Saturday, July 22, 2017

The Fault in Our Stars


I had heard of this book a while ago, even before the movie came out but never seemed to remember the title when I was looking for books to read. Finally, I saw it again and immediately put it on hold at my library. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green, a novel about two teenagers fighting cancer that fall in love, was a pretty fast read for me. I really enjoyed it and was thankful Stephen would play quietly at my feet for a few pages at a time!

Of course the story is sad--it's about kids and cancer. But I enjoyed the narrative of the main character, Hazel and her perspective of her life, her parents and friends. Maybe "enjoyed" isn't the right word though . . . she has a sense of (dry) humor, is smart/witty and and seems pretty grounded. She goes through a lot of emotions - fears of death, love, anxiety and worry and I'll stop there so I don't give away the ending.

Anyway, if you haven't read it yet I'd recommend it!



Sunday, July 9, 2017

Book Club: The Zookeeper's Wife

 

Last month my book club read The Zookeeper's Wife by Diane Ackerman. This book was in high demand from the library and I got it the day before our meeting, but I managed to get to the half way mark in two days! So, now a few weeks later, I finally finished it.

I have to say that it wasn't what I expected. I can usually get into a story fairly quickly and I really don't see myself as a critical reader, but this book was very difficult to get into. It didn't read like a story to me. It was more or less as retelling or compilation of other people's memoirs and accounts of World War II with the main character being a zookeeper's wife in Warsaw, Poland.

That being said, it was all a true story and since I know very little about what happened in Poland during the war, it was informational to say the least. The zookeeper and his wife used their zoo and home to hide numerous people during the war which is understandably a very strenuous task. Add two children and a house and zoo full of animals and I can't imagine the stress. Both husband and wife seem to take so much of the happenings in stride and handle it with exceptional grace. My life feels chaotic most of the time, I really can't imagine all they dealt with, much of it life and death -- for years.

Have you read the book? Seen the movie? Tell me what you thought!

Friday, June 30, 2017

Another Special Visitor


We had a week of fun with Chris's sister Shannon last week. I love that she can travel when school is on break – and so blessed that she chooses to travel to us so frequently! The boys had a blast with their Aunt. They read books (oh, so very many books!), played trucks and dinosaurs and we even got to see some sights together. 

Her first day with us we went to the Japanese Tea Garden. We had never been there before and didn't realize that they had free admission before 10 a.m. several times a week! We arrived at 9:55 – Whew! It was a very peaceful space with a little creak filled with fish. The fish and the stone path kept William entertained enough. Afterwards we wandered over to the fountains nearby and had a picnic lunch. I don't know what it is about kids and fountains but my boys can sit watching the water for what seems like such a long time! If Stephen wasn't trying to climb in, I might have been able to relax! The only thing to draw their attention away from the water was a large flatbed truck/trailer driving by.


The next day was supposed to be the hottest day of the week so we packed up and went to the beach in Pacifica. It was really busy (surprise!!) and parking took a while, but we had fun in the sand for an hour and headed home. I didn't realize my sister-in-law was so talented in molding sand and play-doh. William loved watching her create . . . and then promptly destroyed them. 


We made a couple trips to the library and playgrounds. We took naps when we could and played games in the evening. It almost felt like I was on vacation too!

Chris took his sister to Muir Woods on Saturday morning for a hike while I stayed home with the boys. And then she babysat that evening so we could go on a date! We went to the movie and saw Wonder Woman. I love superhero movies; William is really into comic books right now so he was very excited for me to see it.

On Sunday after naps we headed to the park and took some photos. It was so fun to capture the boys playing with Chris and Shannon. I so rarely take my camera out – but I love it when I do! Here comes the photo dump:



This is what it was really like...



His preferred method of mobility






Seriously, the boys love her. She's just so fun!


Monday, June 19, 2017

A Special Father's Day Weekend

Happy Father's day to all the wonderful dads in this world. I know of many and am so thankful for the one that I call dad and my husband who is dad to my two little guys. May father-in-law is pretty amazing and my Grandpa-in-law (is that a thing?!) is so wonderful too. William and Stephen are so blessed to have several strong, smart, and compassionate men in their lives.

This weekend was very special as we had two wonderful people join us on Saturday and Sunday: Chris's mom, Sheryl and her dad, Ray! So, not only did we get to celebrate Chris but we got to celebrate Ray too! It also meant that we got to take a four-generation photograph (which we missed doing at Christmas).


This was Ray's first time visiting us. It may have also been his first time to California! He was traveling around visiting other family members and we were blessed to get the weekend together. We had a great weekend with plenty of sunshine.


It was also a special weekend for us because Chris was asked to preach at church that Sunday! It was his first time behind the pulpit and he gave a really great message about the father in the story of the prodigal son. I'm hoping he can type it out for you all so you can "hear" it. He worked so hard preparing it; although he said he was nervous, he did fabulous. If his scratchy throat would have left him alone, it would have been perfect. I am so proud of him!


On Saturday we spent the morning at a nearby park and the boys all sat in the grass playing and watching some guys play basketball. After the afternoon naps Ray took us out to eat at Super Duper Burger. We rarely go out with the kids so it was nice to have reinforcements. And they didn't do that bad.


On Sunday, we went to church and had take-out at home so the boys could nap. Stephen has been testing out what life is like with just one nap in the morning so the afternoon was a little rough. We we were all very tired after lunch and stayed inside and rested. 

Then we headed out on a brief walk to take some photographs together (the ones posted in the blog). We stumbled onto this tree swing and William loved it! We may have to head back there soon.


Stephen is 13 months old now and it's fitting that Nana came to visit again this June. She had stayed with us a year ago when he was born and although we've seen each other a couple of times since then, the difference between a newborn and a one year old is amazing. He really doesn't seem like the same baby! He isn't fully walking yet but he has taken a couple of steps here and there. It won't be long now!


One comment I hear a lot is about Stephen's curls. The top of his hair is fairly straight and looks very similar to William's hair at the same age, but the back of his hair is all curls all the time! I love them. So, although he was done taking photographs, I couldn't miss the opportunity to snap a few of his curls.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Preschool Days

William started preschool last September and although the program he was in is a year-round program we decided to keep him home over the summer. Of course, I'm late in posting it, but here is his first-day photo next to his last-day photo:


I wasn't put together enough to take the photos before the day began so these are after school, which was at noon -- lunch time. The first day, he got into the mud and came home in boots that didn't belong to us! He was just about turn three.

The last day of school was just last week, May 30. He had finished his lunch in the car on the way home. And although you can't see mud on his pants, he has dirt all over his face and hands (because I always to forget to wash him up before I hand him his sandwich). He is just over 3 1/2 years old.

In just nine months, I feel like my boy has grown so much! Somehow he still looks a little baby-ish in the first photo and not at all in the second. How is this possible! I wasn't ready for this.

He loved school and made a lot of friends. He also got into some mischief and had trouble following the rules. It was an all outdoor program and I think that suited William really well. He got a lot of fresh air, played in sand, dirt and mud and came home exhausted.  

Sending him to preschool wasn't really in our master plan but I'm glad we did. It was good for me too. Even if it was one of our top three bills to pay and was hard to swallow some months, I think it was the best for our family.

And now for summer fun!

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Housing Update: When God Answers

It's been six weeks since I've given you a housing update and it's not because I didn't want to share. I did. But the things I would have written would have been speculation and hope and a whirlwind of emotions, not a sure thing. Until today. Now I know what to say.

Back in March, our lottery number was drawn for a brand new condo I mentioned here. It was drawn! Out of hundreds of numbers, ours was picked! There were 11 total units and ours was the third one. We were stoked and a little bit scared. This was a huge answer to our prayers! And then all the "buts" and "what ifs" started. And the lack of understanding the process would hit us day after day.

Even though we were third on the list, there were several other applicants ahead of us due to a couple of laws in our city government. Those that live in the same neighborhood as the available condo are given first priority and those that were evicted under the Ellis Act are also given priority. And then us -- the ones who just want to stay in the city. So after weeks of waiting for it to be "our turn" and doubting that there would be a 2-bedroom even available we continued trusting (and trying to wait) that God would indeed work this whole thing out.

And the waiting was a blessing too. In that six weeks, Chris went to several interviews (remember his employer ran out of funding? So we've been living on savings since February) and today he starts a new job! We couldn't very well get a mortgage if we didn't have an income. This is another answer to our prayers! But let me back up.

"Our turn" came up last Thursday. We received an email that our application was approved and we could move forward with the process. The process being, viewing and selecting our condo out of the available units and then working with our bank to get our loan. There were four 2-bedrooms available when we went to the viewing on Sunday afternoon. Another answer to prayer! After looking at them (some more than once) we made our selection and drove home, not at all excited. What?!

You read that right. We just didn't feel comfortable with the space. It is a brand new condo in a really great neighborhood with beautiful parks and a library all in walking distance. But that two bedroom, two bathroom condo felt so tiny. The bathrooms and designer kitchen were stunning and made me a little giddy, there was even a fitness center on site. And having in-unit washer/dryer and garage parking were things I've had high on my priority list for years. But the bedrooms were tiny and picturing our two boys sharing one tiny room (where two twin beds may or may not even fit) was just depressing. And the living room/dining room was fairly small too. There wouldn't have been space for a couch and a dining room table. Hosting has been something Chris and I love doing and the thought of having to get a small table for the four of us in order to have space for a couch was hard to consider. None of our current furniture would fit well here. And where would the toys go?

We currently live in 600 square feet and we have a lot of open floor space for the boys to play. We wouldn't have any floor space in this new home even if it was 850 square feet. The layout left us wanting more. We can get rid of a lot of stuff and go all-out-minimalist and even go broke buying fancy "tiny-house" friendly furniture . . . I've come up with a few ideas so far.

Was it worth going into debt to live in a space we would most likely outgrow in a few years? (Even with the below-market rate price it is still expensive.) And then there is the HOA which just sounded snooty. I understand they want the building to look and stay a certain way but telling me which curtains I can hang made me want to scream.

The weight of this decision sucked the air out of me and left me even more sleepless than the previous weeks of insomnia I've suffered. Chris and I talked it out over and over and kept coming to the same conclusion. It just isn't for us. And that stinks. We've seen God answer all of these prayer requests in the past six weeks and then to come to this conclusion? Are we crazy? Can beggars be choosers? Shouldn't we be grateful for this opportunity and just take it?

Over and over again we said "no." We don't have to take this. God is still in control and can still provide for our needs. And wouldn't you know it! There is an older 3 bedroom/2 bath below-market-rate condo available for resale. The lottery for this unit (there is only one) is next month. Please pray that somehow our number be drawn again! 

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Clutterfree with Kids

Did you grow up hearing "Put that back where it belongs." Or have the idea that everything you owned should have a place it belonged when not in use? I did, but totally failed to follow through. My room was always a disaster. Even after it was clean!

I don't know about you, but often times I look at my apartment and think "What am I supposed to do with this stuff?" I can't call it junk, but most of it isn't essential or even used on a regular bases. My problem is that I can't put it away because it just doesn't have a place to belong. My dining room table gets to act as table, office, landing pad, and sometimes even kitchen counter. I have too much stuff. And I honestly don't know how to not have it.


I picked up this book as part of a bundled online ebook sale and it came at just the right time. With our never ending hopes of moving (more on that later!!) and the cumulation of toys for two boys (and their clothes) I needed help!

Clutterfree with Kids is written by Joshua Becker who is known for his minimalist approach to life and happiness. He has written several books on the topic and speaks on it often. How do you make a living by not collecting stuff -- this is how I guess!

I liked his style. He opened the book with the theory and reasons behind his choice for not giving in to materialism and filling his home with possessions. This helped get me excited for actually getting rid of stuff. One main point I want to share is that when you buy something, it costs more than just the price you paid. It requires maintenance, organization, your time and energy to keep it in nice condition - that goes for so many things - clothes came to mind first! So much laundry and my closet looks terrible so I organize it at least 3 times a year. If I had less, I'd spend less time organizing and could spend more time doing something fun. This goes for so much more too.

The second half of the book (which is not even 200 pages) is practical steps you can take to declutter your spaces and how to get your kids involved and how to teach them to have healthy boundaries with stuff. I liked the section on photographs because at this same time, our backup hard drive crashed and the normal hard drive stopped working properly. Thankfully nothing was lost, but it gave me reason to pause and look at how I'm storing my photos (I don't delete any of them... and that makes photo editing take forever and finding one particular photo nearly impossible!).

If you want to understand this mentality of living with less, give this book a go. You don't even need to have kids for it to make an impact. And if you need motivation to do some spring summer cleaning, I bet this would do it!

**I'm not getting paid to write this review, but I think many people could benefit like I did (or hope to!)

Book Club: 1906

The ladies in the book club chose to go with my recommendation this month and read 1906 by James Dalessandro. A friend of mine had recommended it to me and I couldn't pass it up. The novel is a fictional account of the 1906 earthquake that happened in San Francisco (and up and down the California coast).

I was surprised to find that the first half of the book took place three days before the earthquake; the story built up around the mysterious murder of a police detective who was about to put an end to the corruption of a handful of men who seemed to own the city -- elected officials included. I found all of this really fascinating, especially since most of the story was based on actual people. Then the earthquake hits and everything is a disaster. The way the author describes the earthquake's movements and the fire that followed are very accurate to the actual event. I was so intrigued I wanted to learn more! And for about a week I looked up and read so many articles about it, but this book was by far the most interesting read.

There was of course a romance that probably didn't need to be there, but it added another storyline and gave more attachment to the characters. There were a lot of characters in this novel, sometimes I found it hard to keep track of who was who and questioned why someone was mentioned at all, but over all it was an excellent read.

It was interesting to read a historical fiction piece about a place I currently live and find that other than newer buildings and more people, it is very much the same city it was over 100 years ago. There is still corruption, still human trafficking (yep, that started long ago too) and greed. Our city so very badly needs influential people to step up and care for humans. If people in control back then had done so, I'm fairly certain lives would have been spared. There is always a need to fight for justice.

Read it if you are at all interested in SF, earthquakes or just want to read a good mystery with lots of characters.

Book Club: Emma

Last month, the book club I joined read Emma, by Jane Austen. The only Austen book I had ever read was Pride and Prejudice and that was over a decade ago so I was excited to give her another chance (because if I'm honest, I had a hard time following her writing back then).

And I actually really enjoyed the book! I have seen the movies so I sort of knew where the story was going, but enjoyed reading it much more than watching the movie. Sure, some parts got a little long, but I found quite a bit of it to be funny--even if it was in an odd-silly-girl sort of way. And I loved the ending. My eye was on Mr. Knightly early on, but I loved how it all played out for Emma.

I was excited to discuss it with the other girls in the club but I was rear ended the day before and never got the chance.


Sunday, May 21, 2017

A Cake Smash and a Party


On Friday we had a little cake-smash party at home for Stephen. I had found a delicious dairy-free, sugar free cake recipe and discovered you can actually whip coconut milk into a frosting! I baked it on Thursday, frosted it on Friday during nap time and as soon as Stephen woke up, I said, "Okay, baby! Time for some cake!"


He wasn't too happy about it, but he didn't cry at all. He very calmly touched it and played with the candle for few moments before moving on to the frosting.



He very seriously got his fingers messy, never even attempting to put them in his mouth. (He puts everything in his mouth, I thought this would be a little more exciting!)


Then he sort of tipped the cake over and got a little more messy! And then this little guy started to have some fun.


And he finally tasted it! And then he loved it and ate a large piece of it for his snack. It was seriously yummy!


On Saturday, the birthday festivities continued with a little play-date style party in the park. It was really hot so we nabbed the only 5 foot piece of shade there was, set out blankets, bubbles and balloons for all the littles to play with while the adults enjoyed donuts and coffee. It was a really great morning and I enjoyed all of our friends who were able to make it out.

We all sang "Happy Birthday" and gave Stephen a second cake, he put his hand on top making a perfect hand print and then was ready to play again. 

I love the innocents of one year olds! By the time they are two, they already know what sweets are and presents and they adore all the attention. 

Happy First Birthday Little Man! We love you!

Friday, May 19, 2017

MOPS: Crafts I've Made

One of my roles in MOPS is to come up with creative projects or crafts for us to do in our meetings. It's a little tricky because we only have a couple of hours together and most of that time isn't spent on the craft, and we have a budget. Buying crafts for a possible 24 women adds up fast--I really had no idea!

For Valentine's day, we painted on white ceramic mugs. I used this tutorial and it worked out pretty well. The girls all seemed to really enjoy doing it! I love my mug -- but I've noticed the oil-based marker starting to come off where my fingers usually hold the mug. That makes me a little sad.



For Easter, we made nest necklaces. I used this tutorial as closely as I could. I had great luck with the first one I made and thought it would be easy enough, but the second and third ones I did were trickier for whatever reason. The women took on the challenge and they all turned out really great -- each one unique -- just like we are. It was fun to see what they did and how they turned out. This was a great one to do and keep conversation going!


We had a friend speak about hospitality and had the moms put together cake stands. My other mom-in-charge friend and I went to several thrift stores in hopes of finding what we needed on the cheap. It was a challenge to find all the candle holders and plates but we did get enough! And I think they had fun with it. It was a super quick craft - just needed to allow more time for the glue to dry. I used this tutorial. I think if we do this again in a group setting, I would ask each mom to bring a plate they like and I'd buy the candlesticks -- that way everyone has a plate they love (everyone has such different style preferences)!


It was super fun to be crafty again! And most of the other moms thought so too!

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Baby B2: Twelve Months


Stephen can't really tell the difference between 11 months and 12 months and I'll be honest, the changes have been a little slower. But this mom can feel the difference--and needs to celebrate! Stephen is one! We made it! We survived and we are all still alive and learning to thrive as a family of four. Yes, it has taken a long time to find our routine. And I'm so grateful we finally did! I love us.


Stephen has been cruising around for a couple of months now, still not too steady on his feet so he isn't standing on his own quite yet. I have seen him do it for a couple of seconds so far. He loves walking when we hold his hands, he grins so big and his little legs go every which way! It's quite fun.


Stephen loves to eat. He does really well with finger foods: roasted sweet potatoes and carrots, soft green beans, crackers, bread, puffs, bananas and berries. We still offer pureed foods but he is less and less interested in them. Actually, he is just more and more interested in serving himself which is just too messy for me to allow. He does get the spoon in his mouth about 10% of the time, you can guess where it goes the other 90%! He drinks water out of a straw cup, he loves mom's 32 oz water bottle.


This little guy is a big explorer. At the park he loves to crawl everywhere, go up and down the slides, climb stairs, rope ladders and is doing much better playing in the with sand. He also loves the swing. At home he crawls under everything he can - like our rocking chair, table, and sometimes the bed. He loves opening and closing doors and putting toys in containers.


He loves basketball. William has a hoop on the back of his bedroom door that we adjusted so that Stephen can dunk it. This is his favorite past time and does it every chance he gets, usually first thing every morning. We have a couple of balls but his favorite is the real men's basketball. The only downside is that it doesn't fit in the hoop; but that doesn't stop Stephen from "shooting" it. My little baby can shoot a basket before he can stand up on his own!


There aren't any words coming out of his mouth yet, but he loves to scream and make loud noises. He understands us a lot better and can follow short directions. We are trying to use sign language but he hasn't really caught on to anything yet. So far, if he needs something he waves his arms, shakes his head and screams. It works.

He has been sleeping through the night much more consistently this month with a morning wake up around 5. We will give him a bottle and put him back down and sometimes he sleeps until 6 . . . one time he slept until 7! The boys now share a room for both nap time and night time sleep, which has really allowed us to feel like we have our space back (our living room turned bedroom space that is).

This has been a hard year, but we've turned a corner; my heart is so full of love for this little boy.
More about his Birthday here.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

A Message for Moms

I had the privilege of speaking to my MOPS group again this year. And I felt that the things I shared might be worth sharing with my readers as well. This message is specifically for moms because well, it's Mother's Day. May it bless you.


A Mother's Legacy

Who do your kids see when they look at you?
What do they hear when they listen to you?
What do your children feel when they touch you?

Even if your kids aren't old enough to voice their memories/experiences of you, they are taking note. When they look at you, they see your eyes and your smile, they see love in your face. They see their value reflected.

When they hear your voice, they hear a sound they heard even before they were born! They hear love in your voice and in your words.

When your child touches your hand or wraps their arms around your neck, they feel your skin, your strength. They feel your love holding them, protecting them.

As your children grow up they will start to remember more and more about you. They will be old enough one day to say “I remember when...” or “Remember how mom used to ...” They might even say “I'm turning into my mother!” Or “Am I becoming my mom!?”

You are one of the most important people in their lives right now. They watch your every move and chances are they learn almost everything from you! Of course there are others in their lives too – dads, siblings, teachers and friends. But the influence you have over your children is huge.

I don't really have to say that “You Matter” – but you do, and I want to say it. I want to say it so passionately and purposefully that it reaches deep down into your heart today and you believe it. You Matter.

Who you are matters. Your personality, passions, your goals, and your talents –everything that makes you uniquely you – matters. Who you are is shaping who your kids will be. The character they see in you on a day to day basis, the values they see you living out, your strengths and weaknesses for better or worse will be imprinted in their memories. I don't want to scare you by any means. I only want to encourage you to know your value. You matter. And your role as Mother is a big deal.

Have you ever given it a thought that what you believe, do, think and say might be passed down to your kids? My oldest is only three and I can bear witness to this fact.

I have a very honest example for you:
Late in my second pregnancy and a few months after Stephen was born, I was not the mom I wanted to be—not by a long shot. I was tired, and uncomfortable, I was angry when my 3 year old wouldn't listen to me, I was angry when I couldn't just sit still for a moment by myself. And I showed him. I got angry at him. I yelled at him. And he saw it. He learned it. And now, when he gets upset he is my mirror image. He sounds just like me and he points at me just like he saw me point at him. I hate remembering this period of my motherhood journey.  And I can't forget it because he still does this. He still models it back in my face.

He is only three, so he may not remember it. I pray he doesn't. I really don't want one of his first memories to be of my anger...I don't want him to remember my angry face and think that is a reflection of how I see him; how I value him.

But another more heart-warming example is when I sit back and watch William, my three year old hug and kiss his baby brother and use our terms of endearment for him. “Oh, baby Stephen, you are so cute! I love you so much.” He knew that love from watching us. And I hope he feels that love from being with us.

What about your belief system? Your family values and traditions? Your priorities? Your kids will take note of these too! Sure, they might not follow in your footsteps all the time or agree every step of the way, but they are noticing it none the less.

Have you ever thought about what kind of characteristics or traits you hope your child has? Let's take a moment and name a few right now –

bravery
kindness
compassion
empathy
respect
resilience

And how will our children learn to have these qualities? Who will model them?

We will! Or we will have to put people in their lives who can if we cant.

If I want my son to voice his frustration without loosing his temper – he needs to see that in action.
If I want my son to be a man of integrity when he is 20 – he needs to see his mom and dad following through with their word now.
If I want my son to value and respect people no matter who they are – then I have to show respect and value people in front of him. He has to witness it.

A legacy is something passed down from one generation to another. Often times we speak in terms of property or wealth when we talk about legacy, but it can be anything. Today, I want us to think about the legacy of a mother. What are you giving your children by being you?

We will all leave behind a legacy for our children—memories, a belief system, family values, characteristics or traits. A reminder of who we are. A reminder of where they came from.

The time you have now with your children is so important. You are so important. You matter.


Here are some questions for you to consider:

1) What are the values/beliefs/traditions you would like to pass down to your child(ren)?


2) What is one trait you hope your child does get from you? What do you hope he/she doesn't inherit?


3) Have you ever said “I'm turning into my mother!”? If so, share the story.


4) What do you want your children to remember about you?

Saturday, April 29, 2017

A Car Accident and a Birthday

On Monday, I was driving the boys to a friend's house to play, stopped at a stop light and was rear-ended. Instantly my head hurt as it had slammed against the head rest. Not ever having been rear-ended before, I looked in the rear view mirror because I didn't actually believe that we had been hit. Honestly, my mind went to earthquake first (but I realize that is probably because I'm in the middle of reading 1906 right now). Sure enough, the car was right there, too close to doubt.

After exchanging information with the 87 year old lady, I continued on my way, my car seemingly unharmed. I figured my headache would go away soon enough. I was wrong. I started to feel strange -- my vision wasn't fuzzy but my mind sure was. It was hard to keep up with the kids and I really just wanted to crawl on the couch and sleep for days. After the playdate, my friend urged me to go to urgent care while she watched the boys for me. I hesitated but then realized there would be no easier time to go... and it was only two blocks away. I could walk! (because driving didn't seem wise at the time).

They said I had symptoms of a concussion and gave me a muscle relaxer to help with the whiplash pain in my neck and shoulder. My friend drove us all home since I wasn't alert enough to drive. Chris met us at home and stayed home the rest of the week to care for the boys so I could rest. Thankfully the boys seemed unharmed!

Chris's birthday was on Friday but I had purchased a ticket to the Monet exhibit at the Legion of Honor for Thursday afternoon prior to this eventful week. So on Thursday I put on my brave hat and managed the kids by myself--with the help of my neighbor! Thankfully I felt alright most of the day and Chris enjoyed his day out.

On Friday morning, we woke up and celebrated Chris's birthday with presents and cards after breakfast. Then he took the car in to get an estimate of the damages. The car seriously looks like nothing happened, but of course it's $1000 to have the bumper repaired. Just like my head I suppose . . . I looked just fine, but I felt worse.

I was nauseous in the morning but really wanted to go to MOPS because we were having a special guest speaker and I didn't want to miss it. Chris drove me and the boys to the meeting and I'm glad I went! But afterwards I felt miserable. Shortly after we got the boys down for their naps, I started making phone calls to my primary care provider and the urgent care. I needed to be seen again. My headache had gone from manageable to this-might-be-killing-me pain. I was routed to the ER and since the boys were napping, I opted to go to the ER I could get to by bus. Not the highest rated ER, but the most convenient and I trusted they could get the job done.

After waiting in the waiting room, and again in the triage room, I was finally seen by the doctor who wasn't really concerned at all with my symptoms but agreed to give me a CT scan to make sure. After being there -- in the none air conditioned room on a hot day, with the flickering florescent lights, and random humming sounds from the equipment with the worse head ache ever --for three hours, I was told I was going to be fine. The CT scan was clean; the pain I felt was symptoms of the concussion sticking around. I should be fine in another week. I was relieved nothing else was going on in my brain but a little perturbed that I would have to wait to feel better and there wasn't anything I could really do.

So I went home. My superman husband had wrangled the kids together and went grocery shopping -- something I still have not tried with both kids! And took care of them when I returned to so I could make dinner. Not once complaining that this was his birthday.

And today, Saturday, the end of this weird week, I celebrated my husband's birthday by taking him to his favorite brunch place and filling him up with chicken fried steak and eggs and praying over his year and all the things on his shoulders. My headache subsiding long enough to enjoy the outing and my man.

Friday, April 21, 2017

He is Risen! And Other Easter Chaos


Sunday morning was one of those mornings where everything seemed to make me a little too uptight. The boys were up early, breakfast was had before 7 a.m. It was cloudy and raining. The baby wouldn't fall asleep at nap time. Which was super stressful because if he napped perfectly, we'd make it to church in time, which was important because William was going to be singing in the service.

And then our bathroom flooded when our neighbor took a shower. Yep. At 8:00 a.m. Easter morning Chris was using the bathroom (TMI?) and whipped open the door yelling, "Honey, get some towels!" But before I could even respond, he had gotten the towels himself and was literally catching water as it pooled over our bathroom sink. The water was coming up through the pipes of our sink! I freaked out. Panicked. Chris told me what to do - find a hose. Right. I found it with his exact instructions and he was able to move the water from the sink to the bathtub and it eventually stopped --when the shower upstairs ended. The contents of our under-the-sink-cabinent were cleared out, the water wiped up and the plumber on his way. Thank the Lord a plumber was able to come on Easter morning!

Stephen eventually fell asleep, the plumber came and he even slept through the noise. Chris stayed behind for the baby to nap and I took William to church, we got there just in time. The whole way there, I could not stop thinking "Jesus is Risen, He is alive. Nothing else matters. Today or any day. Thank you Jesus." The burden of the morning lifted from my shoulders and I felt a renewed freedom.

We met Nana at church and sat near the front so we could see the kids best. The service was wonderful. The kids all got up in front and sang two songs. They had been practicing for weeks and were awesome! This was the first time in several years they have performed for the congregation and William's first time. I loved it. William wasn't into any hand motions other than the air guitar but he sang loud and well.



I worked in the nursery during the second half of the service. It was the busiest Sunday our nursery and children's church has had in two years! Seven calm and fun babies! Thankfully lots of moms stayed in the room. I'm so thankful for families who have started coming to our church recently! I love having full classrooms and more families to connect with! It's something we've prayed for for a long time.

Chris and Stephen made it to church for the last 20 minutes or so (unreliable public transportation in the rain was not fun for either of them). After church we did a quick family photo in the rain and headed home for nap time.



After much better naps, and making rolls and brussels sprouts for Easter dinner we headed to our friend's home for amazing food, fellowship and sharing in the joy of the Risen Lord.


William and I colored eggs on Saturday and we brought them to our Easter dinner, not really to eat but to hide during dinner so William was occupied long enough for us to finish the meal without too many distractions. It worked great!


Although the morning was chaos and hard -- exhausting to be honest, the day was actually very enjoyable and fun. And my heart was centered on the very person it should have been: Jesus.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Baby B2: Eleven Months Old


I don't have any new measurements for this little guy this month, but if he hasn't grown in length and weight, he has grown in personality.  He yells and screams to get our attention or to end a meal and seems to be expressing his opinion more and more. He is talking most of the time these days. No real words, just baby talk. He does say "mama" but not really in reference to me. Both my mother-in-law and I, on separate occasions, heard him say "light" while pointing to a light. So perhaps "light" really is his first word?! Pointing is also a new skill.


He loves to play with balls and has already shown interest in basketball, just like his brother. A ball will keep him quite occupied for an afternoon. I've watched him hold the ball above his head and let it go behind him, turn around and find it, and do it over and over again. He has also thrown the ball forward a few times. (He has also bitten pieces out of two balls so far. Really shouldn't leave this baby unattended!)

He has started "vrooming" cars across the floor already. He loves watching the traffic out the window, even though he has to stand on his tip-toes to see anything. He clucks his tongue like I do and he thinks it is so very funny. He laughs with his mouth wide open showing off the mouth that is still only filled with six teeth.


Stephen does really well at playing on his own. I hate thinking this is a necessity for his survival instead of just something he enjoys, but he is the second child so my attention isn't as focused as it probably should be. But he is awesome at finding ways to entertain himself for extended periods of time. (He didn't learn that from William!) I am so grateful.

He really likes getting to the park. Crawling around the equipment, up the slides, and cruising around the stuff he can reach keep him busy. Gone are my relaxing days at the park. This guy loves adventure . . . and eating dirt.


Stephen has been very easy to transport thus far. His hate-the-carseat phase didn't last as long as William's and he really likes the stroller. I'm so thankful for this because we are often on the go! In a typical week, we have two preschool pick-ups, trips to the library and the parks, and if I'm lucky, two mornings at the gym and a playdate thrown in.

Stephen typically takes two solid naps during the day. Usually 90 minutes each. When one doesn't happen it makes for a long day, but we survive. Bedtime has returned to normal after our trip to Las Vegas, but we can't seem to stop the 5 a.m. wake-up/feed from happening. I'm thankful that more often than not, he does go back to sleep!

(This picture isn't the greatest, but I had to share it because he is stacking blocks for the first time ever!)



Last weekend, Chris's mom joined us for Easter weekend. And while Stephen probably didn't understand all of the festivities involved in his first Easter, it was still a fun time and so glad we got to share it with Nana.


He's on the move all the time, which made this photo shoot a real challenge. He loves being with me, even if it means clinging to my legs while I work in the kitchen or sit on my lap while I type. He's a cute sidekick!