Valebirthersary 2016

This year we combined three special occasions into one weekend. We combined my 30th birthday adventure, Valentine’s Day and just for fun, our 5 and a half year wedding anniversary, into Valebirthersary. We ditched the kid at Grandma and Grandpa’s house, scheduled a late night pedicure (shoutout to Aveda Essence Salon & Day Spa – we loved you!), stayed at a hotel with complimentary Aggie Ice Cream (Blue Mint!), enjoyed breakfast at IHOP, and went snowboarding at Beaver Mountain with great snow and sun rays. We had a great weekend celebrating three milestones and are thankful to those who made it awesome!

Hope’s picture is probably set to private but I tried pasting it below:

Pura Vida/Pure Life

I had an eye opening, enriching experience last week as I traveled to Costa Rica. Preparing weeks in advance as part of a class, I went with a community development perspective in mind. Everywhere I went I saw or heard the phrase “pura vida”, or pure life. When asked how they were doing, people would respond with “pura vida!” I thought at first this was some motto crafted for visitors and that the locals working in tourism were annoyingly obligated to say. However as we toured a three-generation family farm, I started to catch the vision of the pure life as the current farm manager described how growing organically was best for his family. As I processed what he was saying about not having a huge coffee bean harvest this year and having no regrets about not using chemicals, I thought about the learning and growing experiences his family has probably had over the years. Later on during the week I found myself sitting in a rocking chair on the porch of another farm, taking in the ambiance of farm life. As fire flies came out in the evening air, I smiled and said to myself, this is la pura vida.

Even though I only experienced a small part of it, Costa Rica was beautiful in so many ways. From cloud forests to coffee farms, from women’s co-ops to humble villagers, from zip-lining through forest canopies to long drives on dirt roads, and so much more that I hope to experience in the future, Costa Rica is the perfect embodiment of the pure life! Check out the utarica15 hashtag on Instagram for pictures!

Day 1: Slight flight delay due to a volcano eruption!

Day 2: Monteverde Cloud Forest, CASEM Women’s Arts and Craft’s Co-op

Day 3: Ecobambu paper-making microenterprise, Vargas Family Farm and soap-making microenterprise

Day 4: Cafetal Coffee Farm, Canopy zipline tour

Day 5-7: Service in Los Tornos surveying different members of the community to determine the possibility of developing a community garden project.

Salvaging Winter

This weekend and last weekend we attempted to make the best of what was left of winter. Parental duties, school duties, Scouting duties, and lack of snow made it difficult to enjoy this winter. A few months ago before everything melted we snowshoed. Last weekend we visited my home in the Tetons and went for a beautiful walk up Teton Canyon. It reminded me of my days at Treasure Mountain Scout Camp. I spent two summer camps and one winter camp there. It made me nostalgic looking at my favorite mountains in the entire world!

Earlier this week after the big storm hit we went sledding up Mill Creek Canyon. Yesterday we found an awesome place to do some “backcountry” snowboarding, that was away from the crowds. We drove up Big Cottonwood Canyon to the winter closure of the Guardsman Pass road. There was so much snow up there! I do not know why I never thought of it before. It was the perfect place to spend a few hours snowboarding down a patch of snow, then walking back up. Other people had the same idea, but were fancy and maybe a little obnoxious with their snowmobiles. A Boy Scout troop was even up there doing a winter camp. Nonetheless, the Guardsman Pass road seems like a great place to go adventuring!

And We’re Back

Hey everyone! It has been awhile since one of us posted anything on here. The last few months with an infant provided some of the most challenging and rewarding experiences. There were times I thought I wasn’t going to make it as a new dad. But there is something about seeing a mini-me laying on the floor babbling to himself that makes me say, “Awwww! Okay, I’ll keep him one more day”. Like father like son I suppose 😉 Our lives continue to be full of adventure. Hope has been having some success with her Etsy shop. Check it out! I am in the second semester of the Master of Public Administration program. I am excited to be traveling to Costa Rica soon to apply what I have been learning in my international community development class. We will try to stay in touch more often. Have a great day and don’t forget to #entertheadventure

Our Grand Staircase-Escalante Adventure

TRAILHEAD Recreation

We had quite the adventure last weekend in Grand Staircase-Escalante. We drove down Friday night and searched for a spot on Hole in the Rock road. We found a random spot and set up camp in the dark. When we awoke Saturday morning we were treated to beautiful views of a plateau.

We hiked up Peek-a-boo Gulch and down Spooky Gulch, which made me anxious and claustrophobic, especially when Porter started to scream as we had to pass him through the really narrow parts. On the drive out of the Hole in the Rock area we must have kicked up a rock because our radiator was leaking pretty bad when we got to Calf Creek Campground. We attempted to go to Boulder to buy antifreeze but the leak seemed worse as we drove and the high temperature light was a gloomy indicator of the seriousness of our situation. No reception…

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Giving Good Gifts

When I was 8 months pregnant I attended a conference. The opening session of the conference was packed. Fortunately I had gotten there early enough to get a good seat. Unfortunately about 30 minutes into the presentation I needed to use the bathroom, one of the joys of being 8 months pregnant. I was irritated, knowing that my seat would be taken once I left. When I returned from the bathroom the room was even more packed than before. Every seat was full and there were about 30 people standing in the back. Tired and hugely pregnant, but not wanting to miss the captivating speaker, I joined the people standing in the back of the room. Standing was even more uncomfortable than I had anticipated and I was feeling more and more irritated by the second. After standing for maybe 10 minutes or so a man came up to me and offered me his seat. I was incredibly relieved and grateful. That small act of kindness from a complete stranger made my day.

Over the last 6 months I have been the recipient of small acts of kindness like these that have made such a difference. There was the manager at the grocery store who insisted he help me unload my cart when I was enormously pregnant, the woman who rushed to open a door for me when she saw me pushing my stroller, the person who returned my cart to the store when my baby was screaming,  and many others. These acts were simple, but someone saw that I was in need and they helped.

These complete strangers have made me want to be more kind, and I think that is the biggest difference that these people have made. Too often we focus on the bad in the world, but we can do something to make sure there is more good. Since seeing what a difference small acts of kindness can do, I have been trying my best to look for small kind things I can do for others. I have also made a goal to be more accepting of  the kindness of others, because I believe that is just as important.

I can’t help but think that by being kind to others we are in some small part doing the work of God. In the Book of Mormon I read in Moroni 10:18 “. . . remember that every good gift cometh of Christ.”


I can’t believe we are already this far into October, as such I have been thinking a lot about Halloween. Now that my sewing machine is fixed I have been adding some fun Halloween items and other things to my Etsy shop, Creations By Hope. I’ll be adding more in the next few days, so check back often.

Don’t mind the cute pictures of my adorable bib model.

Baby Blessing

A few weeks ago we had Porter’s baby blessing. This was a sweet experience and rare opportunity to have all of our family together. Joe’s dad was even able to make the trip, which is something he hasn’t been able to do since our wedding. We are so grateful to have Porter in our lives and that he is officially ours in the records of our church. Even though he pooped on his white outfit and popped off some the snaps, lost one of his shoes, and  whimpered through the blessing, it was one of those moments we will always cherish. Thank you to everyone who made the journey to share this moment with us. All photos were taken by my mom.

Our Family




Porter’s Birth Story-The Short Version

Midnight: Contractions were getting to be consistent and closer together.

2:00 a.m.: Called the hospital and they told me to stay home for a few more hours. I watched The Incredibles while Joe unsuccessfully tried to sleep.

6:00 a.m.: We headed to the hospital and successfully beat rush hour traffic.

7:00 a.m.: After some skeptical hospital staff checked me I was dilated to 5 cm and admitted to the hospital.

2:00 pm.: My water broke with a loud pop, I was dilated to 9.75 cm.

2:30 p.m.: Started pushing

4:10 p.m.: Porter was born!

Porter’s Birth Story-The Long Version

Just before midnight the night before Porter was born I woke up with contractions. Actually I had been having contractions off and on all day, this was the point that I finally gave up on sleeping. I hopped in the tub and started timing my contractions. They were 5-7 minutes apart. Around this time Joe woke up from me continuously running water in the tub trying to get the right temperature. He reminded me of some of the breathing techniques we had learned in our birth hypnosis class, which helped tremendously.

Around 2 a.m. contractions had been 4-5 minutes apart for over an hour. Since this was the point we had been told to come to the hospital, I called to see if I should come in. The nurse told me that since this was my first pregnancy I could labor at home for a few more hours or until I couldn’t handle it. I was grateful that I made this call before heading in. Joe tried to get some sleep and I put on a movie.

At 6:00 a.m. we decided to head to the hospital. Joe didn’t believe I was really in labor but decided we should go to the hospital and check and that we should do it before rush hour. Once at the hospital we got lost trying to figure out where to check in, even though we had taken a tour. When we checked in I was irritated that we had to wait in line and there were no chairs. Eventually we got placed in a triage room and I was connected to all sorts of monitors. We waited for about a half hour until a skeptical nurse came to check me. She looked at me and I’m sure she didn’t believe I was actually in labor. She asked me if I had been checked at all. I told her that I had been 2 cm dilated the week before. She seemed surprised, and was even more surprised when she checked and I was dilated to 5 cm.

I got admitted to the hospital at about 7 a.m. After being hooked up to monitors and started on an IV (I was GBS positive) I got in the tub for a while. I tried a few different techniques I had learned in our birth hypnosis class, but the thing that I stuck with was ratio breathing. Over the next few hours I continued to dilate steadily. As contractions got more intense I started to do some rocking motions through contractions. I also started thinking of the contractions as waves, I knew that if I made it to the peak of the contraction I would be just fine. Joe was incredibly supportive. He got me water and ice chips, let the nurses and doctors know of my preferences, gave me verbal encouragement, and helped suggest different techniques from our class.

A little before 2:00 p.m. Joe and I heard a pop and my water broke. A few minutes later it was time to push. Pushing was the most intense part of the experience. I pushed for about 2 hours total. At the very end Porter’s heart rate was dropping and they used the vacuum one time to get him out. Immediately after delivery Porter and I both had some minor complications so we didn’t get to have delayed cord clamping and immediate skin to skin after delivery. Joe was able to escort Porter to the nursery for monitoring and an hour later we were reunited as a family of three.

Unmedicated childbirth is the most difficult thing I have ever done, but wouldn’t have done it any other way.