Sunday, August 13, 2017

Pismo Trip

Michael:
Spent his last few days living the bachelor life. He went on a six-mile hike last weekend and sent us some pictures of a really pretty lake. He got caught in some hail on the way back but had a good time discovering a new place. We were so happy to see him again Thursday! He took me on a date Friday to a fun dinner with live music and then to see Dunkirk. That show was heavy but so good to see.

Maddie:
Had a fun few days in Cedar City. I took Westin to the Green Show multiple times before leaving and I loved watching him watch it. We made the drive back Thursday morning at 4am again, but this time with my mom! It was so nice of her to come with us and be here this week. We all went to Pismo together Saturday and it was a perfect day trip. It really exceeded my expectations. We saw whales, dolphins, seals, otters, a beautiful beach, so many pelicans, ate delicious clam chowder bread bowls, and spent the day outside in perfect coastal weather. I really, really loved our day there.

Westin:
Was over the moon to see his dad. He didn't sleep at all on our drive home from Cedar City, but we made such good time that it wasn't even bad. We made it to Fresno by 1:30, and then all four of us took a nap :) He also loved our weekend day trip to Pismo and I think his favorite part was having dad in the backseat with him for the 2.5 hour drive there and back.

Bennett:
is a dreamy baby and I'm so grateful for how well he travels. He never complained once in Pismo during all his carseat and stroller time. He just loves being with the people that love him. And I think he thinks everyone loves him. :) Now that we're back home he is back to only waking up once at night, which I'm grateful for. He still doesn't crawl, but he seems close to getting it.

Michael's solo adventure in the truck with no AC. Brave man.

Beautiful spots to find around here!

Pismo Beach

Loved having my mom in Pismo with us! 
This boy has such big love for his daddy.







You guys, these chairs. I could have slept here for hours (if you watched my kids for me).

Seriously, we need to own one of these someday.

Bennett loved the chair SO much. Look at that face and position -- he was cracking us up.

I left him sitting with some toys and came back to this at my parents house... he never complained so finding him like this was a funny surprise.

Zoolander band-aid face. That band-aid lasted about an hour. Westin would go two minutes before crying about it again so finally it just had to go. I thought kids wanted band-aids?

Loves his grandpa.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Utah Time

Between traveling and a few unfortunate events, I am behind over here. But here's a quick catch up.

Michael:
Strapped his kayak to our Corolla for the first time, and took us on an adventure to Shaver Lake at the end of July. His little sister Rachel was visiting us that weekend, so it was fun to have her join us. Next time we see her she will have a sweet newborn! We're so excited for her. Michael also got us back into the dog-sitting business, which we're all excited about. We had two dogs come for that same weekend, so Westin kept calling them "Rachel's puppies". They were the best dogs we've ever watched and we didn't want them to go home. Now Michael is living the bachelor life while the boys and I are visiting family.

Maddie:
lost my phone. So dumb, guys. It was a huge bummer and I keep going through the same cycle of emotions about it. Thanks to KonMari, I am 99% positive that phone is no where in my house, and I've searched my car multiple times. I went swimming with two kids and a phone, came home with just the kids. When you look at it that way, I have nothing to complain about. But I think I dropped it at the pool and someone snagged it. So, I'm using a super old Droid from 5 years ago, and all the pictures of our time lately are either poor quality or bummed from a family member's phone. The only bonus is that it's the phone I used when Michael and I got engaged, and there are still texts on it, so we got to take a mushy trip down memory lane. Still figuring out the fix to the situation, phones and plans are so annoying to me. I left at 4 a.m. last Monday to drive to Utah with my boys and it was far and away our smoothest trip yet. I was so grateful. We came out for a family reunion with my mom's family, and I'm really glad we made the drive for it. I love seeing those people.

Westin:
misses his daddy, but cousin time is always fun. He was so great on our drive out. He loved having dogs at our house, loved seeing Rachel, loves being around cousins, hates not having daddy with us. He keeps talking about how "Daddy's alone, that's sad" and it really is. We miss him. He just started using the regular potty this week instead of a little one, and I have no idea what made him make the change but I'm thrilled about it. Every time I laugh hard lately he asks me why I'm sad, and I think it's because he's seen my cry hard lately and the two maybe sound a little similar. So now he's really confused. Friends that move and phones that disappear have had me in a rough state lately, and he senses the fragile moments around here. But I recently found a really fun curriculum for an at-home preschool/playschool and I'm excited to start it with him. It's going to be great for us both. We went on a date to Cars 3 while we're in Cedar City and he really loved it. I loved watching him love it.

Bennett:
is fussier than I've ever known him to be lately (teething?) and I am not good at being patient with that because I'm used to such an easygoing baby. But I need to cut him some slack, just because he's given me 95% happiness in his life doesn't mean I should expect that from him always. He slept terribly in our tent at our reunion -- he never fell back asleep after a 3:30 wake up one night, then tried to play the same game the next night but my mom was able to get him back to sleep. He has a soft spot for her. He has also started hitting his head into people as a way of showing affection and it's strange and sometimes painful, but also cute when it's more of a nuzzle instead of violent. He loves food and I think he'll be done nursing sooner than Westin was. I'm very much ok with that. I've been nursing and/or pregnant for so long and I'm starting to feel claustrophobic about it. But I'm trying to not wish it away and soak up these last couple months before he's done.

We made such good time on our road trip that we ended up meeting my dad for lunch in St. George while he was doing some work there, then I took my boys to Nielsen's Frozen Custard and to the temple grounds. Westin always comments about Moroni playing the "trombone" when he sees temples and I love it.

Sweet baby. Sitting between my boys while my parents drove us to our family reunion was not the most relaxing of drives... but this view was a perk.

Westin loves FaceTiming daddy while we're apart, and he noticed me taking a picture of him. So he said, "Say cheese, daddy!" and this is what we got.

I've taken Westin to the Green Show at the Shakespeare Festival multiple times this trip and I really love sharing that with him. I used to come to this show so much during the summers growing up.

And, those tarts. are a big reason why. He's a fan.

Lexi the Golden Doodle. We loved her so much. But Kitty did not. Oh, she did not.

Selfies with Bennett while Michael, Westin, and Rachel were tipping over in the kayak. I didn't witness it, but Rachel had to hang onto the kayak for the whole ride back since it was hard to get back in, and Westin keeps talking about the whole ordeal.

Usually we throw the kayak in the back of our truck, so this was a fun change and not as hard as we expected.

Tyson, the cockapoo. He was a good dog too, and Westin definitely liked him more than the big dog.

"Let's hide together, daddy!" Even states away, they have fun.


Sunday, July 23, 2017

Oh, Fresno.

Michael:
went to our Stake Pioneer Day party with us on Saturday and that was a lot of fun. Breakfast, blow up slides, live music, a photo booth, popcorn and snow cones and cotton candy, booth games, etc. Our kids have been waking up at 5:15-5:30 all week which is... the worst. And the party started at 8:00 on Saturday morning, so we decided to go to the store before and pick up new tires for the kids' bike trailer. While we were there I said, "Never have I had to kill time before an 8 a.m. Saturday church activity. What has life become." He fixed up the bike trailer and we're ready for rides again! On Saturday Michael was putting Westin down for a nap, and Westin kept asking for more books. Michael was falling asleep reading to him and I kept nudging him awake. Then Westin said, "Can I sleep in the living room instead?" and Michael said he could lay on our rug for 10 seconds and then nap time. So Michael counted, "Ten, Nine, Eight... " and then I figured he was counting the rest in his head. But then I looked over and he was out. After 10 seconds I said, "Michael -- he needs to go take his nap now." He acted startled and said, "Oh.. did I get to 1?" No, Michael. Seven. You got to seven. He literally fell asleep in three seconds, while counting those three seconds. #residentlife
But also, #michael.

Maddie:
had an emotional week. One of my best friends from BYU lives here in Fresno with us and she is unexpectedly moving to Southern California in just a few weeks. My whole day was teary after finding that out and I just keep coming back to thinking about that since I found out her news. I'm happy for her family and excited for their big changes, but I am so incredibly sad to not live close to her anymore. My other good friend here is moving to Utah around the same time. Fresno is starting to feel a lot more lonely. I also put too much thought into "make it through the first year" of residency, and now that we're on the other side of that and things are still almost just as busy, I feel like I kind of lost a lot of physical and emotional energy. I just need to focus on good things and get out of this rough patch. Honestly, this week felt so sad and I'm happy it's over.

Westin:
told me to "clean up your tears, please" pretty often this week, and really wants to go to playgrounds lately no matter how hot it is outside. I was a mess Thursday after finding out my friend is moving, but he wanted to go play so bad. I was kind of envious at how resilient and positive and happy kids can be if we just give them the simplest things in life. I just need to be happy with him. We ended up going to the playground in a sorry state and I was glad he got us out of the house. He loved helping out with Bennett's doctor appointment on Friday. And honestly, he was a huge help when Bennett ate a band-aid off his tiny finger and no one noticed but Westin.. whoops. Good job, big brother. His early, early mornings are a struggle right now. And screen time turns him instantly grumpy so I think I need to completely cut it out of his life. You guys. I am not that strong.

Bennett:
had his 9-month check up and is growing like a champ. He has "slimmed down" to the 75th percentile for weight at 22 pounds 10 oz., but those are my doctor's words and not mine. His height is still 95th percentile and his head size is 99th. For further evidence of this, see his attempts to crawl in the video at the end of this post. It's a lot of work for him to be in charge of getting all that cuteness to move. He has been eating a lot lately, more than Westin. Westin used to eat more than me at almost every meal -- for sure breakfast and lunch, sometimes even dinner too. But now he has slowed down a ton, and Bennett usually finishes his food. I already have fears about their teenage years and the subsequent grocery shopping and cooking. But I also love, love, love watching them start to "wrestle" and roll around together and laugh and laugh. That is only going to get better and better as these sweet brothers grow.

Saturday morning at our Stake party celebrating Pioneer Day. These boys love cotton candy.

The top picture of Bennett kills me.

Westin loved going inside a fire truck, and hung out around it the entire time it was at the party. When it drove away he chased it for as long as he could keep up.

The crossed ankles. The lines for wrists. Those thighs.

Friday night at the park watching tiny football players. Someday he'll be mad at me when he learns he's not allowed to play that sport...

He loves "snugging a daddy shirt" these days. 
Home gym.

We met friends for lunch and Westin was so excited to get there the same time as a garbage man, and watch them unload all the dumpsters in a parking lot. They always honk and wave when they see their little fan, and it's so sweet.

My helper at Bennett's 9-month check up.



Pet store trip. No purchases were made.

Westin keeps talking about this "skinny pig" that he got to pet. It was so nice of the employee there to take out the guinea pig and introduce us.

Another daddy shirt.

I had to wake him up from his nap one day after 3.5 hours. So sweet.

We are struggling to know what to do in this summer heat, guys. Pinterest for the win here.

My errand buddies. I love them so much.

Bennett learning to crawl... such a positive attitude despite the face plants! Sweet boy.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Games

My family was always split when it came to games growing up. My sister and my dad loved them as much as I did, but we could rarely get my mom or brother in on a card game. It's still that way for most games, though my brother is up for Wits and Wagers now and you will always get a round of Scrabble from my mom.

My sister was the one who taught me poker. Except, she didn't know how to play. And we were about 6 and 10. She just told me to go get some of my stuff, explained the process of betting, then we just kind of jumped into it. She'd look at her hand, look at mine, tell me I didn't win, then deal us again. I wasn't a big fan of poker.

We had a Brain Warp phase in the Miner house for a while. Though, we always got creeped out by the "Wanna warp again?" voice that would come out of no where when the game had been idle for 5 minutes. I can still hear that perfectly in my mind.

My dad came up with a churchy version of Scattergories we played on Sundays. There were so many laughs when 25 Words or Less came out for Family Home Evening. Ali and I always used inside jokes to full advantage during that game and it felt like borderline cheating. Then there was the "I Ain't Nothing but a Hound Dog" moment, or the time I learned that an elk wasn't actually just a big deer. We never had a boring round of 25 Words or Less.

Games are still my favorite thing to do when family is together. Michael can only handle a couple rounds of Speed with me before the competition in the air gets to be too much for him. Even when he wins, the stress of it all makes it not worth it in his book. Here's to hoping we've produced game lovers of our own. Right now Westin is stuck on "I Spy" and I'm ready to branch out. But, it does boost your confidence when you play with him. He always says, "Yeah, that's what it is!" on your very first guess.


---
This post is part of my 8-minute memoir series, following the prompts from author Ann Dee Ellis. You can read more about the project here. This series is an effort to keep writing in my routine, keep a record of life, and keep my spirits high. 

"I write because I don't know what I think until I read what I say." - Flannery O'Connor.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Water Week

Michael:
had some more time at home than usual this week because of some training that didn't take his full day, and that was great. He met us at Chick-fil-A on Tuesday where were were dressed as cows for free food. I lent him my ears and spots so he could get in on that, too. Then later that night we all went to 7-Eleven for free slurpie day. We drove around after while waiting for the BYU 50 box to drop somewhere in Fresno, but we didn't win. Next year! He also was a first-time-pro at surfing this week when we went out boating with some residency friends. He did such a good job! And being out on the water with friends was so much fun. We keep talking about it. He also started a new calling at church today as the finance clerk in our ward, and I think he'll really like that.

Maddie:
was not as naturally talented in the surfing department, but I loved trying! I thought it was so much fun. Summer has me in a funk because I do not know how people live in 110 degree weather. Well, they live in their pool probably, but swimming with a toddler and a baby doesn't exactly sound like making life easier to me. I can do that once a week, but then I'm back to searching for indoor fun and dreaming of fall. I put my kids to bed at 6:30 tonight before sitting down to write this, so that tells you how my Sunday afternoon has felt. Michael had to leave for a work thing after we got home from church, and no-nap Westin is very different from the Westin I have fun hanging out with. So, the week started fine, moved to a fun-filled middle, and ended super grumpy. Soo... tomorrow's a new day. And Tuesday is $0.59 pancake stacks at IHOP. Apparently free and cheap food is what gives structure to my weeks? Feeling classy.

Westin:
liked riding on the boat with friends this week but was freaked out about swimming in the water. He has recently become super scared of water touching his face, out of no where. But then he saw the tube and was all about "riding the donut!" so he went on it with Michael and me. We fell in pretty quick on our first go and he seemed pretty traumatized, but after forcing him into a second try he started loving it after that. He also really liked watching dad surf, and he liked dressing up as a cow for his kids meal at Chick-fil-A. He kept mooing while he was in line and that was the highlight of the experience for me. He's also recently become obsessed with chocolate milk and I'm grateful for an excuse to make it way more than normal these days. He also went to a "day camp" two mornings this week that a girl in my ward put together. He loved it so much -- gathering eggs from their chickens, sprinkler time, visiting her grandparents that he's obsessed with from church, and playing with friends. I think this kid might be ready for preschool earlier than I have been planning on. We'll see.

Bennett:
needs to sleep through the night... he's so big. And almost 10 months. It's time. But I cannot let that little person cry. He's such an angel, and rarely sad, so the thought of just letting him cry breaks my heart. He didn't even make a peep on our boat ride, not even when we put a life jacket on him or held him for a couple hours past his bedtime. Didn't cry a single tear when all three of us left him with friends to get on the tube, or when he watched us tumble into the water. The kid is just happy. He has a doctor's appointment this week, so it's always fun to get the official weigh-in on that boy. Such a chubby guy, and I love him.

I don't know why they eat their toes, but I love it.

Angel.

Saturday with my boys. I feel more outnumbered around here the older these boys get, but I feel lucky they are mine!

He loves reading "The Boat Book" (illustrated Book of Mormon with Nephi's boat on the cover) and the Friend book (Friend Magazine) when Bennett takes his morning nap. It's the longest he'll lay with us on the couch so it's usually my favorite time of day with him.

We love playing with Finley Jo!

These three ate dinner in complete silence for the first few minutes while staring at each other. It was hilariously awkward.

Splash pad time! Survival in Fresno.



Sometimes he watches TV like a teenager and I feel amused and sad.


Sleeping babies have my heart.


Millerton Lake is just about 20 minutes from our house. Michael's coworker took a few residents and families out on his family's boat and it was so nice of him. We had a blast.

This was Michael's first time surfing behind a boat and he was a pro!

Family tubing adventure. The first go did not end well. But by the second run, Westin was really into "riding on the donut".


Free slurpie day!

Annnnd free Chick-fil-A day on the same day. 





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