Monday, July 16, 2012

Finally My Turn for a Field Trip!

Mitch is a lucky duck. He has tons of trips for his Recreation Management major. Most of them involve camping somewhere remote with nothing but a tarp and the clothes on his back, but he still has a blast.

When my teacher presented a fantastic opportunity for our class that involved a day trip to Salt Lake City, UT (about 4 hours from Rexburg), I jumped on it. It was MY turn to go on a little trip while Mitch had Nathan duty all day! Thank heavens his end-of-the-semester schedule lined up well enough for me to go! 

(Nathan did have to spend about half an hour at work with Mitch because one of our speakers went over, but when the Governor of Utah is speaking to you, there's nothing you can really do to tell him to hush so your group can get on the road!)

Anyway, the highlights of this trip were:

- A private meeting with Sister Elaine S. Dalton, General Young Women President for our church. She counsels to all the young women, ages 12-18, in our worldwide church. She lives in Salt Lake City with our other church leaders and has nearly daily interactions with our Prophet, Thomas S. Monson. It was a privilege to meet with her.

-Private counsel from the governor of Utah all about how we can be better advocates for children and families all over the country, and what we can do to get involved in legislation at any level.

-A meeting with some of the ladies of United Families International, a group that lobbies at the UN for family-friendly policies. They shocked us when they said that 95% of documents presented in front of the UN were harmful to children in some way! Sadly, a lot of funding is offered in exchange of the control of children's and parents' rights.

-A tour of the Utah State Capitol Building, which was stunning!

It was a fantastic opportunity, and we had a great time. Our group was about 20-30 people (I can't remember how many actually ended up coming!), and I got to play with my camera all day! It was awesome. 

Here are some pictures I took, and some of my notes from the day.


"My hope is that every woman and every young woman become an articulate advocate. This will help you in every part of your life!" --Elaine S. Dalton

(Isn't she just so cute and dainty?)

"The single most pervasive threat to the family is sexual immorality in all of its forms." --Elaine S. Dalton

"A return to virtue could be a return to family." --Elaine S. Dalton

Sister Dalton and our group, in a room known as the "Elect Lady Room", commemorating all the women who have served in general positions in our church

"Contention is always wrong, even if you're right!" --Gary R. Herbert, Governor of Utah

Utah State Capitol Building

"You are entitled to your own opinions, but not your own facts." (Meaning you can't just make stuff up)
--Gary R. Herbert

"A well thought-out letter or phone call can make a huge difference at the state level." --Gary R. Herbert

"Every document that is signed by the UN will enter every country, and internationally signed documents can and will override any country's constitutions." --Kelly from United Families International

"The business of politics is about building relationships. The more relationships you have, the more influence you have at any level: local, state, or federal." --Ron Michelo, State Budget Director for the state of Utah

Overall, this was a fantastic trip. Sister Dalton looked right at me and said this:
"This is not a hopeless situation; you will change the world! You need not become discouraged over this."
...that was exactly what me and my flaming amounts of anxiety needed! 

Throughout this class (Child and Family Advocacy), we are learning all about public policy and how our society is becoming less and less family-oriented, and trying to dissolve the family unit altogether. This makes me a bit stressed out, and my teacher knows it. I know that in the end, right will prevail. 

Just as a note, I am if anyone couldn't figure that out. I have an extremely family-oriented perspective of life, and my little family makes me who I am; I don't know what I would do without them! 
I will always defend family rights in this country.

On another note, I love that we live in a country where we can all have our own opinions. We get to vote. We get to have so many freedoms that other countries could never dream of. I will never hate anyone because of their opinion. I have been raised with the goal of becoming Christlike. This isn't something I can achieve in this life alone, but I wouldn't be doing my part to get there if I were acting as a bigot towards those who have different opinions than I do. This election year has been stressful on everyone, and we have a long way to go before this presidential election is over! I hate going "all political" on people, and I also hate to see when respect isn't even part of a discussion.

Here are some more pictures I took at our church's Salt Lake City Temple.
(Don't judge, I'm really not very good at taking pictures of things; and it was quite dreary outside that day!)

Thursday, July 5, 2012

I don't feel like writing, so...

Here are some bullet points to catch you guys up.

No new pictures, sorry. I've been too busy taking and editing pictures of other people's children!

Which is okay, because it means a bit of extra income, and being able to do what I love to do.

I've had lots of newborn shoots lately, which are the best.

The last shoot was with a little guy who was 4 weeks old who would make eye contact and smile at me for family pictures...are you kidding!? 

So, naturally, I felt the need to take 750 pictures of him during that shoot. It was a combo shoot at a special rate, with indoor (studio) and outdoor pictures all in one appointment, so it was justified. And really fun. And will be a beast to edit/sort through. But I can't wait!!

We are doing well! Finals are approaching and we are knee deep in the trenches of schoolwork. 

Nathan is getting more and more independent and is learning about consequences. Like when you get stuck between mom's sewing machine and the corner cabinet (it sits there b/c that cabinet is impossible to attach a baby lock to and he once spilled a 5 lb bag of flour all over everything in's also impossible to get inside the cabinet to clean it out, unless you're Nathan's size...), mom and dad make you get out by yourself. He's attempted it less lately! Woo hoo!

Oh, don't pretend like we're cruel. We're not. He wasn't that stuck.


We have exactly 10 school days left in the semester. WOW. I can't wait for it to be over!! A 3-semester-per-year schedule is beneficial for many reasons, but it stinks for many others. Like when all your friends are talking about summer trips, relaxing, etc. and we only get a six-week summer break, not 4 months like they get.

Our summer break is CHOCK FULL, by the way! I love it! The only bad thing about planning a schedule so full is that the break just flies by. We are planning a big trip to Kansas City to see my family (we only get out there once a year...), a day in Salt Lake after we fly back from KC, where we'll take Nathan to the SLC (Hogle) Zoo and do other fun things, drive from there to Gillette, WY to see Mitch's parents, and then eventually come back home. It means living out of the same suitcases for over a month, but we brave it every year and it's always worth it, so why should this year be any different? :o)

Mitch and I have also planned a couple planned mini-trips before the semester ends in two weeks! (Because I guess we're nutso. Or don't plan well. Probably both.)

Mine is for school; a day trip to Salt Lake City where we'll spend the day watching legislation happen at the state level (this Child and Family Advocacy class is a snore sometimes), and then one of the general authorities of our church will speak to our class personally about advocating for families and children(!!!!) This is a HUGE deal because we are a worldwide church with over 14 million members...and this leader is setting aside time to speak to just 30 of us for an hour!! Amazing.

And then there will totally be photo ops BET all my equipment is coming with me! If our teacher can't get a communication/newspaper student to come with us on the trip he is giving that assignment to me. Which is kind of nerve-wracking because they carry around the school's $10,000 lenses, and well, I don't. Oh well, it will still be very fun!

Mitch is planning an overnight scouting trip to scope out the hunting area he's chosen for this year. He's doing the bow hunting and rifle seasons, which he's really excited for. Bow hunting is the hardest, and all school/chore/work breaks around here involve him setting up his target in the backyard and shooting that bow! I don't know a ton of details about the trip, but I'm still trying to convince him not to go alone. It just freaks me out; there are way too many bears, moose, mountain lions, etc. out here for him to be wandering around alone. Oh, wifey anxiety.

Well, I have 1500 pictures sitting patiently, waiting to be edited. I invested in a few more fun camera toys before our KC trip (during which I have 12 shoots booked!), including a battery grip (to hold an extra battery so I don't have to stop and switch when one dies), another memory card (8 gig, 10 speed, we're happy!), and a new lens to allow me to zoom while still getting the blur of the wide aperture that I like. 

Well, that's about it!

Just for your viewing pleasure, here's another throwback to July 2011 and our chubby baby all these newborn shoots and seeing his old pictures make me baby hungry! 

Yes, we have a plan. No it does NOT involve YOU, OR me being pregnant RIGHT NOW

So everyone: practice some restraint! Hush and stop asking, it's actually really getting on my nerves!

Having fun in the hot tub at GG and Papa Dooley's house!

Putting on darling Converse shoes a friend gave us :o)

Testing out my newly-acquired backdrops

Learning to crawl!

Testing out my newly-acquired studio light kit (July was a big photography month for me last year, too!)
Thanks for sticking around this long!

Sorry for the brash statement up there about pregnancy. EVERYONE has been asking/hinting lately, and I just can't take it! My first delivery was not like most people's first; there was a good chance we could have lost Nathan and in the last few hours we didn't know if we'd bring home a baby or not. That led to Postpartum Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, which led to medication and counseling. Now I am peachy (probably 340 or so days out of the year, which is pretty darn good!), but I am also determined to finish school. With 2 semesters left (and 0 deferrals left), there's no time to take off for a baby. I can hold off a few more months to make it through my Bachelor's Degree.

For not feeling like writing I sure talked some ears (eyes?) off...guess no one expects any differently! I guess I'd always rather write than do homework!