Saturday, December 31, 2011


Dear family and friends,
Here we are at the end of another year, and looking back, it has been the best one yet! I know I say that every year, but truly, this one has been one of the best years.

At the beginning of the year, our dear son Liam turned 1 year old on February 8th! He is now a 22 month old sweetheart, who brings so much joy and happiness into the lives of anyone he meets. Being his parents is the best thing in the world. He is incredibly sweet, happy, caring, loving but also so full of energy! He loves to run and explore, learning everything he can. He knows and uses hundreds of words and regularly speaks in sentences of 3-4 words, learning new ones everyday. He loves to play with friends his age and also loves to color and create art pieces. He is incredibly social, loving to be around people, but is also very good at playing with and entertaining himself. His attention span is incredible for a little boy his age. He is very obedient but also very independent and stubborn.Watching him grow and develop into his own little person, is such a joy.
The highlight of our year, was welcoming our sweet, perfect little princess Aubrielle Rose (nickname Brielle) into our family on August 25th! Ironically, we found out that she was joining our family last Christmas day and exactly 8 months later (and 8 days before her due date), she was born after an awesome and nearly pain-free 4 hour labor! She weighed 7 lbs 14 oz and was 19 1/2 inches long. She is now 4 months old and SUCH an incredible joy. Liam adores her and loves to give her hugs. She is a very good baby and only cries when she is very tired or hungry. Most of the time she just smiles, plays with her hands and watches the people around her. We are regularly told that she is the best baby people have seen and we agree!! Thankfully, she takes after her brother in that area :) She brings so much joy into our lives and we are so glad our family has been blessed with her!!
I (McKenna) am so grateful that I am able to stay at home with my sweet kids and although I am constantly busy with our 2 kids 18 months apart, I have been able to expand some of my hobbies. After YEARS of dreaming, Richard bought me my first DSLR camera for mothers day which is a Nikon D90 with a 35 mm f1.8 lens! I love it so much and someday (hopefully soon), I will use it to start up a photography business. But for now, I love using it to document our day to day life as a family. I have also enjoyed blogging on our family blog (which has been moved to ) and spending time with dear friends.
Richard will be finished with the pre-requisites for Podiatry school (surgeon specializing in the foot and ankle) in July and plans to start Podiatry school in the beginning of August. He has already applied to all 9 schools and was invited to 7 of the 9 schools for interviews (the other 2 haven't received his application yet)! He went to Midwestern University in Glendale, Arizona for an interview in the beginning of December and has another interview scheduled for the end of January at Western University in Pomona, California . He is taking the MCAT January 27th and as soon as that is completed he will be able to go to more interviews and find out if he is accepted or not, since most of the schools won't interview or give an acceptance decision until after the test is completed. We are so incredibly excited about our future in Podiatry and the fact it is the perfect fit for Richard!
This year we also celebrated our 6 year anniversary and are happy to say that like every year, we are astounded that yet again, we are even more in love this year than all the previous years combined! Richard was so sweet and surprised me on our anniversary with a re-creation of our engagement and even gave me a new ring that he picked out! He is such a wonderful, thoughtful husband.
Looking back, we are so thankful for our blessings and memories of 2011 but so excited for the memories that 2012 will bring to our little family! 
Richard, McKenna, Liam and Brielle

Sunday, December 4, 2011


I will have the green, red and silver Christmas tree that I dream of. Tall, full and covered in gorgeous decorations.

Add some red and this is the tree

But for now, we have a little 6 foot, sparse, pre-lit tree that doesn't have support feet or any decorations (both of which are shoved somewhere in our storage and it was too cold tonight to dig them out). But we set it up decoration-less tonight, and Liam loved it. He played with it until I dragged him away from it to go to bed. 

He just laid until the tree staring at the lights...
And then proceeded to give it tons of kisses.
We have a Christmas fan on our hands.
Luckily you don't need a big fancy tree and expensive decorations to feel the Christmas spirit. Because with out all of that, it officially feels like Christmas in our little home, even though for once in the 4 1/2 years we have lived here, there is no snow on the ground. Maybe soon it will truly feel like Christmas with several inches of snow on the ground.

But just like Richard said after we had it all set up, it really feels like the Christmas season. And it will really feel like Christmas once we dig out our dollar store tree decorations and stockings. O the life of a student ;) One day, I will have all the gorgeous Christmas decorations, but for now, I love my dollar store decorations.
Because that is what our Christmas memories with our little family is made of. 
And I wouldn't have it any other way.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Part 5: Of Course

In case you want to get caught up, you can find all 4 previous parts under the page titled "Our Story"

Part 5: Of Course

As I sat on my bedroom floor waiting for Richard to come pick me up for our date, I jotted down some thoughts in my journal about how I wondered if that was the day he would ask me to be his wife. Forever. As I finished that thought, my Mom came to my door to tell me he was there. I quickly finished with:
"I hope that today is the day!! I will let you know"
And closed my journal, placing it next to my bed. I met him at the door. We walked to the car and as I got into my seat, I noticed that the back seat was filled with some of our favorite picnic food of delicious artisan bread, a block of cheese, deli sliced turkey meat and orange juice. As we drove down the main strip of our tiny town, he put his arm around me and asked me where we wanted to have our little picnic dinner. He said I should pick between our special spot along the beautiful river in our town or our special spot at the beach. I thought for a couple seconds and choose the beach. It was a beautiful summer day and I thought it would be so fun to watch the sunset at the beach. So we drove the familiar road to the beach, talking and giggling the whole way there. When we got there we walked down the shore, our toes dipping in and out of the water while we slowly walked, picnic in hand, talking as we went. We kept getting distracted talking, and I would look around sure that we had found our special place where the waterfall cascaded over the cliffs. But each time, Richard would say "no I don't think this is the place". But each time I was certain it was the place, but he would say each time "trust me. This isn't it" and we kept walking. I was impressed that he knew exactly where it was, because we hadn't been back to that special spot in a couple weeks. Little did I know. After what seemed like a long walk, we finally got there. He started walking up the cliff to our spot and I followed behind him, holding his hand. I remember looking up and peeked around him, because I thought I saw something out of the ordinary. Tons and tons of flowers. And not just wildflowers, but I thought I had seen glimpses of colorful roses. I was a little confused why there would be flowers, and as I got a better look when we got to the spot, I was in awe. There were in fact tons of flowers. 52 beautiful, long stemmed roses in every color you could imagine. They were placed along the cliff next to the gorgeous cascading natural foliage. In the middle was 2 bottles of Jones sodas (our favorite drink) and an envelope in the middle of those. It hit me. This was it. What an amazingly beautiful and sweet scene he set up for me. He picked up the note and told me to read it. I read his sweet, sweet note and my heart felt like it would burst. With love. Here is what I read:
You have been in imaginary woman to me all my life.
The kind of girl you make up on a piece of paper who has every positive quality
of every girl that you have ever heard of or had a crush on.
The incredible thing is that you aren't a figment of my imagination, you are the
love of my life and the girl standing in the center of a tangible dream
(le sighhhhh)
I hope you know that I do understand that I am blessed beyond measure to call 
you so much more than my best friend, and by me knowing this I desire to
repay you by giving you everything that I have and am.
I will always be my best self for you, and I am always in your debt, you will never
owe me anything, you never have to do anything that you don't want to do.
McKenna, more than anything in this world I want to be the one who loves you
unconditionally, the one who comforts you when you feel pain or sorrow, the 
one who supports you, lifts you and helps you accomplish your every dream or desire.
I want to be your place of security, where you know that there is 
comfort, care and total acceptance, I love who you are, and I love what you are.
(this is always where the tears start)
It is impossible to find anything about you which I do not adore with all of my heart.
Many people have asked me what my life plans were, in respone I would tell
them of career, education and mission, but in the midst of these words I would
speak of a girl that I was going to marry who was the most amazing woman in the world.
I would say it with such conviction that they would laugh, but when I did
not return the laughter they could see that I was serious.
In that same state of seriousness I declare to you McKenna, you are and ever
will be the most amazing woman in the world to me, and with that, please know
that you never have to be anything except yourself, for it is yourself that I ache
to see each day, and pained to leave after dark. I love you with all of my
heart. I will marry a young lady worthy, and be blessed forever if that lady were

Completely overwhelmed with an amount of love and gratitude I had never felt, I couldn't help myself, but threw my arms around his neck and gave him a hug. As we hugged I felt something metal scrapping my back. And he was trembling. I put 2 and 2 together and realized, this really was it. This was the moment I had been waiting for my entire life. And it was more perfect than I dreamed it would be. After hugging for awhile, he finally pulled away and handed me what was scratching my back. The beautiful engagement ring we had bought a couple weeks earlier. Then he got down on one knee and said
 "McKenna, will you do me the honor of being my wife?" 
Let me take a break here and tell a cool story. Ever since we started to seriously talk about getting married, I obviously poured my heart out in prayer about if I should marry him. I knew with my whole heart and mind I wanted that more than anything, but I wanted to have a strong confirmation that he was the one that Heavenly Father wanted me to marry. I had told myself my whole life that I would never make that huge decision without a strong confirmation. I prayed and prayed and yet never got a big YES like I was expecting. I felt little assurances all the time, but not the earth shaking one I had hoped for. I prayed for it, and yet it hadn't come. So when he said those beautiful words, I said (or actually literally yelled because I was so excited), "OF COURSE!". (The funny thing is that I had planned to tease him and say "I will think about it and get back to you" and then say yes, but I was so excited that I had no time to remember the joke I was going to play on him before I yelled my answer). As soon as I gave him my very heartfelt answer, I was blessed with the earth shaking experience I had been praying for. I had an incredibly strong feeling rush over me like I have never felt before, assuring me that I had made the perfect decision, and the one that Heavenly Father wanted me to make. I knew right then without a shadow of a doubt that he was supposed to be the future husband I read about in my patriarchal blessing and always dreamed of. And I wouldn't have had it any other way. 
The mark in the ground where he kneeled down :)
Wow we were so young...I guess we were! I was barely 19 and he was 22!

We ate our little picnik while we both giggled like little kids and kept looking at my ring! I couldn't believe that we were officially engaged. After a year of wishing he would ask me out, then a month of dating, he was officially mine. We finished our lunch and then started walking back to his car. There were some people on the sand next to the water and as we smiled, he yelled "Hi! I just asked her to marry me and she said YES!!" A little taken back by his excitedly yelled statement, they congratulated us and we started the drive back to our families to tell them our exciting news!

I still have most of those roses, all dried and cracking with age
As we were walking back to the car
As we drove up to my house to tell my family, they were all seated on the couch, waiting for us. Now knowing my family and the 7 kids 17 years old and younger, you know this is NOT common at all. They saw us driving up, knew what had just happened and all sat on the couch waiting for us! They were so excited to hear our news! We went to Richards families house, and had the same entire-family-conveniently-sitting-on-the-couch when we walked in reaction :) Everyone was so excited to hear how it went and what happened! 
It was so magical. 
So June 15th, my dream came true and I was engaged to the best man I had heard of, dreamed of or met. Now I just had to wait for the day we had picked that was 4 months away when he would officially and eternally become mine. This wait was the hardest.

To be continued...

p.s. I decided instead of ending here, I wanted to keep going! So I am going to write about the 4 months planning etc., our wedding day and our awesome honeymoon! 

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Friday favs (a day late)

Already starting on the wrong foot. O well. I decided that I want to try to post every Friday about one of my favorite things. So here is my first one! 
Sleeping Babies
There is nothing so special, so wonderful and so tender as watching your babies sleep. Even better is when they sleep in your arms. Just like little Brielle is doing right now. mmmmm. I love feeling her little body rise and fall as she is cuddled into my body. Hands down, it's one of my favorite things about being a mommy. That and sneaking in on my almost 2 year old and watching him sleep in his crib. He is so active and always on the go, so it's so serene to watch him dreaming. 
Add newborn squishy lips to the list too...brielle at 2 1/2 months old
I love my boy...Liam at 19 1/2 months old
Don't those pictures just warm your heart and make it flutter? 
What is it about sleeping babies that makes our hearts do that? 
Whatever it is, I love it.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Portrait of a mommy


Spit-up on the shoulder: Check
Liams lunch on same shoulder: Check
Bags under my eyes: Check
Wearing work-out pants instead of jeans: Check
Hair in desperate need of being done (aka: ridiculous root grow-out): Check
Surrounded by diapers and baby clothes: Check
More love in your heart than you thought you were capable of having: Double Check

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Part 4: The "M" word

Before I get started, I wanted to say that I had the most wonderful anniversary E.V.E.R! Richard spoiled me beyond all reason ;) But I wanted to finish writing our story before writing about what we did because the special surprise date he planned for us will mean more after you read the last parts to our story!

Part 4: The "M" Word

Things were going amazingly. Perfect. Wonderful. We spent every moment we could together, only except the time he was at work. When we weren't together because it was past my curfew, we talked on the phone until the sun came up.

On May 30th, 27 days after our first date, and 17 days after we were officially boyfriend & girlfriend, while we were standing outside my house "saying" good-bye after a date, just like every other day we hung out, 3 words came out of Richards mouth that made this a day to go down in history. As usual we were hugging (and kissing...haha) and he gently whispered "I love you McKenna" in my ear. As I heard those special words my heart melted and I said what I felt stronger than anything else: "I love you too". I remember looking up at the beautiful stars that night as we held each other outside of his car thanking my Heavenly Father for bringing him into my life.

After that night, he met all of my wildest dreams. A month after our first date, I woke up and decided to check the mail after breakfast. I was delighted to find a bouquet of beautiful wildflowers and a handwritten note that said "McKenna--I just wanted to tell you that I love you. Have a wonderful day. --Richard. P.S. It's been the best month :)" I would find little and long love notes everywhere. He would give them to me or I would find them hidden as I went through out my day. When we weren't talking because both of us were at work, we would send text messages back and forth about how much we cared about each other. We spent many hours sitting on the cliffs of a beautiful beach near our houses talking about our futures, learning everything we could about each other and our dreams. Of course a couple times we talked about our future spouses and both of us envisioned the other person, but we were too nervous to say anything. We talked about our strong feelings and how much we adored each other. But we were too nervous to utter the "M" word in fear the other person didn't feel the same way. Our days were filled with each other, learning everything we could and relishing in each others company.

One day, I had an incredible experience I will never forget. I was cleaning out my room with my mom and I came upon a list of things I wanted in my future spouse. I had written it after I stopped dating the last guy that I dated at college (and the last guy I seriously dated before Richard). It a serious list of things that I needed and things that I wanted. I started reading it out loud to my mom and after each one I would say "Richard has that". After I finished reading the list, I had tears running down my face. He was exactly what I wanted, exactly what I needed and everything I dreamed of. Literally. There wasn't one thing he didn't have that I had written down. I looked up to see that tears weren't just running down my face. My dear mother realized that her daughter had met the man of her dreams.

Our talks about our futures quickly began to align and included the same things. One day as we ate at the only Chinese restuarant in town, we talked about where we saw ourselves in 5 years and we both invisioned being married. To each other. But we were too nervous to say it out loud. After our lunch we walked down the beach, still talking our future and I remember Richard disgribing his future wife and how much he would love her, how he would adore her and make all of her dreams come true. He talked so lovingly, so sweet and so tender about his future wife and I wished with all of my heart and soul that I could be that woman. Little did I know that same wish was dancing through his head at the same time. We kept walking and came to a little waterfall that was cascading off the cliffs, but was hidden behind bushes and trees. We climbed the cliff, behind the trees and bushes to the waterfall and played in it like 2 childhood best friends. It was a special moment for me because I realized all that he was to me. He was THE love of my life, but he was the best friend that I had been searching for my whole life. 

A couple days after our 1 month anniversary, we were at the seminary graduation for the year that was graduating (it was the year behind me in high school...haha) and they asked us to say the opening and closing prayer. After the graduation while everyone was enjoying refreshments, a man from our ward came to talk to us. I left to get some more dessert and after I left he said to Richard, "they had you say the prayers like you are already a married couple. When is that going to happen?" I came back to join the conversation un-aware of the question that was asked that really made Richard think. That night he told me of what the man said and then we talked about his question. "When is that going to happen?" We finally said the "M" word quietly and sheepishly, to find out to our utter excitement that the other person felt the same way. Then just as quietly as he could, Richard whispered, "if I asked you to be my wife, what would you say?" and as my heart beated faster than I ever have felt before, I said "I would say yes, of course". The elusive "M" word that we were too afraid to utter had now become our future. We realized that we needed to get more comfortable saying it, because it was something we were going to say a lot more of.  After I told my parents about this conversation after he left while I was having a near panic attack and hyperventilating from excitement, my mom decided it was time to buy "how to plan and execute a wedding" book. It was happening and because I was the oldest, she had no idea what she was doing. It was time to invest in planning, because the "M" word had officially been said.

This hit me so hard one Sunday. We went back to my home ward, that we had moved from when I was a senior, for the homecoming of my best friends brother. We had picked out a ring, bought it and were waiting for it to get sized. I knew that an "official" proposal was coming very soon because my wedding ring had been paid for, but I didn't know when. As we were introducing him in Sunday school, I said, "This is Richard..." and my heart started to beat so fast as my Dad said "tell everyone who he really is." and I finished with a very red face as I realized how my dreams were in fact coming true, "This is Richard. He is my fiance". Everyone gasped and I heard excited mutterings. I looked at him and we both giggled with pure excitement. My best friends older brother came to us after Sunday school to congratulate us and in noticing I had no ring he said to Richard, "you better make that official, fast".

As we were still waiting for the ring to be sized, we decided to look at apartments. I was too excited to not look at little apartments where I would be the wife to the man of my dreams. We walked through an apartment above the garage of someone in the town and we explained to them that we were getting married soon but forgot to mention the part about not being officially engaged yet. A couple days later we had a ward talent show and we decided to sing "Be Still my Soul" while Richard played the guitar. After we were done a couple of the families from our ward approached us and with all the excitement they could muster (of course they tried to hold it back to not come across crazy) told us how excited they were we were getting married! Flabbergasted Richard and I looked at each other. How did they find out?! We hadn't told anyone but our parents yet! Apparently, the family that owned the little apartment were good friends with these families and told them that we were looking for apartments. We laughed about it but were happy that others were so excited for us.
A couple days later, on June 15th, I woke up to a text from Richard. He told me that I had to text or call him anytime I went anywhere. I should have been scared by this, but I thought it was so cute :) Later that day he called to see if I wanted to go on a date with him and just like I did on our first date less than 1 1/2 months earlier I said "Of course!" The time when he was supposed to pick me up came and went and as I waited for him to come pick me up I wrote in my journal "Richard and I are supposed to go on a date but he is late! I wonder if today is the day....."

To be continued

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Part 3: Finally Home

So both kids are asleep, the house is clean and the hubby is talking on the phone and I decided it is finally time for part 3 of our story! Our anniversary is on Friday so I hope I can finish all the parts before then!

If you missed the either two parts you can read Part 1 here and Part 2 here

Part 3: Finally Home
May 3, 2005: When I heard that all too familiar voice on the other end of the telephone, my heart skipped a beat, like it never had before. I couldn't believe it had finally happened. I tried to get my self under control, and sound like I wasn't floating up to cloud 9. "Must sound cool and composed". 
M: "Yeah, that sounds fun, I am not doing anything" (and even if I was, I would cancel it....ahem). 
R: " Cool. What do you want to do?"
M: "ummm I heard that National Treasure just came out today, want to watch that?"
R: "Sure, we can watch it at my place"
...and then we figured out times and that he would pick me up at my house.
And then the panicy excitement really set it. The only thing I could think to do was call my parents, who were out running errands with the family.
So of course, after I got off the phone, I rushed into the bathroom to make myself look extra pretty. I chose my favorite shirt and was in the middle of getting ready when my Dad walked in. He chatted with me about how excited he was (remember, he had been planning this day since he first met Richard a year ago) and then lovingly told me that I had never looked prettier in my life. It was a very special, tender moment that made me feel extra confident for this special date. I paced around the house until I saw him pull up in his green Toyota Corolla. He came to my door and my parents answered and happily (maybe a little overly happily) talked to him while I finished getting ready. While I ran out the door I stopped by my sisters room and sprayed myself with her perfume (smelling good is really important to me). I said good-bye to my parents, and I am sure that my Dad said something incredibly embarrassing and my Mom caught Richard check out my butt as we walked to the car (she overly excitedly told me that later). As I walked with him to his car, I had an overwhelming feeling of attachment and I got really scared. I remember thinking that if this was a one date thing to him, I was in SERIOUS trouble. I was so incredibly attached to him already and we hadn't even started our date. I took a deep breath and got in his car. He got in and the first thing he said was "wow, you smell really good!" This date was definitely starting out on the right foot.
We drove the short distance to his parents house and talked the whole time. We got there and his parents, sister Lori and her hubby were ready to watch the movie with us. We sat on the couch next to each other and couldn't stop talking. We talked all the way through the opening credits and into the movie, until his mom told us to stop talking. I was amazed at how incredibly comfortable I felt around him and how I felt like I was finally home. Like I was finally reunited with my best friend I had been searching for my whole life. I had NEVER felt that way before and it was a feeling I will never forget.
We finished our date and as he was driving me home we chatted some more and then as we got closer to my house he said, "Would you like to go on another date with me?" I got SO excited that I stumbled out the words "Yeah! My Dad's birthday is tomorrow so I can do something the next day with you!" Apparently that embarrassed Richard because he wanted to do something with me the next day, and felt like I wasn't as excited as he was, so he said, "O I meant like on Friday or something". Which in turn embarrassed me because I thought he felt the way he thought I felt so I said, "Yeah that should work!". Our first embarrassing moment: officially occurred.
He dropped me off at my house and came in with me. I was excited that he didn't leave yet, because I wanted to spend as much time with him as I could. My family was also watching National Treasure so he finished it with us and then helped my little 4 year old brother find his frog he lost in the living room. I loved how he totally fit in with my family. As he left, I walked him out to his car and he shook my hand.
"Dang, I would have liked a hug at least. Maybe it didn't go as well as I thought it had"
May 5, 2005: I had spent May 4th with my family celebrating my Dad's birthday and had a great time (birthdays are a HUGE deal in my family). Around 5, a guy I was also in the Bye Bye Birdie play with (his part in the play was actually as my boyfriend haha) asked me to go on a date with him. We went to a movie and it was the WORST date I have ever been on (Ryan, if you are reading this, no offense! LOL). By far. The whole time I kept thinking, "I wish SO much that I was with Richard right now instead" and missing the connection Richard and I had. 
I got home from my date only to find out that Richard had just called to see if I wanted a ride to institute. I was SO disappointed I missed an opportunity to be with him and to my excitement, my mom said that he sounded likewise disappointed that I wasn't there. 
"Score. Maybe the date went better than I thought."
 I got ahold of his cousin who miraculously hadn't left yet. I got a ride with him and as I walked into the building and to the back of the room to sit down, I saw him smile really big as he was looking at his scriptures. Apparently he saw me walk in and got really excited. Another score. I don't remember much about the lesson except wishing I was sitting next to him. After the lesson, there was an activity where everyone played volleyball. 
"Great, I HATE volleyball. "
I sat on the sidelines while he played. To my excitement, he came over and sat down next to me. Again we started talking and he wiped out his guitar and started playing while we talked. Another score. Then someone else joined us and we all started talking. Some how chick flicks came up and all the guys were talking about how they hated chick flicks. But he said, "well I really like chick flicks" and with that, I got so excited that I slammed the table with both hands and the words, " are you serious?!" escaped my lips. Mortified at my WAY overly excited response, I finished my embarrassing outburst with "well, I mean that's cool because I really like chick flicks too". Little did he know, that was on my list of things I wanted in a future husband. Stupid, I know, but it was even more a sign that he was the one for me because this was one of the many things that he had that I wanted, that no other guy I met had. As I watched him be so nice to everyone, so helpful as they were cleaning up, I couldn't help but think about what a wonderful husband he would be. I was falling. And falling hard. To my sheer excitement, he asked my if I liked to go sailing and wondered if I wanted to go with him on Saturday morning. Of course I said yes, and we hung out on Friday and then Saturday morning he picked me up and took me sailing. The boat was owned by an old couple in our ward and they went a long with us to drive the boat. When the wife got me a lone, she asked me with a lot of excitement, if Richard and I were a couple. I matched her excitement, and then some, as I told her "I think!" Everyone in our ward was so excited to watch us fall for each other and become a couple. 
Talking to my bro on the phone to get the lyrics for a song Richard was going to play for me ;)
I won't go through all of our dates, but I will say that May 4th was the only day that we spent apart after our first date on May 3rd. After the 5th, we spent every single day together. And then we would talk on the phone every night until about 3-4am after all of our dates. How could I want to be away from him? I finally felt at home and never wanted to be away from him
May 10, 2005: We had gone on a date, like we had every day for the past week since our first date and after each one, Richard would shake my hand. Some nights after spending almost all day together, he would give me a hug, but never close to a kiss. I was gettin' antsy. I wanted so bad to kiss him, but was too shy to say something. This night he walked me to my front door after our date and stopped. I was expecting the hand shake, but I got a hug. I was excited for the advance from hand shake and when he lingered, I got my hopes up. After lingering for quite awhile, it finally happened. Our first kiss. It was amazing. Seriously. Long, tender, loving, sexy (i know tmi) and everything in one. I loved how it made me feel so special and so...loved. Some how he made me feel so loved and so special in just a kiss.
May 13, 2005: I had been working at my summer job and when I was finished, like every other day, Richard picked me up. Sitting on the front seat was my FAVORITE smoothie and a hand picked bouquet of one of my all-time favorite flowers: lilacs. So sweet! Then we went to see the play at the high school "Guys and Dolls" with my best friend Becky and her date. We had so much fun! But the best part was in the middle of the play. He was sitting next to me with his arm around me. All of a sudden, he would turn towards me, get his lips close to my ear, and quietly giggle. The first time was cute, but then when it happened, 2, 3 and 4 times, I got confused. Then finally, he got the guts up to say the words, "McKenna, will you be my girl friend?" I matched his giggle and said "of course!"  I came home with Richard, my friend and her date to find out our date was not over. Sometime, in passing, I mentioned I would love to watch a movie outside. Well, he had set-up a way to watch a movie in the woods next to my house with my parents projector, a sheet and the bench seat from my parents car. It started to rain so we got 5 minutes in, but the fact that he set all of that up just to do something I had wanted, was HUGE. SOOO sweeet. I had never met such a sweet, thoughtful, caring (and hot) guy in my life. To top the night off, we find out that my mom had just gone into the hospital and was in labor with my youngest sister. That night will go down in history for many reasons. My sister was born, and I was now the girlfriend to the best, most wonderful man I knew. I went to bed that night so happy, but so hopeful that I would soon become more than just "the girlfriend"...
To be continued

Friday, October 28, 2011

All in a years time

Our little family 2010 
Liam: 6 months

Our family in the same place a year later in 2011
Liam: 20 months
Brielle: 7 weeks

So much has changed in just a little over a year! And not just my hair color, but so many more memories and wonderful experiences! But best of all is the perfect, sweet, beautiful little new person who has joined us! Cannot wait to see what changes will have occurred in our little family in another year when we take our family pictures again! 
(SarahLynn, thank you so much for these beautiful pics!)

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

What I want.

I want to...
Smile as much as possible
Find ways to say yes more and no less
Learn to not stress about the little things
Not let it get to me when my house is not spotless
Read more books
Start baking with Liam (let him help)
Have a photo session with Brielle
Tweeze my eye brows (project "grow-eyebrows-out" was a success so it's time to shape them)
Get a couple new shirts and a pair of pants 
Make banana pumpkin bread again
Take our family picture for our Chrismas card before it gets too cold
Let Liam go play in the leaves
Go pick apples at the school orchard
Get together some fun crafts/activities for Liam to do during the day
Practice piano
Take at least 1 picture a day
Try to take 1 video a day
Keep up on my goal to upkeep the house all week (more on that later)
Find more meat free recipes
Start going to Zumba again
Start journaling our days
Decide on our Halloween costumes
Continue on our goal of a date once a week (more on that later too)
Continue having a dance party every day with Liam
Keep up on all the blog posts I am always writing in my head
Write an update on the kids by the time Brielle is 2 months on Tuesday
Continue to search for and see the extraordinary in the ordinary
....some of the random things running through my head lately

Gosh he loves his sister sooo much
Decorating for Halloween

Sister lounging while Liam decorated for Halloween

beautiful Brielle at 1 month

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Part 2: Awkward shuffle dance

read part 1 of our story here

Part 2: Awkward shuffle dance
I took the long walk from the stand in front of the congregation to the front aisle. Ok it really wasn't a long walk, but with all the suspense of wondering what the infamous Richard looked like and if he really held up to his reputation among the girls in the ward, it felt like a long walk. I sat down and looked up. I met eyes with a ridiculously attractive young man in a suit sitting on the stand. 
"crap he noticed me staring at him....and now he is looking at me too...this could be awkward...he sure has pretty eyes...I wonder how long we will just stare at each other like this....this is fun..."
I lost track of how long we stared at each other but it must have been a really long time because at one point I felt someone elbow me. My Dad had his huge I-am-very-proud smile on his face and he whispered, while glancing up at Richard, "I see whats going on!" I flashed him an embarrassed smile. Not that I was embarrassed I was making eyes with Richard, but that my Dad caught me. O well, he was obviously excited. 
So he was cute. That much was obvious. But, as we all know, looks aren't everything. He stood up for his homecoming talk and his attractiveness shot up 150 more points. He gave an incredible talk and the room was filled with the spirit after he bore his testimony. I don't remember exactly what he said, but I was amazed at the wonderfully powerful spirit that he had. Once again, I could tell my Dad was excited. I could almost see him planning our marriage while he was listening to his talk. I can't deny I wasn't either...
The meeting ended and I went out in the hall to talk to my friends. Apparently (I didn't find out about this until after Richard and I were dating) my Dad walked straight up to Richard and while shaking his hand said:
D: "Hi I am....and I want you to date my daughter. She is dating someone, she isn't very interested in him, they are about to break up and has never dated a returned missionary."
R: "O ummm...who is she?"
Yeah, that convo really happened. And yes, I had a boyfriend at the time. Horrible I know. We had actually decided we were going to break up soon when he left for college so needless to say, I was not committed at all. Sadly, that ended Richards plans to actively pursue me because I was dating another young man in our stake. But I did hear through the grape vine, from Richards foster sister, that he was really interested in me. I was so excited, I literally started jumping up and down with excitement. Why I didn't just break up with "boyfriend" (we will refer to him as that for our purposes), I still don't know.
From here commenced the "awkward shuffle dance" stage of our courtship. Like, you know when you are walking towards someone and you both keep meaning to move out of the way for the other person but just keep moving in front of them, further blocking their way? Yeah that sums up the next couple months. Here is why: 1. All through high school, despite having a lot of girls have huge crushes on him, he never had a girl friend because he was really shy around girls 2. compound that with the "post-mission-fear-of-girls" syndrome and 3. I had a boyfriend and he acted really awkward around me. And he was the cute, super spiritual, funny and sweet returned missionary who continued to make me nervous. So me, the town flirt, acted equally awkward around him
Remember the picture of me in that play my senior year in Part 1? Well I was Kim Macafee in "Bye-Bye Birdie" and we were in need of some extras. Even  though we were only weeks away from the opening night, the director recruited Richard to be in the play because of the 25+ plays he did in high school. So our interaction increased slightly, even though most of it was actual awkward-shuffle-dances which only resulted in Richard saying "hey McKenna". I think that was the most he said to me during this time period. I honestly thought he really didn't like me, but apparently I really intimidated him so he was too scared to say more than 2 words to me. We did sneak to secretly watch each other act from the wings of the stage, but our interaction was mostly just watching each other or hanging out in groups with other people. 
Going to prom with "boyfriend"
Graduation night
I graduated, broke up with "boyfriend" as planned and spent my summer playing with my friends before heading down to Utah for my freshman year of college. As soon as I finished my first semester, Richard went to work for his Dad in Alaska (his Dad was a commercial fisherman). I went down to Utah as he was coming back from Alaska after which he headed to the Seattle area to live with his cousins. I had a great freshman year and as I was dating there I literally thought "Richard is the ideal guy so I need to date/find someone that is like him. There is no way he would go for me, so I need to find someone like him". 
Well I miserably failed and came home from my 1st semester single, and on the prowl. It was Christmas time and I remember hearing that Richard now had a girlfriend. Great. But I got an invitation to go to his house for a Christmas party (he was back in our home town for a little while) and I went, eager to maybe re-light the spark that we had. Once again, I dressed in my cutest outfit, turned on my charm and went. I remember once again, catching his eyes and we watched each other from across the room, mercilessly flirting with our eyes. Then the girlfriend showed up and I lost him to her. I was not a happy girl. As soon as the movie started and they started cuddling, I decided I didn't want to watch the movie AND them cuddling, so I left. As I was walking towards the door I heard "Wait, are you leaving??" My heart stopped as my feet did as I recognized that voice. I turned around to find my suspicions of who called out, confirmed. I responded that I had to go and to my utter delight he said "are you sure you have to leave? You should stay!" After some mil-second calculating, I decided still to leave so that I could make him more interested. Because you know how guys love the chase.
So I left the party and soon thereafter left for college. As my parents were driving me to the airport my Dad said (with some defeat in his voice): "I heard that Richard is engaged to his girlfriend". My heart dropped as I thought I had lost him. I went to college, and thinking I had lost, threw myself back into the dating scene. I started dating someone pretty seriously and the marriage talk started. But it never felt right at all. I kept questioning myself feeling confused and utterly unsure of what to do (later I realized that was the stupor of thought letting me know it was not right). I remember asking married people how they "knew" and they said "you just know". I didn't feel anything of the sort, so after awhile, we were broken up by the end of the semester.
My plan for the summer after the current semester ended was to live in a near-by city and work while living with my grandparents. I was one day talking to my mom about my plans and felt very strong that I should return to our hometown. Confused at this direction (the city I was going to live in was full of single guys and for all I knew the only guy I would be interested in was engaged) I decided to follow it and came home. I had a really negative dating experience right before coming home and on May 2nd, my first day home, I told my good friend I was done dating and wouldn't until I returned home from my mission (I had barely turned 19 so I am not sure how I planned to do that...). It was also fast Sunday and I bore my testimony. As I was standing up at the pulpit I noticed Richards parents and sister. But he wasn't there. Disappointed, but not surprised, I continued on with my heartfelt testimony. That first year of college I matured and grew in a lot of ways, but especially spiritually so I was excited to share my burning testimony
The next day, May 3rd, I went to work at the adorable little furniture store where I was going to work for the summer. I came home from my shift around 4 or 5. The house was empty and quiet (I have 7 young, loud siblings so this was rare) and I curled up on the couch with a favorite book and an herbal tea. Little did I know that just down the street the still-single-never-engaged-Richard had heard from his parents I was back in town. They said I looked really cute in church (he was at the singles ward with his cousin that day which was why he wasn't there) and bore a very sweet, tender testimony. The newly single Richard decided he would jump on the opportunity of both of us being single at the same time and ask me out on a date. He too just a month before, felt very very strongly that he needed to move from where he was living near Seattle to our home town. So finally, after nearly a year of always being in different places, we were miraculously in the same place and both single. His Dad still teases him about the merciless pacing he did trying to get up the courage to call me and how many times he would hang up before finishing dialing my number because he was so nervous.
I was sitting on the couch, with the phone next to me and when it rang I instinctively checked the caller-ID. When I saw "Wadsworth, Ray" on it my heart jumped. "Could this be it?!" But then I remembered that his younger foster sister and my younger sister were friends so it was probably just her calling for my sister.
I answered the phone and heard a very familiar voice. And he asked for me. I finally heard the words I had been waiting for since we met a year earlier...
"Hey McKenna, do you want to go on a date with me tonight?" be continued :)

Friday, October 14, 2011


Today I decided to...

Have a dance party with Little man instead of deep cleaning my bathroom and vacuuming my living room.

Let Brielle sleep on my chest during her nap instead of rushing around to get more chores done while she slept

While she was awake I cooed back and forth with her, taking in her pretty smile instead of putting her in her swing while I got things done

Go on a date with my perfect hubby while a babysitter watched the kids instead of sitting at home

Today I decided to enjoy each moment I have with my perfect family instead of doing other more "productive" things. But really, whats more "productive"? Your little 1 1/2 year old having the time of his life doing headstands with his mom on the floor during our dance party, or a sparkling bathroom?

Thursday, October 13, 2011

A promise.

Well darlin's, I am going to be frank with you. You know I gotta be  honest and true to my readers. So here it is: recently, I was having a hard time. Not anything remotely serious, just stressed and a little frazzled. Blame it on post-baby hormone crazies, being up quite a lot at night nursing said baby or the transition from summer to winter (more on that later). But whatever it was, and maybe even a combo of all those things, I was pretty on edge. Stressed. Frazzled. I am sure my poor family was noticing this and feeling the consequences. So one night a couple days ago, when getting up multiple times with one or both of the kids (Liam is teething was looming in my future, I got a little panicky. Then I finally let it out to my husband that I was having a hard time. And I didn't know what to do about it. So he started asking me questions:
R: "are you eating enough?"
M: "No. Sometimes I forget to eat at meals because I am feeding the kids"
R: "are you sleeping enough?"
M: ""
R: "are you getting any you time?"
M: "i wish"
R: "are you reading your scriptures?"
M: ""
Then it clicked. I have a very specific promise in my patriarchal blessing that if I read my scriptures I will be greatly blessed. I realized with his probing questions I knew exactly why I was having a hard time. I wasn't doing something I have been specifically commanded to do because instead I am spending my time taking care of my kids. Great thing to do though right?! Good, Better, Best. I realized that what is better for my kids is not to have dinner exactly at 5:30 or the carpets vacuumed every day. It is a mother who takes time at least, to strengthen herself spiritually. It happened gradually and the craziness of adding another baby just blinded me so much that I forgot. It says in the scriptures to "always remember" and "remember remember" and yet I didn't
So after that very insightful convo with the hubby, we have made some changes. I need to make sure to take time to feed myself, read my scriptures without distraction (nap time is the perfect time) and I need some "me" time where I am not "mommy" but Kenna. Miraculously, the day after we decided this and I made a concerted effort to read my scriptures, Brielle started sleeping so much better. She has only been waking up once at night to eat, eats for 15 minutes and goes back to sleep. To my new mommy eyes, it's a miracle. A direct miracle from following the commandments of a loving Heavenly Father. And I have noticed that even when I am exhausted, my strength is spent and I have no patience from myself, I have an increase in all of the things I need to carry on. Strength, patience and love come from a source outside of myself and I am able to meet the demands of my 2 young children. That, to me, is a miracle.
I know that Heavenly Father has promised to help us in the righteous desires of our heart. One of my main righteous desires is to be the best mother I possibly can be. I have tried to do this on my own, and failed. I cannot do it on my own. I didn't purposely try to do it on my own, but by default and in the craziness of it all, forgot to rely on the One that I should. Now I know that if I do what I am commanded to do, then I will get help. My prayers will be answered in the perfect way. I will have guidance. And best of all, up held in the trying, stressful moments. That, to me, is a miracle.

"I, the Lord, am bound when ye do what I say; but when ye do not what I say, ye have no promise."
--Doctrince and Covenants 82:10

Liam folding his arms and "kneeling" during our morning family prayer today. This boy LOVES to pray!!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Part 1: Divine Intervention

So last year I had this great thought. Our 5 year anniversary was coming up and I wanted to write down our meeting/engagement story out in parts. I had just stumbled across the Pioneer Woman's blog for the first time and after reading their "story" I decided I wanted to do one of my own. But then life happened and I forgot before my anniversary came around. Life is more busy now (2 kids are SO much more work than 1...but twice as wonderful!!) but I still want to do it before time passes even more and more details fade away with my memory. Cause life will only get more busy! Anyways, I decided that I at least want to write a new "part" to the story every Sunday. But if I get more time, even better! So here goes the first part!

Part 1:
Divine Intervention

So where to start. I would like to say that we meet in heaven, because I am pretty sure we did. The way I felt around him the first time was something almost like 2 friends re-uniting for the first time after spending years apart. But I will save that for later. I spent most of my childhood in SO-CAL swimming in the oceans and enjoying year round summer. It was wonderful. When I was about 11 my Dad's bank he worked at was bought by another bank and he decided that instead of staying there, he wanted to move his young family of 5 out of California. It was getting worse and worse and the idea of raising a small family in such a morally declining place pushed my parents out of the "perfect" beach town that we lived in. My family was surprised when they felt they should move north. So long story short, we moved to a small town near Seattle and lived there for 6 years. 

Fast forward for our purposes to the summer before my senior year. I was on top of the world. I had great friends that I LOVED, one of my great friends had just joined the church (which was a big deal in WA), I had a beautiful horse that I was training to start doing hunter/jumper shows with and all was right. Of course, that's when things have to change right? Well my Dad's job was becoming dangerous. That is what the doctor said. Essentially the stress from his job (long story short: he was a senior vice president over a huge bank where all the people he was working with were super super corrupt and were trying to sabotage him for standing up for what was right) was killing him. Literally. The doc said that if he stayed at that job, he would die in just a matter of years. So with his young family of now 7, my parents decided he had to leave his job. 

One night, they called my younger sister and I into their room for a "chat". Little did I know my whole life would change after that "chat" on multiple levels. After a bit, it came out that they felt we should move and fast. To a small little "hick" town (my words, not theirs) about an hour away. I was DEVASTATED, to put it lightly. In all my 17 year old drama, I stormed out of their room bawling and insisting that they weren't moving me to that awful "hick" town for my senior year. I wasn't going to have it. I slammed my door and collapsed on my bed (I was quite the drama queen). I then felt a quiet prompting to open my scriptures. I didn't (and still don't) ignore those (or any) kind of promptings so I followed it's guidance. I opened to a random place in the scriptures and read the following verse:

"And it did work for them according to their faith in God: therefore, if they had faith to believe that God could cause that those spindles should point the way they should go, behold, it was done; therefore they had this miracle, and also many miracles wrought..."
--Alma 37:40
(no wonder Alma 37 is one of my favorite chapters in the Book of Mormon)

Then I felt the spirit directly tell me that I needed to have faith in my parents promptings to move us to said "hick" town, that we were being directed there for a specific reason and it would all work out. Sufficiently humbled, I slithered back to my parents room to tell them of my experience and to let them know that I supported their decision. Didn't like it, but I wouldn't sabotage their efforts to move our family away from our beloved town.

Fast forward several months and I am starting my senior year in "hickville" (my lovely nickname for the town we moved to). The kids were nice and I found some good friends. Of course not as awesome as my old friends, but still some fun people to hang out with during my senior year. Of course I did make the 1 hour drive back to my home town a lot because I missed my friends. Anyways, we had a great ward and I had a funny, wonderful, entertaining, bald Sunday school teacher named Brother Wadsworth. I really enjoyed sitting in his Sunday school class and learned a lot from him as he taught us from the scriptures. 

By April I was falling more in "love" with "hickville" (even though I would never admit to it then) and the people, especially the friends I was making. It really is a great little town. Brother Wadsworth announced INCREDIBLY excitedly that his son Richard was coming home from his mission in a couple weeks. Everyone in our class got REALLY excited and all were saying (in their own different ways) "awesome!! I am so glad Richard is coming home! He is SOOOO cool!". Of course, as the ward flirt, my interests were peaked. They were even more peaked when I heard later all the girls rave about how cute Richard was and how most of them had secret crushes on him. His homecoming date was getting closer and I was getting more and more anxious to meet this infamous Richard.
One of the only pics I have with me from my senior year. I was "Kim Macafee" in "Bye Bye Birdie" which was the operetta my senior year. More on the plays significance in our story later...

It was a few days before Easter Sunday and I heard that Richard had gotten home from his mission earlier in the week. I also heard that his homecoming talk was going to be Easter Sunday so I immediately prepared the cutest outfit I had. I was determined to win over the infamous Richard before any of the other girls in our ward could. As I was walking into the building on Sunday, strutting my stuff in the cutest outfit I had, I was delighted to run into one of my friends who was likewise planning a way to catch Richards attention. She had last minute decided she was going to sing a musical number and the bishop had okay-ed it. She needed someone to sing with her so we practiced our song a couple times before sacrament started. 

Needless to say we practiced until it was our turn to sing and walked in right before it was time. Because we had been practicing I hadn't had a chance to get a good look at who I was trying to woo and without looking really obvious, I decided not to look around for him. We went up to sing and I knew that he was behind me. Me, the ward and town flirt, got nervous!! No one made me nervous! This was an emotion I had hardly ever felt before! I finished the song and walked down to join my family in the front isle so excited to get my first look at the infamous Richard.... 

Thursday, October 6, 2011

2 hands free

never happens anymore.

in fact i am writing as we speak (or i guess you read) as i nurse princess and little man is playing next to me. and i am typing with one hand. which explains my recent lack of blogging and current lack of punctuation. o well, that is my fate with 2 kids close together. but i have really wanted to start blogging again, recording our daily (albeit crazy) happenings as the richenna clan. because lets face it, they all say later we will find the humor in this crazy-wonderful, sleep deprived stage of life. i want to remember everything of this wonderful stage of life. the huge milestones, little successes, the stresses and the humor of it all. i dont want to forget anything of this stage of my life when i get older. 

wow that took a lot longer to write than i thought it would...

time to change a diaper. scratch that. sounds like i now have 2 diapers to change.

and yes, i know i am ridiculously behind in my picture upload. maybe i will be ambitious enough to not only be good about posting pictures from here on out, but also post pictures from the last 3 weeks.
who knows.
k really. diaper time.
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