2015 in review

December 29, 2015
I love looking at my posts from the year before. It's amazing how much can change in just one short year, especially when there are little ones around who insist on growing up!

Back in January, Chelsea was an extremely difficult two-year-old. Now, a year later, she is a sweet, energetic, strong-willed (some things just don't change), big sister who is, more-often-than-not, helpful and has me smiling at the end of the day.

Alexa was just six months old with two teeth and barely learning how to stand unsupported. Now, she's running around trying to keep up with her big sis and talking everybody's ears off!

Andrew got promoted in his job to Help Desk at Fidelity, had to work Sunday's for a few months (not. fun.) until he changed teams. He also managed to go an entire year without growing a beard or mustache. He doesn't view that as an accomplishment, but I certainly do (not a fan of the raw-red tickles).

As for me, I feel like last year was an eternity ago! I look at photos of myself then and now and barely recognize myself! How did I ever look so tiny?! The human body is pretty incredible. I feel like I've learned so much this year, too. I've *sort of* figured out how to juggle multiple children, I've become better at planning parties and get-togethers, I've gotten more in touch with my emotional side, I've learned more about my children and what motivates them, and I've become quite the creative story-teller!

It's been a really good year, and even though it seems so long ago, I can't believe it's already over.

I hope when you look back on your year, you feel inspired by the progress you've made. I hope you remember all the accomplishments and steps forward that you've made. Try not to linger on the goals you didn't reach or achieve, but determine to do even better this year and look forward to it. We've certainly got a few exciting things planned for this coming year, the most immediate being bringing a baby boy into this world, and even though I know it will be a challenge, and I often feel overcome with the stress that change brings, I know that this will be a wonderful change and that our family will be even better because of it.

Thanks for sticking with us this year! Here's to a fabulous new one!

Here are some of my favorite posts from the year, one from every month (click on the picture or the link below to be taken to the corresponding post). What's one of your favorite memories from this year? Leave a comment!


Christmas 2015

Today I went through my instagrams over the past year. I love doing that.

I cannot believe how much has changed, but I should probably post about Christmas first and save the 2015 review post for another day.

Would you believe me if I told you that I did not take one single photo of our Christmas? It's sad, but true. I just get so caught up in the festivities sometimes that I forget to grab out my camera. We didn't even take any video on our camera because somebody forgot to clear up space before we left for his parent's house in CA. hem hem. I did get two photos on my phone.

This is our second Christmas since being married at Andrew's parents house, but this time was a lot different than last time because we have kiddos, and they got SO spoiled. Funny how you think you're not getting them a ton of gifts and then they somehow pile up! I'd definitely say we won Christmas this year, though. Before Chelsea had even opened all of her presents, she lost interest because she was too busy playing with the gifts she had already opened! The 101 Dalmation and Frozen figurines were definitely a big hit. Alexa loved her little musical Doggie Piano from Grammy and Opa and played with it for a solid 15-20 minutes.

The night before (Christmas Eve), we all gathered together in the family room and read the nativity followed by a short talent show in which Chelsea sang a variety of Christmas tunes and I sang a song with accompaniment from my sis-in-law, Kara. The kids went to bed SUPER easily that night because of how active they had been all day and the next morning, Chelsea was so excited to open her stocking. We put off opening Christmas presents so we could eat some breakfast, and so that Kara could pick up Lauren and Josh from the airport and surprise Grammy for Christmas! It was so great to have everyone there this year!

Driving to and from CA was mostly uneventful except for Alexa crying "unbuckle" over and over again. Luckily, Uncle Karl and Aunt Kara were there to help keep her entertained, and Aunt Brooke really saved our lives by sending me a pregnancy care package right before we left with all sorts of goodies and activities to keep the kids busy. I'm so lucky to have such awesome family!

When we got home, we were all pretty exhausted and I should have taken a nap, but I decided to set up Chelsea and Alexa's last Christmas present instead. They love it!

I feel like we did a pretty good job with focusing on our Savior this year and it's the first year Chelsea was old enough to understand. She has been playing with dolls and calling them "baby Jesus" for the past few weeks. Children have the amazing ability to understand the simple truths of the gospel and teach them to the teachers.

I hope you all had a really great Christmas and that it was filled with fun, laughter, and joy in the celebration of Jesus' birth!

The Dougal Family

December 22, 2015
About a month ago, I was talking with my dear friend, Amy, and she told me that her family hadn't taken family pictures. Not just this year, but ever. EVER! I just knew that had to be rectified. I definitely don't consider myself a professional photographer, but I can at least capture some memories!

^^ These little boys melt. my. heart. We are so lucky to have them right next door! ^^

Love this family! Also, their house is Christmas perfect! I've never been to a more beautiful, festive home, inside and out! Did you see those ornaments on their tree outside? Those weren't just for the pictures. They've been out there since Thanksgiving.

Thanks for letting me capture your family at this stage in your lives! Every family deserves some nice photos to remember the good times together. Love you guys!

Merry Christmas!

Susan is a birth photographer/videographer serving Mesa, Arizona and surrounding cities including Chandler, Gilbert, Queen Creek, Scottsdale, and Tempe. Considering a photographer for your birth? Contact Susan for EDD availability.

Let it snow, let it snow, let is snow!

December 15, 2015
There's a picture of me when I'm 11 in my bathrobe and boots, out in the backyard shoveling snow off of our lawn. That's how desperate I was to get the snow and cold out of my life and back to the warmth! I haven't kept it much of a secret that I'm a sunshine person.

So I'm not sure if it's the lack of snow that came our way in Utah last year or just being a mom and wanting to create beautiful memories for my children with snow, but I don't approach snow with the same kind of animosity that I used to.

The snow that has been dumped on my house has really aided my efforts to create these memories for my kiddos and we have been soaking it all in, despite the cough and runny-nose of a certain 3-year-old who insists on being out there anyway, sometimes thrice in one day! Yesterday morning when she woke up and saw that it had snowed, she came upstairs to my room with her panties, pants, and shirt so that I could help her get dressed. She then proceeded to put on her boots and gloves and informed me, very matter-of-factly, that it had snowed. Later that day, when it was too dark to play outside, she made multiple trips outside to get more snow for her and Alexa to eat together. They. love it.

I've gotta give credit to my bestie Amy, too, for being so gosh darn festive each year! Well, really all year every year.

And one last thing; Andrew is amazing. He woke up at 5:00 AM yesterday morning to shovel our driveway and sidewalk. 5. A. M. Have I ever mentioned what a thoughtful person he is? Seriously. He's the best.


Susan is a birth photographer/videographer serving Mesa, Arizona and surrounding cities including Chandler, Gilbert, Queen Creek, Scottsdale, and Tempe. Considering a photographer for your birth? Contact Susan for EDD availability.

30 weeks and Candy Cane Leggings

December 6, 2015

I. love. these. leggings.

I bought them on Cyber Monday, practically the moment the clock chimed 12:00. I bought them because I thought they were super cute and they were on sale from Mindy Mae's Market. When they arrived in the mail, I put them on almost immediately and you know that feeling you get when you wake up and realize it's Christmas? I had that feeling when I slipped these bad boys on. The fabric is absolutely perfect. Nice and thick! I'm pretty sure I'll be wearing this babies all. winter. long.

But enough about the pants. Let's talk 30 weeks. I'll skip all of the "baby is the size of this fruit" stuff because, suffice it to say, he's normal. We had an ultra sound on Thursday and I got two nice pictures of his cute little profile! Doesn't seeing your little babe's profile just make the whole thing more real? That and the little jabs and nudges in your ribs from time-to-time. He's a wiggler! I love watching my tummy when he's especially active and seeing it pop out and back in where he's kicked it. It's even more fun when my FAMILY (emphasis on the word family here, although close friends are alright, too) gets to feel it.

I'm starting to get the "when are you due?" questions (February 11), but I'm deciding right here and right now not to let it bother me, so go ahead! Ask me a million times and I'll tell you, all the while trying to keep the pregnant lady angry hormones hidden behind my eyes. It's really unfortunate that I don't have much of a poker face.

Going on extended shopping trips is a trial, whether the girls are with me or not. I can normally make it through two stores alright, but after that, I'm basically spent.

As for emotional well-being, let's just say it's not normal and I will be REALLY happy when I have good reasons for being sad or angry. Andrew and the kids will be, too.

I haven't been doing much any decorating for the boy because I'm a bit preoccupied with decorating for Christmas right now. Besides, I don't feel like I have a lot to do. We for sure will need to buy another bed for Alexa so we can move her into Chelsea's room, but we don't need to worry about that for another couple of months.

Most of all, we're excited to get him here. I'm planning on having him in the hospital and I'd really like to deliver him without pain meds, like I did with Alexa because it was such an amazing experience. I'm a little nervous because I was induced with Alexa and on Pitocin so I wonder what difference it will make. I guess we'll see!

Thanks for stopping by today, guys! Keep it real.

Susan is a birth photographer/videographer serving Mesa, Arizona and surrounding cities including Chandler, Gilbert, Queen Creek, Scottsdale, and Tempe. Considering a photographer for your birth? Contact Susan for EDD availability.
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