Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Nap Transitions

Something I have learned as a parent is that there are millions of millions of different ways to do things. There are few things (if any) when it comes to parenting that fall into the "one and only correct way" of doing something category. Luvs vs. Huggies. Bottles vs. Breasts. BLW vs. Baby Food. Co-sleeping vs. Crib sleeping. When is the right age to flip the car seat forward facing? When is the right age to give the baby eggs/peanut butter/honey? Etc. Etc. Etc. The list is never-ending. 

The list can be stressful for me. I have strong opinions for few things and am a very easily persuadable person when it comes to just about anything. (Can you even imagine how hard it was for me to choose a candidate to vote for President? I always seem to agree with the platforms of both parties. How is that even possible? I'm a sucker when it comes to people making something sound appealing. Just one of my many life-long struggles is all. No biggy).

However, through all my persuasion happy going alongs, there is one thing that I (we) stick to our guns on and that is a sleep schedule. Some people are better with flexible sleep schedules for their babies. Not I. I like me a good strict sleep schedule with little variation.

With that said, you can imagine how hard it has been for me the past two and a half months having an emerging toddler who really needs one and a half naps to be happy. Two is too many and turns into play time with the crib railing banging into the wall over and over and over again. One is too few and turns into a cranky red-eyed mess by four o'clock. We've tried so many different things over the past two months to try and get back to that predictable sleep schedule that we both love so dearly, all to no avail.

I wish there was a happy ending to this post to announce that we've finally had a break through and figured out the perfect formula for nap time success. That would all be a lie. While today is turning out to be a long middle of the day one nap day, yesterday was an early morning nap and a later afternoon two nap day and Sunday was a short morning nap in daddy's arms at church and a great afternoon nap one-and-a-half nap sort of day.

The bottom line is, as much as we like our sleep stability, we're learning that one of the big lessons of parenting is to roll with the punches. Hopefully we'll roll right into a good solid one a day nap sooner rather than later...but until that time, we'll keep rolling. We'll keep taking it a day at a time. We'll just plan a trip to Utah where sleep will be thrown out the window and then start fresh in a month. Sounds like a plan.

What do these pictures have to do with this post? Absolutely nothing besides the fact that it seems a sin to post so many words without any cuteness pictures to follow it. (Although I'm sure we were at the fountain one morning entertaining the kiddo in order to keep him busy and put him down for a later nap. Nap strategy is written all over these pictures which means that they have absolutely everything to do with this post--how's that for a connection?).

Friday, April 25, 2014

TRIP Symposium

We ended up spending a good chunk of the afternoon/evening at Darin's work yesterday, how fitting since it was Take Your Child to Work Day. 

As the semester comes to a close, Darin's institute held a symposium yesterday which gave the Research Assistants an opportunity to present data and projects that they have been working on throughout the semester. It also gave Darin the opportunity to show off his talent on the grill and say a big thank you to all of the RA's by creating a masterpiece meal that he made 99.5% by himself (...I made the bacon that was thrown into the Potato Salad and nada mas).

Shae and I showed up with all the food (that Darin had slaved over the previous evening) a little bit before the symposium got going. Shae flirted it up with all the sweet secretary ladies as he is known to do.

They love him and he loves them OH so much. Anytime we visit he walks right in to everyone's offices as if he owns the whole institute.

Projects were discussed and presented.

And then food was eaten.

Is it just me or is there something about a man at a grill that screams SEXY? Especially one who worked his tight buns off making all of this delicious food. He made chicken thighs and legs, brisket, short ribs, two different kinds of sausage, potato salad, pasta salad and vegetable kabobs which marinated in a sauce that he made from scrath...AND most of the meat was covered in his homemade barbecue sauce that he is oh-so proud of. (Now if I could only get him to cook for ME like this...)

And as if I haven't bragged enough about my sexy, grilling husband... I am so proud of Darin. I love seeing him at work. I love seeing him interact with the RA's and the professors that he works with. I love seeing his inner nerd come out as he delves into conversations about statistics and policy and learning new mind-blowing features of his data software. I love that he has this awesomely perfect job. It has been an answer to many prayers.

He works so hard to make it possible for me to stay at home with Shae and bake bread all day (which I love by the way). He's a stud. Bottom line.

As is this crazy who stayed up way past his bedtime and ran away from us far too many times and ate a few too many sticks for his own good. Still, he's a baby stud. I think he gets it from his Papa.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

A Week in Review

Last week was probably one of the busiest weeks that we've had in awhile. We had quite a few different activities planned with friends which made for an exciting week.

Tuesday: Besides having a blast in the rain that morning...We were invited to our friend Nicky's Passover dinner. It was my first Seder and I really enjoyed it. What a great experience to enjoy and learn from religious celebrations of other religions. While we were reciting the prayer I couldn't help but feel that we really were praying to God. I believe that God is God no matter what religion you belong to. Whether you are a Mormon, a Jew, a Catholic, etc. when we pray we are all praying to the same God. It was cool to feel his presence and love for us that night.

(No pictures of the Passover Seder but plenty of rain pictures...)


Wednesday: I made cakes during the day and that night brought them to mutual with the Young Women. We have a sister in our branch who is a cake decorating master and she was kind enough to show us her skills and share her AMAZING butter cream frosting recipe with us. I don't LOVE cake, but I do LOVE me some good frosting.

Thursday: We had dinner planned with the Sister Missionaries and our dear German friend Wiebke. She shared an office with Darin for a few months in the fall, then went back to Germany and was back for two weeks just recently. Dinner was good but after dinner was great. Darin shared with us the new Because Of Him Mormon Message and then shared such a powerful testimony of the Savior. Weibke had lots of questions so we spent the next hour talking and teaching and testifying along with our Sister Missionaries. It was a really special evening talking about our Savior with a friend whom we love so much.

Friday: This was the only evening that we didn't have something planned so we did what we do best, chose a movie on Netflix, made popcorn and enjoyed. (The Kings Speech is such a good movie!)

While watching the movie we dyed Easter eggs. This was our third Easter together and we had never dyed eggs together before.

These two were our favorites:

 Saturday: We started out with a busy morning. Darin went to the Stake Center to help with the Bishop's Storehouse food sorting and repartition. I had a much needed eye exam and spent way too long trying on different glasses (that has got to be one of the hardest decisions to make, maybe even harder than deciding to get married. Seriously, hard stuff right there).

In the afternoon we met up with some friends to do a little egg hunt at a local park. We tried to get a group picture with the kids before they started. As soon as all the kids were lined up Darin set Shae down hoping he would stand there for at least 3 seconds. Nope. His feet touched the ground and he was off.

And off he went...

We finally got him to go towards some eggs which he was excited to see waiting patiently on the ground for him.

This is his new face of perplexion...or something of that nature. He does it all. the. time.

Between all of our activities we found time to make Rugelach and Date Cookies for the Middle Eastern Feast we were invited too. Great food. Great company. Great evening.

Our host and hostesses son

Sunday started out beautifully because we got to go to church together (this rarely happens since Darin has to be there two hours before church starts). We had a beautiful sacrament meeting. In the middle of Sunday School however, we all got sent home because the bathrooms were flooding. That made for extra afternoon family time (and the fact that Shae would NOT take a nap when we got home made for even more). We had a wonderful Easter dinner with friends and then came home and watched Special Witnesses of Christ and talked to family.
Thanks Aunt Amelia for the cute outfit!

Feeling bad now that I didn't get a pic of Shae with dada...

Hope you all had a happy Easter!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Busch Gardens

Darin was able to get off of work a couple hours early on Friday and because we have awesome friends who love us enough to give us their month-of-April-only free tickets that came with their season passes...we got to go to Busch Gardens!

I felt like a little kid as we pulled into the parking lot, giddy as ever to ride some rides and have some fun. And fun, we did have.
While I was on the big swings with the big kids Darin took Shae over to the little swings. (I'm such a mom... totally dying over these adorable pictures of my baby on his first amusement park ride).

Darin and I hit up a few roller coasters as well. Including this crazy one that pauses for a few seconds before plummeting STRAIGHT down. I'm really wishing I had done this one again. It was quite thrilling.

Shae loved the train that took us from one country to another.

He also enjoyed some baby rides in the Sesame Street section of the park. It was almost eight o'clock by this point so he was starting to zone...

We love these guys!

 And we love stealing their kids for a snap shot of what our family might look like in seven years.

Such a wonderful afternoon! 

Friday, April 11, 2014

The Difference Between a Cold Rainy Day and a Sunny Warm Day

On a sunny day, we steal moms cereal spoon and use it to eat dirt.

On a cold rainy day, we wear our pajamas all day, eat apples and watch Frozen (Yes, I am one of those obsessed-with-Frozen-fans):

On a warm sunny day, we find sticks and brush all the dirt onto the sidewalks with them:

And take cheesy pictures to please mom:


On a cold rainy day, we continue to wear our pajamas (but only the top) all day while mom pulls the blanket around the house to entertain:

On a warm sunny day, we get a little too excited about going outside and forget that there is a step on the way out and forehead-plant it:

And then we realize that we're outside and forget the traumatic face-plant and immediately start collecting all the bottle caps we can find:

On a cold rainy day, we finish watching Frozen...because let's be honest, our attention span doesn't allow us to sit down and watch a movie in one sitting.

On every single day, this boy is so fun and crazy and cute.

So glad that we got through our first blood episode okay. I think it was slightly more traumatic for me than it was for him. I have the feeling that this is only the first of MANY bloody injuries to come.

Monday, April 7, 2014

General Conference Weekend

Well I know one thing is for sure, watching General Conference is just a tiny  bit harder to do with a little kiddo running around wanting your undivided attention. (And when I say a tiny bit harder I clearly mean: extremely, ridiculously, insanely-and lots of other "ly" adverbs- harder).

I was really wishing we were still in Utah to watch conference because the timing would have coincided perfectly with nap time. Instead we had a Shaesternator waking up from his nap right at noon as conference was beginning--obviously he didn't want to miss anything.

With that said, it was still a wonderful weekend at home with my boys and although neither Darin or I were able to 100% pay attention through it all, we were still inspired by many of the messages, touched by the spirit and were able to set new goals of improvement. We're both very excited to re-read/listen to the talks in the coming weeks.

Also, I am VERY thankful for the technology that allowed us to watch it in our own home, with toys and books surrounding us. I give my parents (and all the other parents) a lot of credit for taking us to the church building every six months to watch conference growing up. They experienced many "trials of faith" that I thankfully will not have to. (Although those picnic lunches at the church in between sessions with all the other families breaking out our ice chests and sharing food...that made it all worth it...coming from my own childhood memories that is).

Even though Conference begins at noon out here, we still kept with the "brunch tradition" of making a new breakfast recipe each conference. Darin tried out this Stuffed French Toast recipe (making a few slight changes). Holy sugar overload. It was intensely sweet (= DELICIOUS, in my humble opinion. What can I say, I'm a sugar addict. We all have our weaknesses). 

Did you want a closer look at that sugar-sin breakfast? Here you go:

Chocolate for breakfast?! Whhaaatttt.

The three talks that stood out to me the most thus far were:

 Elder Uchtdorf's-- The Lord does not expect us to be less grateful in times of trial. Be thankful IN our circumstances and not just FOR things.

Elder Ballard's-- Importance of invitations and follow-up! (I'm a sucker for those missionary talks).

Elder Oak's-- This one really stood out to me about all the wonderful things that woman can do because of the priesthood.