant. Absolutely brilliant. I love that it talks about feminism in a positive light--that feminism does not mean man-hating or angry, lonely, of masculine women. True feminism is rooting for women to succeed and to see them in positions of power. Great points about raising soft men and the expectations we place on boys and girls, men and women.

Favorite Quote from the book: (Can't just choose one! Ah!). “We teach girls to shrink themselves, to make themselves smaller. We say to girls, you can have ambition, but not too much. You should aim to be successful, but not too successful. Otherwise, you would threaten the man. Because I am female, I am expected to aspire to marriage. I am expected to make my life choices always keeping in mind that marriage is the most important. Now marriage can be a source of joy and love and mutual support but why do we teach girls to aspire to marriage and we don’t teach boys the same? We raise girls to see each other as competitors not for jobs or accomplishments, which I think can be a good thing, but for the attention of men. We teach girls that they cannot be sexual beings in the way that boys are.” 

July/August Reads 
May/June 2017 Reads
March/April 2017 Reads
January/February 2017 Reads

What were some of your most recent reads that you want to share with me?
Have you read any of these novels? 

Sunday, October 8, 2017

It's Been Awhile...

All photos by Sierra's View Instagram 
I feel like writing on this blog comes in waves. I am on my game during the Summer--writing about all of my travels, fun times, and vacations. Once the school year hits, I am bombarded with a forever long to-do list and well, I don't have as much time as I do during the Summer months. Even more than that, this blog is not the place that it used to be for me. I find that I don't need it as much for self-expression that I used to crave or want. With that being said, this blog has always been incredibly special to me. It is my journal of important moments and memories. I would like to continue it for my special "views" in my life, it just won't be as often as before (obviously...since I haven't written in months). 

What We've Been Up To: A Random Word Vomit of Our Lives! 

  • As you can tell from ALL of social media (for good reason), Fall in Utah is unreal. The colors this year have been so incredibly vibrant and absolutely beautiful. I want to be hiking in it, driving through it, and constantly taking photos of it!
  • This winter I am going to start making cards, calendars, etc. out of my all of my nature pictures. I am excited to get this going! These are going to be great gifts, stocking stuffers, or other ideas. I will definitely keep you posted on this! People keep telling me that I need to do something with these photos that I take and I think I am starting to actually believe them!

  • Tanner is finishing up his last semester in school! (HALLELUJAH!) in digital marketing. He doesn't want to walk in May, but I want to make him because this is a freaking miracle that we are at this point. Ha. 
  • He is continuing to work at 180Fusion--a digital marketing firm. He really loves his job! 

  • I started my sixth year teaching sixth grade. This year is my first year doing the English portion of the Chinese Immersion students. Honestly, I am so stressed! I have two classes and I only get them both for about two hours. Those two hours do not go as slow as I would like. I absolutely love my students, though. The program is not perfect (no classroom ever is), and it has been very stressful, but most of my students show up to school with a smile on their faces and are excited to learn. I love that most of them, truly, just want to learn. That is a teacher's dream, I tell ya! 

  • This picture is from our quick trip to San Diego in September. T had a work trip and I thought that I would join him on a long weekend trip. Everything was paid for and it was totally worth it! It was a great weekend of basking in the sun, seeing family, and enjoying gorgeous views like these. 

  • This summer I lost 15 pounds. This is a huge deal with PCOS. I worked my tail off to get there. I have kept most of it off and I want to continue to keep it off, but I am not kidding, something happens when the school year starts. My body just wants to hold on to all of the stress and weight that I let go of in the summer! Many people are curious about us wanting to start a family. Honestly, it's no one else's business, but, let's just say it's going to be a long road. That, with all of the health and weight issues that I deal with, is exhausting. It is frustrating and tiring and does not help my Depression. But I am learning to love myself and my body, despite it's imperfections that piss me off. I am tired of looking around and seeing women talk badly about their bodies. It is time for us to be happy with who we are, as people and women. Ha! 

This past weekend at the BYU Spectacular with Kristin Chenoweth! It was, honestly, spectacular! 

  • I have found that it's hard to stay social during the school year. I want to make it a priority and reach out to friends and family (since I have so much family here now!), but crazy schedules make it difficult. I have learned that it's okay to say no. I tend to have bad FOMO and it can be hard for me to say no, but I am grateful that as I continue to learn, grow, and set boundaries to listen to my body, physically and emotionally, I am happier. 

Life is good. I tend to struggle whenever the cold weather starts to come, but I have worked hard to know how to get through it. I am getting the "itch" to move, though, and I think it has to do with the culture that I am surrounded here?? What helps you when you have the desire to move?! Haha.