Friday, December 19, 2014

"Friend"ly Holidays

 I am, and never will be a "selfie" person. I just feel so weird taking pictures of myself. Tess and I have been having fun but there are days she isn't interested in playing anything I can possibly come up with! Lets hope her and little brother enjoy playing together in a year or two...because this little girl has more energy then I can entertain most days! She needs her match. Thus far, with how much he moves in utero, it won't be a problem. Anyways, on this moment of-mommy is out of ideas and doesn't want to go to the park again-we took some "selfies." She actually liked it. Here is one, she thought my funny faces were amusing. I am so glad I could amuse her with them for almost 30 seconds. :)
 Greg got some Christmas/birthday money from my parents and we were originally thinking of a suit, at least I was. We found several but Greg started to think that maybe he could get more use out of work clothes, his have seen much better days! So, we headed out today to buy some clothes. He found some great things and will be looking sharp. While he was looking and trying on clothes, Tess had her own agenda. I followed her around and tried to keep her out of trouble. This little girl is attached to me while at home, I guess I am just the most interesting thing. As soon as we hit the road and are somewhere-anywhere, grocery store-library-Nordstrom rack, etc....she is off! I am not so interesting anymore! And there is no looking back. As long as we are not the ones shopping, I love to watch her explore. She goes crazy! I have never seen her get board and she generally throws a fit when it's time to go. She loves running, feeling the different textures of clothes, running through the racks, looking at jewelry, and saying hello to strangers. I stay right behind her and just watch, this time I decided to take a few pictures. She had these necklaces on for a majority of her  "shopping" experience this time around. Fancy taste! Pearls.

 Oooo...what kind of bling do we have up here. 
I just can't decide between blue and pink....
 Greg and I made it a goal to get out and share some love with Christmas treats this year, we hope to make it a habit. Here was our sugar cookie and truffles for the year! I LOVED doing the sugar cookies, they were so fun and I think they turned out pretty cute. 

 At play pals, it's hard to tell but Tess played with some sidewalk chalk and ate it afterwards. She still loves to taste and eat anything she can! She loved writing on the sidewalk for a little while, I think in the next couple months we may need to have some fun on our porch and drive way. All the kids loved it!
 More Christmas adventures! Visiting "Adventure to Santa." A fancy little set up, complete with a virtual ride to the north pole which included bumps, snow, and wind! It was pretty neat. It felt a little too real though, I got a little queasy and Tess got scared. She was hanging on to me for dear life. She isn't a big Santa fan, but it was just fun to walk around and see the set up. I couldn't get her attention to save my life, I tried diligently for 20 minutes at least. I guess there was just too much to look at.

 We had a little treat and stopped by the eye doctor on the way home. (Below)
 Tess has made a few friends in the ward and it's fun to see her recognize them and get excited to play. We put together a very small, inexpensive treat bag for her friends and dropped off a plate of cookies with the treat bag. She was very hesitant to give away each bag, it took a little coaxing, but it was fun to start a tradition of giving with her.

One of her friends, Logan, got to come over for two days and spent the night in between the two days. He had a little brother, Calvin, born on the evening of the first night. We got a call at about 7:00 am from his dad asking if they could drop him off. We were thrilled to have him! He is such a good little boy and Tess really enjoys him. They get along and seem to have fun together. We had a lot of fun, we went to the park twice, they played, made hand prints, bubbles, glow sticks, visited the fire station, went to a live nativity, went shopping, and had some "picnics" in the living room since we only have one high chair.

 Fire Station. 

 These two really liked climbing all over this stroller! We just got it and it was fun to try it out on these two before Tess's little brother gets here.

 Live Nativity. It was amazing!!! So impressive, so moving, and the kids really loved it. The wait before the show was not a big hit, but as soon as it started....they watched intently. Especially Logan, who is a little older then Tess. She was still her typically wiggly girl but she never tried to run around like she normally does. 
 Awkward picture in front of some of the 100+ nativities set up and come from around the world. So neat! They had this to browse, along with live harp music after seeing the nativity. 

 Greg got some good snuggles, Tess woke Logan up from his nap and Greg was trying to help the poor kid get some more sleep! 
 This simple little half circle of mirrors was a huge hit for these two! Greg was looking at suits in Men's Wearhouse and these two thought they were so funny in this viewing area. I mean, seeing one in a single bathroom mirror is entertaining...they were enthralled by how many they saw of themselves with all these angles and mirrors. It was so cute.

 Greg informed me that I am not supposed to take pictures in the chapel...opps! But since the damage was done, is it bad if I keep them? Tess is little miss social at church. She stresses me out!!!!! We are starting to see a glimmer of her being entertained for a few minutes by the dozens of things we have tried but she still really wants to run around and say hello and check people out. She has a few people that always are excited to see her. Before sacrament started, these little girls wanted to say hello to Miss Tess. This is pretty typical, I had to get a picture.  Then, Sister Atkinson is always equally excited to greet Tess. (Below.)

 Tess with Jamison Jones. (Kyrsten and Seth's son.) He was so friendly to her! I would say, she met her match as far as friendly goes! I was so shocked that she didn't reciprocate and be herself. She was with the adults, but not with this cute little boy. I am not sure if it's because she never really got a nap or she didn't know what to do with a kid that liked to be friendly with her. 

Today, while we were at the store shopping. Tess ran up to each kid she saw and said hello as she waved. And most kids she said it several ways. Then, she started to jabber and laugh. Ha! She must see us do that, talk and then laugh all the time because she just acted like she was having a good ol' conversation and then chuckled. Probably fully expecting them to chuckle along with her. She was especially persistent with a little handicapped girl. The girl couldn't talk but Tess was so nice to her,  I was so glad...she was a cute little girl. 

 At the library again! I look forward to this so much. I think Tess loves it, which makes it extra fun for me. She recognizes the girl who runs the story time and gets excited when she sees her. I don't know if it's her age or if it's just Tess, but she likes to pull things apart. Whether it's magnets on the fridge, holiday window decals, blocks, etc. She doesn't like to build, she likes to destroy! I have to stay on top of her at the library because she thinks it's so fun to just pull books of the shelf as fast as she can. If I am  looking and don't catch her, she goes as fast as she can. I love it when she stops her frantic desire to pull the books off and just looks. Today happen to be a day when she did it for longer then usual. It still only lasted about 30 seconds, but it was fun to see her flip through books more then usual. I can imagine there is just too much to look at, it would be overwhelming to her I am sure to not just go as fast as she can. Hopefully I will see more and more of this the more we go.

I have really enjoyed Tess lately. I mean to say that the joy has gotten noticeably deeper. I haven't put some of these feelings down, because I don't want them to define what I write about...or take away from the things I do write about. There has never been a moment when I didn't adore her or feel like I might burst because I find her to be the cutest and most wonderful little human. But, I think the affectionately called "baby blues" really affected my perception of myself and my role as a mother for longer then I would have liked. For a long time I felt completely overwhelmed by...well, everything. I felt as if every task completed were done as I move through quick sand. So, many things were just left undone. No energy, difficulty sleeping, not enjoying things I normally would, anger, etc really started to define how I felt about life and myself. I couldn't remember the last time I felt like myself...somebody with energy and a love for life. I felt trapped and it felt like this was my new life with no way to feel better again. I am thankful for a loving, patient husband and a spunky little girl to keep me afloat. Along with them I am grateful for good friends and family who also provided me with love and support even while most of them had no idea I was having a hard time.

When I became pregnant with this little boy, it got much, much worse. I don't know if it was the hormones again or the fact that I already felt the way I did and an extra long-extra bad morning sickness started to define my days. It was so much worse with this little boy that this too, seem to overcome me and amplified it 100 times over. This turned out to be an enormous blessing by pushing me to, in a way, look in a mirror and say, "Okay, I need to fix this and stop putting up with it. I can't keep feeling like this with another child on the way, I need to figure out how to get better."

I have taken steps in order to do that, I don't know why I waited so long. I can finally say that I feel like myself again, and I feel it creeping up when I don't make things that are important a priority. This includes among other things, prayer and scripture study. I get more motivation, energy, and strength from this then anything else. If I do these, I am better about the food I put in my body, better about sleeping when I need to (even if I feel guilty about napping too much), seek out advice from those I trust, keep the home closer to as clean as I want it to be, and many other things I could list. I can see the Lord's hand in my life. I know He cares about my role as a mom, He wants me to be successful and wants me to be happy. Simply said, I know now that I can't do this without Him and must do it His way. I feel as if I can relate more then I ever could to Nephi when he includes in 1 Nephi 17:13-14, " shall know that it is by me that ye are shall know that I, the Lord, am God; and that I, the Lord, did deliver you from destruction...."

I have always valued, enjoyed, and known that seeking Him was important and life changing. But I have never felt so helpless, so out of control, and then felt so deeply the calm He has placed on my stormy heart as I have made a more profound effort to ask, seek, and knock. And there is still much to do in this effort.  I wish I had a more eloquent way of portraying my thoughts, but I hope someday my kids will read it and be able to feel what I am thinking. I hope they will know and most importantly feel, that there truly is a Father, a Heavenly Father who loves them and is ever mindful of them. And because of that, I hope they will know and feel that He sent His Son to help them return to Him and enjoy the same happiness that He enjoys. Christ isn't just there to wipe away our sins, He is there to buoy us up, strengthen us, and help us overcome any difficulties we encounter in this life.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Here, There, and Everywhere!

I loved this little saying, I also love the website and some of her posts about being a mother. I have said it a few times and here and there but the hardest thing about being a mom is expectations and reality. I had an idea and a picture of what kind of mom I wanted to be and it never crossed my mind that it may not be realistic. But, reality hasn't been shy at all! So, I liked this little saying. My house isn't perfect, um, ever...and it's things like this that I try to remember when I feel my sanity slipping. Turns out a that the perfectly clean home isn't easy and it's also not the most important thing in the world. That being said, I think keeping it as clean as you can is important. Just trying to mix reality with expectations...sometimes the two collide.

 We have some friends in our ward, the Griffins. They have a son named Logan that is a few months older then Tess. Tess loves all three of them! She gets SO excited if she sees them. Logan's mom, Kathryn, Tess runs to her and immediately wants her attention if she sees her. She is so friendly with Tess. She is also expecting and will have the baby boy any day now. We will be watching Logan if his baby brother comes before family gets here, Tess will be in heaven with her little buddy around. We have watched him a few times as they have been on dates and they have watched Tess for us. This day, we invited him over to play. I wanted to give Kathryn a break, give her a chance to rest or get some things done. It was a win, win! Tess had a blast and Kathryn got some free time. They had fun, they played in a sensory bin and made a mess with beans! It was so cute to watch. We went on a little bike ride, bubbles, lunch, and they mostly just ran around and played with whatever toy they could get their hands on.

 One of my favorite of two things that we always do every single week, is play pals and story time at the library. This last week, nobody was at play pals! It was mid 50s and little rainy the day before. For us, that is perfect weather with a long sleeve shirt on. We like to run around without getting hot! In Vegas, there aren't many days like that. Even today, mid-December and we were out running errands, I am in a quarter length shirt and sweating. Anyway, I know a lot of ward members weren't thinking it was good weather to play outside but Tess and I still wanted to get out! So, we went to a park by the library. No kids there either, Tess still had so much fun! She ran around, went down slides, splashed in water puddles (rare thing in Vegas), and played at the dollhouse in the kid's section of the library. We had a fun time!
 Tess would NOT look at me, she was mesmerized by all the sights and sounds! 

 Waiting for the train ride! 
 She did what seems to be the norm, scared of good ol' Santa Clause! 
 I have a good friend from college, her name is Amy. She grew up here in Vegas and is a wealth of good ideas! She is very active with her kids and invites me to her play group as well as giving me heads up on this like this holiday activity. It was so fun! It was free, even better. There were train rides, cookie decorating, crafts (Tess's necklace), "reindeer" rides,  sleigh rides (with wheels of course), singing performances, Santa Clause, and lots of lights with some fake snow blowing! I got a big kick out of the snow. The kids loved it, reaching their hands up to touch it.
 I have no idea how long Greg will be in this position in State Farm, but it sure presents some perks to have him working from home. Here he is snuggling with Tess. My world, I adore my little family. 

 Bath time! I just love the classic mo hawk. 

Another fun day out in the sun here in a Vegas December. Tess LOVES tennis. Every time we walk out in the garage, the first thing she finds is a tennis ball and racket. And she wants to play with it. It'll be interesting to see if the interest holds up and she ends up beating us someday! For me, it won't be that long. We will see how long it takes her to beat Greg.