Saturday, May 30, 2015

Memorial Weekend Part I

Two weeks ago Darin and I were sitting on the couch talking about baseball, summer, moving, etc. We'd thrown around the idea of taking a quick trip to Atlanta before we moved. It's been a dream of Darin's to watch the Braves play at Turner Field since he was a youngin. The fact that we're moving north and next year is the last year the Braves will play at Turner Field made us want to go even more. But there were always the excuses about being too busy and not spending money, etc. Then, something I had read in this book that I got for Mother's Day came to mind. "Sometimes, as part of an organized offense, you just have to create a good memory. Great memories hold families together." She talks about how "even the smallest memories make all the difference," so clearly creating good memories does not have to be going on a huge trip every weekend. We try hard to create a lot of small, fun memories together as a family, but sometimes you just need to forget about all the excuses NOT to do something and create a big memory.  I said, "Let's just do it." Darin said, "Sweet." And two weeks later we found ourselves here:

Spontaneity became our motto for this trip. 

Plus, our anniversary is in two weeks and since I'm nursing we can't really get away without at least one of the kids, so we figured we may as well just call this our family anniversary get-away. And that we did. Happy four years to the birth of our family. What better way to spend it than all together.

Friday morning, once the kids were up and things were packed we hopped in the car and were on our way.  We hit some traffic by Durham and Charlotte. Hello Memorial Day weekend.

Shae was great. He read, listened to music (while lip sinking with his thumbs as is shown below), ate lots of snacks, and let's be honest, he played on the kindle quite a bit too. Probably would have felt like a much longer trip without that... Made it nice for Darin and I too because we were able to finish listening to the Serial podcast as well as check out a few podcasts on the Ted Radio Hour which were really interesting. We especially liked this one and this one. I needed this. Sometimes life is so full of diapers, play dough,  Daniel Tiger, and editing and not much else.  It was so great to just be able to kick back and listen to something for me. 

How Shae eats his apples
Belén was also fantastic, which was to be expected since she's pretty fantastic always. She was content to be awake and then fell asleep with just a few yelps when she got tired. She went through a little fussy time in the evening somewhere between 4-6 (which was to be expected since this is her normal fussy time out of the car too). But all she needed was someone to look at, so I just climbed into the back of the car and talked to her and she calmed right down.

We stayed with my good college buddy Anne and her husband Michael (and their adorable toddler and cuddly dog too). We arrived at about 9 p.m., put the kids to bed and hung out for a bit with the adults.

We got out late Saturday morning with the hope of checking out a park we had read about in the city. When we got close to the park we saw how busy it was and how impossible it was going to be for us to find parking. We would have had to walk really far and we didn't have that much time to spare. So instead, we drove around the city a bit and saw some city things (like crazies roller skating and twirling right down the middle of the busy street). 

Our friends recommended Varasanos Pizzeria for lunch. We tried the Salami Pizza with a Spinach, Pecan and Gorgonzola salad. Yum.


After lunch we headed over to the field. 

Atlanta in the background
We were seriously like little kids on Christmas as we drove through the city waiting for Turner Field to appear. Seeing a baseball stadium pop out in the middle of a city is such a treat.

The exact spot where his ball landed.
We had never seen tailgating at a baseball game previous to this game. Atlantans really take their baseball seriously. There were tons of people hanging out in the parking lot tailgating and ALL of them were playing corn hole. As we walked towards the stadium I was in awe at all of the corn hole going on. I still can't get over it. We've seen a lot of corn hole playing in Williamsburg as well, but nothing to this extent. So southern. 

We got to the stadium and walked around for a bit. Found our seats but went about 20 rows up so that we could sit in the shade. 

We apparently didn't go up high enough. Shae preferred the real nose bleed seats.

So we moved up even higher which was good in the end so that Darin could walk this little girl around when needed.

Shae was confused when they put the flags away and kept asking, "Where stars go?"

You guys, I'm a little embarrassed to say it, but doing the Tomahawk Chop for the first time, AT Turner Field, with Braves fans surrounding us, was kind of a tear-jerking, emotional, surreal-awesome kind of moment. 

The kids were super great for the game. We had low expectations going into this, but they were seriously awesome. Poor little Shae was a bit under the weather and had a fever during the game (does teething ever end?) and was actually strangely content to just sit on our laps...for three hours. He even fell asleep on me. Say what!??!? Did NOT expect that to happen. I felt bad that he wasn't feeling well, but if he had to be sick, he picked a good time to do so.

And of course Belén was her normal happy self, even with the never-ending cold that she has going on too.

She looks nothing like me.
 The game was tied 2-2 and went into extra innings. Given that our children were both not feeling great we thought we should probably leave since you never know how long an extra inning game will go. However, the kids were being so good and were content to just sit on our laps so we decided to move down to the lower deck and stick it out for 2 or 3 more innings and then go. So glad we decided to stay because the end of the game was wonderful.

Freddie Freeman up close and personal. Man, moving down to the lower deck was like being at a whole new baseball game.

The game ended in the bottom of the 11th with a walk off single. It came after a pretty frustrating play where the umpire was hit by a ball which kept it in the infield rather than being a game-winning double. Everyone was pretty fired up at this point. Man on third. Two down. Tomahawk chopping like nobody's business. It was intense. Then the crack of the bat, the single, the runner comes home and the Braves win. The experience still would have been cool had the Braves lost, but it was epically cool because of the way they won.

Poor Shae, he looks so sickly in this picture.
 And that was that. Visit Turner Field can now be crossed off the bucket list.

We also got to see where the Olympic Torch was lit on our way out which just added to the coolness of the day.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Late Mother's Day Post

I keep trying to write out some of my feelings/thoughts on motherhood and then I delete the paragraph. It's so hard to articulate all of the jumbled thoughts that I have about this topic that I ponder on so often. Don't get me wrong, I absolutely love being a mom. It's what I've wanted my entire life. But now that I am a mom, I realize that there is so much more that I want. Sometimes it is hard to figure out how to do all the things that I want to do while making sure that I am magnifying my calling as a mother. All in good time. I know that a day will come where I can go back to school, travel, not leak milk all over my clothes, teach English, read books, wear my jeans again, go to the bathroom without interruption, etc. It's hard to not focus on the things that I want.  And as much as I try to figure out how I could possibly go back to school or work more than a few hours a day from home, I always come back to the same thing... More than anything else right now, I want to be with my kids. I really do. That's what I always come back to. I want to know how long they sleep, what they eat, how many wet diapers they have, how they got the scrape on their knee, what TV show they watched, why their pants are wet, etc. I want to be a part of it all.  As hard as it can be some days, this is exactly what I always wanted.  I feel so blessed that I am able to do it.  Although there are moments here and there where I don't "love it" per say, in the big picture I absolutely, completely, 100% DO love it. 

How could I not?
Our scared faces

I mean, I had a pretty huge role in creating these kiddos. And now I get to love them and teach them and nurture them, full time. I wouldn't have it any other way.

You know that saying that "behind every good man there's a good woman," well, in our marriage I think it's opposite. I would not be able to be the mom that I am to these wee ones if it weren't for Darin. He supports and loves me more than I ever imagined possible. He wants me to love and cherish motherhood, just as he does. At the same time, he wants me to have time for me. He wants me to continually grow and develop and learn. He is my biggest fan. As I watch him embrace and enjoy his role as a parent, it makes me want to do the same.

This cute girl saved all her smiles for inside.

Mother's day started with breakfast in bed. The boys brought me up my favorite Cinnamon Crunch bagels from Panera Bread with Hazelnut Cream Cheese.

We had a lovely time at church. Darin and I were asked to speak. I initially did not like the idea of speaking on Mother's Day (I lazily did not want to prepare anything and just wanted to enjoy the day from the side lines). In the end, I think that speaking was part of the reason that I loved it so much.  My talk was based off of Carol Stephens talk, The Family is of God. It made me think not so much about our blood family, but about how we are all children of God, we are all brothers and sisters. It made me think about service and charity to all men. It made me ponder on so many people who have been "family" to me during my life...from my own parents and siblings, to neighbors, mission companions, members in the areas I served in, my mother-in-law and sister-in-law, families who took care of me while in Chile when I was unable to speak a lick of Spanish... there are so many people who have served me and helped me feel the message that I believe Sister Stephens was trying to get across. It made me think about all the people that are/will be motherly/family influences in my children's lives. I'm grateful to know that there are people besides me an Darin who will/do love my children enough to help them through hard times and to teach them the ins and outs of life. Cause heaven knows we can't do it alone. 

So anyways...I didn't really intend to give my whole talk up there... but yes, giving the talk was great. Getting cards with Shae's little hands all over them was great. Getting a rose and cake balls from the youth was great.  Getting a flower pot, Season 4 of Dr. Quinn, and two mommy books that I have been wanting from my husband/kids was great. Coming home and playing with the kids while Darin cooked me my favorite Olive Garden meal (Chicken Scampi with Breadsticks and CHEESECAKE for dessert) was great. I really just felt incredibly happy to be at home with my little family. 

...and the food was oooohhhh so good. So glad I married a man who likes to cook, and be creative in the kitchen (he made the crust for the cheesecake out of Cookie Butter cookies from Trader Joes! --his sister kind of got us hooked on them when she bought some while out here after the babe was born).

Monday, May 18, 2015

Take Ferry Boat, Strawberry Pick, Eat Ice Cream

We absolutely love the weekends, because we get to spend all day with daddy!  Well, this weekend poor daddy came down with a crazy flu bug on Saturday night and spent most of Sunday in bed.  Good thing we had such a fun family day on Saturday to make up for Sunday!
 (The first thing Shae said to Darin when he saw him this morning was, "Daddy! Lets Wessle!" Going a day without his wrestling time with daddy was hard on him...and me...)

Darin put Shae to bed on Friday night and told him that in the morning we were going to take the ferry to pick strawberries and eat ice cream. Shae woke up on Saturday morning and the first thing he said after his usual jubilant declaration of "I awake!" was, "Take ferry boat. Strawberry pick. Eat Ice cream!" The kid was ecstatic. It was freakishly adorable. 

1. I love that sleep no longer wipes his memory clean.
2. I love how excited he gets about these little family outings. It makes it all the more fun for us as well.

Shae wanted to get out of the car the second we drove on to the ferry. Darin took him up to the deck while I stayed in the car and let Belén continue her nap.

Shae has really been in to letters lately.  He went up to this notice and started naming off letters while pointing at them (mind you, the letter he named was never the letter he pointed at, but it's a start).

Shae was so excited to pick strawberries, but when we actually started picking them, he lost interest within a few minutes.  Kind of a bummer since last year he LOVED it and could not stop picking them.  Initially he did grab a couple and stuff them in his mouth. Then all he wanted to do was pick the green ones. Then he lost interest completely and just kept saying he wanted ice cream.

He was pretty happy when we finally got out of the humid heat and grabbed some ice cream. So so good.

After sleeping through the first ferry ride and the strawberry picking, Belén was finally ready for some fun of her own. We hung out in the car for the first bit of the ferry ride. Then got out and let Shae have one last run around.

We came home and had some fruit salad with lots of fresh strawberries and also made a Strawberry Pie for Sunday dessert. Fresh strawberries are absolutely delicious!