Why do you blog?

Originally I began blogging in 2008 when I left for college.  It was a way for me to share my thoughts and dreams and ideas.  Eventually it turned into a place of documenting my life as a new wife, and now, a new mom.  It's a place where I can share myself and work on hobbies.

More importantly, President Spencer W. Kimball stated, "I urge all of the people of [the LDS church] to give serious attention to their family histories, to encourage their parents and grandparents to write in their journals, and let no family go into eternity without having left their memoirs for their children, their grandchildren, and their posterity.  This is a duty and a responsibility, and I urge every person to start the children out writing a personal history and journal."

I believe this is true.  That's why I blog.

What's the story behind "Our Brick House"?

In 2015 we bought our first house. It was a big, fat miracle and beautiful answer to many, many prayers. The house is old, built in 1961, and was (and is) in mostly original condition. We refinished a few things on the interior and still have loads to do, especially on the exterior. Our roof is partially falling apart and my poor garden is well... a sad excuse for a garden really. Yet, this little brick house of ours is a mini dream come true and no matter how much it seems to be falling apart, its ours - we'll fix it and improve it. This house represents the life we are living now, the place we are raising our family, working hard, chasing our dreams and finding happiness.

I've spent a lot of time thinking about what my life could have been or what it will be, but what I want to remember is THIS moment. I welcome you into Our Brick House via this blog - to share our traditions, joys, successes & failures and our memories. Read more here.

Are you a photographer?

No, I am not a photographer and I don't typically take "clients".  I have had the opportunity to try my hand at taking professional pictures for close friends and family, mostly because I'm not comfortable doing more than that.  I love my camera and photography is a hobby of mine.  Everything I know is self-learned and took a lot of practice.  I focus my photos on my family and adore taking portraits of those that I love dearly.  I especially love trying to take candid and lifestyle shots, although that is something I'm trying to practice more often.

What camera and lenses do you use?

I have a Nikon D3000.  Sometimes I use my 18-55 mm kit lens, but after purchasing a 50 mm 1.8 lens, it has rarely left my camer.  I love it! 

I also recently discovered how fabulous an 18-70 mm lens is.  While I don't own one, anytime I can get my hands on one, I'm all over it.  It's probably the most versatile lens I've come across.

What photo-editing programs do you use?

I've been using Adobe Photoshop for the last 7 years.  When Adobe launched their Creative Cloud in 2014, I was anxious to try Adobe Lightroom.  Since then, Lightroom is my go-to for all photo-editing. It was not easy to learn and I had to have a friend teach me how to use it.
On my iPhone, my favorite app is VSCO.  A lot of people use it and it really is great.  While they have a lot of great pre-set filters, I prefer adjusting the photos on my own since it usually provides for a more clear picture.

After having two children, how do you stay "in shape"?

I feel really weird about putting this question up and answering it.  A lot of people have asked me this, in varying ways (some polite, and others not as polite).  Yes, I've had two children.  Yes, I've maintained my normal weight.  Honestly, I don't do anything special to maintain my weight and while I may be "thin", I'm definitely not in shape.  During my pregnancies, I out-eat my husband like crazy!

I adore running and yoga, but rarely make time for working out.  I also love food (a little too much). I'd say the biggest thing that makes a difference (for me) is not depriving myself of something.  If I want a candy-bar, I eat one.  If I want a hamburger, I eat one.  I don't eat ten, just one.  I never binge on food or eat an excessive amount of anything (except cereal and ice cream).  We eat a lot of normal, kid-friendly food and quesadillas for dinner quite often.  I've always been of the opinion that if it sounds good, then have a little, but don't gorge yourself on it.  Granted, I realize that people have certain dietary needs and that changes things, but I don't believe in fad diets or restrictions.  

Within the last 6 months I've noticed some huge negatives in my body because I haven't maintained a constant exercise program.  My goal is to get back into regular running this summer (as simple as 1-2 miles a day).  Starting with small health goals is the most effective.  

Do you have any parenting tips or tricks?

Ha!  I wish!  Every mom is different.  Every child is different.  I'll post a lot of different ideas on different topics that have worked for me, but that doesn't mean it works for everyone in general.  I'm a very relaxed mom.  We're just your regular, everyday, run-of-the-mill family that sometimes misses nap times, stays up way past bedtime, forgets lunch and yells at each other.  I don't read parenting books or follow every recommendation in parenting magazines.  I simply follow my instincts and share my occasional success.  If you have a specific question, feel free to send me an email and I will do my best to share what I know.

Why did you choose to bottle feed your first baby and breast feed your second?

When I had my daughter, my husband and I were both insanely busy.  We were both in school, we were both working and we were both terrified to be parents.  With everything going on, breastfeeding only added to the stress and anxiety I already felt, so I decided that it wasn't the best option for my sanity at the time.  After a week of breastfeeding, she was switched to a bottle and everything worked out great!  

When I had my son, I was really determined to learn how to breastfeed.  Most importantly, I wanted to learn to breastfeed in public (with a cover).  The first 3 weeks were really hard.  One day I didn't take my IBProfen and began feeding my son.  It was hands-down the most painful thing I've ever felt! I opted to continue taking IBProfen until my son was about 4 weeks old just to help with the pain. But, after learning how to feed in public and also nurse while lying down, it became a lot easier.  I only breastfed him for about 5 months.  Around 4 months I started recognizing some signs of post-partum depression which I ended up deciding to take medication for.  My milk production is not super high and with the introducition of additional medication, my son was not staying full long enough and I was exhausted.  He was fully bottle-fed at about 6 months old.  

I discovered that I adore breastfeeding and hope to get better with each of my children.  The truth is, it's hard and moms have to make that decisions for themselves.  You can read some of my tips and tricks on my Breastfeeding Q&A.

You post a lot of pictures of you children.  Do you ever worry about photos of your children being on the Internet?

This topic began popping up all over social media a few months ago and really started making me paranoid.  I tossed around the idea of making my blog and Instagram private, but just didn't feel like it was necessary.  My Instagram went private for a little while, which I might end up keeping private. 

This blog will stay public for now.  I've checked the images and have not found them anywhere on the Internet, but am well aware of the dangers that the online world has.  My heart hurts for the families who have been violated, especially their children.  I do not blame those parents.  I'm continuing to research the type of pictures that are less targeted.   I do hope that my blog can be a force for good, which is why I will keep it public (for now).

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