Thursday, July 20, 2017

transitioning to two

The most common question I'm asked these days hands down is "How's it going with two kids?"  And the short answer I give is "Pretty good. We're surviving." But the longer answer is this: it has its ups and downs for sure and I feel like I've leveled up as a mom, but most nights I crawl into bed exhausted and give myself and Heavenly Father a mental fist bump that we made it through the day.

The good: Tessa is the sweetest, so that's awesome. She's put herself on a three hour schedule and is super chill and sleepy when we go out, so Rhett hasn't missed a lot of his outings. I think this is my babies come in the summer so I can get out with them because my being forced to stay inside forever would be good for no one. Rhett loves his sister and gives her hugs and kisses all the time and always wants to read her books. My favorite part of the day is when Tessa wakes up in the morning and we snuggle and play with her on my bed. It's precious to see Rhett in big brother mode.

The bad: big brothers can flip a switch instantly. It doesn't happen much, but Rhett can go from loving on his sister to trying to kick her within 30 seconds. He's getting better around Tessa, but he's still acting out for André and I. But we just started a new discipline/reward plan that will hopefully work (fingers crossed). And when do I get my work done? I forgot how much newborns like to be held, and coordinating naps  with quiet time so I can get some work done is a challenge. It will get better, I know, but for now it means sacrificing some precious sleep to meet those deadlines.

So life as a family of four is mostly great, exhausting, exactly what we needed right now. My heart bursts when I see André and Tessa together or when Rhett gives me a big hug or when we all see a Tessa smile. It's worth the tantrums and late night wakings for sure.
 Tessa's first full day at home--she's already changed so much! We're constantly reminding Rhett to be gentle with her, but he's got a lot of love to give!
 A common sight--Tessa's got the men in her life wrapped around her finger already.
 Rhett insisted we all get on the bed with his stuffed animals to protect Tessa from the crocodiles on the floor. 
 Posted this on Facebook, but it's too cute to not share here. According to Rhett Tessa is "too cute to be honest." Her little legs in her church dress!
 ...and the craziness of having two kids. Trying to rock one and getting jumped on by the other. 
 Serranading sister at bed time--my heart melted
"Mom, I just really want to snuggle Tessa." How can you say no to that?

Sunday, July 9, 2017

little moments: june

A lot of things happened in June--we got more settled into our house, changed work schedules, played a lot, planned a lot, and had a baby. Overall, a good time. Except when it was 95 degrees and 40 weeks pregnant. So many highlights!
 Rhett finished swim lessons and did awesome. My favorite part was seeing him in his swim goggles--a mini André
Learning the art of hammocking from a young age
BMX show at the library--Rhett got one of the biker's autograph and thought it was the coolest thing ever.
Typical--finding a girl to follow around the park. This day it was a girl he could sunbathe with at the splashpad.
 Soaking in our adventures before baby came--we explored a historical farm on the hottest day of the year. The chickens and horses were the biggest hits.
Daniel Tiger day at the children's museum!
Riding the trolley.
Meeting Daniel! The highlight of Rhett's week for sure.
 We've got a natural on the piano.
39 weeks. So pregnant.
Rhett took over making Father's Day cards this year--this was his "I love you note to Poppy
Making superheroes at a kids cooking class. The sidekick hummus blob is an octopus, obviously.
 A chocolate ukelele for our favorite uke-playing dad
Father's Day breakfast in bed!
1pm church was been rough for Rhett--one day he sprawled and ask Andre to trace his face until his fell asleep. At least he was still during sacrament meeting?
Building a robot at the library
 Community red, white, and blue festival. Rhett rocked the bike parade.
Riding on the little train.
Touching the snake--he definitely didn't get that from me.
Future firefighter?
Tessa time!
Taking a walk around the hospital on her first day.
Our first night at home--I loved this moment with us all admiring her in her room.
Trying to document when Rhett is happy he has a little sister, like when he helped Andre carry her carseat to the doctor.

Friday, July 7, 2017

she's here! tessa's birth story

Our sweet Tessa Larae was born June 28. She is perfect. Andre and I have both said that we feel like she's been a part of our family for a long time, even though we've only had her with us for a few days. She is exactly what we needed. She mainly just sleeps and gets the hiccups, but occasionally she wakes up and soaks things in. 
Her birth was exciting and pretty much the exact opposite of Rhett's, but it makes for a better story and one that is worth sharing (for posterity, if nothing else).  
We had false hope from the doctor that she would come early. My last few appointments the doctor was surprised to see me, thinking I would have gone into labor already. But my due date came and went and still no baby. 
Tuesday the 27th had been hot and fairly typical. We got out Rhett's water table and enjoyed our first grilled dinner of the year. We went on a walk around the park and I did some extreme curbs while Rhett went down the big slide. After he was in bed, I did some work and then watched Bones and ate a fruit bar with André. As I was going to bed I thought it couldn't be that night because nothing in the baby region was moving...
At 12:15 I woke up to crazy strong contractions. It's funny that I timed my contractions on other days when they weren't even close to as intense as this. I quickly realized they were 6 minutes apart so I woke up André and called the doctor. I had to wait on hold (?) and the lady tried to crack some jokes before she realized how much pain I was in and told me to get to the hospital ASAP. We loaded up the car and raced off--one hand on the steering wheel and the other on André's leg to get me through contractions and calm me down. Rhett was jazzed to be up in the middle of the night and gave a running commentary on the semis we passed from the back seat.
We dropped Rhett of with André's dad in the parking lot and I waddled into the ER where they tried to get me to fill out paperwork but all I could do what illegibly sign my name. By the time we got to labor and delivery my contractions were less than 2 minutes apart. The nurse tried asking my health history and I just kept saying "I need an epidural" but nothing was happening.
I should interrupt to tell you I have a very low pain tolerance and my birth plan was basically make it to the hospital, get an epidural, have a baby. So when my constant plea to have an epidural we're getting ignored, I wasn't happy.
The nurse brought in backup and told me the only way to stop the pain was to have a baby--no time for an epidural. All of the sudden it was madness as the delivery equipment was brought in, more nurses showed up, and the doctor was called out of another delivery because my baby was coming first. After 15 minutes of pushing (no joke the most painful 15 minutes of my life), a sweet baby was put on my chest, just 45 minutes after we got to the hospital. We got to snuggle and look at her for the next few hours as things calmed down. Honestly, a natural birth was kind of worth it? because the recovery has been sooo much better. Not to mention the adrenaline of pushing a baby out--if I can do that, I can do anything!
Now we have sweet Tessa, who is an angel. She doesn't do much except sleep and make mouse noises, but she is perfect. And I can’t believe we are a family of four!
I was feeling pretty good about that post-birth high until I saw this picture and realized how tired we look. Two hours of sleep and birthing a baby--what do you expect?

Sunday, June 4, 2017


We had a Kaiser family trip to Moab on the calendar long before we even started looking for a house, so we moved in, dumped our boxes, and then headed out of town. We had a great weekend with lots of family time and nature time and Rhett turned into a mini rock climber. 
Rhett was obsessed with baby Maura and thought everything she did was hilarious. He loved to read her books and teach her about trains. 
 Turns out Moab and all its adventurous activities isn't the best place for an 8-month pregnant lady, but we still had fun. The moms and babies went to the dinosaur park one morning and walked on the trail with 100+ dinosaur models. Rhett was in heaven.
The non-pregnant crowd went on a harder hike that Andre said we pretty awesome.

Rhett wanted to climb allll the rocks, so we decided to capitalize on the burst of bravery and let him. A few of the climbs made me a little nervous, but he did awesome and was so proud of himself. 
Other highlights were finding the perfect shade of greige to paint our house (inspiration comes from strange places!), Andre winning at the hockey video game of his childhood, consuming more jelly beans than should be allowed, Rhett getting a free dinosaur bone from the rock store, and lots of fun time relaxing with family.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

little moments: may

holy cow, where did the month go? between being super pregnant, buying a house, moving, and all that fun end-of-the-year things, it's been a little crazy around here. Some of our favorite moments:
 Vikings at the science museum
Cousins came to visit! Rhett (and all of us) loved having the Richardsons stop though Colorado.
A milk carton car creation
"Look at my graduation cap, Mom!"
 Andre's birthday got caught up in all the craziness, but he was happy with Superman pajamas, a great card from Rhett, and a fun birthday date, so we'll call it a win.
Andre got an electric skateboard for his new commute and had to test it out--we all think he's pretty cool.
Officially homeowners! It's an overwhelming and exciting process.
More cousins! Rhett loves playing and holding Maura
Celebrating his summer birthday on the last week of preschool--donut holes for everyone!
Last day of preschool. What a year!
Rhett and his teacher, Mrs. Donnelly. She is a total gem.
The Mariners came to town, so of course we had to go. They creamed the Rockies so I was happy, and there was snacks and dancing, so Rhett was happy.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

little moments: april

It's seriously May already? This month flew by in a blur of paperwork and work and playdates and paint samples. But it was also awesome. Some favorite April moments:
 Home Depot kids workshop. Rhett mastered the hammer and the paintbrush and came home with an adorable bunny basket box
The essentials for general conference: coloring page, prophet card, hot chocolate, stuffed animal.
The daily ritual of lounging on the couch with allll the stuffies
Fun with friends at free Ben and Jerry's day
It's been a puzzle frenzy around here lately--Rhett is showing off how big the puzzle is compared to him
Just a teenager hanging out at the park
These two...I just can't get over it
A city-sponsored dinosaur nature walk with a view. Rhett and Lua were super into it.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

things to remember lately

Life is speeding by...there is a lot of craziness and a lot of big life changes coming soon (I feel like this is just how we do things, with lots of huge things every few years with calmness in the middle). Here are some snippets I don't want to forget:

Rhett's job for helping set the table is to put the napkins on the table and clear them when we're done eating. He didn't want to do it one night, so Andre said he could either do the napkins or wash the dishes. It was supposed to be punishment, but Rhett really wanted to do the dishes and now he's an expert--a messy, slow expert, but he does it all the same.
I love serving in young womens. The girls are getting ready for trek (I volunteered to bring a newborn along for authenticity, but for some reason no one went for that) and we spent last week at the fabric store picking the perfect print for their matching skirts. They are so sweet and great and laugh at my dumb jokes.

Andre shaved his beard out of the blue a few weeks ago and surprised us when he came out of the shower clean shaven. It took Rhett a few minutes to realize what was different until he said "Dad, I can't see your beard!"

I need to accept the fact that I just can't make no bake cookies. I tried again on Sunday and after the fact remembered that I haven't successfully made them since we've been married. They taste great, but just never harden and stay a gloopy mess. Time to cut my losses.

But! Andre got me a bundt pan for my birthday and I've been making bundt cake for any reason I can lately. This is totally my jam--easy to make, looks fancy, tastes great. Just call me the bundt queen.

Rhett slept in our closet the other night because the Richardsons were staying with us for the night. We were a little worried he would be traumatized, but he loved it and was sad when I had to take the air mattress down. This kid.

My slow attempts at making a baby quilt continue. Finding the motivation is hard, but I finally cut the squares and will (maybe) pin it tonight. My goal is to finish it this week (ha) before works gets ultra-crazy next week.

Paint samples and carpet and appliances and furniture and everything else!

Monday, April 17, 2017

Easter 2017

Between the hopeful messages, flowers, and chocolate, Easter is a fabulous, rejuvinating holiday. We spread out the celebration this year so Rhett was a little confused when actual Easter rolled around, but I think he loved it and got it this year. 
I heard about Easter Bunny story time at the mall. Turns out it is just one of the photographers reading a single Easter book next to the bunny, who stopped interacting with us after he realized we were going to shell out the $30 for an official picture. At least Rhett loved it. 
Play group Easter egg hunt where somehow we didn't get any pictures of all the kids together. It was a little crazy, but so fun to watch the kids scamper and get all the eggs. 
Dying Easter eggs. If we look a little concerned, it's because the egg was falling off the holder and crashed right after the picture. 
Stuff came up and we missed the big egg hunts, so we did a little one at home instead. It was a little spontaneous, hence the mismatched pajamas and cowboy hat. Cowboy Rhett waits in anticipation.
The loot.
 The best picture I could get of Rhett before church. $1 bowtie from China, Grandpa's hat from when he was little, and his new Easter dog named "Beast"...pretty typical. 
Matching blue ties after eating alll the Easter foods. 

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

a day in the life 2017

I last did this when Rhett was 1, and I've been meaning to do it again for some time. I'm sure I'll look back at this in a few months and laugh at the simplicity of life with one kid. But for the records, here's a "typical" day in the life with a 3.5 year old and 6 months pregnant.

5:40: Wake up. I've gotten into this great/terrible habit of climbing back into bed after going to the bathroom to snuggle Andre for a few minutes, which makes it even harder to get out of bed again.

5:50: Scripture study on the couch. I had every intention of going to the complex gym this morning and reading my scriptures on the bike, but then it snowed and I gladly stayed home. So it's scriptures on the couch and a YouTube pregnancy workout video that is basically choreographed walking with some leg lifts and a little ridiculous.
6:30: Rhett wakes up, Andre gives him a stack of books, I finish my workout and hop in the shower.

7:00: Family prayer before Andre heads to work. Rhett finishes reading books in his room until his clock turns green at exactly 7:05, then it's morning puzzles and books before a breakfast of oatmeal and yogurt.

7:45: I clean up the kitchen and get ready for the day while Rhett plays with his cars.

8:20: We bundle up for the snow and head to preschool. We're out the door a few minutes ahead of schedule even with the bundling, which is a total win. At school, Rhett drives his monster truck into his classroom for show and tell, we switch out his boots for tennis shoes, and give hugs.

8:35: Home and back in yoga pants. What's the point of working for home if not to be comfortable? I tidy up the house, then find a good spot on the couch to work and watch the snow fall.

9:45: Granola break and a move to the kitchen table. Today I'm tackling a big whitepaper on chatbots for a client and some smaller pieces on investing and artificial intelligence.

11:00: Finally straightening my hair, begrudgingly putting jeans back on, and packing a lunch.

11:30: Preschool pickup. Rhett is excited to share the artwork from the day (a letter X with stamps and some dinosaur coloring). We're on our way to Boulder for play group and eat a little lunch on the way while listening to Amelia Bedelia book on CD.

12:15: Rhett requests to drive past our old apartment on our way to Pearl Street, where we park and head to Ben and Jerry's to meet our friends for free ice cream. We are a sight to see, and it's a flurry of ice cream cones and small kids, but they have a great time and the moms enjoy talking.
1:45: I debate stopping at Costco on the way home, but Rhett falls asleep (!), so we just head home.

2:00: We're home and I gingerly try to transfer Rhett from the carseat to his bed. It's a delicate operation and he wakes up enough to ask why he has to rest, but I stick him in bed, close the door, and hope for the best.

2:05: He hasn't come out of his room yet, so I catch up on internet things and get some more work done.

3:30: This is definitely not a typical day. Rhett wakes up from his nap (naps never happen anymore!) and comes into the bed where I'm working so we can cuddle.

3:45: Book time on the couch. We make it through a huge pile of library books. Rhett does his best to try to get Thomas for his daily show, but I manage to sway him towards something more "educational," so Dinosaur Train it is.

4:45: Workbook time! Rhett is working through a Kindergarten book and surprises me when he points out the flags of Senegal and Honduras on the first try--who is this kid?
This is also literally the first time all day I realize I've dressed us both in buffalo check.
5:15: We have a Moana dance party and Rhett plays with a bouncy ball while I make dinner.

5:45: Andre is home! Happiness all around. Dinnertime, clean up, and family time. It's a blur during the one hour we all get together for the day.

7:00: It's snowing again, so the only people on the roads are the dog walkers and the Mormons headed to mutual. Tonight I'm talking general conference with the beehives. Who Said It: Prophet or Princess is a hit.

8:30: Home. Pajama time and finishing up some work things for the night while cruising house listings with Andre.

9:00. We turn on Bones. I'm feeling awake and alert the entire episode, until I fall asleep suddenly with 10 minutes to go. Andre wakes me up and tells me who the murderer was, just like every night.

10:30. Bed time.

Whew, a novel. This is a pretty standard preschool day, except for Rhett's nap, which is a rare occurrence these days. Our non-preschool days are full of the library, running errands, playing with friends, and going to the park.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

little moments: march

Honestly, almost every single picture I took in March is either of houses we've been looking at or tracking my pregnancy belly, neither of which are making this post because it would be creepy and weird to post them. So here are the highlights for the month, as told through Rhett's adventures.
Fox in Socks for Dr. Seuss day at preschool--this is what happens when I forgot to think of a costume until the morning of. Fox Halloween costume to the rescue.
Rhett's trip to the dentist, his first x-rays included.
Firefighter man at the children's museum
Leprechaun trap for St. Patrick's Day, complete with a bed to lure them in...turns out leprechauns couldn't find any gold coins at the store, so they had to leave golden Twix instead

 This picture cracks me up--Andre takes a belly picture of me after church every Sunday, and I hold up a picture with the number of weeks. Rhett wanted to get in on the fun one day and imitated it perfectly.
Trip to the train museum!
The red caboose was definitely a favorite.
In true Colorado fashion, a vegetable-themed park with a celery slide. I'm actually surprised there wasn't any kale for the kids to play on.

Thursday, March 23, 2017


Long time, no blog. So much has been happening and I have so much to say and also nothing to say. So to help get my groove back, a canned post...

Watching: Bones, again. It started as watching season one so I would know the backstory for the current season (Andre has seen them all but I joined in the middle of the show), but it's grown and now we're on season five. Also, Superstore. And March Madness in the background, obviously.

Listening to: the Moana soundtrack. We finally watched the movie in the cheap theater a few weeks ago, and we've all been hooked on the soundtrack ever since. Lin-Manuel forever. Rhett requests it during breakfast every morning and just sings "You're Welcome" to himself all day.

Wearing: Not maternity clothes. It's a love/hate thing that I don't need them yet--I have some super cute dresses I want to wear, but now it's a pride thing to see how long I can make it. I'm getting closer to needing a rubber band on my jeans, so that's something.

Working on: Freelance articles about AI in the workplace, the impact of Brexit, and computing technology. Trying to muster up the strength/energy to work on a baby quilt--I may have gotten in over my head.

Eating: Grapefruit everything, cereal, granola. I would call them pregnancy cravings, but honestly, this is just slightly exaggerated versions of what I normally eat.

Loving: The gorgeous spring weather (that is supposed to turn to a blizzard soon), fresh-baked banana bread, podcasts during workouts, re-reading old general conference talks, and purging our belongings...again.

Looking forward to: A house?! We just kind of went for it and got a lender and a realtor and now our lives are consumed with looking for a house. The market here is brutal, which means falling in love with a house, putting in an offer, and getting squeezed out by other people. But someday we will find a house and it will all work out, and wow are we looking forward to it.
Unrelated, but cute. Rhett's preschool art show was tonight. Quite the swanky affair--note the fancy glass of "champagne" Sprite in his hand. And a donut hole, obvs. 
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