here, have some cheese with your lunch.

in the spirit of thanksgiving,
i simply cannot allow this season to come and go without mentioning 
the one thing i am most grateful for.


this guy.

he's honestly the best thing that ever happened to me.
you know the kind of people who make other people better, just by being around them?
he's that kind of person.

his awesomeness just kinda rubs off on you.

he never sets limits on what is possible.
he's not afraid to dream big.
and do bigger.

i've never met anyone who works as hard as he does, without complaint.
and it doesn't matter what the assignment is, he just gives it everything he has. 
and then some.
which, i believe, is the secret to his success.
it's one thing to set goals for yourself,
and another thing, entirely, to work your guts out to accomplish those goals.

another thing i love?
he sees the potential for greatness in others, long before they ever do.
he has this incredible way of bringing out the best in people.

it is truly a gift.

a gift that i am grateful for.

he believes in me.
way more than i believe in myself.

he motivates me, but in the best kind of way.
the way that makes you believe it was your idea all along. 
he has shown me that i am capable of so much more than i ever thought possible.

he's basically way more than i deserve.

but, since i've got him.

i'm holding on tight.



it's kind of a big deal.

i've know him for sixteen.

been in love with him for eleven.

and married to him for TEN. 

one whole decade.

woah, mama.

i vividly remember being a newlywed and getting to know the families in our ward.
one of our neighbors was a lovely couple with three young children. 
they had been married for ten years.
and we thought, dude...they're old.
like, super old.

they drive a minivan.
she's on the PTA board.
he's losing his hair.
she bakes stuff, scrapbooks and teaches Relief Society.
fuddy-duddys...for sure.

we'll never be that lame.

au contraire.

we're like thiiiiis close to pulling the trigger on a minivan.

i know.
{hangs head in shame}

but, you know what?

things change.

and if you're married to the right one, they change for the better.
life experiences deepen your bond.

the first home you purchase, together
the first time you feel your baby kick, together.
the first time you ruin dinner...to...get...errr...okay, that was all me.
the first time you buy a car seat, together.
the first time you gaze into your newborn baby's eyes, together.
the first time you stare at each other, bleary-eyed at 2am, while you care for a screaming newborn, together.
first smiles, first steps, first words...
a second pregnancy,
and a third.
you do it, together.

and your love grows in ways you never thought possible.

man, i feel lucky to be so loved.
happy anniversary, baby.

bring on the next decade...



a tiny party.

oh, hey there.

remember me?

yeah, i know, it's been a while.

i figured it was time to dust off the old blog. 
stuff is happening that i want record of...
stuff like my baby turning two.

tiny is two, you guys.

she is the spunkiest little spunk there ever was.
she walks likes she's got places to go and people to see.
she unexpectedly squeezes my bum, and says {with a giggle} "PEACHES!"
she is joy, personified.

it's hard to imagine our family without her.
she was the final puzzle piece in the mortensen family puzzle. 
and it's a pretty fantastic little puzzle, if i do say so myself.

and now, a few shots of tiny, gettin' her birthday on...

oh, and speaking of birthdays...husband is 41 tomorrow. 
sweet fancy moses.



and then, everything changed.

at this very moment, eight years ago, i was gazing with wonder at the tiny gift i held in my arms.
nothing could have prepared me for what i would feel.


completely and totally overwhelmed with love, gratitude and humility. 

and now, eight years later, that {not-so-tiny} gift continues to amaze me.

she is compassionate, kind, considerate, generous, talented and smart as a whip.

the universe has grand plans for her, i just know it.

and i am confident she is up to the task.

happy birthday, my beautiful sydney...

eight is GREAT and so are YOU!!




the time i ran a marathon.

*thank you to our friend, carlos, for capturing this moment for us.*

10 | 6 | 12

it was like a due date.

and training was like a pregnancy.

lots of sweating, very little sleep and plenty of discomfort.

it felt like the day would never come.

other than a baby, 
i don't know that i've ever prepared for or thought about anything quite as much.

the decision to commit to a marathon had to be my own.
and it came as i was training for my last half-marathon.
i was running with one of my favorite people in the world {steph},
running past my favorite place in the world {snow canyon}
when it hit me.

i could do this.

i want to do this.

and my very next thought was...

crap, CAN i do this?

the thought of being able to run a marathon blew my mind.
and, honestly, it still does a little.

fortunately, some pretty fantastic ladies had set the same goal.
and so it began.
we trained, religiously.
as we slowly increased our mileage, 
we became stronger and more prepared for the big day.

but something else was happening...
something unexpected.
i was building some really incredible friendships.

as october drew near, we began making final preparations.
what time to meet and pick up our packets, what outfit to wear,
where to eat the night before and which pasta/sauce combo to order.

all critical decisions, you know.

finally, the long awaited day had arrived.
the ride up to the start line felt like an eternity.
but it was familiar to me. i knew every hill, every turn and every rut in the road.
still, the nerves were undeniably there. 
i was quiet, which isn't like me.
and i couldn't stop trembling.
i tried to blame it on the cold, but i knew better.
the ultimate test was about to begin.
was i ready?

i felt ready. 
i had done all i could to prepare...

but, was i ready?

at last, the start line came into view.
experiencing it with husband, who's an old marathon pro, helped to ease my fear.
he's run it several times, and yet, 
when we stepped out into the crowds, even he was overwhelmed by the scene.

the plan was to meet at the third bonfire from the start line.
we quickly wound our way through the crowds to the designated meeting spot.
and after a short wait, my girls arrived, looking as anxious as i felt.
and so there we were, nervously standing together around a bonfire, 
giving each other pep talks, taking a few last minute photos, 
fidgeting with our gear and trying to calm our nerves.

one minute to go.

no turning back now...

we weaseled our way into the gathering sea of runners.
the crowds were massive and the energy, intense.
like nothing i've ever experienced before.
it was absolutely electric.
so many people with the same goal, all in one place.

i tried to step back from myself for a moment and just take it all in.
the weather was perfect. it was cool, but not as cold as i thought it would be.
the wind was blowing, but it was at our backs...YES!
the smell of bonfires, the blaring music, the lights, the sound of the announcer's voice,
i didn't want to forget it...
any of it.

by the time we finally crossed the start line, a full eight minutes after the gun went off,
we were out of our minds with excitement.
jumping around and screaming, none of us could believe what was actually happening!


holy schnikees.

in the weeks leading up to race day, 
i continually told tell myself to think of it as just another training run.
no bigs.
i've done it a thousand times.
this is no different.

and it must have worked.
because once i started running, i felt calm, i felt strong and i felt amazing!
actually, i felt invincible.
i can't really explain it.
adrenaline, perhaps?
whatever it was, i was diggin' it.

the miles whizzed by, one after another.
before i knew it, we were past the half marathon point and i could only feel myself gaining steam.
my two fastest splits were miles 15 and 16 with an average pace of 7:50 {minute mile}.

i do, however, have to give credit where credit is due.
my friend, jeny, is a machine. 
and i was hell-bent on sticking with her...
the. whole. time.

trying to keep up with her during training was how i improved my speed.
she motivated me to push myself harder and run faster than i ever would have on my own.
so, with her by my side, i felt confident we would turn out a pretty decent time.

i hadn't set any specific time goals.
with it being my first marathon and all, my only two goals were...
to do my best and have fun doing it.

however, around mile 23, we both looked down at our Garmin watches 
and simultaneously came to the realization that
a sub-four marathon was actually within reach!

we had to immediately change the subject 
as we were both getting emotional just thinking about it.
the rush of adrenaline from thinking about a sub-four finish on my first marathon,
combined with the cheering crowds lining the streets,
was nearly enough to make my heart explode.

i felt like i was flying.
strange things happen to your brain when you run.
super-high highs, mixed with moments of utter confusion as to how 
you could have possibly gotten yourself into this mess.

i experienced both.

the confusion and exhaustion were setting in with only two miles to go.
never in my life have two measly miles felt so far.
my breathing was becoming more labored, my legs felt like rubber 
and my shoes felt like i was dragging two cement blocks.
my IT band, which had bothered me the entire race, was starting to scream at me.


why are you doing this?

coincidently, i was thinking the same thing.

why am i doing this?

and then, i made that final turn and saw the finish line.
i don't know how to describe it.
but, seeing the hundreds of people lining the chute, cheering and ringing cowbells, 
made me forget about the pain.

i was overcome with a flood of emotions as i inched closer and closer to that balloon arch.
i can't believe this journey is nearly complete.
i can't believe how insanely good it feels to accomplish this, once seemingly impossible, goal.
i can't wait to STOP running and just hug my family. 
and with that, my foot crossed the finish line.

it was over.

i had just run a marathon.

26.2 miles.

the feeling was indescribable.
i was overjoyed at the sight of my husband waiting with open arms to embrace me
and put my finisher medal around my neck.
i hobbled up to him, tears filling my eyes.
we hugged and he told me how proud he was of me.
just then, my two biggest littles came running up to hug me, too.
it meant so much to have them right there with me.
it was the icing on my marathon cake.

a perfect day.

i wouldn't have changed a thing.

many have already asked, "will you do it again?"
my initial reaction is, "that's like asking a new mother
in the hospital with her newborn baby if she wants more kids."

i think it's wise to let the stitches heal first before making any major decisions.

however, i will say this...

with one under my belt and a time to beat,
don't be surprised to see me out there in 2013.

what have i got to lose?

you know, besides a few more toenails.


36 things.

{little me, circa 1980}

on the eve of my 36th birthday,
here are a few things i've learned in my 36 years on the planet.

i certainly don't have it all figured out.
i'm still learning.
but sometimes it's nice to write down the things you maybe, kinda, sorta have some experience with.
and then, build from there...

1. spend less time worrying about what others think of you. 
your time and energy are better spent on other things.

2. paint your nails. 
you'll just feel prettier.

3. give people the benefit of the doubt.
most often, they are doing the best they can, given their circumstances.

4. do something that scares you.
you won't believe how good it feels.
and you just might surprise yourself with 
what you are capable of doing.

5. have at least one friend you can be ridiculous with.
and laugh until milk comes out your nose.

6. teach your children to respect the planet and everyone on it.

7. if chocolate makes you happy, then eat chocolate.
but only a little bit.

8. calories don't count on your birthday, indulge.

9. date your spouse.
it's as important as it is fun.

10. visit a foreign country.
and immerse yourself in the culture.
it changes you.

11. less is more.
this rule applies to nearly everything.
simple = better.

12. never buy a piece of clothing just because it's on sale.
you're always better off putting that money toward a piece you really love.
quality over quantity.

13. have friends of all ages.
the young ones keep you young.
and you'll learn so much from those who are older and wiser.

14. don't over schedule yourself or your children.
never underestimate the importance of down-time.
you need it.
and your kids do too.

15. visit the ethnic markets in your town. 
and try as many foods as possible.
who knew fish sauce would be so delicious?

16. do something to get your heart rate up, every single day.
dance while you vacuum,
go walking with your friends,
push a stroller to the park.
doesn't matter what it is...
just do something.

17. comparing yourself to others isn't helpful, fair or productive.

18. eat clean
but leave some wiggle room for #7.

19. invest in a pencil skirt. 
every woman should have one.
and it should fit like it was made for you.

20. take gazillions of photos of your babies.
you'll be happy you did.

21. whiten your teeth.
and then smile more often to show them off.

22. keep a journal or a blog.
make a record of your life.
document the things you've learned, 
the things that make you happy,
and don't be afraid to include the hard times, too.

23. watch less t.v.
and read more books.

24. look people in the eye when they are talking to you.
especially your children.

25. any time you get the chance, hold the door for someone.
and if they hold it open for you,
say thank you, and mean it.

26. take pride in your appearance.
wear a little makeup.
style your hair.
put on real clothes.
you deserve to look nice and feel beautiful.
and you'll be surprised how much easier it is to take care of others
when you've spent a little time on yourself.

27. give genuine compliments.
notice the good things people do.

28. go to bed early and wake up before the sun does.
watch the sunrise and listen to the quiet.
it might be the only quiet you get all day...enjoy it.

29. buy nice toilet paper, sheets and bath towels.

30. don't own more than what you really need.
otherwise, it owns you.

31. schedule time for yourself.
remember the wise words of the flight attendant?
please secure your own oxygen mask first, prior to assisting others.
get a massage.
go shopping, alone.
plan a girls' weekend.
recharge your batteries.
you'll be better at  everything you do, if you are happy.

32. pray.
give thanks.
everyday, twice a day...or more.
live life with a grateful heart.

33. spend one-on-one time with each of your kids.
they'll never forget it.

34. stop and look around once in a while.
break your routine.
drive a different way to work.
have breakfast for dinner.
do something spontaneous.
ever been skinny dipping?

35. learn from your mistakes.
i've made enough for two lifetimes, but they've made me who i am.
and i like who i am.

36. milk your birthday.
celebrate for at least a week.
snuggle your babies.
kiss your sweetheart.
and hug your friends.
life is good. 
and it feels really good to be loved. 



this little heart-breaker turns five next week.
half of a decade.

this whole babies-growing-up-business is highly overrated.

le sigh


an unforgettable journey.

i knew trek would be an amazing experience.
but, even my highest expectations were far exceeded.

the spirit of Elijah was undeniably present in our home as we studied
and researched our pioneer ancestors.

i felt their presence as we learned of them
and felt it even stronger as we walked in their footsteps.

it was a journey that i will never forget.

we were asked to speak last night at our final stake trek fireside.
i wrote down a few thoughts and would like to share them with you.

I feel extremely grateful for the opportunity my husband and I had to join many of you on the trek. 
And I am equally grateful to be with you tonight to share what this marvelous experience has taught me. 

In preparation for trek, I felt a strong desire to learn more about my own pioneer ancestors. Discovering the many hardships and obstacles they endured and overcame, provided me with the connection I had been seeking.
I formed a very unexpected bond and developed a deep love and appreciation for them. 

Against his parents’ wishes, my great-great grandfather, Samuel Roskelley, joined the church at the age of fourteen in Devonport, England. He was looked upon as the black sheep of the family and continually told how he had brought disgrace upon them. But, he writes, “I had resolved to serve the Lord at all costs.” He left home and all that was familiar to him at the tender age of sixteen to come to Zion. Had it not been for his unwavering faith and perseverance, I would not be standing before you today, enjoying the blessings of the gospel in my life. I was humbled by the many sacrifices the pioneers made and prayed that I would feel their presence as we walked in their footsteps.

Brothers and sisters, I testify to you that my prayers were answered. The pioneer spirit is alive and well and can be felt in abundance in Martin’s Cove, Wyoming. I bear witness to you that our seemingly distant ancestors are much closer than we think. What an honor it was to walk where they walked, to experience a small sampling of pioneer life. It was an experience I will never forget. It exceeded all of my expectations and left a much deeper impression upon me than I ever could have imagined. 

What a privilege it was to get to know the youth in our stake. They are extraordinary young men and women and I applaud you parents for raising such remarkable young adults. That is no easy task these days, so whatever you’re doing, keep doing it, because it is working!

In closing, I would also like to share my appreciation for all our stake leaders who were so dedicated to making trek a memorable experience. From our inspired stake presidency, to the support teams who assisted with food and equipment, I want to acknowledge the painstaking attention to detail that went into planning and organizing this successful trek. 

From the bottom of my heart, thank you for allowing me to be a part of this. It is a memory that I will forever cherish. I want to leave you with my testimony of the truthfulness of the gospel. I know that God lives and that He knows and loves each and every one of us. I am grateful for my Savior, for His sacrifice and love for me. 
This is His church and I bear witness of it, in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.


tiny evolution.

at just a shade under sixteen months, 
tiny has finally decided to walk upright, on two feet.


it's a beautiful thing.


the second half.

okay, before we begin, don't laugh at my copyright-infringing-heavily-watermarked-sport-photo proofs.
i am WAY too cheap to spend what they want for those...sorry.

and with that out of the way...

this weekend ROCKED!

i can't even tell you how much fun we had.

three moms, with eleven kids between us, acting like a bunch of silly, teenaged girls.

we just need that once in a while, you know.

unplugging from the responsibilities of life, family, kids, grocery shopping, bedtime battles and the "mom, i'm bored" routine...was SO nice.

i am so grateful for an amazing, supportive husband who held down the fort while i was away.
thank you, sweetheart.

this was only my second half marathon and my only goal was to come in under two hours.
my first half was last summer, four months postpartum, and i was slow.
but, you've gotta start somewhere, right?

so, we hit the road on friday afternoon, headed north.

never in my life has that drive gone by so quickly.
no diapers to change, no battles over property lines in the backseat, and no unplanned stops.

just laughter.
 and music.
the entire time.

now that is what i call a road trip.

we arrived at my parents' home in sandy, just in time to sit down to an amazing, home-cooked meal.
lasagna, salad, bread and fruit.

carb loading never tasted so good!
thanks, mom and dad.
{for not just the food, but for the luxurious accommodations, too}

after dinner, we had lots of important preparations to make.
you know, deciding what to wear, pinning on our bibs, taking nerdy photos of ourselves wearing our race shirts and painting our nails a lovely shade of neon yellow. 

never can be too ready, i always say.

once we were satisfied that everything had been taken care of, we settled in for a nap.
i say nap, because of the 3am wakeup call.
that's hardly what i call a good nights' sleep.
but, hey...all part of the experience.

morning came quickly.

once we rubbed the sleep from our eyes, and figured out where we were,
we got dressed, ate some ego waffles and hopped in the car...provo-bound.

we boarded the buses and headed for the start line.
i was pleasantly surprised at how not-nervous i was feeling.
just getting really excited!

the start line was nuts!
i couldn't believe how many people had signed up for this.
bonfires and porta-potties as far as the eye could see.
and a lot of dedicated {or crazy} people, depending on how you wanna look at it. 

we didn't have to wait as long as we had anticipated.
and it wasn't nearly as cold as we had anticipated, either...which was awesome.

just three silly girls, taking iPhone photos and soaking it all in.

5:30 arrived, just thirty minutes to go.

we pound our pre-race drinks and wait for them to take hold.
and it was obvious when they did.

when jeny began doing an irish jig, it was apparent the caffeine had found its way into her bloodstream.

awesome sauce. 

time to line up.

we found the 1:55 pacer and made plans to stick with him, or bust.


go time.

and we're off.

i can't even describe the feeling of racing.

it's exhilarating and terrifying at the same time.
all the what-ifs and am-i-doing-this-rights start creeping into your head.

we start out fast.
like road-runner with the spinning legs, fast.
holy crap balls.

how am i going to keep this up?

even though i'm running with jeny, it is silent.
just the sound of my own breathing.
and hers.

for the first four miles, not a word is spoken.
then, once we got our wits about us and felt a little more settled in, we started talking.
which i was so grateful for.
i needed the distraction.
and it helped the next five miles pass quickly.

around mile nine, i was beginning to run out of gas. 
jeny pulled ahead, but i never let myself lose sight of her.
it was my only hope of reaching my goal.

miles 9-13 were hard.
which i expected.
but, being able to see the finish line when you're still 2+ miles out, messes with your head.
big time.

i pushed through the pain and exhaustion and thought only of how incredible it would feel to 
look up at the time as i cross the finish line and not see a "2" at the beginning of it.

must. keep. going.

the mind is a funny thing.

i've always heard people say that you get a little nutty during long runs, 
and i now know what they're talking about.

emotions run high when you're pushing yourself way outside your physical comfort-zone.

as i neared the finish and the sidelines were lined with cheering friends and family members,
i was inspired.

inspired to finish strong.
inspired to reach my goal.
and inspired to do this again, despite the pain and discomfort i was experiencing.

i won't lie, the thought of running a full marathon in just four months 
seemed beyond comprehension.

and still does. 

i'll deal with that later.
for now, i have a race to finish.

as i entered the chute, everything changed.

i felt a surge of energy and emotion.

i heard my dad scream my name and i looked to my left and saw both he and my mom.
they were cheering wildly and snapping photos.

it made me so happy to have their support.
they are amazing.
and i am seriously so blessed to be their kid.

seeing them, made me want to sprint.
and so i did.
i ran with all my might.
pedal to the metal.
balls to the wall.

and i accomplished my goal.


i shaved nearly fifteen minutes off of my previous time.

and it felt fantastic.

all of it.

quality time with friends.
being with family.
setting and reaching goals.


i will definitely be doing this again.


this is happening.

We would like to congratulate you on being one of 7400 runners selected for the 2012 St George Marathon. We will be hosting runners from all 50 states and 18 countries. We would like to thank you for your interest in our event and we look forward to seeing each of you cross the finish line Saturday October 6th!

and let me assure you, no one is more surprised than i am.

if you would have told my two-year-ago-self that i would be running the st. george marathon in 2012,
i would have laughed till i cried.


i've always thought marathons, and the people who run them, were downright silly.

i mean, who honestly does that to their body, on purpose?
it's outright madness.

but, over the past couple of years, i've gotten to know running a little better.
and truth be told, she's not the hideous beast i once made her out to be.

i'll let you in on my little secret if you want to stop hating running too.

paper out, pencils up...

you must run farther than three miles.

that's it.

the first three miles are the worst.
the worst.

your body is screaming at you, wondering what in the world you are making it do.
your breathing is labored and each step feels heavier than the last.

but, something magical happens for me after that three-mile-mark.
your body finally realizes, "okay this is happening...so let's make the best of it."

your muscles loosen up, your breathing becomes anaerobic and you get into a real rhythm.

and dare i say?

it feels amazing!

pushing my body to do things it's never done before is exhilarating.
and you know what?

our bodies are amazing.

they are capable of so much more than we can imagine in our mind.

**the trick is getting your mind to simply trust in the strength of your body.**

i saw this inspirational quote on facebook the other day and it really resonated with me.


sure, i still think marathons are crazy.

and yes, i know it will be the hardest thing i'll ever do.

but, why not try?

i've got nothing to lose...

but a few pounds. ;)


me, according to them.



five little things.

01 :: that my rambunctious, yet surprisingly tender little boy picks a flower for me every day.

{and puts it in a very special tiny vase}

02 :: killing time in between carpools at target. 

{why yes, i do need some new nail polish.
and i am almost out of hairspray. 
those s'mores goldfish crackers look kinda good.
that lamp would be super cute in syd's room.
hmm, ava totally needs a new outfit.
and sure, mitchell, pick something from the dollar section.
and choose something for your big sister, too.
and ooooo...that maxi dress is cute.
man, i could really use a new swimsuit}.

what is happening??? 
must. leave. now.

03 :: this perfect spring weather.

{can we just keep it like this all summer long?}

04 :: these two crack-ups.

{the stuff they say to each other when they don't think i'm listening...is priceless.
please, just let them stay little a while longer}

05 :: a birthday.

{it's my mom's special day! 
what a talented lady she is.
she's taught me everything i know...
including how to make jam!
i am truly grateful for her incredible example.
i love you, mom...happy, happy birthday to you!}

what's making you happy today?


nine {and counting}.

4 | 24 | 03

the day it all began.

and it's blowing my mind a little bit that nine years have whizzed by, just like that.

i didn't always make the best decisions in my youth, but...

i killed it on this one.


morning, sunshine.


she wakes with a smile when the first morning light peeks through her bedroom window.

she is genuinely thrilled to see me when i come in to greet her.

we have a little chat about how she slept as i hold her close and kiss her forehead.

her wild hair tickles my face.

we crack open the shutters and look for birds.

she points with a crooked little finger and makes her adorable little version of a bird chirping.

she has no idea how much joy this sweetly simple morning routine brings her mother.

i can only hope that someday, she will have the opportunity to experience the same thing.