Wednesday, February 24, 2016

February Stuff

It feels like it's been really busy lately, but I'm not sure what with. Lame doctors appointments, scheduling things, getting phones fixed, dryers fixed, feeling a littler under the weather last weekend, etc., etc. The weather has also been GORGEOUS lately, so we've been trying to spend as much time at the park as possible because I know it's going to be too hot all too soon and we'll be switching gears to pool days.
This was a tiny little turtle we played with at the park last week. Ruth was in LOVE and talked about having a pet turtle for several days following.
Some days I am a nice mom and I let my kids paint. Okay, only one kid (the other two were down for naps) and after she spilled the water cups three times I lost it and she hasn't been allowed to paint since. But hey, documentation that it DID happen.
And she painted a portrait of her mother, and I think it's pretty much the most adorable painting ever.
I don't know if these videos work or not but here is Molly and the actions to Popcorn Popping, which is the CUTEST thing ever.

We've also been hitting up the library. Here are my kids acting like they are right at home listening to stories. They love going to the library so much. We haven't been going as regularly lately, probably every two or three weeks, but they certainly remind me!

After library story time on this particular day it was GORGEOUS outside, so we let the kids run around the field/track behind the library. Molly loves swinging on the exercise equipment!

Ruth and Will are still the greatest little friends. They keep each other occupied so well. Which often involves dressing up, which is the cutest.
Her nose!
Sterling got me roses for my birthday (actually Will picked them out and was ADAMANT that Sterling get them for me, which is pretty much the cutest) and we added them to the little bouquet of Valentine flowers I let Ruthie get at the grocery store two weeks ago. Those flowers are going strong!
Molly thoroughly enjoying my birthday cake. 
My kids are growing like crazy so new sandals were in order. (actually, I got these a size big on purpose for Ruthie so they won't fit her for bit, but MATCHING CHACOS! Is there anything CUTER in your LIFE?!?!?!?)
Two hours of shopping, all of our saved-up grocery budget, and three hours of organizing later and TA-DA! All of our expired food is removed (my mom told us we had to have canned fruit because ya know, natural disaster you need some fruit...but we rarely use it, so I replaced it with about six cans and threw the expired stuff out) and new cases are replaced and a new shelf is dedicated to gluten-free foods. This is the first time I've done this without my moms help and who knew but I really CAN rotate my food storage without her help! Not only that I did most of it from memory and I actually know what things we need a case of and what things I just need to buy a few replacements now and again as needed. This cooking meals and meal planning and rotating food storage is starting to sink in...I think. Also, the 5 gallon bucket of rice, two 5 gallon buckets of flour, and a 5 gallon bucket of sugar are all nice and full as well as our container of brown sugar, oatmeal, and a few other things. 

Also the bottom shelf (above the laundry detergent and one five gallon bucket on the right side) that is my joy school/preschool/arts&craft supply cupboard was getting a little CRAZY and it is now neatly back in it's three containers and I actually know where everything is. Oddly enough we DO have a full box of crayons, a new thing of paint, and a full set of markers! YAY! Haha.

 I made a gluten-free cake for my birthday. It was a box of Betty Crocker gluten-free and I have to say, best option we've tried so far. WORLDS easier than trying to make a gluten-free cake from scratch, SO MUCH cheaper than making it from scratch, and turned out just right. While I love homemade, gluten-free is just SO difficult and often not-as-tasty anyway, that I'm turning to boxed options a bit more often.
Will has been singing happy birthday to me ever since. He is awesome.

 And that is the end of the iPhone photos to document our last few days. Tomorrow is Joy School from 10-12, lunch, piano from 1-2 and 3-5. Thursdays are my pull-my-hair-out-but-really-love days. If anyone wants to come visit, it's supposed to be 75 and sunny from now until Tuesday :). 

Sterling had a doctors appointment today. To tell him that he can now have blood work done and an endoscopy to see if it really is celiac. Which is scheduled out in another two months. Sigh, I feel like this is taking forever. The kids also had doctors appointments today. Well, Molly and Will did. Will is still tall and happy as could be that he didn't get any 'pokes' today. Molly is hitting the 15th percentile in weight (her record so far!) haha and following her own little growth curve nicely. She is SCRAPPY and can climb EVERYTHING. Every single ladder, pole, bridge, you name it at the park and she can scramble all over it. I was laughing to myself the other day at the park because she is SO TINY and a dad was watching and stood up and 'spotted' her every time she climbed the ladder. I was thinking to myself "Don't you realize she's climbing it just fine every single time? Wouldn't I be over there helping her if she couldn't do it herself?" I know he was just being kind, but it is funny because she LOOKS like she shouldn't be able to do everything she does. She pulled off two somersaults today and was SO PROUD of herself, it was hilarious! She tried to pull off a headstand like Ruth but when she almost fell off the couch for the third time I started discouraging that (tile is so unforgiving for learning fun stuff). 

We have a gym membership now to the YMCA and the kids BEG me to go because they love the kids zone so much, haha. They let them paint--and I call that a win/win. I get time to myself, they get to paint, I don't have to clean it up, and EVERYONE is happy! They hate leaving and I can't decide how that makes me feel. Worst mom ever that my kids don't want to come home with me? Or best mom for taking them places they enjoy so much? We'll stick with that, haha. 

I also have to note Will's new nickname for Ruthie. "Rupe." He had started calling her "Rupee" and I thought it was SOOOOOOO adorable. You just have to hear it. But now he calls her "Rupe" and it's even cuter. He'll say things like "Hey, Rupe, can I have a crayon?" and I just about DIE inside!!! On talking terms, Molly calls dogs "woof-woof"s and that is also the cutest thing I have ever heard. The other day I was trying to sleep and Sterling was getting ready and Molly (the ever-awake-at-ridiculous-hours-child, which is why I think I was back in bed trying to make up for lost hours) followed him around for FIVE minutes saying "hi!" in this soft, soft voice with this really big 'h' sound. "hi." from Molly. "hi." from Sterling. "hi." from Molly. "hi." from Sterling. It was hilarious. Great way to wake up in the morning. She also still gives me big wet kisses to try to wake me up. Although this morning she bit my shoulder, so ya know. Ya win some, ya lose some. 

Monday, February 15, 2016

Sunday Afternoon (a couple weeks ago)

Sundays are still remarkably amazing to us, since the time change to 9am, and added to that is FINALLY our gorgeous Miami winter. The rain has let up for a couple of days and the sunshine and temps are absolutely delightful.


Some pictures of the new three year old. In the squinty sun.

That's about how life works with three toddlers.
And that is my man with his baby girl. Makes my heart ache with happy.
 Another heart that is happy? That girl's. She is ALWAYS dancing.

Everyone else was playing basketball, but Molly brought out a book and sat there for ten minutes. Haha.

Thanks for being you, Sunday afternoon.

Tampa-Six Years!

Phone pictures. But this is outside the Straz center for the orchestra concert. They were also playing The Lion King Broadway. Too bad when we looked at tickets they were upwards of $400.
Life is so many, many things. Even when you think you are doing things in the right way, with the correct intentions, and with strong faith, life just surprises you. I think I made it pretty clear in my New Years Resolutions post that this past year was really hard for us. It's amazing what a good night's sleep can do. When you go months without one because of your fussy baby and then add hours and hours of screaming. Add the pressure of med school. Two other kids. Hospital visits. Property manager head aches. Gluten free cooking. To put it accurately, a few weeks ago on the phone my mom said "I have just never seen so many things happen in one stretch of time to a couple!" Yeah.

We needed a break. In fact, we needed a break six months ago, but when you're barely surviving, it's hard to make that decision. Luckily, our anniversary, my birthday, and Valentine's day all fall within eight days of each other in February and we just took it. We took advantage of our lovely friends here that we trust with our lives, we took advantage of Sterling's schedule right now, and even though it didn't seem like we had the money or the time, we just did it.

And Tampa, you were everything we needed you to be.

We signed up for a marriage conference. At the beginning of the conference she said "Every couple should do this every five years or so. Just schedule it in." And boy, is she ever right! The amazing thing is, we just feel so strongly it was all so inspired for us. There aren't any LDS functions in Florida, so we went through a nurturing medical marriages conference because I thought the outline of the weekend sounded pretty in-line with our ideas. Turns out both presenters were LDS, and almost half of the couples were LDS. That is UNREAL in Florida, so we just couldn't get over it. (Neither could the other LDS couples, we chatted about during pretty much every break, haha.) It made the discussions and presentations ring with so much more power. After one particular speaker  another couple raised their hand and commented on the amazing insight the two presenters had. Sterling leaned over and said "It's because they are speaking with the spirit, but those other couples don't even realize what they are benefiting from!" It was just phenomenal. It was powerful.

As with all truths that we learn, I feel myself applying the highlighted ideas from the conference to everything. Especially parenting. In fact, one of the most powerful videos they showed us was a parenting video, and then they asked us to think of that as how we act as couples. But I can't get the parenting side of it out of my head either. Which just makes the circle complete, right? 

One of my favorite quotes from the weekend was "The real voyage of discovery is not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes." -Marcel Proust (I think? I can't read my own handwriting on that name, haha!) More than anything, I think this weekend gave us the break we needed to really focus on us again, realize we're both still here, and just ENJOY it. That quote makes the conference sound misty and lovey-dovey. It was actually incredibly practical and real. Which is why I loved it so much.

At the very end they showed a clip from Forrest Gump in Vietnam and after all this rain and mud and rain and mud and horrible conditions it's night and his buddy says "I'm going to lean against you and you lean right up against me and that way we don't have to sleep with our heads in the mud." I just loved that. We came home with some amazing insights and tools to hopefully keep our heads out of the mud. :)

While there we also ate INCREDIBLE food. We had some gift cards from Christmas and the lunches by the conference were all AMAZING. I was so glad we found such fabulous gluten-free options, because we haven't been out to eat very often since Sterling has had to go gluten-free. I don't know if I have ever eaten so well as this past weekend. Unreal deliciousness. Also Thai food. Heaven.

This was right before I ate the best Thai food of my life. Thank you, rice paper, for being gluten free! Also, due to the candle and flower, we made it our designated Valentine's meal!
That almost empty pan in front of his fajitas? The WORLD'S BEST cheesy, bacon fries I have ever encountered. And have been hoping to encounter ever since. Sigh.
Sterling was the man of the hour and got tickets to the Florida Orchestra. That's the other thing about not having kids around--you remember how much you love to do together that you don't normally get to do! We spent the whole night fantasizing about our retirement and how we'll have season passes to Tuacahn, Hale Center Theater, Capitol Theatre, we'll go to the Shakespearian Festival every year, etc. etc. HAHA. We love music in any shape or form. The symphony was such a HUGE reminder of how much I love instrumental music. Oh it was HEAVEN. It was their Valentine Pop's concert-so all of the popular love songs. They did a Beatle's medley that was hands' down their very best piece. LOVE. They also did Theme from Love Story (a childhood favorite of mine, I also imagine it in my sister Andrea's voice), Moon River, and then the guest conductor was just a riot! He kept the whole thing lively and hilarious. They also had a guest soloist who was a little opera-ish for my taste (I'm a little more broadway lovin') but she was also quite the actress and HILARIOUS so it made the whole concert fun and enjoyable. Also, the rest of the crowd was drinking alcohol, so everyone was having a great time, haha!

We thought about waking up early Saturday before the second day of the conference and walking Tampa's boardwalk. It's supposed to be the third prettiest in the country. I believe it. We could NOT get over Tampa! We even talked about doing residency there because it was just so GORGEOUS! First off, it looked like an American city (breath of fresh air coming from Cuban Miami), and it was beautiful. So, so beautiful. Instead we slept in, which, on a weekend without any kids, has it's own huge merits. We also ate haagen dazs in bed while watching Hitch. Good times. 

Then it was back to reality. Molly was not too happy with being left for two days. Sterling and I traded off holding her for about eight hours (sleeping and waking) on Sunday before she was finally convinced we weren't leaving again. Ruth was sobbing that she had to LEAVE Claire's house--hahaa. It's good to be back. 

This was while I was still teaching Sharing Time and Sterling was needing to start teaching Elders Quorum and Molly was still VERY clingy. Obviously not in nursery, haha.
I don't think we've ever had a better time. We've never really had a 'get-away' that we can remember. We did a quick night in SLC before moving to Florida, but this--we already want to go back. We even talked about flying back for the Hold Me Tight Valentine's conference every five years for forever!!! Gosh, I love my man. It was such a great time. So happy six years to us! And happy Valentine's day! And happy birthday to me!

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Miss Molly-18 months

Our little Miss Molly is 18 months old in just two more days. I can't believe it. We got her pictures taken today. As per her usual, I spent twenty minutes running around peek-a-booing until I'm a sweaty mess and we got one good shot. Kind of. One SUPER CHEESY squinty shot, and one non-smiling-gorgeous-eyes shot. We'll call it a success. Much like the pictures below. But we love her anyway, haha!

While she might not smile on command, she is getting CRAZY smart these days. She can now sign 'please' and say: thank you, uh-huh, no (which is nononononooo), bubbles, uh-oh, whoa, milk, love you, and I'm sure lots more because I think about writing them down all the time, but I can't think of any right now. Her little tiny voice is hilarious and I love listening to her sweet little phrases. Love you is always my favorite.

 She loves to read. When the house gets quiet and I get REALLY nervous, 99% of the time she is just sitting somewhere looking through books. It is the cutest ever. The other 1% of the time she has found the toilet bowl scrubber. I don't know WHY kids love that thing so much!

 She is the wiggliest worm in church, but really great in nursery. Although, usually Sterling deals with her in church because I am in primary, but when I see them she's either in nursery or asleep in his arms! She is mostly sleeping through the night, but still has her odd nights of waking up. And after waking up she hates going back to her crib. If she ends up in our bed she likes to sleep everywhere, mostly on our heads. We don't appreciate that very much.

Molly is a great eater and loves to feed herself. She wakes up hungry and pulls me down to the kitchen where I usually give her dry cheerios in her high chair until I can wake up enough and get something prepared. Or a cold pancake from the fridge. She eats those right up though, so they must not be too bad. She really loves ice cream and say "mmMmm" after every bite and makes everyone laugh.

Cutest picture ever. Oh how I love her!

She is really great at playing with the kids and often goes along with whatever they are doing or just sits beside them and does her own thing. She goes to sleep with her "Ellie" elephant that she got for Christmas and still snuggles up with the crocheted blanket that Sister Rhamdan gave her when we she was born. 

She is a minx. She thinks she can get away with everything. She does something she knows she shouldn't, catches your eye to make sure you're paying attention, and then goes running away while giggling her head off about it. It's highly entertaining and makes getting after her really difficult, haha. 

She is the BEST at giving kisses. She will often pull my head around and give me a big ol' kiss out of the middle of nowhere. I LOVE it. She also does that a lot in the wee hours of the morning when I can't quite get out of bed yet (the stinker wakes up generally at 530am) and she is sitting there trying to wake me up. Lots and lots of kisses. Can't really say there's any other way I'd rather wake up! She doesn't do the open-mouthed kind either. Great big kiss with LOUD smacking sounds planted right on ya. Oh, it's adorable.

She is tiny. If you haven't noticed, she is SOOOO teeny tiny, itsy, bitsy. I still get comments at the playground "She's walking already?" Yeah, surprisingly, she's been walking for almost nine months.... But what they really mean is that she looks too small to be so crazy. She can climb up all the climbing walls, all the ladders, cross all the barriers (although she did have a terrible fall last week at the park, I might have even screamed) and does it so quick and nimble that I think it surprises people. A body that tiny shouldn't be doing that many things!!!! It makes her all the more endearing. 

Her small size doesn't hold her back at home either. She thinks she is just as important as every single family member...if not more so. She is quite the boss when she wants to be and quite adamant and LOUD when people (usually Will) are playing with/doing things she doesn't want them to. She thinks she can keep up, too. She likes to do everything during Joy School and just two weeks ago she was doing an art project with us and I turned around and she was passed out head down on her high chair tray. HAAHAA. Maybe not quite a big dog!

Will calls her our baby and whenever we see teeny, tiny newborns he says "That's a baby like OUR baby Molly!" He mostly calls her 'baby' and not Molly at all. 

My absolute favorite thing is her shrill "MAAAMAAA!" that I can hear anywhere in the house when she hasn't seen me recently enough. Oh Molly, you have my heart. We love you! STOP GROWING UP! Oh and my other favorite thing, she does all the actions to popcorn popping. The best is when she wags her finger up and down at you. Oh I want her to stay this way forever.

More Will

I took Will to get his 3 yr old pictures taken today, and he just looked SOOOO handsome that I had to snap a couple more at home. Of course, he was so over pictures by that point, but he still is the handsomest little guy around. 

I LOOOVE this smile, even though he isn't looking at the camera.

This is my absolute favorite. He is just the sweetest ever. 
Done, mom. So done. 
I tickled him under his chin. The problem is then stepping away and snapping fast enough. 

Will Sterling, you are my little man forever, and don't you forget it!