Sierra's View: January 2016

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Thursday, January 28, 2016

These Is My Words (Book Club!!) // Sierra's Book Reviews

I am on a reading roll! I don't know if I am hit with the "bug", you know, the bug where you just keep finding amazing books and all you want to do is read? Yea, that kind of bug. It might be a case of the winter blues, but, really, all I want to do is hibernate and read these days. I love that I can just escape to another world and enjoy peace while reading. I have been wanting to join a book club for so long! I have been reading with my friend, Bon, online for awhile, but I finally convinced her to finally meet in real life...and I am so glad that we finally did! It was such a fun night of chatting, laughing and connecting over books. The Bachelor may have been thrown in there as well ;) 

Come join in on Bon's Book Club! If you live in the area, we meet the last Tuesday of every month. I will be co-hosting next month, so let me know if you want to come. The online book club posting will be the last Thursday of every month. Here is the schedule for the year. I have already read a couple of these books, but I will definitely be re-reading some of them. 

February: A Man Called Ove by Fredrick Backman
March:  Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain
April:  Attachments by Rainbow Rowell
May:  Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult
June:  Why Not Me?  by Mindy Kaling
July:  Room by Emma Donoghue
August:  The Martian by Andy Weir
September: So You've Been Publicly Shamed by Jon Ronson
October:  Major Pettigrew's Last Stand by Helen Simonson
November: The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

Our January book was These Is My Words by Nancy E. Turner. 

For me, what I loved about Sarah, the main character of this story, was her innate strength and humility. This novel was, essentially, a diary of a girl's life from 1881-1901. She struggles through so much agony and her strength is truly immeasurable. I loved that Sarah was humble in her strength. In my eyes, I feel like she, in a way, was the woman that we all strive to be. She could shoot a gun, raise a family, attack people who invaded her land, and protect her family. She valued education, which to me, I loved (hello, teacher!). She didn't even understand her strength, and that, to me, is what was so endearing about her. 

What heaven feels like. 

Sarah spends much of her time wanting to be like Savannah.  Savannah is her sister-in-law and is awesome. But, Savannah, has a different kind of strength than Sarah. Savannah is a little more "Christ-like and sweet." At least, that's how I pictured her. Sarah had a little bit more sass and pizzaz. Because of this character difference, Sarah always compared herself to Savannah. She wanted to be softer, in a way. I understand that feeling. For me, I love it when I can connect to the main character. And I think that's what made Sarah so likable. I saw a lot of myself in her: she was feisty and emotional and stubborn. I feel like I need to be "softer" sometimes, as well. But, they were both so strong, in such different ways. I felt like I wanted to keep saying to Sarah, "No! You are both wonderful, in different ways!" That's the beauty of women: we each have our own strength, but they are all in different ways. That, to me, is what makes it wonderful! 

I loved this!!! It is a perfect preface to set up the book. 

Often times I think people assume that feminist are man-haters, but as I have continued to study feminism and what it means to ME, I am learning that it is about strengthening and empowering women. It does not mean that I am better or more superior than a man, but to, rather, love my woman-ness, if you will. I think Sarah epitomizes this idea. She was strong. She was a fighter. She was a real woman raising children, getting an education, falling in love, and working her butt of. That's bad ass. 

What heaven feels like round 2. 
Like Danica said, I hate pioneer stories. I don't hate them because I am a heartless millennial (or amI I?), but, simply because I feel like, in a lot of ways I cannot connect. I cannot even fathom living in those times and sometimes that is hard for me to understand. I am inspired by so many of those men and womens' strength, but I can't seem to fall in love with pioneer stories. But, truly, I fell in love with this story. I found strength from Sarah's character and her tenacity while facing the death of a child, husband, and siblings. I bawled my eyes out when she lost her baby *spoiler alert* and yet, her character's strength was unlike anything I've ever read, to be honest. That made this particular story so enjoyable. 

We forgot to take a picture, so this is missing some people. Also, I really enjoy taking pictures after yoga and I'm all sweaty. Thats fun. 

Overall, I give this book 5/5 stars. See more of my review on Goodreads. 

My favorite quotes from the book: 

"We are a noisy and blessed family."

"Sometimes I feel like a tree on a hill, at the place where all the wind blows and the hail hits the tree the hardest. All the people I love are down the side aways, sheltered under a great rock, and I am out of the fold, standing alone in the sun and the snow. I feel like I am not part of the rest somehow, although they welcome me and are kind. I see my family as they sit together and it is like theyh ave a certain way between them that is beyond me. I wonder if other folks ever feel included yet alone.” 

“Taking up marriage is a good excuse for taking up cursing, I think.”  (Ha! Ain't this the truth!)

"It seems there is always a road with bends and forks to choose, and taking one path means you can never take another one. There's no starting over nor undoing the steps I've taken. It isn't like I'd want to not have my little ones and Jack and that ranch, it is part of life to have to support yourself. It's just that I want everything, my insides are not just hungry, but greedy. I want to find out all the things in the world and still have a family and a ranch. Maybe part of passing that test was a marker for where I've been, but it feels more like a pointer for something I'll never reach."

"But my life is not like that, it is a tree, and I can stay in one place and spread out in all directions, and I can do more learning shading this brood of mine than if I was all alone.” 

Have you read this book? 
What was your favorite part? 

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Why I Braintype In My Classroom (and everyone else...)

Half of you (or 100% of you) are rolling your eyes at me at this current moment because you are sick of hearing about brain types. I know T Money is. His favorite response, "I'm a P-I-M-P." He thinks he's hilarious. After a student found out her brain type last year, she comes up and hands this paper to me. Typical ENTP response ;) 

Some of you may have heard of brain typing, or something similar. Niednagel, the man who originated this, developed brain typing through applying elements of neuroscience, physiology, and psychology to estimate athletic ability and has now expanded it to other aspects of life (career, family, etc.) It is based on psychological typology of Carl Jung and Myers Briggs. Neidnagel uses the same letters as Myers Briggs (he has currently updated to his own letters, but I'm too lazy to learn the new letters!) and there are definitely some similarities except that brain typing, essentially, is focused more on the BRAIN more-so than the personality. People wonder if one's brain type can change, and the answer is no. Your background, family, birth order, and environment definitely affects your brain and personality, so you will see some discrepancies between brain types (especially differences through male/female and religion). It is the whole argument of nature v. nurture. Your brain type is your nature, but your nurture definitely affects it. 

My family started using brain typing when my uncle Danny started brain typing his players when he was coaching the Phoenix Suns to see their athletic strengths: are they more offensive minded, defensive minded, etc. It then trickled down to my family. I like to think I'm okay at it, but my sister likes to tell me that I am not as good as I think ;). Mostly, I am fascinated by the idea of it and just continue to do research on it. 

I started brain typing my family and friends to better understand them. I tend to get frustrated at people (ha), so I wanted to figure out what makes them tick and this has truly helped. You can take a test to help figure it out on or come find me and I have all of the books/info :) 

I started using this in my teaching to better understand my students. For my teaching, understanding my sixth graders' brain types allows me to help them because certain brain types tend to excel/struggle at particular aspects. For example, an INFJ is usually going to be a great writer, while an ESTP is not going to be as strong of a writer. Certain brain types get along better with others and work well with one another, so it helps me seat students. And if I am struggling with a particular student, it allows me to step back and analyze why they may be reacting or acting in that particular way. Obviously knowing their brain type doesn't solve everything, but for me, it has helped enormously. I have done lots of research on this, and I continuously text my sister regarding more information all of the time! It's funny to see people start doing research on their brain types once they figure out. Even my sixth graders find it fascinating and want to hear about themselves. The benefits of knowing one's brain type is to help know your own strengths/weaknesses. It also allows helpful benefits in parenting, romantic relationships, friendships, coaches/players, etc. 

I am an INFP. Knowing your Myers Briggs definitely helps narrow down what you may be, if you already know that. However, your Myers Briggs and your brain type could be different (they are usually quite similar though). 

Essentially, the first grade version of how this brain typing works is like this---There are four possible combination of letters: Introvert/Extrovert (how you gain energy), Intuitive/Sensing (how you view the world), Feeling/Thinking (how you make decisions), Judging/Perceiving(what you show the outside world). Every combination (example: INFP) has different tendencies based on the whole. You start to notice patterns in behaviors based on brain types. 

People make fun of me for this all of the time, but I love how it affects my teaching, relationships and understanding people tremendously. Plus, I can talk about it for hours (much to my husband's dismay). 

....and there's my explanation. Okay. Bye. 

Do you know your brain type? 
I am always intrigued 

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Intuitive Eating // Sierra's Book Reviews

I am sitting here with a horrible migraine. I have been sick so much this month, so reading has become a past time for me. These migraines have taken over my life, but sometimes writing and keeping my mind occupied while I sit here helps. Stupid hormones. 

YOU GUYS. Have you read this? If not, you need to...right now. As many of you know, I have been doing a Health Plan since the beginning of October. And although it has been a rollercoaster of ups and downs, it has been such a good learning experience for me. I will, probably, be finishing up this health plan at the beginning of March. With that being said, I will continue the habits that I have learned. Although the growth (or lack thereof!) has not been exactly what I was hoping, I have seen a difference in how I feel. I am down 14 pounds total, which isn't horrible. I have slipped up and made mistakes, but that's okay. 

My counselor recommended that I read this book. I tend to be a perfectionist, especially when it comes to my body. I tend to feel "less than" because of my weight gain, and a lot of that stems from childhood. With that being said, this book, for me was a life changing book. It allowed me to analyze what I was eating, when I was full, WHY I was eating, and just being "in touch" with food and my body. I came to realization that eating when I am emotional or bored is something that I need to be aware of. I also learned that choosing to eat something (or to not eat something!) does not define who you are as a person. You can see my review (and reviews from other books) on my Goodreads. (Best app ever!)

Some of my favorite quotes/parts of the book: 
(see more of my favorite quotes while I was reading this book on Twitter.

If you don’t love it, don’t eat it, and if you love it, savor it.

Having a healthy relationship with food means you are not morally superior or inferior based on your eating choices.

Screen away the voice that says "I'm good" for eating minimal calories and "I'm bad" for eating a piece of chocolate.

Monitor your hunger before/during/after you eat. Monitor it every 3 hours. Stick to that monitor. Listen to your body!

No one can or should tell you what you should or shouldn't eat at ANY time.

Never be embarrassed to be hungry!!! It's your body telling you that you need more fuel

The food you choose to eat or not eat does not make you good or bad.

Respect your fullness. If you are full, STOP EATING. It's that simple.

Honor your feelings without using food. If you are hungry, go take a kickboxing class. If you are depressed, go for a walk or talk to a therapist. Do not turn to food to heal you.

After reading this book, I really want to listen/read to Mindless Eating. 

Other Book Reviews: 

Have you read this book? 
What was your favorite part or quote from the book? 
Are there any other books similar to this that you have loved? 

Thursday, January 21, 2016

In Which I Fell In Love with the Mountains. Again.

I love the beach. I love the Oregon Coast and Hawaii beaches and the feeling of sand on my toes. But, since living in Utah the past six years, I have completely fallen in love with the mountains. I love the look of them throughout all of the seasons. One of my favorite things to do is drive through the mountains and go on walks on a lazy Sunday. I grab #saylorthepup, we get in the car, put on our jams and enjoy the beautiful scenery. 

I love the sunshine, but I really have taken a liking to these snow-filled mountains. Now, if I just had the money to get on some ski's!! 

I mean, how can you not love these views? 
(and these photos aren't even edited!) 

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Lessons I Learned in 2015.

I know that it's half way through January, but I wanted to talk about some lessons that I learned throughout the year last year. 2015 was a good year. It wasn't my favorite year. But, I did feel like I grew up a lot in this past year. I bought my first home and am learning how to "run" my own home. That, in itself, was a huge step in my life as an adult.

But, more than that, I wanted to talk about some other lessons that were learned.

I learned that I love to travel. Oh, wait, I already knew that.
Beaches in Maui. Yes. 

I learned to make quiet time for myself. I am an introvert (I know that this may seem shocking to some of you, but I am!). I need some time throughout the day to process, think, and have it be quiet. I make sure every day to take that time to meditate and think. This has made a huge difference in my "peace" in all facets of my life.

I learned that I am quite moderate politically. And that when you are a moderate republican, there is NO ONE to vote for this upcoming election. Ha.

I learned that sixth graders are just like big first graders. They need a lot of validation, love and support. And they love fart jokes.

I learned that teaching is an exhausting job. I mean, I knew this already. But its even more exhausting the longer you are doing it. At least, I think so.

I learned that although teaching is exhausting, it is also such a rewarding and fun job. I truly connect with my students and I love building a relationship with them, and seeing the struggling ones grow intellectually and behaviorally is truly awesome.

I learned that friends are important. And that I am just going to need to be the person who makes the effort when I want to connect with them. And that's okay.

I learned that even though I love the ocean, beaches and the coast, I truly love the mountains: hiking, swimming, skiing, driving and looking at the them. 

Like, hello!!!

I learned that sometimes, when you are mad, it's okay to leave or walk away.

I learned that I am okay with who I am. I don't need validation from my parents or anyone else anymore. I need to receive that validation from my core.

I learned that persistence pays off. I have worked really hard and stayed focused in my job this year...different than usual. I am a work horse and sometimes spread myself too thin. But I have realized how much persistence pays off.

I learned that my body is beautiful. And I am learning how to take care of it.

I learned how to take care of my first home. And still furnishing it....

I learned that marriage continues to be hard and it takes a lot of patience and work. Even after almost three years. But it is rewarding.

I learned that a book can heal. And sometimes, so can a Dr. Pepper. And that's okay.

I also learned that Netflix marathons are sometimes exactly what your body and brain need. #vedge

I learned that I love my Savior and that I get super frustrated with my own religion. I cannot focus on my religion or the frustrating people within it, because they are not perfect, but with my relationship with my Savior. Because that is the only thing that matters. Not stupid people. Ha.

I learned that I love dogs. And I want fifty of them.

I mean look at her. Who wouldn't fifty #saylorthepups?! 

I learned that having children scares me.

I learned how much a morning routine changes the entire day: By waking up earlier to be able to read my scriptures, take a shower, actually get ready, and take my made all of the difference.

I learned how important it is to eat breakfast. I hate eating breakfast. Most of the time I am not awake enough to even process putting on makeup, let alone, eating breakfast. Yet, I learned how it has helped my metabolism and the processing of my food. It also helps "jump start" my day. It helped my morning routine so much. My favorite thing to eat for breakfast is greek yogurt. One of my favorites is Plenti Greek Yogurt. It is now greek yogurt meeting oatmeal. It is so easy and it's my favorite thing to eat.

Try it for yourself today! Print a coupon good for $.35 off 1 cup of Plenti Plentiful Greek Yogurt here. 

What lessons did you learn in 2015?
What are some of your favorite breakfast foods?

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Blogging in Winter

Blogging in the winter time is so different for me. I feel like I'm a different person in the summer versus the winter, and that affects my writing. In the winter, all I want to do is look out the window and see the trees overflowed with snow, curl up with a book by the fire with my wool sweaters, ya know? 

How I am a different blogger in the winter: 

1. I write my posts from my bed or a coffee shop instead of from outside on my front or back porch. 

2. My outfits look like this in the winter. The second I get home from teaching, I throw on my leggings and socks. Comfy clothes are God's gifts to mankind. 

3. My posts tend to be a little more introspective and deep. In the summer, I feel like my posts are more fun because I am traveling and going on adventures. 

4. I lack motivation to write at least three times a week. You would think that I would have more motivation because it's the winter time and I'm inside so much, but it's the opposite. Because of my seasonal affective disorder, my energy goes down in the winter. I am more tired after teaching. In the summer, I am not teaching, so I have more energy to put into this space. 

5. My morning routines on the weekend consist of looking at the window at this beautiful view. And not organizing blog posts! Haha. 

Are you a different blogger in the winter? In what ways? 

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Signs You are a Grown Up.

I like to believe that I am still this five year old, at heart. And my sense of humor probably still is. It's fine. 

Growing up. Ew. Isn't it the worst?

Although there are benefits to being a grown up, like the fact that one can eat cereal for dinner just because he or she can, and no one tells you what to do day in and day out, being a grown is just. no. fun.

Don't get me wrong, I have fun as an adult. I go on adventures and travel and am outside in nature all of the time. I'm sure you have lots of fun as an adult, as well.

But, just, yuck. All of the responsibilities: the bills, the career, the money and finances, the pressures to be put together all of the time. You don't have all of the cares of the world banging on your door when you are a kid. Even though you can have fun as an adult, it's just not the same, ya know?

Amidst my defiance, I like to believe that I, in fact, have  grown up (now that I'm in my mid-twenties, this is probably a good thing.)

(Well, kind of. I spent eight hours a day with 11-12 year olds, so my sense of humor is still inappropriate and gross and I laugh at stupid things, but, you get my idea).

How You Know You Are a Grown Up: 

1. You choose to stay in on Friday nights instead of going out. You choose a book or a movie in bed your puppy after a long week. On purpose.

2. Your "To-Do" List is a combination of grocery lists, laundry, and errands to run.

3. You prefer one pieces because it covers up more rather than showing your body. Okay, so maybe it's the fact that your body isn't skinny-ninny like it used to be, but, still. You catch my drift. You want to be modest, not show off your body.

4. Your conversations with your significant other revolves around finances, school, and career.

5. You are married. You have a dog. You just bought a house. (Oh, that's just me....but yea, wow. This is the real deal, I guess.)

6. You don't care about the drama that happens with friends. You, actually, have no idea what is even going with anyone. You are so out of the loop that you are surprised when you get text messages from them!

7. You don't take life too seriously. You make sarcastic, witty jokes and learn to have fun in your career. You don't try to be too serious about things because you know that this life is going to be trial after trial. You can choose to be sad or you can choose to LIVE.

8. Your goals correlate with a savings account, health risks, and a family.

9. Ikea, Target, Old Navy, and Walmart are your favorite places to shop.

10. Sweaters are your best friend. And not in an ugly-sweater, ironic kind of way.

11. You get excited when your bed is made and your home is clean.

12. A new couch makes you so excited that you can hardly stand it.

13. A fun evening is playing games with your couple best friends.

14. You try to sprint across the playground while teaching and you realize that even though you have exercised, that you haven't sprinted in a few years....

15. You now have some sympathy for your parents.

16. You only feel half-pathetic when you finish an entire season of a TV show on Netflix in a day.

17. You worry about what actually goes in the recycling bin.

18. Vaccuum lines on your carpet makes you all giddy on the inside.

19. You enjoy listening to talk radio and audiobooks for fun.

20. Gift cards are your saving grace.

What are some signs that you know you are a grown up?
How do you know that you have officially entered the adult world?

Tuesday, January 12, 2016



How are you? I took this photo, along with some others, on a drive up the canyon in the mountains the other day. I needed to do some thinking and my best thinking happens in the car, I'm not sure why. It was a cloudy, cold, winter day, here in Utah, but with a light drizzle of snow, it brought a sense of coziness as I huddled in my warm clothes and heated seat (Thank you, Subaru Outback! Love my car!). I caught some seriously beautiful photos simply with my cell phone. I'm still in awe that a cell phone with just a two minute editing job can make this photo. What a world we live in, right? I am no photographer, but I love using my DSLR camera and even my cell phone to capture gorgeous photos of nature. I do feel like I have a pretty naturally good "eye", which kind of helps. Winter has officially hit in Utah. It is snowy and cold, but not anything that we can't handle. I actually kind of love it (weird, I know!). I just wish I had more time to get up on the slopes and do more skiing. Dang that whole "job" thing.

Speaking of my "job"...which, really is just a huge part of my life, more than a job, if I'm being honest. The beginning of the new year has been, well, rough. I came back from winter break in Oregon and jumped right into reality: teaching, health plan, cleaning, etc. All of this was great, in theory, except that I have been sick since Monday with a horrible cold. And it just seems to be getting worse. On Wednesday, my voice was completely gone. Teaching sixth grade is a little bit difficult when you have no voice to teach your students about informative writing. You can see this ridiculous video on my Instagram. My students have jumped right back into the classroom routine quite smoothly, which is actually quite miraculous.

I have not been consistent with my health plan this past week. The holidays and winter break really threw me off of my schedule and my strictness when it came to being healthy. Being sick didn't help the situation at all. I am slowly starting to feel better, so I cannot wait to get exercising again. I can't believe that I am actually going to say it, but I miss it. I don't love to exercise, but I love how I feel afterwards and the benefits from it all.

This blog is a place where I just want to be me. I am not very good at marketing it or being "up to par" when it comes to blogging growth or statistics. But I have this place so that I can write and show pictures and just do it because I love it. I hope that you all understand. Thank you for reading. Thank you for your support.

Life is good. I am trying to change my energy and make more effort with others.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

I Am Enough.

via Pinterest

The past few weeks, I overviewed my blog year in review. I talked about how I didn't really make any new resolutions, but am rather just continuing some pretty huge emotional, physical, and mental goals that I made back at the beginning of October. As I was driving up the canyon the other day, I realized that I hadn't chosen my "Word of the Year." Even though my New Years Resolutions are not exactly cookie-cutter, I have made some internal goals that I really am trying to work on. I am constantly trying to improve my self in all facets of life and I hope that others know that I am trying. I am not perfect, but I am trying to be the best person I can be. That's all we can really hope for, right? So, on this drive, I thought about some words that I need to work on: homemaker, peace, patience, etc. But none of those really fit. Then, finally, I realized that I wanted a phrase that encompasses all of the things that I strive to be and want to improve.

I Am Enough.

I am choosing a mantra instead of a word to help me in 2016 year.

I am enough, even though my body has changed and it is not perfect.
I am enough, even though I struggle to be confident in my teaching ability at times.
I am enough when it comes to my relationship with the Savior, even when I screw up and questions my religion and try to defy everything! Haha.
I am enough and have value, even if others don't see it sometimes.
I am enough, no matter what mistakes I make.

I am a confident person naturally, already. However, I want that confidence to be turned into true belief that I am enough. I am enough and I want to my confidence to help me spiritually, emotionally, mentally, socially, and physically.

I have loved reading all of your phrases and words for the year. They have been inspiring! 
What are your words/mantras/phrases for this year? 

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Winter Break and How I Realized That I Like My Life.

Portland. Sigh. So pretty. 

My family now has 21 people in it. That is a whole lot of people. This is what happens when you are the youngest of five children, and all of your siblings are married/have children. Those Mormons, I tell ya. T Money and I went home to Oregon for Winter Break and spent time with all of these hilarious, crazy, ridiculously good looking people.

I won't beat around the bush: being home was hard. I love Portland. I love the Northwest. I love the air that I breathe when I get off of the airplane. I love the green trees and the long walks that I get to take with my mother. I love the Oregon Coast and Mt. Hood. I love the memories that come back when I am there. But, it's just hard. I realized the other day that it marked seven years since I had moved to Utah. I now officially call Utah home. Which is weird. I love Utah. I love the mountains and the weather and my life here. My life is HERE. And I think that was part of the problem. When I was in Oregon, it wasn't my home.  I didn't have my adorable brick home and my own bed; I missed my doggy because she wasn't with us. I missed my own separate LIFE. I felt micro managed by my parents and fights happened between sisters. It was hard.

But, it wasn't all bad. I love being around family.  I loved staying up until 3 AM playing Cards Against Humanity with my siblings and laughing so hard I nearly peed my pants. I loved going on walks with my mom in the forests. It's a catch-22. I want to be around my nieces and nephews and brothers and sisters. I don't live near most of my family so it is fun to catch up, but then I am also reminded how different I am from them. While lying there one night, I remember thinking: "We were all raised by the same people?" It's almost like you didn't know it in some regard. Maybe I am like my nephew, Dane, when he says "I Don't like nobody." See the hilarious video here. 

I love my family. I am grateful for their example and love. Every family has their dysfunction. But, I guess, what I'm trying to say, is that I love my life. I like what I do day in and day out. And I like doing it in my own way. I don't like being told what to do or not do or to be judged so harshly by those around me.

I am proud of who I am, despite the challenges that I am faced with, physically and financially and emotionally. I struggle every day. I am not perfect. I am an adult when I am on my own and in my life. I feel like a teenager when I am with my whole family; I revert back to being the youngest child. Does that make sense?

Anywho, this post is all over the place. I apologize.
Overview: I love my life. I love visiting Oregon. Families are wonderful and complicated all at the same time. All is well.

While in Oregon, T Money and I took a mini escape to Cannon Beach, one of my favorite places. It was cold, rainy and gross in Portland, but the beach was BEAUTIFUL and not windy at all, which made it completely splendid. It was cold, but not near as cold as the city. I walked along the beach and saw all of the dogs and missed my Saylor girl. I had my hot cocoa and dreamed of living along the Oregon Coast. It was a perfect day and I couldn't stop taking pictures, as I'm sure you all saw from my Instagram last week.

My nieces and nephews made me laugh a whole lot. It is so fun to celebrate Christmas with the excitement of little children. And it helps that they are all so freaking adorable.

Papa is slightly obsessed with my niece, Wembley. She is the FUNNIEST and cutest little girl. 
Nephew. All of the heart eyes. 
Tanner was a huge hit with my sisters' boys. They wouldn't leave him alone. He's definitely the favorite. So not fair. 

And then, there are just pretty pictures of Oregon (so gorgeous!).

Meanwhile, my brother in law in Utah sends me this photo of Saylor loving her life in the million feet of snow. Ha! 

I love the open fields and wide open spaces in the outskirts of Portland. Lots of beautiful land! 

But I also love downtown Portland. Such a historic, beautiful, clean city. 

Winter Break was good. And now I want it back. I am waking up every morning with a horrible cold that my husband and students gave to me....welcome back to reality. This is a hard week, the first week back after Winter Break. Its cold, dreary, everyone's tired and sick and it's just one of those months. But we can do it! I got this, guys.
Happy January. Here comes a month of beautiful snow, and hopefully a lot of skiing (see, I turned that around made it positive. Boom.)