Sunday, October 30, 2011

Car Wash Helpers

I LOVE the bright blue of my car. It's fantastic. Lately, it's lost a lot of the boldness because of all the dirt kicked up from our roads. That, & the upcoming Ward Trunk-or-Treat, convinced us it was high time for a washing. The Family Car Wash was open for business.

Jared & Bellie were hilarious; super awesome helpers. Greg let Jared hold the hose a couple of times.
Jared washing Daddy's car
Annabelle had this large sponge; she'd dump the thing into the soap bucket, then walk over to the car to scrub. Each time she repeated the process, she got more on herself and less on the car. It was hilarious.

Annabelle is SOAKED
oh SO WET!!!
 By the time we were done, both kiddos were soaked.

I even convinced them to chase after their Daddy *bwah, ha*, although Daddy got me back in the end.  It was a very fun, very WET way to wash the cars.  I don't think we'll open up a wash any time soon.

UP NEXT:  Halloween!!!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Park Fun

Winter in South Texas is prime park time. The weather is usually mild enough that the kids can enjoy themselves for a few hours. We've been spending most of our preschool playdates playing at the park.

If Annabelle had her way, she would spend most of her time on the swings.
Cutie Park Girl

Bellie & Alex enjoying the swings
Jared, isn't as big a a fan of the swings, but he LOVES to push her on the swings. I've got photo & video proof.

Awesome big brother





Other than pushing the swings, Jared recently discovered the monkey bars.  He tries REALLY hard to get himself moving, but we end up helping him hold his body up as he moves his arms across the bars.

Our Monkey Boy
Recently, one of our park excursions included making Halloween cookies with the preschool friends. Bellie was one of the kids who figured out how to use her plastic knife as a spoon to eat the icing. She just eliminated the middle man; why put it on the cookie first, when she just wants to eat it?
Enjoying Halloween Treats

It's nice for all of us to get out of the house & enjoy some air--- because that's rare for most of the country right now.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Father-Son Campout: The Sequel

After the success of {last year's campout}, the guys decided to take the boys out again--- only this time they convinced the Baxters to come!  Jared seriously couldn't stop talking about it last year, so it was even better to have Caleb & Alex with him!

Here's a video of what the boys spent most of the evening doing:





Greg knows all the stories.  *Hopefully* I can get him on here to write them down.  However, I do remember two near death stories!

Before bed time, Greg & Jared decided to walk near the lake/water source.  While over there, they saw two eyes across the lake staring at them in the darkness.  Greg flashed his light over there to see what it was: a cougar.  When he moved his flashlight, down & back up again, the cougar moved 20 ft to the right, closer to their side of the lake.  But, then he turned around and left.  

When they came home, Jared runs over to me & says, "Mommy, Daddy threw me."  Greg looks at me and says, "don't freak out, but I fell off a cliff."  WHAT?!?  Apparently, they hiked up a hill to a cave (as seen in the video below) & just before they got to the cave, Greg slipped & felt his weight going backwards.  Since it was steep, he was carrying Jared & instantaneously decided to throw him towards the rock & away from falling.  Greg then fell a few feet down the cliff.  WOW.  Here's the video of them at the top:





After he finished his story, I did my best NOT to freak out, but what wife wouldn't freak out if she was just told her husband was 'this close' from serious injury and/or death.  Yeah, someone was watching out for him that morning.

Besides that mishap, they had fun & I'm sure they'll do it again next year.  Hopefully, no cliff-falling or cougars will be involved.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Pumpkin Carving 2011

Since we (and by we, I mean myself & a friend) decided to make ALL of our Halloween costumes this year, we didn't get the chance to go to a pumpkin patch this year. Instead, we bought a few supermarket pumpkins & carved them a week before Halloween.

Jared & Annabelle picked out what they wanted carved into their pumpkins (Phineas & Ferb, Minnie Mouse); then Mommy & Daddy did all of the hard work. Obviously, it's not like we're going to give poky-pumpkin saws to the kids.

The funniest thing about this year was the kids complete aversion to the pumpkin guts. I thought they'd have a good time digging it out with me, alas, they are like their Daddy. Don't like the stuff. AT. ALL. So, I was left on my own to dig them out. I tried to get everyone to touch the guts, but they wouldn't have it. Jared & Belle even ran away. Jared told me more than once, "that stuff is yucky & gross." Annabelle even picked up the 'yucky' part.
After the guts cleared, Greg & I went to carving. The kids got super excited whenever a part fell out. Then, it was bed time & we finished after they went to bed.

It's kind of hard to see our pumpkin, but it looked cool. Since the kiddo's pumpkins were fancy, I took a large drill bit & drilled a whole bunch of holes into the pumpkin. Then, I stuck a short string of Halloween lights in it. It looked great, but apparently didn't transfer well to film.
Yay for pumpkins. Yay for Halloween & family memories.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Jared's First...

Broken Bone!

On Friday morning, Jared & Annabelle were in the middle of a 'hard hug' and fell over. He was helping me clean the floor before it happened...
A 'hard hug' happens when one of them usually hugs too hard & then causes the pair of them, still wrapped in the middle of the hug, to fall down. We've tried countless times to get them to stop, but there's still an occasional hard hug. If it does happen, it usually happens right before bed time and the fall onto the pillows.

The instance in question was downstairs right next to the family room ottoman. When they fell, Jared fell on top of Belle & clipped the ottoman. At first, I thought Annabelle got the worst of it, since she was fallen ON (I was thinking concussion), so I cuddled with her. As soon as Jared stood up, he looked at me, said '"ouch, Mommy it hurts," pointed to his thumb & wouldn't stop crying. I took one look at his thumb, it was already bruised, and suddenly our day changed... I knew it was broken.

Two quick calls, to a friend who'd watch Bellie and to Greg---just in case he wanted to be there, which he did, and we were off to Pediatric Urgent Care (his doctor was already booked for the day---crazy, I know).

At urgent care Jared was able to get an X-ray & it was postitive. They said it looked like a sprain, but just in case, they'd send the x-ray to a radiologist to confirm. He was able to get a brace; since his fingers are small, he needed to have the smallest one. At home, after the urgent care visit.I got the call with the re-diagnosis of a broken bone at 445 that afternoon. So, going to the Pediatric orthopedist would have to wait until Monday.

On Monday, the orthopedist confirmed the broken bone; he broke the tip of the first bone in his thumb, just below his fingernail. Since there is really no way to set a broken finger bone, he got a new brace. His finger was too small for any of the braces, so they just cut a piece of padded aluminum to stabilize his finger.

Since the doctor visit, life is the same; Jared just walks around with his hand tucked in by his chest. This was on Sunday... notice his thumb (and Annabelle's beautiful dress).The only time he seems to be in pain is when we change the tape for his bandage. He goes back in two weeks--- just before Oba & Jiji get here to celebrate Annabelle's birthday.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Bellie's Newest Tricks

She has two:

1--- She sings A LOT. It's adorable. Her current favorite is "I Am a Child of God." I've been trying SO hard to get video of it and this was the best I got. Enjoy... and watch the hair... it adds another layer of funny.



2---She can mostly dress & COMPLETELY UNDRESS herself. I've found her in various stages...

diaper only...
diaper half on/half off... notice how she's asleep...

absolutely nothing. Apparently her hands were dirty, so she needed to take her jammies off
NOTE: The picture is post Mommy-Edit. I know Annabelle will see this one day and I'm sure she'll appreciate me not putting her whole self on the blog. :)

She is so fun right now. Difficult, yes. Challenging, yes. But our daily lives are never boring with Annabelle (and her brother, of course).

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Video: Waddle

Last time Mema & Deda came to town, Deda brought a new book called Waddle, Waddle.

Jared & Annabelle LOVE the book. So much so, they do actions to it every time we read it.

We simply HAD to take a video.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Preschool

Jared had his first day of preschool TWO days before my miscarriage, so I didn't get a chance to write about it until now. He was SO EXCITED to go to preschool. We even had a countdown to when it started.

He graciously posed outside in the bright sunshine for his silly mommy. I can't believe he's so old. So old that he helped Annabelle with her shoes without even asking. Be still my heart.
He's such a good little learner. I love doing preschool activities with him because he surprises me each time. I'm so grateful for him; I wish he would grow up a little slower, but I'm grateful for my smart preschooler. :)

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Labor Day: Zilker Park

On Labor Day, we decided to continue our adventures in Austin & travel to Zilker Park. We heard a rumor the park had a train, so we had to go.This park was incredible. We only went to the train section which also included a large playscape, a natural springs swimming area (which was super busy by the time we left) & some kind of indoor aquarium. We were for the train & play time.

Annabelle is getting really into swings. After her incident at the museum, I was a little apprehensive about taking her on the swings but she loves to sit on my lap and swing until the sun sets. She even says 'whee'--- it's adorable. Mommy & Bellie enjoying the swings.
Jared would not stop running around... Daddy had to catch him just so we knew where he was. :) The playground had slides, bridges over the train tracks, climbing walls, monkey bars & an old time fire engine to climb on. It was a perfect way to pass the time while we waited for the train...

Daddy, Jared, Belle & Gramma waiting for the train.
Then, it was train time.
Jared loved to point out everything he saw. Trees, dogs, bikes, water, lakes... you name it. We even had a tunnel... the best was the sign before entering... telling you not to enter.

After the train, we had a lunch & headed back home...

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Labor Day: Austin Children's Museum

One of our destinations for our long weekend to Gramma's was the Austin Children's Museum. The kiddos are posing with the Bat-cow in front of the museum.
We had a good time up until Annabelle puked all over the floor, but I'll get to that later.

It was pretty much like any other children's museum we've been to. LOTS & LOTS of centers: music, construction, store, farm, and a the current showcased exhibit, which was all about BALLS. Bellie even found a little slide she did a loop up & down multiple times in a row. Annabelle & Daddy having a good time... at first.
For the All About Balls exhibit, the museum gave out multi-colored golf balls for the kiddos to use in various exhibits. You basically had to barter with other museum-goers to get a ball. Kind of crazy. Music & Physics seemed to be the name of the game.
They loved launching the balls of mini-ski ramps, placing them in music machines & following the ball like cats in a half-pipe ramp.



The construction area was also a big hit for the kids. They found a vacuum tube which transported shape screws up and down levels; lots of giggles were had when it would suck the screw out of their hands. Jared really enjoyed the world's largest toy crane. While exploring, he & I found a quite little corner with construction toys & torn-rubber pieces.It was little boy heaven. He told me all about the different machines & lasted longer than any other kid who came in while we were there. He would have played in their forever... but sissy got sick.

While Jared & I found construction heaven, Annabelle took Daddy & Gramma over to the book corner for some good quality reading time. After a few books, Annabelle told Greg she wanted to stop. She got of his lap, walked a few steps, and then barfed all over the floor. Probably from too much corn the night before or watching too many balls go back and forth... back and forth.... Greg had to call me because he couldn't find our secret spot and we were off.

Bellie ate little bit in the car, puked it back up & then was fine. We still don't know why she was sick. Maybe a 6-12 hour bug... who knows? Luckily, she was recovered for our Labor Day outing to Zilker Park...

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Warning: Corn Massacre

Annabelle discovered a new food while visiting Gramma's for Labor Day: corn-on-the cob.

She LOVED it (if you couldn't tell). She had two whole ears and TRIED to get another one. When we wouldn't let her have another one, she started to suck on the cob... silly girl.

We tried to replicate the corn craze a couple weeks later, but she wouldn't touch it with a ten-foot pole. Toddlers are so fickle. At least we got a couple corn-loving pics to share.

I can't believe she's almost 2... where did the time go?

Monday, October 10, 2011

I'm a Mormon

Thanks for all the LOVE & support in my decision to share my experience with y'all. I need that support & ability to share. I love you all dearly.

So--- our city is apart of the second wave of the church's "I'm a Mormon" campaign. It is SO awesome to see the commericials and FEEL the spirit emminating from the TV. The whole point is to straighten any misconceptions about the church & its members. I LOVE how we get the chance to share our testimonies more. I want to shout it to the world how much I love the gospel!

Before it launched, we were encouraged to create a profile, so I FINALLY did.... Elder Jackson (my brother) would be so proud!

Here's the {link}.

Greg's still working on his & we'll post a link when it's finished and published.

I promise the next post will contain cute kid pictures and/or videos.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

A Known Loss

My previous experience {HERE}.

Many of y'all are probably wondering why I've been MIA from the personal blog world (I've actually been posting on the craft blog---maybe it's my therapy). One reason is this coming Saturday---as in two days---I'm helping to put on our Church's craft day. It recently became more significant because it's the last activity we'll have together because our congregation just split (because of growth) this past Sunday.

The other reason is that I had another miscarriage. No, that wasn't a typo.

Over Labor Day weekend, we went up to Gramma's, just north of Austin. We had a GREAT time (which I will soon blog about). I was feeling a little tired, slightly overwhelmed, and sensitive. I passed my monthly time, but didn't think anything of it because I've been a little longer since my first miscarriage (weird to write THAT sentence). Greg even teased me that I might be pregnant. The Thursday after we got home--also Jared's first day of preschool, I took a test (only because I wanted to prove Greg wrong), and there were two lines. I was SO excited, but cautious, for good reasons. We didn't tell anyone and decided we wouldn't say anything until we heard the heartbeat. I didn't even get that far.

Three days later, I started having cramps. I didn't think anything of it, until I started to bleed. Then, I broke down & managed to break the news to Greg. He gave me a sweet blessing; he was so optimistic--- in hind sight, I think he was just trying to keep me from losing myself. I called the 24-Hr Nurse and asked her what I should do. She said, if it got worse, I needed to go to the ER. Unfortunately, it got worse. So, we dropped the kids off at a friend's--same amazing person from last time--and went to the ER.

Five hours, two vials of blood drawn, too many uncomfortable exams, and a crushing BYU loss later (the BYU-Texas game was on in our room), our fears were confirmed and I was having an early miscarriage. A couple days later, Greg & I went to my normal OBGYN. She confirmed everything and said I passed most of it already. I thought I hadn't since the pain this time was no where near last time. Last time--- physical trial. This time--- emotional.

We also asked her about the future, should we started to monitor me as soon as pregnancy is possible? Can we figure out the problem? etc, etc. She told us that two miscarriages is still an anomaly, and that we shouldn't worry because my body has carried two full-term babies already. I normally LOVE my doctor, but this really bugged me. She's basically saying she wants me to go through this again before they do anything to prevent it. Two in a four month period doesn't seem normal. Half of my pregnancies haven't worked. Pass, I'm thinking second opinion might be in order.

Since that night in the ER, I haven't been myself. It seems that I can't close the door on this experience, finish the grieving process. Funny enough, writing this down is helping because I'm not keeping it inside anymore. Luckily, we have an AMAZING ward family and SO many people helped, loved, mourned with, and supported us. I have numerous friends who have been in the exact position I'm at right now and they've been a huge support to me. I also have Greg which makes all the difference.

I'm not going to lie. This month has been hard, but it's something that no one can fix. Correction, it's something that only ONE PERSON can fix. The one person who knows exactly how I feel, knows my pain, knows my struggles, Jesus Christ. I need to be able to trust Him, and my Heavenly Father's plan for me, and know that everything will be alright. Over the past few weekends, we've been able to listen to {prophets & apostles}. A LOT of those talks seem to speak to me (Uchtdorf from RS meeting, Anderson, Cook, Monson, some even mentioned the question, why do good people go through bad things?

Elder Robert D. Hales, in the Sunday morning session, answered my question:
As we ask these questions, we realize that the purpose of our life on earth is to grow, develop, and be strengthened through our own experiences. How do we do this? The scriptures give us an answer in one simple phrase: we “wait upon the Lord.”12 Tests and trials are given to all of us. These mortal challenges allow us and our Heavenly Father to see whether we will exercise our agency to follow His Son. He already knows, and we have the opportunity to learn, that no matter how difficult our circumstances, “all these things shall [be for our] experience, and … [our] good.”13

It STINKS to go through trials BUT we don't go through them alone IF we TRUST IN THE LORD. Maybe I went through these experiences to deepen my faith & conviction in the Lord, maybe I went through them to empathy towards my family & friends future struggles, who knows? I don't, but the Lord does. He knows what I need to go through in order to grow in my eternal capabilities. He knows what I can handle, if I just let Him help me. He knows, so it's okay.

It's so hard to have faith, but it's worth it. I have two happy, healthy & intelligent kids. I have a wonderful husband who pushes me to grow & improve each day. I have wonderful parents who continue to teach me lessons. I have an amazing extended family (in-laws included) who help me feel love and appreciated. I have talents that I share to help others. I have a Savior that loves me and feels my pain.

So, how could I not be thankful?

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