Looking Back, Looking Ahead



Salem, 2012
Growing a family isn’t always easy.
Most days are routine:  feed, clothe, love, kiss, hug, clean, sleep.
There are holidays & the occasional vacation, & once in a great while there are those moments that bring everything together in one sweeping instant, like yesterday, when Joseph received his bar exam results.  This was his second go around.  This was a big moment for us.
I thought back on memories of so many years of work, sacrifice, & often just the sheer grit & tenacity, of holding on to faith & dreams.

Joseph & I got married young.  I was 21, he was 23.  He still had 3 years of undergraduate left, I thankfully, had finished mine.

We decided from the beginning that no matter what our professional goals, they’d always be a second to our family goals & would only be worthwhile if things were as they should be at home.

In essence, we wanted our life to be about the family we would create.

On our wedding day, August 19, 2004
When we were engaged, we agreed 5-7 kids sounded about right for our family.
Once married, we decided, hey, why wait?
Some people may think we’re crazy, but we were determined to start our family, despite the many years of schooling ahead of us.  Somehow, we knewit would all work out.(and how do you sum up 7 years?)
On our 11 month anniversary, I had Hyrum.  Shortly thereafter (15 months to be exact), Asher, the younger brother followed suit.
Joseph & the boys, 2010
Asher & Hyrum, 2010


There was a period of several years where I believed that total exhaustion was a part of motherhood.  

Despite this, I loved the challenge of many tasks & nothing is as great as the challenge of being a present, engaged, mother.
Joseph was busy working & finishing his bachelor’s degree while I began teaching fitness classes & caring for the young ‘uns at home all the while trying to achieve some level of domestic bliss (& making sure the bills got paid!).
Often though, I wore no makeup, my house was not often (or ever) immaculate.  I was happy if the dishes were done!  Our lives revolved around nap times & feedings.  I felt like I had twins.
Me, holding Hyrum & Asher at the Salt Lake City Hogle Zoo, 2007
Through all the studying, the tests, the work, kids, pregnancies (& inevitable morning sickness), Joseph made me laugh.
Me & Joseph, 2005
Correction:  we make each other laugh. 
(I think this is the secret to our happy union.)
Joseph & Me (plump w/ child/Amalia), 2008


And at the end of the day, there was (& is) no other person I’d rather talk to or be with.

At Bryce Canyon.  Isn’t it breathtaking?  2009


It doesn’t hurt that he makes the kids laugh too.



While there were long days & times when we didn’t see Joseph much, we knew, I knew, that it would all be worth every sacrifice so he could have a career that could support & sustain us.  Not just that, but a career where he could do something for which he was well suited & enjoyed.  

Hyrum, Me, & Amalia 2010
We had 3 kids by the time Joseph began law school.

The 1st year was hard.  The 2nd year was also hard.  The 3rd year, we thought, “we’re almost there!”  Little did we know that he would have to take the bar exam twice, putting his career on hold.  
During law school, we scraped together $450, & for the price of a dumpy used car, we bought a triple stroller which we used (& still use!) all the time.

That triple stroller, a vehicle for walks to the park or library, will be a source of many happy memories from our law school days.

Apparently, the stroller is for climbing, like most things, when you’re a boy
In the past nearly 8 years since we’ve been married, there have been:
thousands of diaper changes, feedings
never ending piles of laundry
a million kisses
nursing, pregnancy, nursing, followed by more pregnancy
strollers, blocks, toys, & balls
a million hugs
books & stuffed animals
lots & lots of yoga, Pilates, & aerobics
many late date nights
history books, tests, long study sessions, & more tests
LSAT prep courses, law school applications
law school
then the bar exam (twice!)
Amalia, who is discovering the tastiness of soy yogurt for the first time
Asher (2) & Hyrum (3), 2009
Our family (minus Salem), 2010
Joseph graduates from BYU Law School, 2011

Now, after all this, I can say with pride, plenty of joy, & a few tears:  “WE are finally here!”

We’ve made it.

Joseph passed the bar exam.


  1. Julia
    on February 19, 2015 at 5:17 pm said:

    Hi Janae! I’ve read a number of your posts but have never commented…hope it’s okay that I’m commenting on one made a few years ago! 🙂
    First, I love your blog and how it’s about focusing on what matters most. Thanks for inspiring me in so many ways.
    I really enjoyed this post because my husband and I are in the ‘waiting game’ of where we will go for graduate school and looking forward with anticipation of what the next chapter will bring. It’s a pretty exciting time of life to see how it will all unfold. We haven’t been blessed yet with kids but excitedly anticipating the day when it will come by continually looking ahead while learning from looking back.
    Again, I appreciate your posts and how genuine they are. Thanks for writing your thoughts down. 🙂

  2. Janae Wise
    on May 3, 2012 at 5:32 pm said:

    Nancy C: I'm so touched that you were touched, thank you.Wendy: Thank you for the prayer, I'm sure that's what did it 🙂

  3. Wendy
    on May 3, 2012 at 2:27 pm said:

    Yeah!!!!! I was thinking about you guys last week after your post and hoping it went well. What an answered prayer! 🙂 Congrats to your family!

  4. Nancy_C
    on May 3, 2012 at 2:23 pm said:

    This post brought tears to my eyes. Congrats to you both. May God's blessings continue to shine upon you. *love*

  5. Janae Wise
    on May 2, 2012 at 10:29 pm said:

    Beth: Welcome & congrats on the new baby! I hope the videos will prove helpful to you :)Amy: Thank you! We couldn't have done this without the support of each other, that's for sure. It definitely has made our marriage stronger.

  6. Amy
    on May 2, 2012 at 10:17 pm said:

    Congratulations! You've both done amazing work! Amy

  7. Beth
    on May 2, 2012 at 9:14 pm said:

    Congratulations!I just found your blog, and I've been enjoying reading it in between changing diapers and nursing babies. Thanks for posting your video workouts. Baby #2 is nine weeks old now, so I think my toddler and I will have fun doing your workouts while the little guy is napping. 🙂

  8. Janae Wise
    on May 2, 2012 at 8:43 pm said:

    Stephanie: You'll get there, I just know it :). Raelyn: Yes! Oh, my mom was right, hard work does pay off, but it takes a long time sometimes.Lindsay: Thank you. So you can totally relate to what I just went through, especially the unemployment. What you said is true–higher education is a leap of faith, just like babies & jobs. Angela: It is good news, isn't it. Thank you for your happiness :)Liz: A relief may be an understatement. Sabrina: Hey there Sabrina, so glad to hear from you. Thank you!Brittney: Thanks, but I'll have you know we do have our ugly moments too. Char: See above comment. And thank you, you are so sweet to take the time to comment. Melanie: Ahh, you must be like me. I can get weepy reading obituaries or listening to Josh Groban. Kristen: Wow, I've never recieved 3 congrats in a row, thank you 🙂 (Did you know you won the last giveaway, I'm waiting for you to send me an email with your address..)Becca: Thank you, love knowing I have positive thoughts coming my way all the way from Europe :)Joya: Thanks for reading.Kit-kat: I'll tell him you said so, it'll make him feel great :)Dana: I think I heard that whoop, it was so loud. Thank you, I'm very touched that you would be so excited for us. That's incredibly sweet. One part about blogging that I absolutely love is wonderful people like you.Alysa: Yes! I still live in Provo. We could have done lunch or bumped into each other at the gas station :)Sara: Thank you busy veggie mama!

  9. sara
    on May 2, 2012 at 8:00 pm said:

    great news! congratulations!

  10. Alisa
    on May 2, 2012 at 7:35 pm said:

    Woohoo!!!! SUCH a relief! What a fun post summing up your life. I feel like I know you better now. Do you guys still live in UT? We were just up there for BIL's graduation from BYU, we coulda met!

  11. Dana
    on May 2, 2012 at 6:24 pm said:

    Congratulations! I've been on pins and needles waiting for your news and let out a big whoop when I came to the announcement. So very happy for you and your beautiful family. May God's blessings continue to shine on you. Thank you for your wonderful blog. I look forward to each new entry. You inspire me in so many ways!

  12. Kit-Kat
    on May 2, 2012 at 5:24 pm said:

    you have such a beautiful family (and a handsom husband!) 😀

  13. Joya
    on May 2, 2012 at 5:17 pm said:

    Congrats!!! That's wonderful news! I loved this post and how you summed it all up.

  14. Becca
    on May 2, 2012 at 4:54 pm said:

    This is sooo cool! I`m so happy for you!

  15. Kristen
    on May 2, 2012 at 4:54 pm said:

    Congrats! Congrats!! Congrats!!! What awesome news!!! I was excited all weekend to hear the news! I love the way you shared it with us in this post. Very poetic. So happy for you and your beautiful family! Way to go Joseph!!!!!!

  16. Melanie
    on May 2, 2012 at 4:22 pm said:

    Whoohoo!!! How exciting! What a wonderful journey you have all been through together. I'm glad that he passed and you can all move forward with whatever comes next.Beautiful post about a beautiful family. It brought me to tears. I hope your next transition goes smoothly for all of you. 🙂

  17. Char @ www.charskitchen.ca
    on May 2, 2012 at 5:10 am said:

    Awwww such a sweet post! You have a beautiful family 🙂 Congrats to your hubby on passing the bar exam!! That's awesome!

  18. Brittney
    on May 2, 2012 at 4:35 am said:

    Yay! Congrats! And what a beautiful post and a beautiful family.

  19. Sabrina
    on May 2, 2012 at 4:00 am said:

    Great news! What a happy day. Congratulations!

  20. Anonymous
    on May 2, 2012 at 2:58 am said:

    Congrats. What a relief. Good luck to Joseph.-Liz

  21. Angela
    on May 2, 2012 at 2:06 am said:

    YAHOO!!!! I've been hoping good news would be coming soon! Congratulations!

  22. Lindsay
    on May 1, 2012 at 10:58 pm said:

    Congratulations! We have been in similar situations. We were 19/21 when we married, and had a lot of school left but started having kids a year later. Later when we had three kids my husband went back to school to get his MBA but after graduating, was unemployed for 10 months. I never finished school, but close enough to definitely finish when the kids are all in school. It can be hard for sure, but I believe in God's timing – for babies and jobs!So happy for your family!

  23. Raelyn
    on May 1, 2012 at 10:19 pm said:

    After so much hard work, I bet it feels really good to have a few more pieces falling into place.Congratulations, and good luck!

  24. Stephanie
    on May 1, 2012 at 9:43 pm said:

    I'm so incredibly excited for you guys and I love, LOVE this post. It was just what I needed today.

  25. Janae Wise
    on May 1, 2012 at 9:42 pm said:

    Everyone: You have NO idea how much your loving & kind words mean to me! I'm so thrilled to celebrate this moment & it makes it so much sweeter to know that I have many friends all over the world who can share in our joy. Thank you so much.Erika: You & me both. Thank you. Lfwfv: I love your enthusiasm, Thank you :)!Melissa: You can say that again. I cannot believe how blessed we've been to have had jobs, despite the gloomy economy. Blessing for sure. You know no real anxiety until you are responsible for 4 little people who completely depend on you AND you're financial future is uncertain, makes you want to work even harder.

  26. Anonymous
    on May 1, 2012 at 9:27 pm said:

    WAHOOOOOOOO!!!!! Loud cheering from PA! Thank you for letting us get a glimpse of your family, your values, and your life. What a beautiful post. I truly enjoy following your blog and I am cheering with you today!lfwfv

  27. Erika
    on May 1, 2012 at 9:19 pm said:

    I've been on pins and needles since that post last week!Congratulations! Many blessings for you and your family!Beautiful post BTW

  28. Adina | Gluten Free Travelette
    on May 1, 2012 at 8:15 pm said:

    Its so wonderful to see suc a great journey and how you've put your family first – even though its hard at times. Congrats on all the great new things ahead for your family!

  29. Meggie
    on May 1, 2012 at 8:04 pm said:

    WOO! Good for you, congrats!

  30. Melissa DeLeon
    on May 1, 2012 at 7:58 pm said:

    I know what you mean — how long the journey seems, and how quickly it can go by. You were truly blessed to be able to keep your job (with incentives) over the last year, as you could never have imagined how the last 12 months has gone!! Congrats on moving forward to a new phase, and good luck on all the changes coming soon!!

  31. Janae Wise
    on May 1, 2012 at 7:53 pm said:

    Plantstrongmoma: Thank you, you are so sweet. It really is amazing to think that we're all done with schooling, it has been a long road.Thank you again for your kind words, it means so much!

  32. Vlinder
    on May 1, 2012 at 7:50 pm said:

    Many congrats to you and your family! It's hard enough just raising children, to add schooling on top is amazing! I'm very proud of all of the accomplishments you have all made. True inspiration!~PlantStrongMoma