Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Birthday Boy

Shae is currently sitting on the floor with a book, flipping the pages and letting out a little giggle at each page. The kid cracks me up, and himself apparently. (Unless he is REFUSING to even try my homemade Mac N Cheese that I made with him in mind. He won't even let any of it touch his lips and it's kind of driving me crayyyy-z). 

Shae was teething quite a bit the weekend of his birthday (and quite possibly already feeling the oncoming stomach flu? who knows). He wasn't his usual happy, silly self which was kind of a bummer. He was really serious, but more like "in a trance" serious. Not gonna lie, I was a bit bummed that he didn't really get into the cake AT ALL. I had high expectations for that cake getting smashed to pieces and rubbed all over his little body. Oh well, I guess we'll just have to have another kid someday and hope that they can fulfill my baby-cake-smashing dreams.

As you can clearly tell from the lumps, I made the cake all on my very own. I've never made anything other than a 9x13 box cake with canned frosting so I was excited to try something different. I tried to make a somewhat healthy cake considering we had been working so hard to keep him away from sugary/fatty foods for a good 365 days prior, it just seemed wrong to not try. Maybe that's why he didn't like it, who would  like a Whole-Wheat Cake? It was still fun to make a cake from scratch.

The best smile we saw all day:

This is what he looked like the rest of the day:

We had some of Shae's best buddies over for lunch and just to hang out for a bit and even though we told them not to bring presents they are so sweet and did anyways.

 Yes, it looks like this onsie is going to fit me just perfectly.

Shae always used to cry at the library when they would take the shakers away. He finally got some of his own shakers! Rather, Moo-racas!

We played one game that I had seen previously on my friend Merricks blog. I put up all 12 pictures of him from his first year and everyone had to try and put them in order. I couldn't even get it 100% correct. Those middle months, six and seven, so hard to tell apart.

And it wouldn't have been a real birthday without a little baby's first kiss action going on. Lydia laid it right on him as they were leaving and Charlotte was fast enough (or the kiss was long enough?) for her to snap this shot. 

It has been one heck of a year. I love being this little boy's mama and I think he's mostly happy to be our son as well, I like to think so anyways.

And somehow this is the only picture of Shae and Grandma Tammie that we ended up snapping. She drove down from PA to surprise him. We all really enjoyed her visit (and the Cafe Rio that she brought down from MD to make her surprise a little more exciting for all of us...not that we wouldn't have been excited if she hadn't brought Cafe Rio, but still, good move Mom).

(A big thank you to Charlotte and Alejandra for the pictures! You girls are awesome!)

Monday, February 24, 2014

School Tradition

I think I speak for my entire family when I say that I am SO glad that last week is over. It was a rough sick week for our little family.

Shae had it the worst. The runs, the was so sad. He has been living off of applesauce and bananas for a week now because that is the ONLY thing that he will eat. He won't even try anything else (which is kind of killing me). This morning he finally tried some oatmeal and strawberries and ate that so I'm hoping he's finally done with this sickness.

As if having a sick baby isn't bad enough Darin and I decided to join in the fun on Wednesday night. We had the vomits as well which just happened to be the night that Shae had it the worst. He went through so many sheets in a two hour period, which was interesting since we only have two crib sheets so we used one of our queen sheets. By 1am he was back on the first sheet that he had originally been on, freshly cleaned. Man, what a night. It was a total team effort getting through that night.

Poor Shae has just been so cranky, understandably so with all that his little body has been going through.

We were doing great with weaning, but that was thrown out the window since it was all he would drink and all he wanted and I was fine with that since he wouldn't eat anything else. Back to square one. 

With that said, we were all excited for the beautiful weekend weather that got us out of the house for a bit where we had been stuck most of the week.

A co-worker of Darin's worked as a tour guide at William and Mary while doing his undergrad and was kind enough to walk with us around campus and point out some cool things about the school. I walked around parts of campus I had never been to before, it's a much bigger campus than I realized, and absolutely gorgeous!

We picked a great day to walk around because we got to see the many W&M students enjoying in a famous school tradition where they basically get dressed up in a costume, get plastered and then hit golf balls around the Sunken Garden on campus. It's a REAL school tradition/activity, you have to register beforehand which surprised me. I had assumed it was one of those "unwritten" traditions which they seem to have many of as well. It was quite entertaining to watch. One of those subtle  reminders that we aren't at BYU anymore (and the fact that we were the only people pushing a stroller around campus).

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Real Men Wear Pink


Apparently there is okay pink and not okay pink. 

Yesterday while at a friends house Shae decided to squeeze water from a sippy cup all over himself while I wasn't looking. He was SOAKING wet and I didn't have a change of clothes for him. Luckily my friends baby is only a month younger than Shae so finding clothes to stick him in wasn't a problem. Not so lucky for Shae, his little friend just so happens to be a girl.

This was the least amount of pink that she could find for him. He wasn't thrilled.

(Haha! He looks like such a little girl to me in these pictures! Amazing what a little pink and flowers can do to a baby).

Darin wasn't too thrilled about it either. He walked in the door, looked at Shae and then turned to me and said, "Why is our SON wearing pink?" He immediately went upstairs and pulled out a new onsie for Shae to change into. It was classic.

So apparently little pink lace around the neck with flowers is NOT okay but a pink button-up onsie for church IS okay. Seems like a bit of a double standard to me but then I don't really like pink in the first place so we'll continue to let daddy be the judge of "okay" pink and "not okay" pink for our masculine boy cub.

Friday, February 14, 2014

12 Months

My baby is not so "baby" anymore. He's turning into a real human kid...okay, a toddler...but still, he's growing!

We walked into his room yesterday morning singing "Happy Birthday" to which he promptly looked up at us with a huge grin of excitement that quickly turned into a look of confusion as to why BOTH of his parents were walking into his room in the morning (because that NEVER happens. Clearly one of us is usually still in bed trying to catch some extra zzzzzzs while the other saves the child from crib-prison). His confused look quickly turned into a desperate give-me-milk look as his little arms shot straight up and he started signing milk over and over and over again until I actually lifted him up and granted him his one and only birthday desire. (He finally picked up on the milk sign just last week and it's kind of the cutest thing ever...except for when he does it ALL DAY).

After first breakfast we came downstairs to make second breakfast (our first breakfast, his second that is). We whipped up some Whole Wheat Waffles and cream and topped them off with strawberries. (Why do people--including me apparently--always feel the need to specify when we eat something that is whole wheat or buttermilk? It's not like we ever say, "we had Bisquick Pancakes this morning" or "White Flour Pancakes." I guess it's one of those "feel good" things. Anyways, they were Whole Wheat and I feel good about it and here's the recipe just in case you want some WHOLE WHEAT waffles as well). We then threw the candle on board and it was officially a BIRTHDAY.

And that was the ONE awesomely beautiful picture that we got of Shae's birthday morning. Nice and blurry and really just spectacular overall. Oh, besides this picture below that is, which only has half of our son in it which is really too bad because he actually looks really excited in this picture...don't worry, I still love you Darin.

Now on to more exciting things...

I am LOVING this stage right now. Like I said before, he's turning into a real, normal human being (besides little things like the diapers and throwing food on the floor and what not...). He has started doing little things each day that bring out the "real" human being within the baby.

For example:
 ~He has connected "uh-oh" with dropping things. Something drops and he goes "uuu-oooooo" with the cutest little round lips on the planet. 

~He gets so excited about reading. He'll grab a book, crawl over to us, hand it to us and then push himself into our laps where we waits for us to read it to him and we wait for him to turn the pages.

~He has just recently started laying his head on us, as in sitting still for maybe ten seconds with his head leaned up against our arm or leg (Ten seconds that feels like a glorious, precious, please-never-end eternity when it happens. Darin and I just look at each other and non verbally communicate through the face we make which always says something to the effect of "preshhhhhious-tender-mercy-of-loving-son-oh-my-gosh). 

~He wants to eat with a fork. There are times when he won't eat until we put his little fork in a piece of food so that he can grab it and stuff it in his mouth.

~Basically he loves doing anything that we do. Brushing his teeth, going up and down the stairs by himself, using the light switches and doorknobs, etc.

Oops, apparently the shutter wasn't open all the way, but here he is brushing his teeth in his favorite place while I get ready for the day.
He also:

~Has seven teeth. One more on the bottom and two molars coming in. 

~Is getting a bit picky with food. One day he'll devour tomato and then next day he spits it right out. It's hard to say what he'll eat and what he won't. It seems to quite literally depend on the day of the week. 

Enjoying a pickle one day and refusing it the next.
~Last week it seemed like he was ready to be a one-a-day-napper as he kindly only took one nap a day and played in his crib for each and every afternoon nap. I however am not ready to be a one-a-day-napper-momma and was SO happy when he decided that he still needed two naps a day for a little bit longer. I have a feeling that he'll be going through a little transitional phase for a bit between the two and each day might be a little different.

~His favorite toy is currently a toy that he got for Christmas where you drop balls and watch them spin down the toy. He also finds the racquetball tube, lid and ball to be quite entertaining as he sits, puts the ball in, tries to put the lid on, takes the ball out and then starts the whole process over again for minutes on end.

And finally, the stats:

Height: 30.25" 66%ile
Weight: 23 lbs 6 oz 59%ile
Head Circumference: 18.5" 69%ile

The End...of his first year.

Friday, February 7, 2014


Every so often I get in a really nostalgic mood. I start reminiscing about past moments, places and people. Last night I was in one of those moods. I started in Chile and quickly made my way to Argentina. My memories were filled with people. Amazing Amazing AMAZING people that I feel so so SO blessed to have had the opportunity to meet. 

Today I want to write about my mission companions. These girls saw me in "the best of times" and "the worst of times." They saw it all. Last night I was thinking about how the heck these girls could stand living with me for months on end...and as I thought about each one of them I thought about the lessons that I learned from each of them. 

Here are just a few of those lessons:

Hermana Cataldo: Obedience
Hermana Cataldo was living proof of what it meant to be exactly obedient in all things. One day we came home from a long hot day of work and realized that our keys were locked inside of the apartment. We spent a good bit of time trying to figure out what to do before we headed over to the other Hermana's area next to ours. We got there late, sweaty from head to toe without any of our stuff, slept on the floor, the electricity went out so none of us had fans, it was a llloooong night. The alarm went off at 6:30am and I laid on the floor dead. In my mind, we had the perfect excuse to not get up, Heavenly Father would surely understand all that we had been through. I roll over and see Hermana Cataldo sitting up doing her morning stretches on her makeshift bed on the floor. That moment taught me so much about obedience and love for the work that Heavenly Father had entrusted us to do. There are no excuses when it comes to being exactly obedient. You just do it. 

Hermana Galvez: Confidence
Although we were only companions for three weeks, it was an inspired three weeks. Hermana Galvez helped me learn that I was called by a Heavenly Father who trusted me, who had confidence in my talents and abilities. I learned that it was selfish of me to sit quietly in lessons because my native companions could explain things better than me. She was patient with me as I cried in the middle of the street after leaving a lesson because I felt like I hadn't taught well or understood much. Thanks to her humble example I slowly started to learn what it meant to "forget myself" and focus on others. I learned to have confidence in my mission call and I trusted in the trust that Heavenly Father had in me. 

Hermana Byrne: Testify and Work
Hermana Byrne was fulfilling a 20+ year dream of being a missionary. She didn't let an opportunity to testify of our message pass her by. I'll always remember getting into the taxi to go to the clinic because her knee was hurting her. As she got in the car she hit her other knee. I could see her holding back tears from the pain she was in. She was upset at herself for injuring her other knee, making walking an even more difficult feat than it already was. While sitting helpless in the back of the car wishing that I could help my companion I hear her say, "Did you know that you can live with your family forever?" In spite of the excruciating pain she felt she wouldn't let the opportunity to talk to the taxi driver go. I remember sitting in the back with a grateful smile on my face, grateful for the strength that my companion had to continue our work no matter the circumstances. Her knees never stopped her from working. She pushed through pain that I can't comprehend to help take away spiritual and temporal pain from those surrounding her.

Hermana Beers: Progression and Improvement
Hermana Beers helped me understand the Plan of Salvation better. She helped me understand better what our purpose in life is, of course I was stubborn and didn't let myself internalize her lessons until we were no longer companions (sorry bout that Jessica). She was such a great example to me of continual learning and progression. She was always looking for ways to be a better missionary, to better her teaching skills, to better her Spanish and to understand her investigators better. She wouldn't let herself plateau. I remember countless times walking back to the apartment with her by my side analyzing the lesson, talking about what we could have done differently and how we should approach the next lesson. I remember thinking, "the lessons done. Over. We can't change it now. It doesn't matter." (I'm so embarrassed to admit that I thought those things). I have since applied the teachings of Hermana Beers and try to always find ways to be better, to work harder, to try new things and see if they analyze :). 

Hermana Suarez: Believe
When Hermana Suarez prayed, there was no doubt that she was having real communication with Heavenly Father. When she taught there was no doubt that she believed 100% every word of what she was teaching and testifying. She was on a mission to change lives and teach people to believe. She treated every single person that we taught in such a kind and loving manner. No matter who they were, no matter their situation she was able to connect with them and I know that it was her belief that made her that way. There were countless lessons where I sat in awe as my companion taught because there was no denying that what she taught was true. She knew why she was on a mission and she lived each day doing just what she had come to do, to help others believe and understand the things that she believes and knows to be true.

Hermana Borchert: Perserverance and Trust
Can we just say that Hermana Borchert came exactly when I needed her. I found this in my journal from a few days after she got there, "I really really love my comp. She is so sweet. I have laughed, like actually laughed to the point of almost peeing my pants. It's been awhile since that has happened." She had a rough first few transfers in the mission. We were rejected, ALWAYS. I had never been rejected so much before, and it was always because we were Americans which was also really weird because that had never happened to me either. People trash talked our homeland EVERY.DAY. Our apartment flooded and we were constantly caught in the rain, she got bronchitis, our water and electricity went out just about every other day and we had to wash ourselves using water bottles we had stored up. She was such a trooper through it all. I also learned a lot from Hermana Borchert because she was so willing to help me improve. She always offered suggestions about things that I could do better in the most loving way and then helped me see them through. She taught me how to trust her and others. I can't even begin to articulate how much I learned from our conversation about trust. A LOT. Seriously, life changing conversation right there. (Unfortunately Darin had to have it with me too. Man, who knew that trusting other people was such a weakness of mine).

Hermana Runyan: Smile
Hermana Runyan taught me that there are times when a sincere smile means more than spoken words. This girl has a contagious smile, you can't see her smile and not want to smile back. It is a smile full of charity and desire. She worked so hard to learn Spanish but there were times where it was still hard to understand and although I know it was hard for her it didn't show. She was always positive, always happy. I might have seen her sad once, maybe, and even though she was sad she still had a smile on her face. She really taught me to enjoy every moment of life. I'll never forget walking down a red dirt street in the middle of no where and hearing her shout, "I love this! I love the dirt! I love the pigs! This is a dream!" She always found the good in everything and never stopped smiling. She also saw the good in people and never gave up on them even when I was ready to move on. Thanks to her we went back to the Gonzalez's house after a missed appointment and they were baptized as a family not much later. Same with a mother and son that I was ready to stop teaching right before going home that ended up being baptized after I left. She taught me to believe in people and see that they deserve the benefit of the doubt.

Wow, writing all this out makes me miss my mission a lot. I really am so blessed for the opportunity that I had to serve and for these wonderful women who tolerated me and taught me so much about life. I use their lessons on a daily basis and continue to be surprised by lessons I am learning from experiences and people from my mission.

I love you Hermanas!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

An Afternoon in Jamestown

I've been itching to explore all the history we have surrounding us for awhile now. Pretty much since we arrived here. For one reason or another we haven't done a lot of the "touristy" stuff yet. Saturday I was itching to get out of the house and the weather was finally a bit warmer than it's been for weeks so we packed up the baby and took the ten minute drive down to Jamestown Settlement. 

(Jamestown Settlement is where they have built a museum along with outdoor replicas of some of the things that might have been seen at that time. Historic Jamestown is next door and is the actual sight where they landed/lived. We were able to get in to Jamestown Settlement for free b/c we are residents but Historic Jamestown is a National Park sight so we'll make our way over there when we have a few bucks to spend).

Before you go inside there is a nice pathway that you can walk around with flags of all 50 states and some information about becoming a state. 

The museum was AMAZING. Seriously, coolest museum I have ever been to. They had it set up in three different parts: Powhatan Indians, Africans and English. You walk in and it's like you're walking into an Indian forest, it even feels kind of muggy like you're outside. There were all kinds of artifacts and information from everything from food and clothing to religion and gender roles. They had little telephone like things that you could pick up and listen to what they believe the Powhatan language to have sounded like. You move along to their African exhibit which is this months special exhibit. After that you enter the English section which is set up to feel like you are walking down a street in 17th century England. Again they had the little phones so that you could hear what the English sounded like back then. There were little rooms you could go into that showed what a poor English persons home was like and then a rich persons. As you continue through the museum there are more exhibits showing what life was like as time went by up until today. I was SO impressed with the museum. We didn't have a lot of time to spend there before our tour began so we will definitely be going back one of these days just to spend some time in the museum. (Pictures weren't allowed, hence the no pictures of the really really cool museum). 

I guess you can normally walk outside alone but they don't have a lot of staff in the winter so the only way to see the outside is by going on a 90 minute tour. The tour was split into three parts. We first started at the Powhatan Village, then made our way down to the James River to see three ships and then finished with the Colonists forts.

Powhatan Village:

(They usually have quite a few dressed up "actors" outside during the busy season. We only saw a few and this dude cracked us up because he did NOT look or act the part at all. It was great).

The ships:

So happy to finally be out of the stroller and don't you love how we can't get this kid to keep a pair of shoes on his feet for more than 30 seconds. 

Look at that icy water! It really has been cold the last two weeks.
The captains quarters.
Colonist Forts:

Inside the church

We'll definitely be coming back sometime during the Spring when the trees have bloomed and the snow is gone. Even with the bits of snow and cold it was a great afternoon out. How lucky are we to be surrounded by so many cool things! Next stop: Yorktown!