Monday, December 4, 2017

Rancheria Falls

Michael:
was so busy this week and the boys didn't see much at all of him until the weekend. In fact, all my pictures this week are from Saturday and Sunday. The other days were kind of just survival around here. Michael found a fun hike for us Saturday and I love that he loves to do fun things with us whenever he has time off. He's exhausted but still loves to play with us, and it makes me so grateful. He put lights up on our house and the boys love it! He also helped put together Bennett's new carseat, which I was grateful for because Michael is just naturally good at that stuff. I read instruction manuals for a long time, look at videos, look at the instruction manual again, and then mess with stuff. Michael just, messes with it. And we get the same result. Drives me crazy, slash, I love it. 

Maddie:
loved hiking with my boys Saturday, but we got stuck in snow on the drive there and I hated that. After we fixed the situation (and helped the car behind us fix the same situation) Michael said, "That stresses you out, huh... that just added to my day!" Haha he loves stuff like that? I love him. Michael didn't get to come to church with us Sunday because of being on call, and those Sundays always exhaust me. Doing sharing time with Bennett crawling around is not my favorite. But I taught about the Light the World campaign and I had a strong feeling of just how much children can do just that. Every child deserves to know how much Jesus Christ loves them, how much He has done for them, and how much they can do for others.

Westin:
is really struggling with how little dad is around, and it's resulting in a lot of anger. I'm exhausted by it. And also just feeling really bad that I haven't figured out the best way to deal with it yet. I even finally brought it up to our pediatrician this week, and he helped me think of some things to try. Mostly, I just really love Westin and I know he's a kind and tender boy and I feel bad that in his circumstances he doesn't really know how to act that way right now. I just want him to know he's loved, and I want him to share a really positive relationship with Bennett. This sweet boy is just on my mind a lot right now and I just think parenting is going to get harder and harder, but also better all the time. Right? I hope that's right...

Bennett:
is just overflowing with joy and I am SO GRATEFUL he is mine. He brightens my days so much. He's going to take his first steps any minute. I love how he practices standing and then looks at me with this cute look like, "Should I do it? Should I step?" He looks so big in his new carseat. He has learned that if he screams loud, Westin screams loud back, and it's a favorite "game" of theirs...  they scream and laugh and scream and laugh. While I'm standing by trying to have patience with it because I don't want to stop any positive interaction between these two. But, #screaming. Bennett is a solid sleeper and is pretty much down to one nap a day. I still do two naps a couple times a week when the transition seems to catch up with him and he's extra tired. It's fun to have our mornings back, but now preschool and scripture study with Westin has kind of been lost in the shuffle because we have no one-on-one time together.

And I'm just now realizing that probably factors into the frustrated Westin I described above.
Huh.
I'll figure that out.

Pictures from the weekend!














Monday, November 27, 2017

Westin turns three!

Michael:
was on call Wednesday and Friday, but he had Thanksgiving off. He also had Saturday off, which was Westin's birthday, so all things considered his schedule felt pretty lucky this week. He's officially Bennett's favorite parent and I'm realizing we will just always need a baby around here if I want to be anyone's favorite. Once they're big enough to wrestle someone, Michael is the winner. Well, it was a good year of having a mama's boy. I'll go enjoy my stolen moments of peace and quiet now when both boys are following Michael around the house! On Friday Michael and I built a play kitchen for Westin to wake up to on his birthday and it was fun. One of our first dates together at BYU (after pseudo-dating at the Jerusalem Center) was building an IKEA dresser for my apartment. It was fun to remember that and build something for our little birthday boy together.

Maddie:
started getting sick on Tuesday and it just became worse all week until today. It kind of sent me into an adrenaline rush of pushing through because I knew if I didn't do Thanksgiving, we wouldn't have Thanksgiving, and I'd be sad all day. So Westin and I made food all day Wednesday and again on Thursday morning, then we had our own little Thanksgiving feast together. It was fun, even though we missed family. A Costco pumpkin pie for 4 people is a little overwhelming. But, you know, nothing we can't handle with time :) I was so excited for Westin to wake up on his birthday. He has seemed 3 to me for a while, so this birthday didn't make me emotional. He has been so excited for this day for a while, so I was just excited for him. My brother's dog passed away this weekend and I have been so sad for their family. They got their dog while I lived close to them in Utah, and then I lived with them for almost a year right before I got married. Seeing the pictures of them saying goodbye to their sweet Sprocky just made me cry and it was one of the times that I feel so bad about being too far away from family to do much for them.

Westin:
woke up Saturday and loved opening a new firetruck from Grammy and Papa. He didn't even really notice the new kitchen, which looking back, is because I should have somewhat wrapped it. He was just focused on the presents around it and didn't even register that it was there. But he's been playing with it ever since we pointed it out and it's fun to see him in his element at home. When we drive to Cafe Rio (like twice a month, let's be real) we pass an Applebee's and Westin always says "There's an apple on that restaurant!" When he found out we could eat anywhere he wanted to on his birthday he immediately chose the apple restaurant, and loved that they sang to him. Applebee's, what Westin's dreams are made of? His close second pick was the "statue horse" restaurant (P.F. Chang's) and I was so crossing my fingers that it would slide into first place in the end. Maybe next year.

Bennett:
LOVES animals and was in heaven with Rosie the golden retriever we watched all week. She was our favorite dog we've watched yet. (Do I always say that? This one really was.) Bennett loved to just cuddle her and follow her around and be by her as much as possible. She went home tonight and we were all sad to see her go. He's starting to stand on his own quite a bit, and when he finally takes those first steps we are going to be so excited for him. He's such a sweetheart, and is usually only ever angry if he's hungry or being changed. Changing Bennett's diaper or clothes feels like my workout these days, he's so strong... and uncooperative. But sweet.


I love these boys. Seems like a rare moment when they'll both just hang out like this for a few minutes.

Westin and Rosie 
Westin decided he wanted a fire and s'mores for his birthday,
so he blew out sticks instead of candles and roasted marshmallows instead of cake.



Applebee's birthday ice cream. After they sang their little song to him (which he listened to with staring wide eyes and slight confusion) he said, "That wasn't the Happy Birthday song..." which made me laugh. 

Bennett doesn't like noodles, and Westin doesn't like mashed potatoes. These are confusing traits to me.




Gate goes up when dogs come around and these two are constantly calling for a lift over.

Found them relaxing like this. Rosie's the only dog who has managed to be allowed on our couches.
I'm telling you, she really won us over.

How I frequently find my phone (...Bennett...)

See my note about Michael being the favorite parent above.

I know no one's Thanksgiving food pictures look good to anyone else, but I had to document this.
We had a smoked turkey breast, mashed potatoes and gravy, homemade rolls, green bean casserole, sweet potato casserole, spinach apple salad, stuffing, cranberry sauce, and pumpkin pie.
And we're still eating it.

Toddler Thanksgiving verdict:
Three rounds of sweet potato casserole.
No mashed potatoes or turkey or stuffing, please.



Rosie liked to sleep right here and it almost 100% alleviated the anxiety I get when Michael is at the hospital overnight.
Should we get a dog? Talk me into it. Or talk me out of it. 


Yes, we went to Taco Bell for dinner the night before Thanksgiving after cooking all day. And this wall made me happy.

Someone diagnose my dryer.
And then tell me why we've had more washer/dryer issues
in our 18 months here than we had in 4 years in our last place. 
Just taking a ride together around the kitchen in a Costco box. I was good for like two spins around the room before I was dizzy and couldn't breathe, and Westin was so disappointed. I'd try to explain I was sick, and he just kept saying
"But why? Why did you get sick?" And sometimes you're just like, "Dude, I don't know!" to those toddler questions.



He dumped out his entire toy box (which he has never done) so I was bugged and told him he had to go clean up his room.
I looked down the hall a little while later and saw him just sitting in the empty toy box playing.
I snapped (what I thought was) a sneaky pic and I hear him call out, "So, who you gonna send that to?"
Made me stop and contemplate what it must feel like living in a well-documented childhood generation.... what do you do.

Our friend Emma invited us to her friend's turkey farm on Monday and it was such a fun outing.
We just tried to not think too hard about the life of a turkey at a turkey farm this time of year...



Sweetest little chicks!




The bedtime ritual turned suspiciously quiet and then I found these three.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Cedar Time

Michael:
missed us! But we're back now and all is well. He was so busy at the hospital while we were gone. I made some food and bought some food for him to have on hand when we were in Utah, and 95% of it is still in the fridge and freezer. So... next time I'm not going to stress about that! He was just hardly home. On Saturday Michael took us to a super fun place that I had never heard of. We visited a nearby fish hatchery with lots of play equipment and interactive displays to teach you about fish farming, and then tons and tons of fish to look at with free food to give them. Westin loved feeding the fish so much. We'll definitely be back. Bennett just wanted to swim with them... we keep waiting for him to develop some survival skills but he's still ready to go head first into water, off beds, over couches, just anywhere really. Gotta keep a close watch on that kid.

Maddie:
loved being at my parents house. I also feel like we're getting a good routine of our 8.5 hour drive between here and there. It was pretty smooth both ways. I get so much done when I'm in Cedar City -- you can seriously get anywhere in that town in like 6 minutes, it's magic. I had fun running errands with my mom, eating my favorite tacos, getting pedicures and dinner with DaNae, staying up too late eating snacks and watching TV like I was in high school again, and watching my boys love Grandma and Grandpa. We loved being there, and loved combing back to see Michael. I have the best people!

Westin:
loved hanging out with grandma and grandpa, and found out how great grandpa is at drawing. He started making specific requests (see the dragon below) and I just love that my dad has always been the best doodler ever. We are trying to figure out the best way to handle Westin's toddler anger, but when he's sweet he's oh so sweet. His vocabulary is huge and his little expressions are my favorite. I feel grateful that he is able to communicate with us so well. I just wish he wanted to communicate more pleasant things some of the time instead of previously mentioned toddler anger... :)

Bennett:
became way more mobile just during the week at my parent's house. Something about a new space to explore, I think. He also stopped wanting me after we were there about four days, and would just cling to grandpa if I tried to hold him. It's fine, Bennett, I only do LITERALLY EVERYTHING for you, but go ahead and replace me :) Grandpa is great, I get it. He used to be a total mama and grandma boy, but now it's all about Michael and grandpa. This is directly related to weaning, I'm pretty sure, and it makes me feel like I have to nurse my last child until they're 5. I'm not going to do that. But I do wish I could stay the favorite around here a little longer. Bennett has such a funny trick of "playing dead" when I scare him, just laying down flat and staring at the ceiling with a face that looks like he thinks he's hiding from me. My parents and I just cracked up at him doing that so much this last week.

We loved our Utah time! Now we're ready to have some Thanksgiving and Westin birthday time. This week will be a party!

Michael was putting Westin to bed and then it was quiet. I found these three like this. I knew that toddler mattress by Westin's now-open crib would be a Michael trap. Westin usually wakes up on it, so it's a necessary precaution.


Fish hatchery! It was so much fun.




Bennett wore his pajamas there... I pick my battles, and pick my efforts.
It's getting chilly and they're his warmest clothes, so, easily justified.

Super heroes are grandpa's doodling specialty.



Instagram:
I road-tripped my two little boys to my hometown this week, and this is why. Taking them through the new Cedar City LDS Temple made me feel profoundly grateful.


I think I see my hometown and the years growing up there with rose-colored glasses at this point, but that honestly just makes me feel extremely lucky. Basically, I’m obsessed with Cedar City, even though I haven’t been there longer than sporadic short visits in ten years.

Temples represent God’s love to me. This one is filled with paintings of red mountains and columbine flowers that make me feel at home, next to mahogany from Africa and stone from Israel that remind me how home has become a stretched out term to me. Temples keep me centered on eternity in a world lost in the now. They have shown me heartbreak, and comfort, confusion, and answers — just like life. But unlike life, they provide a pause.

My boys won’t remember walking through today. But I wanted them to come and see and feel something. Bennett stared at chandeliers and Westin rubbed smooth large doors. I hope they grow to love hometowns and childhoods and temples and God. And mostly that they know He loves them individually, too.
 


We loved meeting Jamie and Finley for lunch! It meant so much to me that she drove down from
Northern Utah that weekend and took time to meet up with us.
Pizza Factory and good friends. That's been a favorite combo for as long as I can remember.


These two have just grown so much since we were last together in Fresno!


Sisters <3

Red mountains = best mountains

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