Sunday, September 17, 2017

book chat 6.0

It's back! The book reviews that no one asked for--I just have a lot of thoughts. (And I've done this 6 times??) A nursing baby means I have plenty of time to read on my trusty Overdrive app. I've been branching out and finally tackling books that have been on my "To Read" list for literally years. Some recent reads:
The Orphan Keeper
The Rent Collector is my go-to book recommendation because literally everyone loves it, there's nothing bad in it, and most people haven't read it. I was all over it when I realized Camron Wright wrote another book. The story (a young boy in India gets kidnapped and ends up in an orphanage and tries to find him past and family as an adult) is pretty amazing, but I was definitely left with some questions at the end. It gave me the feels, though, and was a quick read, so I would definitely recommend it. And now I just want to watch Lion because I feel like the plots are similar?

I've been hearing about people's love for this book forever, so I gave it a shot. A few chapters in I remembered I don't like period dramas, and this is definitely a period drama. It has some modern, sarcastic humor and a ridiculous plot, so I soldiered on. I'm not a Jane Austen fan, so a lot of the references went over my head. But the movie trailer looks just like I pictured, so that's my next order of business.
Still Alice
This book seriously affected me. I thought the characters were great and the story was a fascinating look into Alzhemiers. I made the mistake of watching the movie trailer half-way through the book and saw Alec Baldwin as Alice's husband, which changed him for me in the book. Also I thought I was getting Alzhemier's as I was reading when I couldn't find my keys, until I realized it was just mom brain. Not the thing.

A Man Called Ove
Full disclosure: I didn't actually finish this book. I really wanted to get into it, but I couldn't, so I got 2/3 of the way done before I had to return it. But I liked Ove as a character (like old Ron Swanson meets my grandpa but super cynical) and enjoyed the dark humor. I'll put it back on my list and finish it someday.

The Five Love Languages for Children
This came as a recommendation in Relief Society, and I mostly just skimmed it. It led to some major mom guilt because he says why every love language is important and if you're not doing everything to foster each one in small children, they could be super messed up when they get older. Woof. But there were some good ideas--apparently kids don't have a leading love language until they're 5 years old, so I'll revisit it in a few years.

I've (kind of) broken out of my usual YA and self help reads! (I say that and my next two books in line are Spark Joy and a re-read of The Selection--ha). But send your recommendations my way!

Sunday, September 10, 2017

tessa's blessing weekend

We had a special weekend last weekend to bless our special Tessa Larae. We were so lucky to have so much family come to town to celebrate! What a special day for a special girl who is so loved.
We were so happy Nana and Poppy could come out from their mission for a quick weekend trip. I love this picture of Tessa meeting her Treasure grandparents for the first time. 
 A trip to White Fence Farms, of course!
 Nana made Tessa's blessing dress and it was perfect--she looked like our sweet little angel!
 Sometimes I still can't get over the fact that we're a family of four! Took these pictures as our neighborhood block party was happening across the street.
This is the good stuff. A backyard full of family, games, and food. 

Monday, September 4, 2017

little moments: august

I think August was about four days long. Seriously, where did the time go? But I am so glad the weather is cooler down and fall is coming and we're getting back to our school-year groove. August was a great end to summer:

Lots of baby snuggles...especially when she refuses to take naps on her own.
That face! The "gun fight" at Casa Bonita was very concerning to Tessa
Sibling snuggles every morning. Rhett loves his baby sister.
The smiles definitely came in this month and we can't get enough.
 We found another free train! We have been racking them up this summer and no one is complaining.
Little girl, big world.
BYOC (bring your own cup) Slurpie day at 7-11. A great day and a new family tradition.
Solar eclipse. I regretted not driving a few hours to totality, but the viewing party at the library was still pretty cool, especially for the boy who loves space. 
 We ordered bookcases, and this is how they were delivered--sprawled in front of the garage door. Of course I was already running late when I had to drag them inside. The picture was to share my frustration with Andre.
More morning snuggles.
Rhett started Pre-K and is already loving it. It's going to be a great year.
Doctor's room selfies are back! Tessa doesn't have as much chub as Rhett did, but that doesn't mean those thighs aren't still squeezable. 

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Catching up on some more summer fun that hasn't made it to the blog yet:
 Tessa and her Great Grandma Kaiser. Rhett loves playing at her house because of her collection of vintage Hot Wheels cars to play with, and now Tessa loves it for the snuggles.
Rhett got a free ticket to Lakeside from the summer reading program. Andre warned me that is was super run down and hadn't been updated in years, and he was right. But Rhett couldn't care less and had an amazing time. We rode every ride and went on the kiddie coaster about 4 times. Definitely worth it for free!

 Littlest one on the frog hopper. 
We relived Andre's childhood and ended the night with the train ride around the lake with a view of the lights coming on all the rides. These Colorado summer nights get all the heart eye emojis. 
 This face! I don't think Tessa had ever seen herself before--clearly she was interested in her cute face. 
Nature story time at the library meant all the kids got watering cans to water the library's plot in the community garden, but it quickly spread and Rhett ended up over-watering a few random plots, but at least he was learning?

This summer has definitely been slower-paced with a new baby, but we've loved time exploring new parks, playing with friends, going to the splashpad, and just playing at home!

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

cousin fun!

We had so much fun with the Richardsons in town this week! I think they've seen more of Colorado in their two weeks here than I have in four years of living here. We met up around town for some adventures, and then they stayed with us for the weekend. Rhett was in heaven with so many cousins to play with! I just wish we lived closer so this was a more frequent occurrence.
 Amy loved Tessa and picked out her clothes and held her everyday. The feeling was mutual. 
 Watching the action at the candy factory--Hammond's is always a crowd-pleaser.
 Playing in the corn "maze" at the farm. Janice found free things to do we'd never done before. 
 Riding the Belleview Park train. Rhett's second time riding it in a week!
 Cousin bath time! These two are five months apart and went from being best buddies to worst enemies in a matter of seconds. But mostly they loved playing together. Now we're saving this picture until Rhett's wedding.
 Scott was obsessed with baby Tessa!
 Casa Bonita! It can't be described, it has to be experienced. It was a little crazy, but the kids (and adults) loved it!
 Park time! 
Isaac was initiating the kids into the "Awesome Club". Clearly it was serious business.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Rhett is 4!

It's hard to believe we have a 4 year old on our hands! I know I say it every year, but turning 4 sounds so old. Just one more year until he's 5 and going to kindergarten! Then middle school! Then college! It's a slippery slope.

We tried to let choose as much of his birthday as possible, which ended up being fun for all of us. Treats everywhere! So many toys! It was a great time. 

 Rhett just really wanted to spend his birthday morning cuddling with Tessa and his stuffies, so we did!
 Then it was on to his favorite place--the Children's Museum! We could spend all day in the rocket room.
 You want to know what Rhett is like at 4? This is it. Goofy and lots of fun. We tried a new pizza place for dinner and Rhett loved watching them make our food through the big windows into the kitchen.

 Rhett wanted a DinoTrux cake, but I opted for just a regular dinosaur cake instead. It was still a hit and so easy! We even convinced Rhett that the malt ball "rocks" where actual rocks from the backyard I had covered with chocolate. 
 Then this weekend we went to Andre's work picnic. Rhett did the duck race through the stream but tried to chase after his duck and catch it after he threw it to start the race. He fell into the stream and was soaked, but at least he got first place! The entire thing was hilarious (he loved it more than his face says) and he dried off eventually. 
The picnic was at Belleview Park, which has been on my list for a while. Rhett and Andre rode the train across a real tressle bridge and through a tunnel and loved it.

Rhett at 4 gives us a run for our money with his questions (so many questions!), jokes, and unpredictable behavior. But he is so sweet and gives so many hugs. He loves to cuddle and tells us he loves us multiple times a day. He is crazy smart and loves to read and remember things. He loves his friends, his family, going to church, riding his bike, playing the piano, reading and doing workbooks, playing outside, singing, and being goofy. He gets excited about the  littlest things, and his attitude and laugh are contagious. He is so much fun to be around and we love him a lot!

Sunday, July 30, 2017

triumphs and tragedies

Tessa is 1 month old! She is a total sweetheart and a bundle of cuddles. I want her to stay this little forever but also can't wait for her to grow so we can play and see her personality come out.

We celebrated our 6-year anniversary! I feel like moving past 5 years puts us in a new category. We've accomplished some good things in our most recent year of marriage, individually and together, and I'm proud of our marriage and the things we've worked for.

We bit the bullet and hired people to paint our entire main level. Repose Gray, so trendy and apparently Joanna Gaines favorite color? It looks so so good and we are so glad we did it. Give me all the gray and blue!

I finally jumped on the ebook bandwagon. Turns out when you feed and rock a newborn you have lots of time to read and I've been flying through books lately. It feels so good to finally make a dent in my "to read" list.

Rhett caught the podcast bug and I love it. Like parents, like child. We started with Wow in the World because I'm a sucker for NPR podcasts but have expanded to Story Nory and are looking for more.

Summer= ice cream sandwiches. Yes please.

Our grass in the backyard is finally growing! It's a landscaping miracle.

As of this week, I'm back at full force freelancing after my "maternity leave". The break was just what I needed to be refreshed about my writing, and I'm feeling great!


Give me the Pinterest house on the Ross budget.

Three-turning-four year olds really are mini teenagers. Sometimes Rhett gives us a total run for our money, sometimes he's the sweetest--it's a toss up what you'll get.

In craving a good workout but still have two weeks left until I get cleared by my doctor. I'm terrified of ruining my body so I'll wait reluctantly. Maybe I'll try to become a runner again?

Real life--celebrating our anniversary by eating Chipolte in the Hobby Lobby parking lot because we had two sleeping kids in the back. But my eyebrows look good? We'll go on a real date next week and we had a great time as a family, so we definitely had to remember this moment. 

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.
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