Monday, September 28, 2015

The CRAZY Beach

 I needed a beach day. So I called up my good friend and we went. Sans husbands. It was GORGEOUS and BEAUTIFUL and PERFECT. Ruth is now fried to a crisp (why do I ALWAYS forget that redheads need to be re-coated over and over again?!?!!?), but no, its just her cheeks and nose. Everything else was pretty much covered, thankfully. The water was so clear and gorgeous. There was no seaweed or anything to make it murky. It was just pure beauty. My kids went to town playing in the sand, playing in the waves, screaming at the waves, and generally having a good time. It's already been decided that this needs to happen again. Frequently. Tricia posted on insta "I was feeling jealous of everyone's fall statuses....I think I'll get over it" and then posted us at the beach. Yeah. I REALLY am missing the beautiful fall leaves and the mountains right now. There is nothing quite like it. But the beach. Man. It is pretty great. And with all the rain we've been having (torrents and torrents) it was pretty great to get outside for an entire day of sunshine! 

No filter. The water really is that gorgeous.
Oh how I love her.
Molly. Oh, little miss Molly. You are quite the little person. You think you are bigger and more in charge than everyone. Including waves. She walked right into them every time. No fear. And when they knocked her over? She grinned her devious little smile and kicked around in excitement. I'm starting to worry about raising that one.

Thanks Tricia, for all your help keeping my children alive! 
One of my favorite parts of the beach is the grassy area behind.  
Haahaahaa, Will. He had his shorts on backwards, his shirt on backwards AND inside-out. 

I just LOVE when babies squat. It has to be the cutest thing in all of creation.
Ruthie is a great sister and brought Molly back from the brink of death several times. Okay, that's an exaggeration because I was watching her like a hawk. But still.
 And then, the CRAZIEST thing of ALL CRAZINESS happened. We got STAMPEDED by FISH!

See all those fish crowded into that wave?!?! 

All the blackness is fish. The water was crystalline.
The aftermath.
Some of the people beside us said that the fish were probably getting away from something, possibly barracudas. RIGHT AFTER THAT (but probably ten minutes or so) there were TWO SHARKS in the water. Whether that was related to the fish or not, we are undecided. I do not know enough about marine life to make any sort of educated guess. They could be completely unrelated. But it was AWESOME!!!!! It was crazy awesome. And completely unreal. It went on and on and on. I have over a hundred pictures of wave after wave of fish. Pure fish. In every wave. Then, since we were right by the pier, they kind of just kept moving on down the beach. The swarms of people watching was pretty impressive as well. I have never seen anything like it--not even on television or the movies. It was CRAZY!!!!!
Back to beach fun. Again, look at that water!!!
My cute boy.
We saw this cruise ship head out. It honked at us (do they honk? what is that even called?) and all the kids waved and waved.
Molly and Will waving.
Bye cruise ship!
That's what happens when you leave your mouth open while being buried. 

 Then, because South Beach is awesome, we packed our stuff over the hill and rinsed all the sand off via splash pad. Which was refreshing and clean and beautiful and SO FUN. The kids loved it, it cleaned our toys beautifully, and we got even more relaxation in the sun. Then we ate lunch under palm trees. So Miami, you did right by us today. Thanks for that.

I was too busy IN the splash pad to take pictures with the kids--but that is what it looks like. The water sprays from all over the poles and at all different strengths and amounts. It's pretty fun.
The end.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Birthday Weekend!

It was Sterling's birthday this past weekend. He turned 28. I'd mock him, but that means just around the corner I'll be turning 27. WHATEVER HAPPENED TO OUR TWENTIES?!?!!?!?!?!?!?!?

Ahem. So anyway. He wanted to study all day Friday, and he had classes anyway, so I went to a Girls Night Out Party while the kids slept and he studied. It was AWESOME.

The hostess was fabulous, the food was amazing (chocolate fondue, plus cheesy artichoke dip with bread it was AMAZING), and everyone seemed to be quite giddy to be out of the house. Me included. Every five minutes a timer went off and Britni would ask a question that we'd go around and answer. It was a fun way to get to know more about people! Then we played the name game. Or, in my family, the Barney game. Only in my family we only write out THOUSANDS of famous names and do just the one round of trying to guess  names. This way (and I've played it this way before) you do the one round of using words, the second round you use the same names but only get three words, and the third round you have to act it out. It was hilarious. Also...I am (and always have been) terrible with knowing famous people. But at least in my own family we have our "standard" names  that I can count on. Guys. I got Chris Farley and it went something like this
"He's a comedian...I think. He's fat....I think. He was in that one movie..."
--at which point my good friend Tricia is rolling her eyes and saying "GREAT! THAT ONE MOVIE!"
Then, I was all proud of the heritage my brothers gave me and said "FAT MAN IN A LITTLE COAT!!!!" Expecting, of course, that everyone would get it. No one did. And that is my one and only Chris Farley reference. So we sat there, in agony, for another 45 seconds until the time ran out. BUT I WAS RIGHT! THAT IS CHRIS FARLEY!!!!
Then, there was also the time when I, on the 3 word round, said "Tom Sawyer" hoping, of course, that everyone would guess Huckleberry Finn. The name was Huck. Nobody guessed Huckleberry Finn (seriously guys?!?!?!). That was AGONIZING. Only to find out, when they checked the paper, that the name was HULK!!!!!! WHAT?!?!?!?!?!? The hilarity and laughter that followed that. Yeah, I might never live that one down. Luckily, I single-handedly brought down my team every single round. I am sure they loved me. (Actually though, I was quite proud at how well I did. For me, ya know.)
We basically stayed up WAY too late and had WAY too much fun! It felt like I was back in high school and I feel like I know these girls well enough now to really just have fun. Especially when Tricia dibbed the corner seat of the couch--full on sisterhood right there. That was a long overdue party for me, so I am just so happy that someone threw it together and can't wait to do it again soon!

In the morning, I turned off Sterling's alarm and we made gluten-free brownies as well as bacon, eggs, and hash browns. Complete with candles, Happy Birthday signs, and the kids made cards for him. Then we went upstairs and woke him up by singing. It was the greatest. Yeah for breakfast foods being gluten free!!! Sterling got a new razor for his birthday. He may or may not have started using it two months ago. But hey, it was still a pretty fabulous birthday present. He was also spoiled by his mom and sister--so I'd say he had a pretty great weekend!

Will's cheeks!
His old/new razor!
 The Farmer's Market at Tropical Park

We tried this out after Sterling's birthday breakfast before he started studying again. It was small (several people were setting up as we were leaving. Oh Miami, I do not like how late you start. It's too hot! Why don't you want to beat the heat!?!) but still fun. We tried some authentic ceviche and fell in love. It's also the first time I've had conch and I liked it. The kids tried out some authentic drinks (I'll have to ask Sterling for the names of them again) and they liked them. I was not so much of a fan, but the lime juice was delish once you got past how tart it was! The flowers were gorgeous and everyone was so friendly, so we had a really great time!

Here was the man cutting coconuts for the sign in the picture above ^^. SEE THAT MACHETE?!?!
 On Sunday we attempted walking around this lovely picnic/park area. We lasted about seven minutes before we were all eaten alive by mosquitoes and called it quits. But it was BEAUTIFUL!

I love the moss that hangs down from the trees here. 
Sterling caught the kids' cold (they've had hacking coughs all week. It's been quite miserable actually. I've had to pull out the nebulizer and give Will albuterol treatments twice a day because his wheezing has been so bad.) and was totally wasted by Sunday. So he stayed home and slept with Molly (it's her nap time so she slept almost the entire time) while I took Will and Ruth to church with me. It went like this:
sacrament meeting with two ragamuffins all by myself (they actually did great)
drop Will off to nursery
help Ruthie give her talk in primary
give the sharing time lesson in primary
teach the Valiant 9's sunday school lesson
(quickly stop in nursery to take Will to the potty)
play piano for singing time in primary

WHAT?!?! Yeah, it was quite the Sunday. I am really glad I didn't have to worry about Molly in the midst of all of that. It went off pretty fabulously. I understand the idea behind putting presidency members in charge of two classes so that they are prepared when we need a substitute, but man! it makes for a full day when we actually do have to sub! But Sterling had dinner mostly made when we got home and he was feeling much better, so it was a nice evening after all that craziness. Also, I love my kids. I teach piano lessons to almost half the primary, so I feel like I know the kids WAY better than the adults haha, and I really love teaching them. The entire Valiant 9 and 10's are taught by me, which made teaching Sharing Time really fun because I could tease and cajole them because I already have a background with them. Good times. Especially when I spend half my time teasing Joseph-haha.

Which reminds me, some piano lesson hilarity:
Joseph and Zachary came to lessons missing all but two of Joseph's books (Zachary had zero books). And I couldn't get a hold of their mom. So...we were just hanging out. Zachary asked me if prophets saw Jesus. I said some did in the temple. He said "I am going to be the prophet so that I can see Jesus. Do you see Jesus in the temple when you go?" I told him that I didn't, because he usually only came to special rooms that the prophets were in (I am the worst at this! It reminded me of when I had to give a semi-impromptu birds and the bees talk to my nephew because of his questions and I was dying inside!!!). "Special rooms? What are they?" Well, I can explain it because they display them in the visitors centers, right?!! "Do they appear to apostles?" "Yeah, I'm sure they could appear to apostles too."
Then the best part: "Well, then I don't want to be a prophet, just an apostle, because that is much easier and I'll still get to see Jesus." HAAAHAAAHAAA.
Then I gave Joseph full points on his lesson (he only had two books) which has not happened...maybe ever. He starts out singing so loudly "FOR THE FIRST TIME IN FOREVER..." It was the greatest. Those boys always have me rolling.

My kids, on the other hand, do not have me rolling lately. They have been waking up at 5:30am, getting up multiple times at night, acting super ornery (I know, I know, they've been sick all week but I am worn out!) and on top of it all it has been raining like crazy so we have a huge case of cabin fever. Luckily, it was SUN SHINING Miami weather yesterday, so we hit up the zoo. I might have died of humidity, but the splash pad was awesome and my kids slept like logs (until 5:30am) so it was all worth it. Good, good times. 

Monday, September 14, 2015

Fairytale Afternoon

Sunday was Stake Conference. Which meant...NO MEETINGS!!!! Also...EARLIER CHURCH TIME! We loved every single minute of that day. I don't think I've spent that much time with Sterling since the semester started in July. We ate lunch together, took naps together, ate dinner together, ate AMAZING peanut butter chocolate chip cookies together, and had a wonderful evening at the park together. It was glorious. 
(Kami, this photoshop thing is not working out for me. Editing is a MONSTER and then it makes you save it separately? and then blogger won't let me download it? Please advise.) None of these photos are edited (sigh) but at least you can see how pretty it really was!
So excited to climb the 'mountain' haha! My poor little Miamians that see their first hill in months and call it a mountain!
Running down the hill.

Sweetest sisters. And yes, Ruth did pick out Molly's outfit.
It was a little too steep for Molly's little legs.

A boy and his ball.
Yes, his shorts are on backwards. He wears his undies backwards, too--that way they show the BIG picture of Thomas the Train. He also prefers his socks inside out. There's no explaining that boy. Haha.

Sweet sister hugs, with eyes closed.
And Ruthie giving kisses. Molly becomes disinterested pretty quick--she's always getting mauled by one kid or the other.

Haha, we need to work on form. But he can't palm this ball yet, that's the source of his problems.

And no, this is not edited. This needs a post for itself, just so people can click and look at it. I tell ya what, Sunday night was like our own little dreamland. It was a nice and cool 90 degrees (not humid, so it really DID feel cool) and we were soaking it ALL in. Weaving those golden threads of fading sunshine right around us, I tell ya what. 

Until THIS happened. Haha. Again, I haven't figured out how to edit. And I don't really have a zoom on my camera (too pricey although SOMEDAY). So think of this, twenty or so feet above your head. And the spider STILL looked that big. It was as big as my hand. At least. Oh banana spiders, I will not miss you. Ever.
But once I braved walking underneath that bad boy, we went back to the joys of the evening. There were DUCKLINGS!

Isn't that the cutest little pond you ever saw? There were masses of mosquitoes (we were sufficiently sprayed, and smelled it, too) but still, SO gorgeous.
And then these two. My heart. What better way to end your most fairytale of Sundays than by watching your baby and your man?

And then, it was back to reality. Like waking up to poo accidents reality. Sigh. But that is why family is the hardest and best and most important thing, right?