It's official

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Baby Hill is a BOY!

Our doctor predicted that at 14 weeks, and we ran with it. But after hearing so many stories lately of the gender predictions being wrong, I couldn't wait to find out for sure. So at 20.5 weeks, it is confirmed… baby boy it is!

Ultrasounds are so cool. I loved seeing the four heart chambers, waving hands, and darling little profile. It is unbelievable to see him wiggling around in there, so much that the doctor was struggling to get a picture. But by the end he was fast asleep, and they captured this little gem with the 3-D view.

Do you know what this means??? I can fiiiinally go full steam ahead with nursery decorations, clothes, etc.. When I get to the U.S., that is. T-time is 1 WEEK. Halkwjeflkajweflkaweifjwogiaweng.

My sister-in-law Hannah had her baby a couple weeks ago, and holding him is like a piece of heaven and makes me so, so excited to meet my little one!

He is kicking alllll the time- which is shockingly the best thing in the world. It always made me a little queasy when my sisters insisted I feel the baby move, so I am happy to say that I am growing up... little by little. Alex has yet to feel anything. Baby is not much for an audience yet.

What else? Oh, I am a hungry hippo over here. I repeat, HUNGRY HIPPO. I feel like I am hungry 80% of the time. I never thought I'd say it, but eating is more of a chore than a joy these days.

The bump is starting to move past the "I just ate way too much" look (which is probably true)- and I couldn't be more thrilled! Grow baby grow.

A Brazilian Thanksgiving

Friday, November 29, 2013

Happy late Thanksgiving! The past couple days have been a whirlwind of planning, cooking, cleaning, and great company. We had it at our house, and invited friends and family that we are SO lucky to have out here.

I mean really, isn't it just the best? Planning menus, cooking (to Frank Sinatra- I was in a special mood), having people over, sitting around the table talking, and taking time to reflect on how amaaazingly blessed we are.

It was a fantastic collaboration from everyone, all tasted phenomenal. There was so much that everyone left with baggies and tupperware full of goodness. My dad pulled through in a big way and brought all the American necessities- fresh cranberries, pumpkin puree, turkey roasting bag, turkey seasoning, etc...

The decorations were pretty simple. I don't have a table that fits more than four (fingers crossed the container comes next month as they say!), so we borrowed a plastic table and chairs from a family in our ward. It makes me laugh how ghetto the pictures look. It felt much more homey in the moment.

The menu:

Caprese salad
Chester- a similar bird to turkey they have out here. I was nervous but found it to be so much more flavorful and moist! Win win. I followed my mother-in-law's genius recipe, cooking it the day before, carving, and letting the meat marinate in the juices overnight. Put in the oven the next day for 30 minutes at 300 degrees. Heaven. I could eat it everyday.
Mashed potatoes
Candied coconut sweet potatoes (basically a dessert, and I'm not arguing with that. It was a huge hit! Absolutely recommend.)
Homemade cranberry sauce- never go back to the can.
Spinach salad with strawberries and almonds
Balsamic green bean salad

Pumpkin pie
Chocolate pudding cake
Pavê (Brazilian dessert)

The last guests pulled out at 12:30. Alex and I left the dirty dishes in the kitchen and waddled straight upstairs. I am a firm believer in enjoying the meal and conversation, not rushing to get up and clean everything. That can wait for tomorrow. Especially when it's late and my back is aching. We laid in bed, elevating our feet up against the wall. It was a perfect Thanksgiving. Family, friends, food. Oh and my sister-in-law's brand new baby. It really doesn't get better than that. With the blood draining away from our tired feet, we went back and forth with 10 things we are grateful for this year. I think we fell asleep around #5.

I am crazy grateful for this little human growing inside me.

I am grateful for having family and friends nearby. And nephews!

I am grateful for fans and bug zappers. Even though they are ridiculously overpriced, but that is besides the point. Grateful.

I am grateful to be married to my favorite person in the world.

I am grateful that Brazil has no shame in putting Christmas decorations up early. Everything has been decked out for at least 3 weeks now. I don't understand people complaining about starting too early- one month is much too short to enjoy it! It is weird having a hot Christmas season though, and the decorations sold right next to swimsuits.

Some updates

Friday, November 22, 2013

I am so bad at documenting, but here is a little update on baby Hill nowadays.

Took this picture last week, but I think the bump is roughly the same. I feel so much bigger though.

How far along? About 19 weeks

Total weight gain: No idea. Our scale is somewhere over the ocean with the rest of our stuff.
Maternity clothes? Not yet. 
Stretch marks? Nope.
Sleep: Sleeping so far is no problem. However, it is SO hard not to sleep on my back! I force myself to sleep on my side, but more often than not I wake up on my back with arms flailed above my head. Unbelievable. Seriously, how do you control this?? P.S. I am the deepest sleeper you have ever met. 
Best moment this week: Oh my goodness. The past 3 weeks I have been wanting muuuito bad to feel some movement, and every once in a while I thought I felt something but didn't know for sure. I was bordering on obsessive about it. Well, Alex is traveling again this week (that makes 3 weeks in a row) and I'm embarrassed to say that I totally cried on my way home. A pregnant mess I tell you. When I got home, I was working with the computer on my stomach (probably sniffling about something... haha kidding) and started feeling these strange movements. I think it took me a while to realize, but I finally put my hands on my stomach and he was going crazy in there! No way to describe it, except it was the coolest thing in the world. I still can't wipe the ridiculous grin off my face just thinking about it! I think having that hot and heavy computer was getting on his nerves, or the little angel decided to keep me company on a day that made everything 10000x better. 
Miss anything? Not really. 
Movement: yes, yes, yes
Food cravings: The past couple weeks I would have sold my soul for otterpops. Unfortunately, this time of year doesn't cooperate with that. So I've moved on. But thank heavens I'm not in the U.S., I'm sure I'd be indulging far too much in the name of cravings. Also, randomly cereal is my go-to. I have never been a big cereal person, but when nothing else sounds good, cereal always has my back.
Anything making you queasy or sick: Drinking water first thing in the morning, bad news. Also the past few days meat couldn't sound more unappetizing. Living off fruit, cereal, and popcorn when Alex is gone. Umm, not so proud of that.
Gender: Boy! However, we found out earlier than normal. We will know for sure next week! 
Labour signs: No.
Symptoms: Holy hormones. Get ahold of yourself!! I have never been a big crier, or really emotional.. so this is just obnoxious. Outrageous is more like it, because everything is more dramatic around here. And figured out my left lower back that loves to flare up is actually sciatic nerve pain. Makes sense. Also, occasionally I'll wake up with cramps on my left side- feels like things are growing.
Belly button in or out? In.
Wedding rings on or off? On.
Happy or moody most of the time: Happy!
Looking forward to: Going home in THREE WEEKS! Very, very excited. Lists upon lists of things to do, buy, and eat. Like... frozen hot chocolate, thai food, and frozen yogurt.  But more than anything I can't wait to see my family and the cutest nieces and nephews you can imagine.

Finding out

Friday, November 1, 2013


we are pregnant!

Can you believe it? Because I am still working on that.

Took this when baby was the size of lime (11 weeeks I think?)
To be exact, it took 7 pregnancy tests over the course of two weeks to accept that MAYBE they weren't rigged in some way. Two from Target, two from Fresh Market, two from Walmart, and even one from the dollar store. You see, this was a bit of a shocker. I just couldn't see it. Mine and Alex's life just felt too great to change up. I especially loved the last minute traveling, frequent date nights, and overall pretty carefree lifestyle. It sounds horrible, but all I could see was a baby cramping that style. Of course, we wanted to start a family some day...why rush?

But more than anything, I was quietly terrified. That I wouldn't be able to handle it, that having kids would affect our marriage in a bad way, on and on. So many thoughts, so many worries and much easier to just avoid. It really takes a huge leap of faith. Fortunately, I never even took that leap. Didn't really get the chance to actually. I am convinced Heavenly Father just decided to push me off when I wasn't looking. But I can honestly say that we couldn't be happier about it!

It started at the ranch. We did the Orderville Gultch hike like we do every year with the whole family. When we got home, I just wanted to sleep and skipped out on family volleyball. After 11 miles, I didn't think it was odd at all but my mom kept giving me those looks and sly comments. Something about having that "pretty pregnant look", which I took as a direct insult. So you're saying I look fat? Well, turns out this lady (who has birthed 9 children) must have a sixth sense for this type of thing. Anyway, I figured it was impossible and preposterous. Yes, preposterous.

Driving home, it was Alex who brought it up. It was a little (ok, a LOT) shocking. He said something to the effect of, "You know, with all these jokes going around that you are pregnant- I actually stopped and thought for a second.. What if you are pregnant? I think that would be pretty cool." Alex has always been more open to the possibility, but this was the first time he brought it up. Eventhough a small part of me was happy he said something, I just nodded and wanted the conversation to end. It was exciting, but like I said- terrifying. It was fun to talk about it before as if it was far, far in the distance. But this sounded a little too close to home.

So more as a joke than anything, I bought and took a pregnancy test without saying anything to Alex. Haaaaa, joke was on me! Positive. I didn't even bother to think of a cute way to tell him. Definitely not. I was shaking and called out from the bathroom, "Um....Al? Can you come in here for a second?" I laid out the test and directions for reading results, surely I was missing something. We agreed that it was a false positive. 6 tests later, definitely pregnant!

Crazyyyyness. But also SO exciting. Every morning and night (and... perhaps periodically during the day) I lay flat with hands on my stomach, trying to feel any hint of movement in there. I never would have thought that I'd already love this little man so, so much.

And being here in Brazil, the timing couldn't be better. With a doctor that speaks English, of course. That is a definite plus.

P.S. I need more pictures in here, even if they are completely irrelevant.

Family pictures in Snow Basin before we left

Well, well, welllll

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Turns out there are some exciting changes going on around these parts. 

If the above video doesn't work, look here

Getting a little personal

Monday, October 7, 2013

I would like to say that I'm not much of a complainer. Most of the time, I don't see the need to share my complaints with the world. Today I'm feeling a little different. A little more frank.

Isn't it interesting how fast we can feel picked on? Like we're getting the shaft.

A month ago we moved to Brazil, and it has been quite the rollercoaster (or in Portuguese: montanha-russa, direct translation meaning Russian mountain. What?)

Oh the little things.

Lots of cold, rainy days (I thought I was in Brazil??) A pan that seems to burn everything, every time. Not being able to find basics (like ground beef) in the grocery store. No wifi. Husband that works long, never-ending hours. All of our beloved belongings still sitting in L.A., 3.5 months after sending it off. Not being able to express myself, this language gives me a headache sometimes. Needing converters/adaptors for everything. Dare I say lonely? Missing my friends and family. Stranded, no car. Broken chargers. No fridge. Everything is SO expensive, and in my pessimistic attitude: crappy quality. Oh, and no phone. Communication with outside world = non-existent.

How the list could go on... and on. Obviously, I would be a big fat liar if I said everything this month has been wonderful, exciting, and "everything a new home should be". Except, a new home usually isn't so enjoyable at the beginning, I think. It has been really tough, and I've been frustrated to tears numerous times.

And then.

Then there are those moments that just slap me in the face, and it's like I can finally see clearly. My oh my, what a brat I can be!! Missing the enormous blessings staring me right in the eye. First of all- how awesome it is to actually be here! And friends who are moving and generously gave us practically all their furniture- for free. (Otherwise, we'd still be using an air mattress with a duct taped hole.) Or an adorable little house that is just ours for 2 years. Amazing people that have gone above and beyond to help us out, just because. My superstar dad that gladly hauls down boxes of peanut butter, pumpkin puree, and ziploc bags. The most delicious mangoes you have ever tasted. Getting to spend time with my sister and cousin before they leave on missions (TO BRAZIL!) And so, so much more.

Bottom line: life is so hard, but even more beautiful.

HOWEVER, as a side note things are seriously looking up. Finally having a fridge, wifi, and phone improved quality of life a million fold overnight. Rainy days mean I can wear boots and jackets, something I suspect will become extinct too soon in a Brazilian summer. I can't make all the American dishes I crave, but Brazilian dishes can be every bit as tasty- and exciting to learn new ways of cooking. Alex's hours are getting more regular. Hallelujah! And last week I traveled to Iguaçu Falls with my two favorite girls.

This awkward gem had to be included

When Alex and I visited Iguaçu last year, the water was white as could be, as seen below. So stunning and what you imagine Iguaçu to look like. This picture is taken at the same spot as the one below it.

This year, due to lots of recent rain, the water was a murky brown from top soil. Unfortunately, not as "stunning" as before. I was a little disappointed that the girls couldn't witness Iguaçu like I did, but looking back at this picture has made me realize a few things. 

I love the contrast. The brown almost looks red, and against the green and gorgeous rainbow, it is beyond. Not the picture perfect I remembered, but actually better in a special way. Basically, this picture reminds me that life is full of contrast- the great and the definitely not-so-great moments. It takes patience to look past the difficult things, but together it makes something exceptional and much more interesting.

This Summer

Friday, August 30, 2013

It's been a while. It appears that nowadays I only post when I have something huge to post- like a trip to France. I suppose that in comparison to that, everything else seems pretty blah.

But actually I totally forget about this little blog. Because life hasn't been that blah lately. Alex and I graduated, spent a week down in Zion's, moved out of our apartment, shipped all of our (endless) stuff off, drove cross country TWICE, and among a million more little things- we will be moving back to Brazil in less than a week. This time for a more extended period of time- like.... two years. Oh my.

Right before we shipped it all off

Turns out this summer has gone by far too fast for my liking. But it has been an oh-so-good one, and the perfect way to jumpstart our move to Brazil. I got to work a lot, cook a lot, spend amazing time with friends and family, and even more quality time with my one and only. Who can complain about that?

I don't even know where to begin when it comes to pictures, because it's not secret that I am a lover of pictures. I'm actually impressed with what my little Droid is capable of- and it almost did our summer justice.

First off, food. Because let's be honest, that is the top of the list. I learned how to make homemade mozzarella! This was a huge achievement and source of bragging for me. Because nothing beats fresh tomatoes, basil, and mozzarella from scratch. I used the recipe from here and every time has worked like a charm. Don't forget to drizzle kosher salt, olive oil, and balsamic-

Next, cross country. Well- close enough. Utah --> Connecticut to drive my brother's car out, and then mine. I can't even tell you how incredibly intimidating this was for me. You see, I don't drive much. With the benefits we have at Jetblue, this is something we just never saw the need for. I seriously stressed about those 33 hours. I made healthy snacks, rented audio books, downloaded lots of music, and tried my best to plan out every little detail. Funny how things never work out as you plan, but usually make way for more memories. For instance, our favorite was just talking and stopping at random hole-in-the-wall's for lunch. Who knew it was so simple?

Not that it was picture perfect by any means. A few of those hole-in-the-wall's were big regrets that made us sick to our stomachs. And for the first trip, Alex had the hiccups the ENTIRE way. They ended up lasting 8 days... it was brutal. But I actually loved the road trips and would definitely do it again.

I also rode a horse a few times with my best friend from forever, Abby. I galloped!!! All of it was crazy, terrifying, and completely exhilarating at the same time. Naturally, her horse and my horse were big competitors and loved to pick up speed whenever they could. I would be lying if I said I was totally pleasant about it. Absababs pulled through again, big time. I couldn't believe how beautiful it was up there!

OK, this post is turning into a novel. Saving the best for last, Zion's. Because that is my home away from home. Almost every summer growing up was spent there and I love everything about that place- especially spending time with my cousins. It was Alex's first time, and it was beyond amazing to show him everything. Poor guy, I never shut up about the "memories" and "good times". Of course, we did the Orderville Gultch hike, which was even better this year. Along with four wheeling, swimming, rock climbing, and (friendly but very competitive) family volleyball. That place just does my heart a whole lot of good.

Next time I post, I'll probably be in Brazil. (!!!!!)

Freaking out, just a little bit.

Hmm, just a photoshoot in Paris

Monday, July 8, 2013

As I mentioned before, here are the pictures from our unexpected (and absolutely delightful) photoshoot in Paris! Nick and Stephanie from are such genuine, amazing people and their pictures went far beyond my expectations. Checked off "having a photoshoot in Paris" on my bucket list, even though the thought never would have occurred to me beforehand. P.S. you should check out their website, I could look through their pictures and videos all day. They are located in the Lake Tahoe area, but love to travel.

Oh the things the I would have packed had I known we'd be taking pictures like this! Ravaging my little suitcase the night before, I was shocked that I had packed a dress. And even though I would have killed for a different pair of shoes (other than my clunky but oh-so-comfortable boots) it worked out great. Alex of course looked phenomenal.

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