Sunday, January 21, 2018

Exploring Fresno

Michael:
took us to a little river center and trail walk on Saturday. We rode our bikes to it and it was fun. Some toddler tantrums happened quite a bit because someone wanted dad all to himself, but for the most part it was great. It was low 50s and we were freezing, but then I remind myself that I'm bike riding in January so I can't even complain. He put in a lot of call days early this month so he actually wasn't on call at all this week. He didn't make it home at a good time any night though, so by the time Friday came around my toddler was eating cereal for dinner in his underwear. We do what we can to make it through long weeks and then, we admit defeat. Honestly, toddlers really like eating cereal for dinner in their underwear, so it's not like it was all bad. Tonight we're going to eat dinner with some family friends from his residency program.

Maddie:
met up with a girl from my London study abroad group and it was fun to reconnect. Her husband is doing oral surgery residency through the Air Force so he has a few rotations in Fresno during his program. We met at the Discovery Center and it was our first time there, and then we actually went again the same week with our little preschool group. I love seeing all those kids together on Fridays and getting a chance to catch up with their moms. I'm finishing up a huge cross stitch portrait and then moving on to the recent orders I've had and I love working on those at night. There's a funny dynamic doing something so old-ladyish while watching Stranger Things that I just enjoy for some reason. Speaking of which, we need a new show. I also talked with my Indiana bishop's wife this week and I have had them on my mind so much. I love her, and I love that family. After we hung up I just kept thinking so much about how wonderful the people are that we were lucky to spend time with during Michael's dental school years.

Westin:
Really liked the Discovery Center this week and he loved hanging out with Braelynn the whole time. I think he's found his first love. He's only napping 2-3 times a week now but his little timer light keeps him doing a solid stretch of quiet time. Thank heaven for that. But quiet time is rarely very quiet... and it's pretty messy. But contained is really all we're going for so I'll take it. I'm trying to find a fun letter app for him because he's really loved finding letters on signs while we drive lately and saying "Hey, W for Westin!" and a few others he really knows. He knows what all his letters are but now he's having fun figuring out what words start with what.

Bennett:
didn't even want to be carried when we did our little trail walk on Saturday. He loved just walking around and exploring nature like the big kid he is now. We still just call him baby though. #BabyBenettForever
Church with Bennett has gotten to the follow him around the halls stage, so nursery in April is looking pretty nice. I wonder how his transition will go. We love how much he needs to cuddle when he wakes up in the morning or from his nap. He's currently cuddling on dad on the couch after a much too short post-church nap, and it's adorable. I love my boys!

Bennett's post-nap sort-of-nap, Michael's legit nap. I always envy his ability to fall asleep fast and stay asleep through so much. But I don't want his work life that provides him that so.... I'll stick with my light sleeping probs.


My sister's stitch on her cute mantel that they remodeled. 


Bennett in a bike helmet is in my top ten favorite things in life.


Preschool gang plus some siblings.


Noise makers and proud of it.

Westin only has eyes for Braelynn when she's around.




First time doing this puzzle with no help and he was so proud of it!

Tres Leches Cupcakes

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Starting Preschool

Michael:
signed us up for a little trial of Blue Apron meals and it was fun to cook together and try something really new. We were both super impressed with how delicious the meal was. He had tons of calls yesterday but miraculously never had to go into the hospital for any of them and even slept here all night. It felt like such a huge bonus. He's the best dad. Right now he's at the orange grove down the street from our neighborhood picking oranges with Westin, and then they're going to make orange juice before we head to a friend's house for dinner. Weekends are the best!

Maddie:
started doing preschool with the other moms in Westin's church class this week, and we had the first day at our house. It was fun to get the kids together and see them have fun and interact. I also take Westin and Bennett to a playgroup at a Lutheran church in Clovis every other week, and the ladies that run it are so sweet. We went to two parks and the library in one day this week, plus a few other park trips on the other days. Mom life. I love working on my cross stitch orders. I also made homemade yogurt for the first time this week, so I've now reached a new Instant Pot level. Mom life again. Next week I'm going to start teaching four piano students. I feel like I'm finally diversifying my life after a couple years of having close babies and it feels really fulfilling.

Westin:
loved preschool, loves playing at the park, loves reading at the library, loves primary. He's so much fun. He never fell asleep during nap time about 3 times this week and I'm just cringing for this stage... what is life without naps? I do not even know. He was full of quotes this week:

(After listening to The Greatest Showman soundtrack on repeat around here):
"A million dreams wouldn't let me take a nap."

(After Michael got called into work and he told Westin it was to help someone who got hit by a car):
"Oh, were they not holding a hand?"

(While playing doctor with Michael):
"Alright, I'm a doctor. I'm gonna see how much sick you are. So.... how much sick are you?"

(When sitting down to clean up all his letters from a puzzle, next to Michael):
"Alright. We gotta clean up these letters. So. Where's W?"

And so many others. I could also write a list of ridiculous mean things he says to us lately that make us half angry and half brimming with laughter, but, we don't want to remember those as much. But if you really want one small example, then you should know I carried his tantrum throwing self out of sacrament meeting today while he screamed, "No, mama! I'm going to pinch your eye!" And I'm rolling my eyes so hard right now. Three-year-olds, man.

Bennett:
Walks so much and I still just stop and watch it when he's cruising all over the house. He doesn't like vegetables much at all but he was pounding our kale and sweet potato salad from our blue apron meal. It was hilarious to watch. He'd prefer to just be in a swing at the park all day every day. He wants to keep up with his brother. And he wants his brother's little blue truck something fierce. The little red car I got him for Christmas to counteract that desire did nothing. He was thrilled that we watched a dog this week, he probably loves that gig more than anyone else around here. One morning this week he woke up just laughing and laughing, and every time I said good morning to him he would laugh and laugh. It was the best way to start a day. I love these boys!

Watching President Monson's funeral after preschool.
Pounding kale. Seriously, this kid is so veggie averse.
It almost singlehandedly sold me on more Blue Apron meals but... not gonna happen. 



Blue Apron meal: Mexican-Spice Barramundi with Kale, Sweet Potato, and Avocado Salad 
This dog has come over twice for just a daycare deal. For some reason, Kitty just wants to come out and stare at him and hiss. Normally she just hides from our dog friends, but these two just hang out here. It's honestly so annoying. She's peeking around the corner down the hall...


He always picks dandelions for me and hands them to me saying, "These are for you to get married!"

Bennett loves dogs so very much.


Playing red light, green light with apples.

Cutest preschool pals.

Snacks with friends at the park.

Bennett managed to make this entire mess in under 10 minutes while I did my make up.
Then he just looked at me like, This is how I do. 

Kitty and cross stitch, both usually on my lap these days.

This was the first time these two hung out like this.
Normally Westin can't contain his excitement for any Kitty attention and drives her away with his love.

He loved her being close to him.

Sensory bins at playgroup.

Bennett thinks Sensory Bins means snack time. Gotta watch this one.

When I was bent over working and my lap wasn't free, she decided to just chill on my back. Cats are so funny.

Monday, January 8, 2018

Starting the New Year

Michael:
had New Year's Day off after a surprisingly smooth day of New Year's Eve call. He took me to The Greatest Showman when my parents were here and we both loved it. We went to dinner one night, a temple trip one Saturday, and a movie one afternoon while my parents were here. They were so nice to watch the kids for us so we could catch up on our date deficit. I was really grateful for that extra time together. He's good at finding new bike rides for us to go on, and we feel lucky that the weather is nice enough for them. Sorry, Indiana friends... come visit?

Maddie:
started taking orders for custom cross stitch portraits and I'm really excited about it! I've enjoyed making these the past few months and it will be fun to expand the hobby. I made it to two High classes while my parents were here, and one on Saturday when Michael was home. Those always make my week better. The boys and I made some park trips this week and played in the backyard. I keep going back and forth between feeling grateful for these 60 degree days in January to fearing the summer already. I just need to focus on the good, but I'd rather take a little more cold now and less heat later.

Westin:
started the Sunbeam class in primary! He has a wonderful teacher and I'm really grateful for her. There are three other boys about Westin's age in his class, so I'm also grateful he's not the only super young Sunbeam around. I think he did pretty well at church, and I know he did his best. He used all his good up, we had a serious day of melt downs the rest of the day. But he's figuring out his new routine and it's all going to smooth out. I checked out preschools around our neighborhood this week but I'm just not ready for that. I'm hoping to start a little Joy School type group with some friends soon, and I think Westin would love that.

 Bennett:
is walking like a pro and seems so much older. Westin became a lot more opinionated and a lot more fussy once he started walking. I'm definitely seeing the same shift in Bennett, but it might be teething. Teething is just this mystical thing that I blame unknown behavior on, and it sometimes proves to be true. I don't know, I'm not super observant with the teeth situation. I probably slack off there since Dad is more than qualified to monitor that. He's a great sleeper and I'm grateful for it every night. I do not take these nights for granted because I just remember so vividly how hard it was being so sleep deprived with Westin straight into my poor sleep during Bennett's pregnancy. Bennett makes us laugh so much. Today Westin hurt his eye and Bennett kept rubbing his own eye and acting just like Westin was acting and it was cracking all of us up. I love watching his personality grow. But I wish the rest of him would slow down :)


Our oven handle has been semi-broken since we moved in, and Michael put a new one on today.
I love that he can figure that stuff out, that stuff does not come naturally to me.



This week was the 9-year anniversary of leaving for my London study abroad!
I think about it so much at the beginning of every year. I am so ready to get back there.

Our ward is reading the Book of Mormon together from now until June. We've been doing the daily readings from this book and I really LOVE it. Westin has been way more engaged.

Beautiful bike ride!

Bennett gets so excited when he's close to Kitty. 



We watched this dog for a day. She came late so we missed a zoo trip, promptly escaped from our yard, came in after I got her back and knocked a plant over... Oh man. Sometimes watching dogs feels like such a win, other times I question our decisions. Overall it's been great, though.

Living that Primary life.

My aunt found some pictures of my Grandma and I love them so, so much. I miss my grandmas all the time.

My beautiful grandparents.

Michael and Westin climbed a "mountain" while Bennett and I walked with my parents through Woodward Park. I love watching Westin love his one on one time with dad.

Peek-a-boo with Grandpa! I am disappointed that I didn't get more pictures of my parents while they were here.

My in laws are awesome.

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Wrapping Up 2017

I'm staying up late doing two of my favorite things -- documenting life, and making plans.
Michael is on call right now and miraculously went through church and all of the day without being called in, but when he climbed into bed he was paged. So he's at the hospital, my parents are visiting, and everyone's asleep. I love starting a new year so much.

2017
was the year I recommitted to blogging after unexpectedly taking a year off. This blog started when I went to London for a semester, then it kept going through the rest of my BYU experience -- living in Boston for a summer with my sister, my time in Provo, studying abroad in Jerusalem, interning in DC. Then it transitioned into documenting my first job out of college and into our engaged days and newlywed stage. Then dental school and Indiana, to Fresno and residency

I look at the years on the side of this blog and see 2016 missing, and it makes me realize how sad it makes me that I'll never have a clear picture of that year. Learning to be a mom was a huge transition for me, and I lost myself in it. But writing and remembering is a big part of what makes me happy, so at least I know that going forward. Here's a review of our 2017!

January:
Rachel and Spencer's birthday visit! And dealing with all the post-election feelings. My parents came to visit as well, and I started to come out of the hazy newborn days. Almost. Michael finished his anesthesia rotation and went back to the busy life in his oral surgery clinic.



February:
Potty training hit me like whoa. Valentines was uneventful and residency was so dang busy. Westin still seemed 90 percent unaware that we had brought a baby home from the hospital in October.



March:
Built a fire pit in our backyard. Lucked out with another visit from my parents and caught up on all the things. Finally started going out in the world again after newborn days and potty training phase. 




April:
My brother's family visited Fresno. We met the rest of my family in Disneyland. The boys and I did spring break in L.A. with cousins. Had our 5-year anniversary.




May:
First time camping with kids. Stood up for moms, right around Mother's Day. Taught Westin how to rap


June:
Drove to Utah, went to Lydia's baptism. Drove with Aunt Ali from there to Colorado. Spent a week at Rocky Mountain National Park with Michael's family. Drove home through Cedar again, went to my 10-year high school reunion. 



July:
Finished our first year of residency. Michael started his plastic surgery rotation. Boating and splash pads with friends. Found out both my best friends here were moving away from Fresno. I cried a lot. Went to our fun stake pioneer day party.


August:
Kayaked with Rachel at Shaver Lake. Drove my boys to Utah for my mom's family reunion. Took our favorite day trip ever to Pismo and watched whales all day. Started dog-sitting again. Made our first trip to Yosemite and biked around the valley.



September:
Started preschool at home with Westin. Visited Louisville over my birthday. Michael went to a work conference in San Diego, and the boys and I had pizza parties and park trips while he was gone. I started a little social media marketing side job.

October:
Bennett turned one, Westin conquered his fear of slides, and some ducks and chickens overstayed their welcome in our backyard. We visited pumpkin patches and made zoo trips. I learned about Sister Lawrence's scripture class and loved it instantly. Our friend Allison from our Jerusalem semester visited and we loved meeting her kids. We took the train to Hanford and Westin loved it. We had a fireman and a Dalmatian around here for Halloween.




November:
Michael turned the big 3-0 and Westin turned the big 3. We made a quick trip to L.A. for Quinn's baptism. I drove the boys to Utah for the Cedar City Temple open house and they loved seeing friends and cousins. Michael went back on oral surgery service and started taking call again. We had a fun Thanksgiving with just our little family.



December:
We went hiking to find snow. Our laundry room flooded big time. A new washer and dryer finally entered our life, probably 18 months too late. Christmas time was extra magical with a three-year-old and a baby. If you're thinking "Bennett's not a baby" then don't think that. I need Bennett to be a baby. We can reevaluate this in 2019?  Westin went to his last Sunday in nursery and I still can't believe that. The holidays were so fun this year! And I keep comparing different aspects of life to this time last year and it's surprising me how much has changed more than I realized. Sometimes life shifts so gradually that we can almost miss recognizing that changes have happened.




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This week:
Happy New Year! It's literally exactly midnight as I write this, and I'm so thrilled about 2018 being here. I think all even years and ages are just better than the odd ones. A full year of residency complete! Good things are going to happen during our next one. A sweet golden retriever named Rosie is hanging out with me tonight. I have a mini job, a new fun hobby (more to come on that!), and a developing project, and the three of them are making me so happy right now. But nothing makes me happier than my three boys, and knowing that I can be with them forever. 

We spent the week with my parents in town and that always feels so lucky. Christmas felt so special and fun, and we loved having grandparents here for the party. Christmas Day can sometimes feel a little melancholy by the afternoon because of the season ending, but that was not the case at all this year. I felt like it was 2pm the first time I even looked at a clock, just because we'd had so much fun eating food and playing with presents and talking with family. That night I watched It's a Wonderful Life for the first time and it was the perfect way to keep the feeling of Christmas alive the whole day.

Bennett is walking! He finally walked across the room a few times today and that is such a fun and joyous milestone. He felt so big and I loved the triumph in his sweet blue eyes.

It was a good Christmas, fun week, busy year. We're ready for 2018!

Sundays used to be one of my hardest days of the week, and it was just not sustainable. A few things have fixed this (Bennett being older, Westin loving nursery, getting used to doing sharing time, etc.) but a huge fix to the issue was that I just let go of trying to "maintain" consistency from end of church to bedtime. We get home around 4pm, Westin goes to bed around 7pm on Sundays since he doesn't take a nap. Michael stays after to do financial stuff, and Westin and I were starting to just get in fights after church a lot. Finally I just started saying yes to most everything he asks (within reason, don't judge me) rather than picking my usual battles on Sunday afternoon. It has turned into one of our most enjoyable times together, and we laugh so much. I know I can't always let him eat a big sugar cookie AND a candy cane right before dinner. But if he asks on a Sunday afternoon I can, and we both had a better day because of it.

Rosie, grandpa, and Westin.
Walks with this crew are great, and we still can't believe we have 60 degree Decembers in our life.

My favorite part of fitting in a temple date is a renewed eternal perspective.

Love this girl.

This boy loves walks and car rides.

Westin was excited about his new balance bike under our Christmas Tree, but he's got a lot of figuring out to do there... He just walks on it :) 

From Instagram:
I love reflecting on another year and looking forward to plans and goals for a shiny new one.
Nothing stands out more to me this year than the way I’ve learned (and am still learning) to let go of expectations and manage my own happiness. Residency is a ride.
Other coping skills of 2017 included, but were not limited to: Savoring simple moments with my little boys. Reading about politics less. Making easier meals. Keeping in touch with forever friends. Dog sitting. Day tripping. Creating.
New Years has a new bittersweet feel to it now that I have little (quickly) growing people around. But I’m so grateful for the year we had and the way it has shaped our family. It’s amazing how much change 12 months can pack in.

These kids all just sat in this dome for a while, just strangers not interacting at all. I thought it was so funny.



So fun to see this boy take his first steps this week.

Hiking with my mom! My dad was sick most of this week, we all felt so bad for him.

These cinnamon rolls were so delicious, even if they weren't the prettiest I've made. Super easy too!

Somehow I've made it this far in life having never seen It's a Wonderful Life. Finally fixed that!

Christmas boys and new toys.

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