Thursday, June 27, 2013

Celebrate 28!

I turned 28 yesterday. To celebrate, B took work off and we went for a long walk with the children, enjoyed a visit from my visiting teachers and their yummy rice krispie treats, went swimming at the local pool, enjoyed another visit from an old friend, and met B's family in Provo for some pizza at Nicolitalia Pizzeria. After dinner we headed over to BYU's Creamery on 9th for some ice cream, then Kiwanis park for some family pictures. It was a lovely day and I was happy. Sometimes the best gift is a good, easy day with those you love. And a full tummy. ;)

27 was a good year. It brought me 2 baby boys. It also brought me more spiritual growth, worry, wisdom, chaos, and a deeper relationship with my husband and my Heavenly Father. I am grateful for 27. And now I am excited for 28. What "adventures" does it have in store? I can't wait...for the most part. ;)

A big thanks to all family and friends for their love and support during the past year and on my birthday. My heart is full. Love!

Friday, June 21, 2013

Birthday time begins...

Next week I turn 28. I know. It's old. 
My dad keeps reminding me about that and then I reply 
"If I'm old, what does that mean for you?" 
His response: "It means grandma is ancient." 

Tonight my family held a birthday dinner in my honor. Whitney and Joey made shrimp tacos, grilled asparagus, and fresh fruit. They also made some delicious "better than heaven"cake. Each person gathered around the kitchen table and shared a scripture with me and then wrote birthday wishes on balloons. Surprisingly, a lot of those wishes had to do with more children. And patience. And energy. And puppies. I'm sensing a theme here.

Highlight of the night: Babes discovering balloons. 

Much love to my entire family. It is wonderful to hear beautiful and sincere words that inspire and uplift. 28 is starting out good.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

11 Months.

What's it like to be 11 months old? If you're Liam and Finn, it's a time full of movement. Finn has officially started crawling. Except, a majority of the time he tends to marine crawl on his tummy and pull himself forward with his left arm. It's actually quite humorous to watch. Every day, he gets more and more comfortable crawling on his knees. With this new skill comes new "adventures".  Just this weekend, Finn has pulled the ironing board down on top of him, pushed the paper shredder over with all the shredded bits of paper spilling everywhere, taken a head dive off a church bench, pulled out all the DVDs, music, and video games from the shelves, and knocked over the lamp 3 times. We are definitely in baby-proofing mode!

On the other hand, Liam hasn't shown a great desire to crawl or become mobile except within the last couple days. But instead of getting on his knees, he prefers to scoot himself on his back and roll to wherever he wants to go. It's also pretty hilarious. Liam has become quite more aggressive with his brother- which is good and bad. When we got back from San Francisco, he had acquired the habit of biting. I was pretty shocked, because I had no idea where he had learned that from. But, as my mom keeps reminding me, it might be the way he tries to defend himself against his bigger and more mobile brother. We've been consistently trying to discourage this and I think it's helped because we haven't noticed as many "bite marks" on Finn's arms. Just kidding! But really, it's gotten better.

Both babies LOVE swimming. We took them to B's grandparent's pool and Finn fearlessly splashed and put his face under the water. Liam was a little hesitant at first, but soon started splashing and laughing and enjoying himself. I later bought a little splash pool and have used it twice so far. The boys love it! Although, Finn tends to end up sitting on Liam, Liam pushing Finn over, Finn crawling out of the pool, or Liam doing a face plant under the water.

Baby boys, I can't believe you are almost 1 year old. Wow, it's true what "they" say: The days are long, but the year is short. You are growing so fast and I love watching you explore the world around you. Each day, your personalities continue to develop and you are quite different. And I love that. Keep growing! Keep exploring! Keep moving! And I will try to keep up!

Loving you more each day,


Saturday, June 15, 2013

I see you.

Dear Brandon,

Tomorrow is your first official Father's Day. How do you feel? Well, I know for a fact that, at this moment, you feel ready for bed. But, just like the good man that you are, you have taken the Subaru to the grocery store at 9:30 at night and are picking up some ice cream for dinner tomorrow, because once again, we forgot about it.  But I appreciate that you didn't complain when I asked if you would go. You even grabbed my HUGE binder of coupons to carry with you. Man, you're good.

Brandon, did you ever think your life would turn out the way it has? I did. And I didn't. A wise man once told me that the man I married would "see" me. I didn't quite understand what he meant by that until I met you. You see me. And that was one of the main reasons I married you on that cold day in January. That and you are incredibly intelligent. And your eyes are the color of the Caspian Sea. And you can make me laugh until I pee my pants. (You know it's true. You laugh yourself silly every time I do it.)

I adore our little love story. I was your first kiss and you about passed out when I asked you to kiss me that Sunday night on my parent's doorstep. Our courtship was easy. No games. No gimmicks. We were true to ourselves and to each other. We have replayed the moments leading up to our wedding day over and over and we continue to be amazed how things worked out the way they did. Destiny.

Fast forward to right now. It's another Saturday night. The kids are in bed and I'm sitting here in my pajamas. There's a pile of shredded paper strewn about the carpet- Finn's handiwork. Dishes in the dishwasher and laundry piles in our bedroom, things are quite different from your neat, little one-bedroom apartment on Fort Union. Do you regret it? Would you trade in the chaos of family life for order and quiet of bachelorhood? Think about it- no invasion of closet, bathroom, or dresser space, no curling iron cords to trip over, and no covers being stolen off your body while you sleep. Not to mention "reminders" to mow the lawn or to turn on your side in the middle of the night or to run to the grocery store after work or to change another dirty diaper. There would be less crying. A LOT less crying-from your twin baby boys AND your wife. Wow. Why is there so much crying?

Okay, I know you don't regret it. I know you love your life. I also know you work hard for this life you have. Every morning at 7:00 am the alarm goes off and you roll out of bed onto your knees to pray. Every day you head to work and use your big brain to do amazing things for your employer and provide amazing opportunities for our little family. I know you constantly worry about making sure we are comfortable and have our needs met. Sometimes I get frustrated when you are so conservative with money, but I get it. And I never go without. Never. My needs and wants are met consistently-and that's the truth. Most of all, your hard work allows me to stay home with our children and that is the BIGGEST blessing.

I know you have doubts about how you are doing as a father. I know you feel bad when you make a mistake and you want so badly for our children to be safe, healthy, and happy. Sometimes you feel like you're losing your mind and you kind of freak out when I mention a feeling that we will have 5 kids. But, you love your children and I see your face when they laugh or smile at you. I also see you walk into the children's bedroom every night before we go to bed. You check to make sure they're okay and tuck blankets over tiny sleeping bodies. It is so tender. I will never forget the day Liam and Finn were born. You got to see them before I did and I asked you to check on them and take pictures and make sure they were okay. When you came back to me, you cried and said "I love our boys so much." And then we cried together.

Brandon, you are seriously Man of the Year. This has been a beastly 12 months, but it has also been one of the most blessed. I could not, would not survive without you. 5:00 pm is my favorite part of the day. Not just because you are coming home to help me, but because you are my other half, my missing piece, my best friend. You are my deep breath, my calm, my confirmation that things will always work out. You are everything.

And you are an outstanding father

I see you and love you with all my heart,


Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Here's to 30 more years...

Yesterday was my parent's 30th Anniversary
Our family celebrated this impressive milestone with an 
intimate family BBQ in the backyard. 
We asked my parents what advice they had concerning a successful marriage. 
Their advice was simple: "Don't sweat the small stuff." 
And my mom added "Laugh a lot and be silly." 

(Notice my dad's hand so "lovingly" tapping the back of mom's head.)

The night's highlight was watching the babes splash in their first little splash pool I purchased from Target for $4.99. My dad even filled up 2 buckets of hot water so the boys were nice and comfortable. We all laughed and laughed at these silly little guys. They are so different (looks and personalities) and it makes it so fun...and exhausting...but enjoyable!

(Grandma and Papa with the babes.)

Another nice evening not to be forgotten. Ahhhh! I love summer!

Each look in this family picture pretty much sums up our life right now:
Crazy, busy, joyful, demanding, messy, exciting, tiring, and blessed.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Moments not to be forgotten.

Yesterday evening was just like a lot of Sunday evenings. We had dinner with B's parents and we played with the babes. It was nothing new, nothing different. But, as we sat outside on the green grass and the sun set behind us, it was a moment not to be forgotten. My children were happy. We laughed and enjoyed each other's company. We ate a little dessert and my in-laws waved to all their neighbors as they passed by in cars, on bikes, and walking their dogs and children.  It was peaceful and the worries, questions, and business of life had been placed on hold. Being together as a family was all that mattered. I took pictures to desperately capture the memory, the moments not to be forgotten.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

The City by the Bay

A view of the Bay Bridge from our GoCar tour.
It's that time of year again. The time when B-man goes to a conference, brings his beautiful wife along, and then writes about their trip.

This year, I attended Fluent Conference in San Francisco. Unlike the conference/trip from two years ago, this conference was held in the heart of San Francisco in Union Square. That allowed us to take in more of the city's sights and attractions. This time, we also had two little boys, but we are lucky enough to have wonderful family members that agreed to watch the boys for us at home while we took a week long vacation.

Some of the San Francisco views we got to enjoy from our GoCar.
The adventure started when we got on the shuttle outside the airport in San Francisco. The shuttle driver drove like a mad man through the rush hour, big city traffic. We, the passengers, crammed into every available seat in the van, held on for dear life and prayed that we'd make it to our separate hotels in one piece. Megs and I got our money's worth out of the ride, as we were the last passengers to be dropped off at our hotel.

After checking into the hotel, we set out to get our 7-day Muni passes. Muni is the public transit system for San Fran, so purchasing these passes allowed us to hop on buses and cable cars whenever we wanted for our entire trip. We used them well.

I realized not too long into our trip that one of the great advantages of living in a big city—or staying in a big city for a week—is the proximity to almost everything. We could walk to almost everything, and the places that were a little too far for a walk were a short bus or cable car ride away.

With the high density of people also comes a large increase in trash, traffic, people, and homeless people. Our first evening there, as we looked for the Muni passes and some dinner, it seemed that every other corner we would be hit up for money. We had to sidestep feces on the sidewalk on a couple occasions, hoping that it was fun someone's pet and not from a human. Yep, pretty gross.

We stopped for a photo op in front of this old ship during our bike ride.
Our first full day there, we hopped on a cable car and rode it to Bike and Roll to pick up the bikes we rented online for our ride over the Golden Gate Bridge to Sausalito. This was a big deal for Megan. She had developed a fear of riding bikes after a not-so-pleasant experience years ago. We walked our bikes down the street to a less-busy side street before getting on the bikes. Well, I got on the bike. Megs was paralyzed with fear. I could tell she really wanted to ride it, but her body just wouldn't do it. After a couple minutes, she bravely mounted the bike, and, a little wobbly at first, she started riding. I'm so proud of her for overcoming her fear and showing great courage.

We foolishly made the decision to skip breakfast the morning of the bike ride, choosing instead to eat a couple snack bars in the hopes that we'd make it to Sausalito before getting too hungry. We did well until we reached the bridge. We had stopped along the way to take some pictures and enjoy the sights, so it took a couple hours to get to the bridge.

Crossing the Golden Gate Bridge was a little crazy. It was a holiday weekend, and even though the cyclists had their own sidewalk on the west side of the bridge, it was pretty crowded. Crowds of cyclists, many of whom want to go as fast as possible, aren't that great for someone who hours previously had spent some tear-filled moments talking herself into riding a bike. Megan was great, though, and we made it across.

Drinking some Orange Juice at Fred's Place, stopping for a picture before crossing the Golden Gate Bridge, and snapping a photo of us with the bay behind us.
When we finally made it to Fred's Place in Sausalito, we were hungry and cranky. It didn't help that Fred's Place is located on the northern end of Sausalito and it took us a lot longer to bike there than we wanted—we wanted food hours ago! Fred's Place was good, though. We read online that the breakfast food was the best, which is why we wanted to go there. The food was great, but part of that could have been due to our hunger and exhaustion level.

Full and a little rested, we biked to the ferry and headed back to the big city. We realized that evening that we forgot to put on sunscreen before our bicycle excursion, so we paid for that. The next few days, our muscles also let us know what they thought of our bike ride.

Sunday we attended the sacrament meeting of the local ward and mostly took it easy. We checked out Carmel Pizza Company for dinner, and we were blown away by how good the pizza was! Seriously, it was the best pizza we've ever had! We ordered a Crudo e Parma pizza and a Capricciosa pizza, and they were both great! The next time you're in the Fisherman's Wharf area of San Francisco, check them out.

Monday's adventure didn't start out as smoothly as we would have liked. We rented a GoCar, and the Union Square pickup location wasn't open when we arrived, even though it was supposed to be open. An employee who had only been working there for a couple days told us he was waiting for a senior employee, who had the keys to open the store, to show up. We walked down to Walgreens to pick up some items, and when we came back, they were open.

The night before, I had foolishly looked at some online GoCar reviews. The reviews were polarized. Either people loved their GoCar tour, or they absolutely hated it. Those that hated it shared their horror stories, so I was a little nervous about our tour for which we had already paid.

Enjoying San Francisco from our GoCar, complete with awesome helmets.
Our GoCar tour ended up being extremely fun! We opted for a GoCar with a larger engine (150cc, I believe, versus the 50cc engine in the normal cars). That was wise, as I don't think the smaller engine would have provided enough power for us. The GPS-guided tour was pretty good—telling us interesting information about the locations along the way.

We stopped by Ghirardelli Square to get some lunch at Blue Mermaid Chowder House. This wasn't on our list of must-eat places, but it was really good. I had their California Clam Chowder, and Megs had the Dungeness Crab and Corn Chowder. I actually liked the California-style chowder more than the traditional New England chowder we had later in the week at Boudin Bakery.

It was raining when we finished lunch, but we forged ahead with our GoCar tour. The rain wasn't very bad, and it didn't last long. It did, however, make the cable car tracks slippery, and the road we took to the top of Lombard Street had cable car tracks down the middle, which made our drive up the hill interesting.

Views of the city and us from the top of Coit Tower.
After descending Lombard Street, complete with pedestrians taking pictures of us in our GoCar, we drove to Coit Tower, where we grabbed a motorcycle parking spot (the GoCars are registered in the same class as motorcycles and scooters) and purchased tickets to the top of the tower. The tickets are a little overpriced, but it was fun and provided nice views of the city and the bay.

The rest of the week I attended my conference during the day while Megan shopped. The conference was good. Some of the sessions I attended weren't what I thought they would be, but others were interesting. I connected with a few people and even met someone who I follow on Twitter. The keynotes were really good, and I was sitting in the front row when Brendan Eich, the creator of JavaScript, presented his keynote.

We tried out a few other restaurants. One was the R & G Lounge, which is a Chinese place in Chinatown. We weren't very impressed. The food was good, but way too pricey.

One of the craziest places was El Farolito Taqueria. It was a longer bus ride, complete with a guy telling us about his coming out to his mother, and while we were waiting for our food, a fight broke out between some homeless men in front of the store. We got the food to go and rode BART back to our hotel to enjoy our food there. The super burritos we ordered were really good, and the food wasn't super expensive either.

Some of the food we enjoyed. Clockwise from top left: Chowder at Blue Mermaid, pizza from Carmel Pizza Company, Megan's fortune cookie from R & G Lounge, and a super burrito from El Farolito Taqueria.
We enjoyed our San Francisco trip. We ate some good food, did some fun activities, and learned. Megan picked up some new clothes for us at some of the great stores in the area, and we even squeezed in a showing of "Iron Man 3" at the movie theater. It's good to be home now, and we can look forward to our next vacation, whenever and wherever that will be.