Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Anniversary and Real Life

Yesterday was Jayze's and my 5-year anniversary. This is what I posted on Instagram and Facebook:

We're now five years into our forever. ❤️ It's been a heck of a ride so far. I'm grateful for our three boys, all the date nights, the constant hand holding and Jayze opening the car door for me, apologies and start-overs, prayers, trust and faith and hope in Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, long road trips, multiple moves, game nights with family and friends, talking late into the night, tons of movies, hard work (and lazy days too), and lots and lots of happiness and love. I'm grateful for our marriage and that, with God on our side and with us working as a team, we can achieve amazing things.

Every word of that post is true. It's our real life. It's not perfect, but it's us, and I'm grateful for us. 

Since our anniversary landed on a Monday, we decided to ask our friends to watch Aidan and Kimball on Friday evening while we went on a much-needed date night. We kept it really simple: dinner at a new-to-us restaurant (Logan's Roadhouse - it was delish), a walk outside and wandering in Barnes and Noble, and then to a QT (Quick Trip gas station - they're everywhere in Wichita!) for dessert. 

Jayze surprised me after dinner when we pulled up to a water fountain squeezed between two buildings of an outdoor mall. He opened my car door for me, and then we walked hand-in-hand to a bench right in front of the two-tiered fountain. 

It was a beautiful evening and thankfully it wasn't too hot since we were in the shade. We practically had the place to ourselves too, with a few people meandering here and there and a couple of ducks waddling nearby. 

Jayze pulled out a handful of pennies, and we each took turns expressing our wishes out loud and then tossing the pennies into the fountain. I was sad we hadn't been able to do it for our engagement anniversary like usual, so Jayze surprising me with it on our wedding anniversary really made it that much more special. It was a magical evening. 

We wanted to make yesterday really special too, since it was the actual date of our anniversary, but this is what happened instead:

Kimball's doing :)

Not shown: a huge stack of dishes piled in the kitchen sink

Jayze had a super stressful day at work (as in really, really, REALLY stressful) and I had a really stressful day at home. I felt bad he came home to a messy house and no yummy dinner or homemade treat, and he felt bad coming home so stressed. We both hugged each other, said we didn't mind, and were relieved neither of us were disappointed with the situation. 

We ended up hitting up Taco Bell, browsing Costco, and doing Family Home Evening in our van on the drive home (which ended up being one of our best ones, actually). For our FHE treat, we splurged and bought some delicious chocolate milk we had sampled at Costco a few weeks back. Then we put the kids to bed, drank more chocolate milk, and watched Shark Tank. Later, we snuggled in bed, talked until both of us could barely keep our eyes open, said prayers, and fell asleep.

Despite all the stress during the day, the end of the day turned out pretty darn good. Five years is nothing to sneeze at, and I'm excited to see where the next five years takes us. 

I love you, my Jayze Flake. 

Monday, July 24, 2017

Consider the lilies

During my scripture study today, these verses stuck out to me:

And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin.

Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is cast into the oven, even so will he clothe you, if ye are not of little faith.

Water lilies in the Mississippi River by Nauvoo, with rocks and trees on the banks.
Picture source here

Lilies are my favorite flower (water lilies especially), so these verses mean that much more to me. But even better is the fact that I know Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ know who I am. They love me SO MUCH. They want me to have joy. Pure, lasting, eternal joy that only comes through them. 

Life has not been easy lately. I've been struggling through a personal trial that seems to let up and then I suddenly find myself hunkered down again waiting for the next attack. However, those words of Christ filled my heart with peace and comfort, reminding me that I'm not alone and to stick with it.

To endure well and have faith. 

So that's what I plan to do because Christ hasn't let me down yet, why should He now? I know if I reach out to Him in faith, He will be there and He will provide - just like He promises He will. 

(PS: Love this message from President Eyring: The Reward of Enduring Well)

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Aidan Funnies #2

Aidan says the funniest things lately. He is turning more into a talking, little boy vs. a babbling toddler every day. I love it. Here are a few things I actually jotted down. :)

He matched the stickers to the letters. He now knows A is for Aidan, K is for Kimball, M is for Mommy, and D is for Daddy.

I made deviled eggs while Kimball and Aidan were taking a nap. When Aidan woke up he said, "Aidan hungry." He asked me for toast or something, and I told him, "We don't have any bread, but I made some deviled eggs. Do you want one?" He looked super confused, so I explained, "They're really yummy. Do you want to try one? They're in the fridge." He wanders over to the fridge, opens it, sees the deviled eggs on the top rack, and exclaims while grabbing one, "Ohhhhh, YUM-mmy!"

One morning I made paper airplanes. While I folded, Aidan played. He made one fly in the air by holding it in his hand. I asked him where the airplane was flying to, and he said, "Taco Bell!"

Aidan: "Jesus died." 
Me: "Yes, Jesus died, but he's alive again!" 
Aidan: "Jesus resurrected!" 
Me: "Yep, He is resurrected." 
Aidan: "Jesus happy now!" 

"Look Mommy, race tracks!" pointing to a road we're driving by. "Cars racing!"

For a little while he was in the habit of calling Jayze "Jayze" instead of Daddy.

Every time we pass Taco Bell, he says, "Taco Bell!" He does the same thing for Costco and Walmart.

During a rough day, Aidan walked over to where I was sitting down on the couch, kissed my knee, and said, "Love you sooo much, Mommy!"

Jayze: "How do you say cookie in Spanish?"
Aidan: "Spanish!"

While reading scriptures, Jayze starts reading in Spanish. Aidan says, "No! EN-glish, Daddy!"

I dropped Kimball off at a friend's house, but took Aidan with me. When I got back into the van without Kimball, Aidan started whimpering and with a trembling voice said, "Kimball? Kimball? Kimball?" When we were on our way back, I told him we were going to pick up Kimball. He was so excited. When I got out of the car and came back with Kimball, Aidan said, "Kimball! Love him SO much!"

Aidan:"Aidan wear Lightning McQueen shoes." 
Me: "How about your sandals because they're easier to put on?"
Aidan: "No, Lightning McQueen shoes." 
Me: "Okay." 
Aidan suddenly laughs and says: "Ohhh, sorrry." Then, with a decisive nod of his head, he changed his mind and said, "Sandals."

Right before cleaning up his toys during our bedtime routine, Jayze and I said, "K, time to clean up your toys!"
Aidan: "No, brush teeth first!"
Can't go out of order... :)

Me: "Aidan, what's your favorite color?"
Aidan: "Green!"
Me: "What's your favorite animal?" 
Aidan: "Lions!" (but recently he's changed it to giraffes)
Me: "What's your favorite food?"
Aidan: "Peas!" (Me: ???)

Aidan: "I like driving in the car. Kimball happy!"

He's very independent. He's constantly saying, "Aidan's got it!"

After watching Cars 3, I asked Aidan who his favorite character was. He said, "Jackson Storm!"

Watching Cars 3 with his Lightning McQueen hat, shirt, and shoes.

Aidan: "Aidan wants banana."
Me: "Sorry bud, we're all out of bananas."
Aidan: "Go in the van. Drive. Store. Get more bananas. Come home!"

Me: "What do you want for dinner, bud?"
Aidan: "Mmmmm, pizza!"
Me: "We don't have any pizza."
Aidan: "Daddy comes home, go in van, go get pizza." 

Aidan: "You're the best, Mommy!"
Me: "You're the best, Aidan!"

I love this silly, loving, sweet boy of mine. Despite his recent sassiness, he really is the best. 

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

July 4, 2017

I loved how relaxing this 4th of July was. We began our day with the ward breakfast: pancakes, multiple fruit salads, and good company. Afterwards, I drove home with Aidan and Kimball while Jayze hitched a ride with one of our friends to help a ward member move.

I took a quick snooze myself after putting the kids down for naps, and it was wonderful. Later, we were going to hit up a local water park, but the kids' nap schedules ended up being a little crazy. We went to a local park instead. It turned out to be the better decision. It has a splash pad, a huge chess set, a space with swings and slides, and is free. :) 

Aidan wasn't much into the water, and surprisingly, Kimball wasn't either. They were both dressed in their swimsuits, but barely got them wet. They were more interested in the slides, swings, and chess set, which was fine by me. It was nice to have so many options. Although, when they saw how much fun Jayze and I were having in the water, they warmed up to it.

Before we headed to the park, we bought a big package of fireworks at one of the many popped up, white tents. Kimball kept walking in the parking lot, so we stuck him in the booster seat. He seemed content eating grass and picking up sticks and pine cones within his reach. The fireworks scared him because of how loud they were, but he liked watching them sparkle and sizzle.

Aidan loved the sparklers and the little snappers you throw at the ground. He kept saying, "More fireworks!" and "Aidan's turn!" He helped Jayze light one of the fireworks and liked the one that shot into the air and exploded into a series of colors. 

The sky celebrated with its own version of red, white, and blue, and we finished the day off by eating oven-baked tinfoil dinners and watching our neighbors light off their fireworks in the parking lot right outside our window. The kids didn't get to bed until about 10:30, but it was worth it.

I'm grateful to live in a beautiful country with beautiful freedoms. I feel extremely blessed to live in America and happy I can celebrate it every year with those I love dearly.

Monday, July 3, 2017

When Your Brother Gets Stuck in a Box

I ended up helping Aidan because K was too heavy for him, but Aidan made the effort quite a few times. 


Last Sunday (June 25), we received a tender mercy - we saw fireflies!

Jayze had seen a few when he went running the other night and wondered if we would be able to see any by our apartment. He took the kids out on the grass just before their bedtime to see if they could glimpse any, but no luck. I think it was still too light outside. Since it was getting late, we put the kids to bed and then, with our elbows up on the back of the couch, we peered out the window searching for any sign of even one firefly.

Jayze told me he said a prayer asking to see them, but if not, that would be okay too. I decided to pray in my heart as well. We were talking on the couch when Jayze smiled and nodded toward the window, looking out over the darkening yard. I quietly squealed and said, "Really? Where?!" and jumped up on my knees and began searching out the window again.

I looked intently toward one of the big trees near the wooden fence, and there! A flicker of light! A firefly! As the sun kept going down and as I kept looking out the window, I saw more tiny bursts of light. They flashed for just a moment before disappearing. 

Even though the kids were already in bed, we could tell Aidan was still just barely awake, so Jayze went and got him. He led a tired Aidan out of the bedroom toward the window and told him to look for fireflies. Aidan rubbed his eyes, looked out the window, and after a few moments saw one. Then another one. And another one!

It was magical. I'm so grateful Heavenly Father answered our prayers, and I'm glad Aidan got to see them too. Mine and Aidan's first sighting of the season! And since I love fireflies so much, I know it won't be the last. We'll make it happen again and again.    

(parts taken from my journal 6/28/17)

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Dear Kimball, you are one

My dear Kimball,

You are one year old! I can't believe it. You've done so much in the past year. You have been to 13 states, two zoos, AZ to see your grandparents, and three temples (OKC, Snowflake, and Nauvoo). You lived in a hotel for the first two and a half months of your life. You spent hours in the car and survived three moves (ID to MI to KS). I know I'm missing some more things, but I'll stop there. I can't believe how much you have already done in your short life!

Did I tell you that you started walking when you were 11 months old? Aidan loved crouching down, holding out his hands, and saying, "Come here, Kimball. Come here." And you loved walking to him. Let's face it, we all loved trying to get you to walk to us. :) It's been fun to see you try to run as fast as Aidan does and see you fall but get right back up every single time.

You have a lot of gumption and ambition, plus a lot of problem-solving skills which has gotten me into trouble a few times. You love opening the kitchen cupboard doors and recently learned how to open the top desk drawer and make a mess throwing pens and markers everywhere.

You also love throwing books off the bookshelves, throwing cars, throwing balls (throwing pretty much anything - I'm trying to get you out of the habit), running after Aidan and being chased by Aidan, being tickled, being snuggled, going on walks, and taking long drives in the car. I think it's because you like looking out the van window and you're actually out of the house. :)

The other thing you absolutely love is WATER! You love splashing in the water so much that Aidan constantly says, "No, Kimball! Please stop, Kimball." He's gotten more used to it, though. You don't mind me dumping water over your head to rinse out the shampoo in your hair. When we went to the toddler pool on-base, you were like a little fish. I had to keep a close eye on you so you wouldn't go under the water. I'll have to put you in swim lessons in the next couple years.

You're in the 29th percentile for height (29.5 inch) and 38th percentile for weight (20 lbs 13 oz), so I'm not sure how tall or big you will be. To me you are perfect just the way you are right now. You have grown out of most of the 9-12 month clothes, and it kind of broke my heart to take out the 12 month clothes because it means you're growing up. It's definitely bittersweet watching you reach milestones.

You're still not sure how to suck out of a straw. You finally did get used to drinking from a sippy cup. You hated it at first - probably because I've given you free reign over your bottle and you've used it as a comfort more than I'd like. Since we've both been frustrated with the transition, I'm grateful I don't have to wean you from a pacifier! I bet you are, too.

By the way, you have so.many.teeth. I can't even remember how many teeth you have. Almost a whole mouthful, with a few gaps here and there. I'll count them the next time you laugh and put your head way back on my lap like you love doing. You are definitely my snuggle baby, which I love. Thanks for all your sweet hugs and touching your hand to my knee when you want to watch what's going on around us but be close to me too.

Aidan and you have a sweet, funny relationship. Aidan absolutely loves you, but he also has a mean streak. You've had to be patient with him taking toys away from you, hitting you on the head, and pushing you over. However, you've also got a big brother who has your back. He misses you when you're asleep. When you first joined our family and I happened to be out with just Aidan and me, he would say, "Baby?"

You both love playing together in the pack 'n play, and you used to love playing together in the crib too before we banned Aidan from it haha. You two wouldn't go to sleep! It still sounds like a party in your bedroom every night when you two go to bed, though. You both love running around and playing with blankets, balls, stuffed animals, and (sometimes) cars when Aidan lets you. It's also fun and sweet watching you both play at the park and seeing your different personalities come out.

Aidan's first time seeing you.

You're kind of a picky eater. You'll eat four or five bites of something and enjoy it, but then when I give you more, you just throw it on the floor. Then you cry because you're still hungry. I kind of want to tear my hair out sometimes figuring out things for you to eat, but I'm glad you still eat most things. Let's see, I'm usually safe giving you bananas and bread. You also really like cooked peas, sweet potatoes, butternut squash, oatmeal, raisins, baby food, milk, and pancakes. Definitely pancakes. The other day I tried to get you to eat applesauce by yourself by dumping some applesauce onto your tray and handing you a spoon. I left the room for a minute and came back to find Aidan feeding you. It was the cutest thing. He loves helping out. When you drop your bottle or sippy cup on the floor, Aidan likes fetching them for you, too.

Your first word was "da-da." You would say it for everything and then you would say, "Daddy" when you saw Dad. You are for sure a Daddy's boy. :) Still no other words yet, although lately you'll hold things up and it sounds like you say, "What's that?" So I just tell you the word of whatever you're holding up ("That's a book. That's a ball. That's a cheerio.") I love hearing your talk in your baby talk and your belly laugh is the best. Recently you'll laugh just when someone else around you laughs.

Movies still aren't your thing, but the other day I turned on Despicable Me for Aidan, and your favorites were the minions. Every time they came on, you laughed.

One of your other favorite things are washcloths, socks, shirts, blankets, anything soft. If I left a sock lying on the floor, you'll pick it up and walk around, waving it in the air like a flag. Then you think it's a game when I chase you and grab it.

During our bedtime routine, you still hate folding your arms for prayer, but you LOVE it when me or Daddy brush your teeth. I think the bathroom is your favorite room to go to. Probably because you're not allowed in there.

Can I just tell you how much I love you and am so, so grateful for you? On your one-year birthday, I couldn't stop thinking about the day you were born. I was excited when I went into labor all on my own, but then I was scared when a possible infection most likely caused it. The labor and delivery went really, really well, and I didn't have to push long with you at all. I wasn't sure if they would let me see you before sending you to the NICU, but I was so grateful and joyous when they placed you on my chest. My Kimball. When I think back to that day, I can't help but be so, so grateful you are here and healthy and thriving. You have brought SO MUCH joy to our family. Thank you for being happy and showing me how to better love others.

I hope and pray that someday you will have a relationship with Alma, too. Your dad and I miss him so much. When you were born, there were a lot of similarities between your facial features and Alma's, as well as other features. Although it made me miss him more, I was grateful I had you to help remind me what it felt like to hold him.

Happy One Whole Year to you, my Kimball. I love you like crazy and hope this next year brings even more happiness and milestones for you.



PS: Your birth story is here.

Kimball's One Year Birthday Party

Kimball turned one year old on May 10, 2017.

His first year seemed to go by much faster than Aidan's first year. It's probably because we did a lot of things out of the ordinary for a baby's first year (aka moving across the country, living in a hotel, new outings every week...).

It's always hard coming up with a theme for a baby's first birthday. For Aidan, I did a play off the meaning of his middle name ("champ/champion") and went with a baseball theme. For Kimball, I decided since Aidan and Kimball like animals, that's the theme we'd go for. And it turned out cute! Very simple, but cute.

This banner that took me wayyyy too long to make, along with big red, blue, yellow, and orange balloons strewn all over the floor, were the only decorations. But since our apartment is so small, it didn't seem to lack for other decorations. :) These, along with the animal crackers, assorted fruit, air-popped popcorn, and bright red cupcakes really added to the birthday atmosphere.

Although the cupcakes turned out just the way I was hoping (presentation-wise) and the kids liked them, the store-bought frosting was definitely nothing to brag about. Next time I'll make my usual homemade cream cheese frosting.

We had a few friends over (those who could make it on a random Thursday night) who brought their kids over. Kimball wasn't much a fan of playing with the other kids, but Aidan had a blast. One little boy couldn't stop eating the pineapple, and everyone's fingers were dyed red from the cupcake frosting.

We sang "Happy Birthday" to Kimball, who was the center of attention in the high chair, and Aidan happily helped K blow out the one birthday candle.

Then Kimball dug into his cupcake. He ate a lot of it and threw the rest overboard onto the carpet. I think he had a good birthday. :) 

It was so fun celebrating our little man. It's still surreal to me that he's a whole year old, but I also love watching him reach even more milestones and get old enough to play more games with Aidan. We're so grateful for him.