2018 recap - it’s been a good year

Some people are very prone to complaining about the year behind them, looking forward to the promises of the year to come. I can gladly say I do not fall among this camp of people anymore. Intentionally I stared this year with the hashtag #agratefulyear on Instagram, seeking to highlight the good in my life rather than the negative. 

It paid off.  

As I write this, I’m lying in bed very awake and listening to my hubby snore. I drank 3 cups of coffee today, just to power through the post-Christmas cleanup. Also because Everett hasn’t been sleeping since we got back from Hawaii and we are still trying to figure that out. #sendhelp  

in the middle of sleepless nights, long days, health struggles, family problems, and the like, I am learning that all these problems are simply just life. They come and go along with all the normal things and all the good things. Fighting them off doesn’t do much good, neither does falling into a depressive slump (although enough loss of sleep tends to make that come on fast for me) Accepting the good with the bad, this has been my great struggle. 

“Shall we receive good from God, and shall we not receive evil?” Job 2:10

With that... I’ll head into our year.  
(mostly focusing on the good)

January 2018 saw me at about 5 months pregnant, looking more like 8 months. #justrollwithit  
Daniel thriving on endless stories, attention from grandparents, and trips to the zoo with friends. Trevor thriving on a much-deserved break from work and vacation planning. Me thriving on photographing every bit of our PNW adventure, and enjoying craft coffee the entire trip.  

Nose back at the grindstone for Trevor. This was his last year before becoming CEO, so lots of learning took place.  

Grandpa Dan had a stroke two nights before my due date. Thankfully we were still awake, and he was able to receive the best of care at University Hospital within 20 minutes of the whole ordeal starting. Many months of rehab and healthy supplements later - he’s riding a zip-line and snorkeling. We couldn’t be more aware of God’s healing hands.

Spring brought on nesting like crazy. Trevor literally thought I was a crazy person for a good while.  Honestly I remember mostly not wanting to bend over much, sciatica at 8 months pregnant is way fun people. I remember feet moving across my stretch marked belly, two-year-old hands feeling for his baby brother. Lots of talk about babies - that they cry, they have lots of diapers, they nurse, and that we must be very gentle with them. Lots of watching the Babies documentary. Lots of waiting. 

Everett Alistair Lee - born on 5/24/18 | 8lbs | 2 0in | absolutely perfect

And then one day right before summer (and two weeks to the day after my due date!) we welcomed Everett into our family all in the ridiculous span of 45 minutes.  I’ll be sharing my birth story soon. And yes, I am ready to not be pregnant again for a very long long time. Haha!

We were all smitten from the start, and I fell entirely in love with my little big boy again as I watched Daniel take so well to being a big brother.  


Recovery. Dr. visits. Diagnosis’s. More Dr. visits. Taking. It. Slow. Saying goodbye to mops friends (my group shut down in May). Feeling like I had to start over in a way. That good old #midyearreset or was it #midlifecrisis ? I don’t know :D

Summer brought oodles of fun, long days spent with new and close friends, long nights spent nursing, long internet searches and articles read about this mysterious autoimmune condition I was diagnosed with and suddenly fighting full force. Don’t worry, I’m still learning about it and adjusting my lifestyle to aid in healing. It’s a process.  


Fall is my utter favorite. This year I wanted to do ALL THE FALL THINGS, and we actually did a fair amount. Pumpkin patches, baking for the neighbors, #psl drinking, scarves and sweaters. Fall is simply glorious, and I will speak of it mostly in photographs.

I also started learning to shoot and edit video, which is something I am hoping to add to my sessions for next year! ***cue the happy dancing*** I think my new theme for 2019 is going to be “learn EVERYTHING” because I have purchased 5 courses and only have had time to dive into one so far.



Winter again: 

Kicked off the season with a much needed vacation! Trevor officially became the CEO of AAA concrete Raising in Denver and we are officially tied to the city for now. But we took a trip to the Big Island of Hawaii, took his parents with us, and lived the good life in a cute little AirBNB which is our new favorite way to travel anywhere. I accomplished two life goals on this trip - swimming with dolphins, and drinking a maitai on the beach. True story- I only drank half the maitai because birds kept kicking leaves into my cup. Worth it anyway.  
We also took Trev’s parents to many of our favorite spots around the island, and tried something new - a snorkel tour. 100% worth what we paid, and we got to see some cool things that we otherwise wouldn’t have been able to. I also have a newfound love of sailing.

And we finally updated the family photos. Being a photographer, I am very rarely on the other side of the frame, so this was a delightful gift. I’ll definitely be printing a bunch of these in a Chatbooks album and hanging more on the wall.

Jumped full-fledged into Christmas and 30 degree weather as soon as we got back home. Thankfully we had the tree up before we left, but everything else was still to be done! This Christmas season was a whirlwind of parties, gifts, celebrations, and too much good food. :D

But we are happy. Happy to be home again. Happy to jump feet-first into a new year, a new business, and a new perspective.
It’s amazing how Christmas season makes one grateful, nostalgic, and hopeful all at the same time. At our little church’s Christmas Eve service, we celebrated the life of Christ - from his first coming to his resurrection, and looking forward to his second coming. How he created everything and upholds all things by the word of his power.
How the story didn’t stop with Word becoming flesh - a baby in a stable. Or calming the seas. Or healing the sick. Or feeding the thousands.
Or a cross.
Or even the glorious resurrection.
This story continues on in our hearts, in the weighted eternal decision that each of us makes to either say that God speaks truth, or is a liar.
And every year this baby in the manger puts my entire mindset back into the right perspective, just in time to start a fresh year.

Looking forward to 2019 with all the ups and downs it might bring, because I have the Maker in the Manger by my side.
Happy New Year friends. Lets make it another grateful one.

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Paleo Apple-Berry Crisp + Whipped Maple Cream

Recently I was diagnosed with an autoimmune condition called Lichen Sclerosus, and in a desperate attempt to get it under control, I’ve been trying to eat a cleaner diet. I’m planning on doing the autoimmune protocol diet (AIP anyone?) in January after we do all our winter travels. Right now I’m getting in all my practice by trying ALL the paleo recipes at home.

The other night I got bored at 8pm. And really hungry. yay #breastfeedingproblems

Paleo Apple Berry Crisp anyone? Yum.

Instead of reaching for a quick filler like a piece of toast or something carb-loaded,
I decided to whip out a quick fruit dish that wasn’t loaded with sugar.

Enter the paleo crisp. It was inspired by a combo of homemade paleo granola and whatever fruit I had on hand.

If you ever need to make a quick, healthy, mostly allergen friendly dessert - this is the one for you. I made it for thanksgiving and EVERYONE LOVED IT. Even the toddlers.

Be the crowd pleaser at your next dinner event and make this dish! Leave me a comment below and let me know if you (and everyone else) enjoyed it!

Paleo Apple-Berry Crisp + Whipped Maple Cream

- 1 cup frozen or fresh berries (I like the organic costco frozen blueberries)
- 3 apples, cored and diced into bite size pieces
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/8 tsp ginger
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp cloves
- pinch of ground black pepper
- pinch of salt
- 1 cup chopped pecans
- 1/2 cup shredded coconut
- 1/2 cup roasted pumpkin seeds (or pepitas)
- 1 TBSP honey
- 1 or 2 TBSP maple syrup
- optional - not officially paleo, but adding a tablespoon or so of butter to the topping helps it crisp up a lot.


Mix apples, berries, 1 tsp cinnamon, and 1 tbsp maple syrup. Pour into a glass baking dish. Mix all the other ingredients and layer on top of the apple berry mixture. Bake uncovered at 350F about 20 minutes, or until apples are soft.

Whipped Maple Cream
1 cup heavy whipping cream OR 1 cup of canned coconut cream (I like this one)
2 TBSP maple syrup
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Throw a large mixing bowl in the freezer for about 5 minutes. With a hand mixer, beat the cream, maple syrup, and cinnamon together until peaks form. Top your crisp with it!
NOTE - if using coconut cream, refrigerate the can for about an hour before whipping. This will really help it to thicken up and not be so watery.