my first christmas as a wife and stepmom

Christmas this year was a different experience for me than years past. As a new wife and stepmom, my perspective changed as I planned Christmas for my own family instead of merely being a participant as a daughter and sibling. I definitely garnered a new appreciation for my mom and all the Christmas seasons she's made special for my siblings and I over the past 30 years.

It felt like I blinked and the holiday season was suddenly upon us. I guess that's what happens when you get married in November. It was fun decorating my own home for Christmas and combining Dale's decor with mine (I admittedly have too much Christmas stuff that I still need to downsize).  Decorating our new home together for the first time, I also made some compromises for the sake of simplicity and budget.

5 things I've learned from my husband

36 years ago, on a cold, snowy day in Michigan, my husband, Dale Roland Earl, was born. He loves Star Wars and prefers Captain America to all other superheroes. A wicked smart archaeologist and graduate of the University of Utah, his mind never ceases to amaze me. I love being able to talk with him about everything from bacon and donuts to politics and spiritual experiences.

Dale's sense of humor matches mine perfectly and when no one else might understand something, we just get each other. He is also a truly devoted father, a trait I find extremely attractive and endearing. I've told him a million times that it's one of the reasons I fell in love with him.

10 stocking stuffers for her (all under $15)

Truth be told, I created this post for rather selfish reasons. This is our first married Christmas and consequently, first time doing stockings for each other. Stockings have always been my favorite part of Christmas morning. So to help my darling husband out, I put this little stocking stuffers list together to give him some ideas. Hopefully you get a few ideas for yourself or others too!

I'm all about budget-friendly items so everything listed here is less than $15 with most things actually coming in at under $10. That way you can actually afford to fill a stocking and still get quality presents.

from miss to mrs

A little over a week ago, on November 11, 2016, Dale and I were sealed for time and all eternity in the Albuquerque LDS Temple. It was a day I waited my entire life for and in years past often wondered if it would ever really happen. I hoped to find an eternal companion but I couldn't figure out how to get from point A to point B. Luckily, Heavenly Father had a plan for us that neither Dale nor I could have ever expected.

Growing up I always thought my life would be better once I had a ring on my left hand. I'm happy to say my life is betternot because of the ring but because of the amazing man who gave it to me and promised to love and cherish me always and forever (even when I eat all of his gummy bears, sob uncontrollably for no reason, or forget to lock the back door for the upteenth time).

november wish list

November (aka wedding month) is finally here! I'm starting a new series here on the blog in the form of a monthly wish list. I love checking out these types of posts on other blogs and this also gives me a chance to work on my graphic design/layout skills. I hope you enjoy perusing my finds this month!

thoughts on becoming a stepmom

I sat down to write this post yesterday and was so overcome with emotion I couldn't type. I ended up listening to the Trisha Yearwood song "It Wasn't His Child" on repeat and then calling my mom once I regained my composure. Some thoughts and feelings are just too personal and sacred to write down. I finally understand that now.

In less than three weeks I will not only become a wife but I will also become a stepmom. Becoming Mrs. Earl means I will take on the awesome responsibility to care for Dale's boys and help them develop into the men they will become. I know I'm not their mom and I don't want them to ever feel like I'm trying to replace her. But I do hope that they will come to love me and see me as a steady, positive influence in their lives.

true tales of a puppy parent

10-week old Zoey on an outing to the park

Meet Zoey! The newest addition to our little Earl family. This Friday she will be 11 weeks old and couldn't be more adorable. It's hard to believe it's been almost four weeks since we brought the little miss home.

So I have discovered there's a reason puppies are so cute--they are A LOT of work. Sleeping in is a thing of the past. We love the little miss a lot but she is quite a little torpedo full of energy and destruction. She's teething and seems to think that I'm her personal chew toy. And dang it, puppy teeth are sharp. Like seriously. We start puppy school next week and it can't come fast enough. We all need help!