Tuesday, April 30, 2013

mini texas vacation

We're in Texas.  We got here yesterday afternoon.
We leave for our "real" vacation in seven hours.

It's the most surreal feeling being back here.
Did we leave?  Have we been here the whole time?
Did we live here at all? Have we been in Utah forever?

Most of all though, what I'm feeling is,
why am I here without my kids?

But oh how great it's been to see our friends again!
We spent the day driving across the city, back and forth, from house to house to just visit our friends, meet new babies, and see new houses.

 I have to say,
now that we don't live here anymore (We were happy here...it's just too hot and too far away from family),
I really like this place. Maybe even love it.

(and it doesn't hurt that it's way more green here this year than it was the year we left)

We got a super incredible thunderstorm last night.  I loved every minute of it.  Downpour, thunder, lightning strikes, the whole deal.

This morning we woke up and headed straight for The Guenther House,
our favorite breakfast place.

The last time we were at the Guenther House,
Ellie was five days old.  I nursed her on the bench outside the restaurant
while Nicholas ran wild and hid our car keys in the bushes.
Like I said, it just felt weird to be back here without our kids.
Last night we got together with our friends for Bluebell ice cream
(The carmel cheesecake turtle flavor? Oh my.  Why oh why can't we get this in Utah??)
we stayed up late just talking and laughing,
and it felt like we'd never left.  

I loved it.
I love knowing that these friends,
we can still be friends.  No matter how far away we are.
 Sorry, Jensens--we should have taken a picture at the restaurant!

we're off in the morning. Early early early morning.
And it has been all that I hoped it would be to have a mini texas vacation.
Great friends, good food, southern hospitality, wildflowers, rainstorms, rolling hills, ice cream, and leftover "fiesta" decorations.
Goodbye for now, Texas.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

trying on hats at target

Usually, when I take these two shopping,
I feel like I'm shopping with a pack of monkeys.
It can be nuts.
We've been working on teaching Nicholas that it's NOT okay to run away, hide in the racks, and laugh wildly while we are inside a store. 
He's been doing much better.
Ellie likes to be free, though, and when she's free, she likes to take everything off of every shelf.  So I keep her in the cart. But then she gets impatient and starts screeching. 
If I let her down, she and Nicholas get really excited and happy and
then the running, laughing wildly, hiding stuff starts up again.
Oh, and Ellie really wants to push the buttons on the credit card machine.  Really. So we end each trip with me trying to smile calmly as the cashier stares at my screeching, reaching, monkey girl.
Shopping trips take a lot of preparation
Organized list.  Stash of dum dums or marshmallows.  Clorox wipes (because I'm a germophobe and I don't want my baby girl getting sick from those nasty shopping cart handles).  Sippy cups. Pacifier in case we get desperate, which is usually. Mints. Chapstick and sunglasses (Nicholas often has an intense need for one or both of those things.)  Potty trip before we leave. Purchase a cold propel or water for each child when we arrive because the sippy cup water is "old," or so I'm told by my all-knowing three-year-old.
And if I'm lucky, I remember to take my wallet and phone.
You know what, though? 
I know for certain I'm going to miss these kinds of trips when this stage of life is past.
So we're going to take a break from our list every so often and just go try on hats.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

tulip festival

A park/events center/museum/gardens place near our house has a tulip festival every spring.
My mom came down on Wednesday to help my sister Sarah move back home for the summer.

That afternoon they joined us at the tulip festival.

 Nicholas was pretty excited to go.
But mostly I think he was just excited to be with Sarah, Grandma, Josh and Josh's girlfriend.
For him, the highlight of the trip was seeing a chip on the ground in the parking lot and playing tag with the adults.

Oh, and the flower stamp they put on his hand when we paid to get in. 
He wanted to keep the stamp there forever.  I finally convinced him that he would need to wash his hands sometime.

 The flowers, so gorgeous!  It was a perfect Spring day.
 Ellie's favorite part? 
Walking on her own so she could smell the flowers.
Every.single.flower.  She was shaking her fists and laughing in excitement---flowers everywhere!

She was determined to be independent and walk the whole way all by herself.  She even climbed up the giant hill in the amphitheater, giving herself a victory cheer after each ledge she climbed. 

Nicholas, of course, decided his shoes hurt.  So he ended up in the stroller while Ellie walked.

See?  So beautiful!

 Ellie-girl, just playing third wheel with Josh and his darling girlfriend. (we really really like her, by the way.)

After all that walking, we came home and all three of us crashed for a nap before dinner.  Delightful.

Friday, April 26, 2013

from a fortune cookie

This fortune has been on my fridge for five months.

Our vacation next week has been a long time coming.  As in, the we've-been-saving-up-since-we-got-married sort of a long time. 

We are oh so excited,
but I have to admit, leaving my kiddos for nine days has me squirming. 

Oh I know we'll have a fantastic time,
and I know they will too! (Last time we left Nicholas he literally didn't even mention my name until I'd already been gone for four days.) 
But gosh I'm going to miss the cuties.

And I'm going to miss the funny things they say to me each day.
Like this morning.
"Oh Mom! I'm grabbing my nose because you startled me."
sigh, "I call my baby sister Moop now. I don't call her Ellie anymore."

It will be good for them, though.  To spend a week and a half at Grandma and Grandpa's house--they are going to have a blast!

And I have to say, I'm pretty sure it's going to be good for me and Kent too. 

(That is, if I can get through my to-do list...twenty-three items left, 43 hours to go...wish me luck, and good quiet kids.)
Sunny shores await!

Friday, April 19, 2013

Thursday, April 18, 2013

velcro shoes

Who am I lately?

I bought velcro strap athletic shoes yesterday and I love them.  I bought them for our vacation (eleven days left!), but I just might start wearing them everywhere.

I am proud to be a woman in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  I know there are some women out there right now who are not satisfied with their place in this Church.  I am not one of them.  I love being a woman.  In this Church I feel honored and respected and valuable.  I know that my role as wife, mother, sister, and woman is divine and essential, and I love it. 

I am exercising almost every day.  It feels fantastic. 

I am grateful for my health.  It is not perfect, but I have the energy I need to accomplish my goals; raising my children and taking care of my family, my home, and doing what I can to serve others.  I can't ask for anything more than that.

I have started wearing colored pants.

I am making a commitment today to stop yelling/raising my voice. I don't lose my temper often; I work hard at keeping a calm voice and calm face in my reactions, but I have a three-year-old who is going through a serious boundary-testing phase....
I read this article today. And I feel inspired to follow. I can do even better than I have been.  I just pulled Nicholas aside and told him that I promise him I will not yell at him any more. The smile on his face brought tears to my eyes. I'm doing this.

I am working on sorting through all of my pictures. I'm selecting the ones I really truly want to keep forever, and saving them on Google Drive, in folders by year and then month.  And what a relief it is to have all of my photos saved for good. 

And speaking of pictures, since my children were born I have been selecting two or three of my favorite pictures of them from each month and saving them in a special file labeled with their names.  Sorted by date. 
So that when they grow up and we need to find a baby picture for a school project, or I need to find the best pictures of them for a slideshow, or whatever, I will have just one place to go to find every single darling best picture of them from their whole lives.

I made kool-aid play-doh yesterday. 

I am playing role of translator again.  No, I don't speak another language.  I just happen to be one of the only people who can tell what my eighteen-month old is saying.  She has a vocabulary of about 30 words right now, but they aren't easily distinguishable yet.  For example, "purple," "bubble," "grandpa," "puppy," and "pretzel" all sound nearly identical.

I'm really into pretzels as a snack lately.  Dipped in laughing cow cheese wedges, nutella, or frosting. 

Yesterday afternoon I got a phone call from my husband. He's incredibly excited that fiber-optic internet was just announced to be coming to our area.  I love that he called me just to tell me that. 

I'm happy.  I have goals in place, I'm progressing.  I'm doing my best to live with purpose.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

staying cool

Hi there. 
I know it's been a while.
We're keeping busy around here. 

We play outside as often as possible.  You never know when the third, fourth, or fifth winter is going to occur around here.
This week is fourth winter.  Freezing cold, snowing (while sunny!), windy.  Hopefully next week will be Spring again.  We like to be outside. 

That ice cream bucket in the background?  One of our favorite activities is to fill it up with the hose, make rock soup (with a smattering of dandelion flowers), and then "paint" with it on the driveway and garage door. 
Cheap foam craft paintbrushes--one of the best toys around. 

But today it is much too cold to be outside.  My extremely dedicated neighbor across the street is currently mowing his lawn.  While it is snowing.
We're not that hardy.
So we wear our sunglasses inside and do our best to be "cool."

Right now? I have to go get Ellie from her (exceptionally short) nap. 
Whew that girl is keeping me on my toes lately.  She's a fireball, and she loves her mama. 
Which is nice, but... sometimes I have a few things I need to do without a hefty eighteen-month old attached to my hip. 

If I can manage it, I'll try to get things caught up around here. 

Saturday, April 6, 2013

conference afternoon

 One rainy Saturday afternoon.

This weekend is the General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  
It is my favorite weekend of the year.  Every six months we get to listen to the words of living prophets of God as they speak to the world. 
It is a beautiful blessed thing.

One batch of 
Conference caramel apple dip 

8 oz cream cheese--beat until soft and fluffy
Add: 1/2 cup brown sugar
         1 tsp vanilla
         1 heaping spoonful peanut butter (optional)
Beat until smooth and combined, serve with sliced apples.

We eat this every six months during one of the sessions of conference.
I usually scoop myself a little more than I need for my apples,
and lick it off my fingers once my apples are gone.  

 Larger-than-life President Uchtdorf.  

And a quick sneak peek at how the movie room is coming along.
 Three sightings of my brother Josh!  Top row, middle.  Handsome kid.  He got to be in the choir (BYU combined choirs sang for the afternoon session today.)  

And for the rest of the two-hour session:
One Ellie crawling over my lap
Deflating the air mattress we were sitting on (kids jumping on it)
Three potty trips
One stinky diaper change
Two nap attempts
One finally successful nap for the little girl
Three time-outs
Crayons and paper retrieved
Crayons and paper put away (crayons were being thrown)
Finally tag-teaming it so at least one parent could watch Conference uninterrupted for a few minutes at a time

Tonight Kent gets to go to the Priesthood Session.
Tomorrow, two more sessions.  
Hopefully I'll be a little more prepared for the little ones.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

April showers

Make the mountains green.
I love Spring!

And guess what I discovered?  Those crazy wild green bushes that I wanted to pull out of our front yard all summer?  They're forsythiaThe plants I've been wanting since I moved to Utah.  Big bright yellow blossoms.  Oh yeah, they are staying for good. 

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

saturday lunch out

Hey, now that I have a camera that fits in my purse, I can be cool and take pictures of things we do when we're not at home too!
On Saturday, after the city-held Easter egg hunt, we drove to the new outlet mall near our house for some lunch and a little bit of shopping.
Shopping doesn't last long anyway with a three-year-old and a seventeen-month old.  Ha.

There's only one place to eat there so far (brand new mall, still under construction). 
Retro little hamburger and shakes place.

The kids were happy the whole meal (amazing!) and we had so much fun.

 Playing with her bunny "hop hop!" and little plastic dog "puppup." We take them everywhere with us lately. 
And that pacifier?  I'm getting ready to get rid of it...going to take a lot of emotional preparation.  For me. 
Ketchup smiley faces! 

After we filled our bellies, we went to a few stores,
had a few discussions about why it is important for Nicholas to learn "no jumping, no running, and stay by mommy and daddy" while we are inside the stores,
and successfully found new Easter outfits for the kids.

Can they be any cuter?

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

new camera

 With our upcoming vacation (Texas and Mexico),
we needed a point and shoot. 
For the past three years I've been strictly using my Nikon D3000 DSLR. (Except for Disneyland when we borrowed my sister's point and shoot.)

I just don't feel comfortable taking my DSLR all the way to Mexico.  Plus I probably wouldn't use it much, since we'll be doing a lot of beach, swimming, walking, sightseeing, etc.  I need something small, light, and durable.

On Friday, this pretty little thing arrived at my door.
And get this.  It's waterproof!  And shockproof, you know, if I feel like dropping it from a height less than five feet.

So of course I got it right out and started playing with it. 
I don't need a new camera to make her look cute, but I am quite impressed by the photo sharpness and color quality.
Then I discovered the color select feature.  You can select a color to show up, and everything else is black and white. I love it! 
It makes some pretty neat pictures of our Easter bonfire.  (We burned our Christmas tree....which has been sitting in our backyard since, well, Christmas.  We're super awesome.)
I'm really happy with this little camera, and I can't wait to use it on our vacation!  Snorkeling pictures anyone?