Friday, October 31, 2014


Whoa! Where has October gone?! 

I broke my goal of once a week blogging last week.  It was a busy week.  This week has been busy too (so many edits come in at the end of the month!).  But I figure I'd better get these pumpkin pictures up now or they may never go up. 

We took the ferry across the river (Darin's first time!) and went to College Run Farms.  The weather was perfect and the pumpkin ice cream was unreal.  The wind on the ferry was pretty legit too.

Shae learned how to say pumpkin the week before.  It was so cute to see how excited he was to see all the "pun-kins" and watch him run up to them.

He chose his pumpkin.  Darin helped him cut it off and then he tried to carry it to the car.  Didn't make it very far.

Crazy what a year can do to a kid.  


A few days later we invited the missionaries and some neighbors over to carve with us.  Our neighbors are from Honduras/El Salvador and have never experienced an "American" Halloween before.  We had a blast picking the pumpkins with them and were excited to show them what we do with the pumpkins once they've been picked. We also introduced them to pumpkin pie. More of a Thanksgiving treat, but it still seemed to fit well with the theme for the evening.

Shae got his hair cut in between, in case you couldn't tell.  I loved that his curls were coming back, but his hair was so uneven from the dreadful first haircut. I wanted to try and even it out before letting it grow out. This time we had an expert friend standing by my side, coaching me through the whole thing. Thank goodness. He still screamed bloody murder. Not even Frozen or a lollipop helped. Poor kid. It was harder for me this time too because he has words now. I felt so bad strapping  him in his seat while he looked up at me with tears in his eyes saying, "Done, done, up, done."

 I told them to smile and this is what they gave me. It works.

The master at work. 

Pretty awesome if you ask me.

 This was my pumpkin.  Our neighbor actually carved it for me while I helped his kids so I can't take any credit for it. Besides choosing it of course.

Can't wait to trick-or-treat tonight! I promise I won't wait two weeks before putting the pictures up.

Happy Halloween!

Friday, October 17, 2014

Exploring Richmond

On Tuesday, Darin took the GRE. Shae and I weren't about to let the opportunity to explore Richmond pass us by so we dropped him off and got to exploring. I had a few things in mind that I wanted to see. However, once we actually got into the city (Darin's test was in a little suburb area outside of Richmond) I really had to push myself to not just give up and take Shae to a mall with a play yard and wait for Darin there. Cities intimidate me. Skinny streets, big buildings, traffic, sketchy people, smelly. I don't mind walking in a city, but driving is not fun. 

Shae fell asleep right as we were getting in to the city. All I needed was a McDonald's or Walmart parking lot to chill in for a bit while I let him sleep. You just don't find parking lots like that in the city. So I just drove around Richmond, looking for a parking lot, trying not to frustrate any drivers behind me. 

Driving around was nice because I got to see (and feel) a few of the old railroad tracks that were so prominent back in the day, and one of the main reasons that Richmond was chosen as the Confederate capital back in the 1860s. A lot of the tracks would end up falling under buildings that had been constructed on top of them, clearly not in use anymore. I later learned that throughout the 20th century, Richmond hosted 6 major railroad lines and that Richmond is home to the only triple railroad crossing (on different levels!) in North America. Here's what it looked like back in 1919. Um, please tell me that I'm not the only one who thinks that is ridiculously awesome.

Picture Credit
I'm kind of wishing that I had made it to the Railway Museum, but I honestly didn't know how noteworthy the railroad was here in Richmond until I was there that day. 

Instead, we went to the VA Holocaust Museum. Which, I was very satisfied with, so I am not too distressed about missing out on the Railway Museum. 

(And look, signs telling me where I was and where to park! Thank you thank you THANK YOU for making this trip possible!...and free).

As soon as I walked into the building I saw a sign that said "No Children Under 11." I continued to push the stroller forward as if I hadn't seen it. I was handed a self guide tour book and we all pretended that Shae was a midget 11 year old. (Probably helped that the museum was practically empty besides us).

I walked through the museum a bit faster than I would have liked because my tiny 11 year old didn't like being strapped down for too long. I gave him my phone to play with and let him watch old videos of himself over and over again which let me look at things in peace for a few minutes. Then he took a handful of pictures of like this:

And another 20 or so like this:

He clearly missed the "No Photo" sign. 

Even with a squirmy toddler I was very glad that we made time to go to this museum. It is such a tragic topic to learn about, but so meaningful and impactful nonetheless. The museum was set up in such a way that as you went from room to room, the displays and pictures told a general story of the Holocaust, but also a personal story of a man named Jay M. Ispson, a holocaust survivor who made his way to Richmond and eventually co-founded this museum. His whole purpose in creating the museum was to help people be more aware of the Holocaust and other genocide's in hopes that awareness will prevent future tragedies from occurring. 

What a great museum. I highly recommend it. 

The museum was located right in front of the River Canal Walk which was perfect since Shae was at his wits end by the time we left the museum.

Seriously, the railroad, so cool.


Apparently I turned the wrong way down the Canal Walk because after 10 minutes of walking we ended up at the beginning with a big map showing us where all the historic buildings and cross-overs with the Slave Trail were (in the opposite direction of course). So instead of backtracking we just walked around downtown Richmond for a bit and took in the tiny alleyways, creepy groups of people loitering beside graffitied buildings and liberal amounts of young PDA. So much of what we saw...and smelled...took me back to my first area of my mission. I was only there for 6 weeks, but it was in a pretty big city. (Love how our powerful senses help us with time travel).

We then made our way back to pick up Darin. He kicked the GRE's butt. I'm so proud of him for working so hard these past few months to prepare to take this test and apply to PhD programs. He has been such a good example to me of determination and discipline. These schools would just be CRAZY to not want a dashing, ridiculously smart dude like him in their Political Science program.

We take full advantage of any excuse to celebrate around here and celebrate we did by eating the most amazing Pupusas and Tortas that could possibly be found in our neck of the woods. Thank you El Sabroson.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Jugglers and Firetrucks

We made sure to get out Saturday morning (despite the 100% humidity/gray clouds looming above us) to spend some family time together before Darin shut himself upstairs for the afternoon to cram more vocab words and take another GRE pretest. 

The library had a juggling show going on, so we made our way there first.  Shae sat and watched for the first 20 minutes or so.

He had a hard time when the performer started doing magic tricks. It just wasn't as instead he ran around all the empty chairs behind us and occasionally looked up to see what was going on.

The Fire Station is just a block away from the library and they were putting on an open house so we made our way there next.

This firetruck was used back in 1950! What a cool truck! One of the firemen told us that they once had pictures up of the super old firetruck that is in CW(a little cart with buckets to carry water), this one and then the current firetrucks, to show the evolution of the firetruck in our town. Pretty neat.

Then off to explore the currently used firetrucks.  We were thinking of Uncle Devin the entire time!

After exploring the firetrucks we grabbed a free hot dog and a bunch of other free gifts they were passing out.  Darin stopped at one station and learned some grill safety tips (and came right home and cleaned off his grill. Good to know that the fire safety tips sunk in quickly).

Shae was watching Sparky from a far for quite some time but was scared to get close to him.  I walked up with him and tried to get him to give him a high five but he couldn't handle it and inched his little Self backward.

 After what felt like eternities of Darin working Saturday's last month, it was VERY nice to have a family morning together. I love that the community/library has free family activities for us to enjoy...and so excited to spend next Saturday together as well, at the farm, picking out pumpkins!

Friday, October 10, 2014

Real Men Use Pink Baseball Gloves

General Conference weekend started out a little crazy. Our good friend Sarah went into labor on Friday. I spent Friday night at her house with her kids while Darin was up in Michigan having his BYU football life fall apart in front of his eyes, and getting almost NO sleep thanks to an EST late game start and a shuttle that had him leaving for the airport at 5 a.m. even though he didn't fly out until 8 a.m.

Saturday morning I shuffled kids up to the hospital to meet their sister, then ran to the airport to pick up the hus-band. We got home just in time for the last conference talk. 

Sunday morning started off with Shae and I making some muffins while daddy tried to catch up on sleep. We brought some of our equipment into the kitchen and continued "playing kitchen" for a bit longer.

 Unlike last conference we were actually able to get Shae to take his nap right at noon when conference was starting (thanks to a 2 hour morning walk through the woods/around campus which had one purpose: Get Shae to wait to take his nap. Okay, it really had more than one purpose, the weather was GORGEOUS on Sunday and it just seemed like the right way to spend a Sunday morning where we didn't have to wake up before the sun).  

We had our good friend Jessica over for the first session of conference.  Darin kept the tradition of making us a hearty brunch/lunch, not necessarily a "new" brunch recipe this year, but still more exciting than most breakfasts we eat throughout the year.  Remember this sugar load of goodness from last conference? Definitely held back on the sugar this time around. I didn't get any pictures but it was pure Idaho fried potato heaven with sauteed veggies/bacon with a fried egg on top. MMmmmmm, so gooooood. 

We watched the second session at our friends house. We hadn't planned to do that, but we were dropping a casserole off for them to heat up for dinner right before the session started (remember? they just had a baby). Shae started playing so well and we went goo-goo over the new baby and just hung out there which was nice.

We're both SUPER grateful that we can listen/read the talks over again, especially since we missed most of Saturday. We've already started rereading them (amazing that they are put up so quickly!). We try to read the same talk each day so that we can talk about what stood out to us.

I love that Elder Scott mentioned not making Family Night an afterthought, rather a planned priority. That is definitely something that we can improve upon. Tuesday night we did just that (I turned Monday night into a wreck after coming home from a rec volleyball game in a state of weepy frustration at how terribly I wasn't pretty. Good thing we have Tuesday to make up for Monday failures). 

We threw some burgers on the grill, whipped up a pasta salad, laid down a blanket and partook. Shae had trouble handling the "eating" side of a picnic. Being outside was just too exciting in itself so not much food actually made it into his mouth. But it was fun to see how excited he was to have both of our undivided attention for so long. Love love love these boys.

Darin was not too excited about this little glove that I found for a DOLLAR at the thrift store. I told him that we have to keep it because what if we have a girl next. His response, "But do we want our little girl to have a PINK baseball glove?"  Come on, it was a DOLLAR, now he has a glove. Who's with me?