Wednesday, January 14, 2015


we love this place. we love our state. i don't know if there truly is a prettier state.  if so, i'd LOVE to go.

 we spent several days in moab just hiking and eating junk and reading (just me) and watching football (just him)
this is corona arch on day 1. we got to hike with the dogs to it. its gorgeous.

it wasn't as warm as this image portrays it to be...

balance rock in arches national park on day 2

i really like this place.

 hike to the arch on our Utah license plates:  delicate arch

such a sweet trip away in a snowy cabin to relax and soak in the beauty!
we loved every minute!
i think maybe this should be an annual january trip!

Monday, January 12, 2015

surviving a miscarriage.

i wish i had something i could say that would immediately uplift and bring a burst of joy.
a secret answer.
a key that unlocks it all.

i keep thinking it will just hit me. just wake up one day and will be doing much better.
but it's not really happening as i thought it would.
and nothing has happened as i thought it would.

revelation number one: how did i not really know that life wouldn't go the way i imagined it would?  you play out in your mind your growing up, going to college, meeting the man you'll spend forever with, you'll have your home, you'll have your children, they'll grow up to be normal and successful, you'll be grandparents, you'll retire in a sweet, warm, modest home and you'll die peacefully at an old age.  And you think--mostly, as you are an intelligent, "normal" functioning human that these will be natural steps, somewhat easy steps that just happen in life.  You imagine them going well...  Why doesn't anyone tell you that its kind of horrible sometimes?  Why didn't you have any idea that the getting married part can be so hard and painful sometimes? Why didn't you know that having babies isn't so dreamy?  how come no one told me?   my sweet friend and i talked about this a couple weeks ago.  she mentioned that maybe we don't warn others and others didn't warn us because we all want to have hope that maybe it will go that way for others.  kind of letting them enjoy the innocence while they have it.

i think she is right.
i hope when you find out you're pregnant, you feel elated and bliss and a high
and that you never have to know the heartache.
i wish for that innocence that makes you feel like nothing bad could really happen to you.
that is a gift.

i haven't been writing at all. i don't have organized thoughts right now, but i wanted to get out what the past couple months have been like.   I feel like the first month after the miscarriage was a dazed, shocked, survival mode.  I spent a lot of time cleaning/organizing.  Like feng shui would take my pain away.  Also we spent a lot of money - shop therapy.  it worked a lil. Mostly I was in diapers and was a hot mess emotionally, but I got up everyday and knew I had to force myself to put a smile on.  Everyone was making us meals and sending the sweetest notes/cards and flowers.  I felt numb, but there was so much going on to distract.  Distraction is a good word for what the first month was like.
I distracted myself. And it worked well.

Once that wore off, i did a lot of self talk--telling myself I am ok, remembering Heavenly Father's plan, reminding myself of the bigger picture.   With a miscarriage--everything seems small and immediate. I don't know if that makes sense. Actually its like that with any traumatic event--it is all that matters and all that you can see at the time.  So the second month, I tried to talk myself through it. The second month is when people stop taking care of you and everyone assumes you're fine.  Physically that month sucks.  Its the time your body begins to really not feel pregnant and thats a hard thing to feel when you want to be pregnant still.  The self talk was working for me though. I told myself I was strong.  I felt like I was doing pretty good. I was into my normal routines and was functioning just fine.  I even photographed two births that month.  I mostly felt pretty pumped off my pep talks. I felt joy and had fun and avoided things that would make me really emotional.

Month three, my body was feeling completely like my own again. Part of that brought my a tinge of excitement that I could mountain bike and exercise and maybe work on getting in better shape now that I wasn't pregnant. Month three and the beginning of month 4 is where I am at.  The past couple of weeks have been the hardest emotionally for me.  I've had a lot of bad dreams and for some reason falling asleep has been harder. Sometimes when i go to bed i find myself remembering parts of the miscarriage or think about where I would be now.   I have cried myself to sleep several times in the past couple of weeks.  I just have been much more sad than I wish i was after a couple months.  I find myself randomly getting emotional over it--while i'm driving or exercising.  I'm just having a hard time lately. The physical part of being pregnant, like memories of what it felt like physically, are fading more, which is sad to think about, but it has helped me to move forward i think.  i'm kind of just hoping the sadness i've been feeling lately will subside and get better soon.  i don't feel depressed at all. not like moping around and hate everything. i've had mostly happy times, but there are moments almost daily when i suppress a cry.

During the miscarriage and right after, was probably the closest i've ever felt to my husband. it was just a raw time. we were open. he showed love and service to me that was....all I can think of to describe it is Godly.  The way the Savior would love me.  I'm kind of embarrassed and secretive about how sad I've been feeling lately. I don't know why it sparked up worse now than in the beginning. And my husband has seemed to handle everything fine and got over it long ago. It's like it never happened.  But inside me, i'm just not fully healed. And i'm not sure what to do with it.

I sat in church yesterday and thought about leaving. theres approximately one billion pregnant women in my ward and probably 10 newborns. my mind is shouting that it isn't me. then it's shouting what a brat i am for not feeling overjoyed for their happiness.

i just didn't know that "having babies" wasn't JUST having babies.

Monday, January 5, 2015

your goodness.

i 'write' blog posts in my mind while i drive, the most inopportune times of course. 

i had this thought as we are driving home from moab. and i figured i would get home and write, but i know, when i get home i will stress about unpacking and cleaning and it wont happen. 

so i write this thought now. on my phone. 

i dont know if i saw this in a movie recently, or maybe in a song, perhaps it was in my dreams.

I considered that maybe i have spent years defining myself by the worst things ive ever done or said.  

has my crappiest parts of my past defined me? have i said i did this, THAT is what i am?  

we do this to other people all the time. Don't we?  SHE did this to us, THAT is what she is.  HE is a drunk, that's what he is. She has commited this sin or that. He has bad grades, has gotten into trouble, he IS a wayward teen. She said this one thing that was hurtful and mean, SHE IS horrible.  

As if thats all we are. 

I have had times where I have considered my wrong doings in life and have had to remind myself, ' I AM a good person. I understand I made a mistake and was wrong. I understand WHY i made that decision at the time and WHAT led to that action.  Overall I have good intentions and want to be great to others, helpful, and loving. I want to spread light and goodness.  I am doing well. My mistakes do not define me.'

I do not dismiss crime, sin, mistakes. But i am afraid that if I have spent time feeling like long ago mistakes have defined me as 'bad' now, many others do too. 

Another note, you may have a thought about 'forgiving yourself' for past mistakes.  This is not exactly what im talking about.  I have sought restituion and forgiveness for misgivings and feel peace about that, but what i am talking about here is deep down. Deep down what do you feel about yourself. And how do you feel others think of you (which whether you like to think so or not, influences you).  AND how do you think (judge, may i say? Dont panic) of others? 

Maybe all i am saying--our wrong doings arent ALL we've done. I am afraid particularly younger people feel defined by mistakes that lead to bigger mistakes as the believe that is WHAT they are.  I'm afraid we look at others for their choices that hurt us and thats all we can see. We don't let ourselves see they are mostly good and that there is reason for their actions, whether right or wrong.  

We're all human. 
All flawed.

And thats ok. 
More than OK, that's what this life on Earth is SUPPOSE to be like. Flawed. Imperfect. 

Can we look at our spouse and be accepting of that? Can we look at ourselves and recognize that we are not define by our flaws? 

Can we look at our enemy and accept they are broken 

Tuesday, November 25, 2014


it started to snow here.
which is dreamy as can be.
also i go into a panic a little in the beginning of winter when i realize the things i shouldve taken advantage of doing outside while i could during the summer...
also, my puppy baby. shes the cutest, really.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

The Hilliker Family

having fun and looking adorable and stuff!

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Holiday Christmas Cards : made easy this year!

Graphic Designer, Allie Brown, of Allie Brown Design and I have joined forces to provide the perfect Christmas Card Package!

The package includes a 30 minute photography session, 30 edited images from your shoot, your choice from one of the 6 custom designs Allie has create for this holiday season, AND 50 prints of your cards with envelopes shipped to your door step!  The entire package is only $120 and will run all of November.

Christmas Cards are always so fun and exciting to share with others but can be such a hassle to organize and print and put together.  This year we are making it easy!  Just come to your photoshoot and a week later, your cards are ready to send out!

To purchase this package and book your shoot, contact me through

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Facebook Made Me Fat

Guest post from my husband's hand:

Every couple of weeks or so, I let my mind slip into deep thoughts about humanity.  If I get past staring at my hand as I open and clinch it, wondering how in the world I am alive and have this body that has 'skin' and 'organs' and can move and bend and hold fluid and get rid of waste; often I start to wonder why people do the things they do, or how they got to be the way they are. There are two topics that top the chart these days, and it's because I am encompassed by them daily, literally and figuratively:  Fat, and social media obsession.  They are actually closely related to each other.

I'm not talking about the fact that laying on the couch scrolling endlessly through photos and thoughts about other people's lives actually eats up so much of my time that, before I realize it, I no longer have a desire to 'go to the gym' or 'mow the lawn'.  While true, that's not the common thread to which I am referring.  I'm talking about the underlying structure upon which our modern society is built that makes these things thrive.  The imaginary 'American Dream' to which we all feel entitled.  The disease that has drained our bank accounts, tricked our hearts into unnecessary eruptions of drama, filled the empty spaces in our clothes, and has often killed progress dead in its tracks.  I'm talking about being spoiled.  "I want it now.  I get it now."

We can't even pretend that this disease isn't running rampant all around us.  We are quite literally addicts to the idea of now-ness.  I doubt there exists a person who hasn't heard a friend talk about their need to 'quit facebook', or 'wean off of Pinterest'.  We're not talking about crack or cigarettes here, so why are we even using these terms?  If there is no nicotine in Instagram, why is our shaky finger scrolling further and further down even though our wrist hurts from holding our phone in front of our face in the dark?  Because we have a natural desire to 'snoop', to get the 'down low', to see peoples 'private' lives, to be entertained, to see more- and we want it NOW.  Often not even an important meeting at work, a lesson during our day of worship, or a serious discussion with our spouse can get in our way.  Is the story about your cousin's child throwing cheerios at the cat actually important?  I daresay the answer will always be 'No', but the strange need to read about it will often beat out activities ten fold more important.  It's just. too. easy.

So how does this spoiled sense of entitlement make me fat?  Just as the technology industry has taken advantage of my insatiable and unexplainable craving for mind garbage, the food industry has lulled us into a mind numbing sense of satisfaction with stomach garbage.  Not a soul would look me in the eyes and tell me that sugar is healthy, or even good to put in our bodies for that matter.  We all know that it has no nutritional value and that it can cause serious health problems.  (We all read these words, nod our heads, and put the next oreo into our mouths as we continue...) See what happened there?!  It's like we are living in a false reality.  I literally will finish conversations with my coworkers about the negative and horrific effects of sugar, and within an hour I'm at Chick Fil A slurping out the last morsels of my oreo shake.  My mind doesn't care about consequences or nutrition- it cares about feeding the 'nows'.  

"Pffff.  I'll just quit when I need to."  Riiiiight.  Just make a simple little choice to 'quit' once you don't fit into any of your clothes and ache everywhere.  NEWSFLASH:  I reached that point and I didn't quit.  It's really, really, really hard.  How hard?  Well we know that sugar has similar effects on the brain as cocaine, possibly even more addictive... My wife and I just headed a '10 day Sugar-free Challenge'.  We had over 20 people on board and gung-ho about kicking this nasty additive that is in almost ALL processed food.  After 7 days we did a quick headcount... and the number of people still going strong could be counted on one hand.  What did those people have in common?  They were already basically on 'no sugar' diets.  I could have taken the responses from most people who dropped out and replaced the word 'sugar' with 'cigarettes' and I don't think anyone could have picked them out of a bunch of cigarette addicts.  The thing that kills me- ALL participants that lasted through the week lost POUNDS.  A few even LOOK better.  In 7 days.  How many times have I felt disgusting or depressed about all the weight I've gained since college.... and all I had to do was stop gorging myself on sugar?!  But... but... I want it!  Right now!  'It makes me happy!'  I can't even tell you the number of times I've heard people say they'd rather be 'happy' than be on a 'diet'.  I've said it myself.  Do we honestly think that we cannot be 'happy' when we eat food that nourishes our body rather than destroys it?!

We are spoiled brats.  Modern society knows how weak we are and literally spoon feeds us garbage for our mind/body that they know we can't resist.  They know we want want want- now now now... and they give it to us.  Maybe we should just go along with it until it becomes a REAL problem- when the majority of our society is obese and having health issues, maybe even to the point of an epidemic- or when people start losing real communication skills because they only feel comfortable behind their electronic devices, and it causes conflict in their REAL relationships.  Wait a second....