Monday, February 29, 2016

All the Small Things

Random photo dump from the past few months. Random, but memories nonetheless.

It's always so fun to see where Shae will be when I go in to peek on the kids before I go to bed.

They LOVE looking out these big windows in their room, probably my favorite feature of this apartment. They love checking to see if it snowed, waving good-bye to Darin as he leaves, and watching the garbage truck pick up the trash.

Shae likes to shut Belén out of rooms, especially the bathroom while he is in there (understandably so). It cracks me up to see her flattened on the floor trying to look under the doors and sticking her little fingers under. 

Just a normal day in the "bakery" with Chef Shae while Belén eats the alphabet naked.

Cooly-Sheff was our special visitor from December until just last week when we took him down. Shae named him and would always say, "Bye, Cooly-Sheff." When we left the house.

"Look mom, I a daddy." Thankfully putting on a tie does not make you a daddy.

Intense grocery driving.

Barnes & Nobles is one of our go to winter places to hang out.

As is the Science Center. She was grunting so loud while trying to reach this ball. 

Darin finally had time to go play basketball with some of the guys from church about a month ago and has not been able to walk on his right foot/ankle since. He sprained it bad. Walked around with a boot for 3 weeks and has just recently been able to get around without it.

Belén learning about her body while waiting for the doctor to come in to talk to Darin about his ankle.

Oh this day. Shae went through four different pairs of pants in one day. Impressive. We all have our days. He was just so excited playing at Joy School that he couldn't control it and went, right at the end. Spilled lunch all over himself. Then, after falling asleep unexpectedly (aka: without going potty first) he wet himself and all his blankets and sheets during his nap. He went right to the tub when he woke up and got to enjoy his favorite after nap/quiet time treat, milk, in the tub.

With Christmas presents, putting our mail on hold/taking it off hold, and recent aunt's birthdays, we've gone to the Post Office quite a bit in the past few months. It has become such a treat for Shae to go to the POST OFFICE (!!). As soon as we walk in he said, "Let's explore!" We always do our business and then we always explore. So much fun stuff to check out in that place (at least they seem to think so, frankly, the hundreds of identical mail boxes aren't all that interesting to me).

Putting the birthday Fruit Loops that he wouldn't eat to good use building castles. 

While I play around with settings on my camera and realize yet again that I know NOTHING about cameras.

A collection of the little Valentines that Darin hid around the house for me, one for each day of the week leading up to V-day.
Chalk and a squirt bottle, who knew it could entertain for so long.

Finally, because you can never have too many selfies with your kids, and because I'm feeling all kinds of sentimental about this girl turning one on Friday...

That's a wrap.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Shae's Birthday

Shae has been talking about his birthday since Christmas. He invited every single person he talked to to come to "his party" that he apparently thought he was having. We made a chain that we started on February 1st as a count down to his birthday. It was so fun to take a link off each day and see him understand that his birthday was getting closer. A week before we checked out a bunch of birthday books to read throughout his entire birthday week. We watched the birthday episode of Daniel Tiger multiple times. He was ready.

The day of, I think I was almost  excited as he was. The hype he had put in to this day, it was unreal, how could I not be excited too? He loved walking out that morning to see balloons and streamers all over the living room.

He immediately opened the present we had left out for him which was a box of Fruit Loops. We did this for Darin's bday too (birthday cereal) and I think this will become a new tradition. I love the simplicity of it. Not starting a busy birthday with a sink full of dishes from breakfast is a win in my book. Plus, we never buy sugary cereal, so it really does feel extra special. (He ate one bowl on his birthday and that was it. We kept trying to convince him to eat it days later so that we could get rid of it but he just wanted cheerios! ha! I guess it was a little too sweet for him). 

We let him open some presents before daddy left for school.

These reusable stickers are awesome, especially because they were only $5! (as an add on item to go along with my toilet paper).  He'll stand at the window playing with them and tell me, "I doing my work. I busy." He must hear that line a little too much...oops. 

After we dropped Darin off at school we met up with some friends at the Science Center and played for awhile. When we got home, I was given a birthday gift in that Shae took a nap which doesn't happen very often anymore. I was able to get working on the cake while he slept and then he helped me put the finishing touches on it.

Trying to convince me to eat the cake now.

We let him choose two friends to invite over with their families for pizza and cake that night. They had a blast playing together while we got to socialize with their parents. 

Thanks to our awesome families for all the phone calls, cards, and gifts. He was ecstatic. This is how he did his birthday Skype call with Ibu the next day...

We love this kid just as much as he loves that ratty brown blanket of his. Which is A LOT of love in case you didn't know.

Happy Birthday Shaester!

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Thoughts on a Sunday

I've had a lot of things on my mind the past two weeks that have really softened my heart. Mainly this  accident, where a sister who had served in my parent's ward was killed. We met her over the summer while staying at my parents house before moving up to New York. We ate dinner with her and went to church with her. That was it. I barely know her, but my heart broke and my eyes filled with tears as I read about the accident that took her life. I haven't been able to stop thinking about this accident. Some days I wonder how her family is coping. I wonder what it would be like to be her mother, to get a call like the one she received. To realize that the last time you saw and held your daughter nine months ago was the last. I think about the other three sisters in the car and wonder how this will affect their lives. I think about the mother of the sister who is still in critical condition, in and out of surgeries every day. How grateful she must feel that her daughter is alive, but how heartbroken she must feel seeing the pain her daughter is going through. I think about the bus driver who ran that stop sign and what he must be feeling. I read this post from one of the mothers of the two other sisters who were released from the hospital and felt her faith during this difficult time. I read this post from a member who went to the funeral of the sister who passed away. She shared what she felt as she watched Elder Bednar stand up while everyone was singing the final hymn (I Feel My Savior's Love) and walk down to the family of this sister and hug them. She said that she saw the Savior hugging them.

Needless to say, I have been appreciating all the small moments that much more with my own family as of late. The other day I was busy checking things off the list of things to do that day when Belén woke up in a funny mood. All she wanted was for me to hold her. She snuggled up close to me and I dropped that list from my thoughts and just enjoyed that moment holding my baby girl. 
 ...all the while giving this little half naked sun glass dude the attention he so desperately wanted while putting on the "Shae Show."

I felt such a strong connection with heaven in those few short moments. I felt a strong love and gratitude for my little family. I felt such hope and peace in the Plan of Salvation and the Atonement. I felt a stronger understanding for the importance of my role as a parent to these little ones. The world is scary and heartbreaking things happen. I have an incredibly important responsibility to help them feel light and love and to teach them about the gospel so that when scary things come, they can stand tall on the foundation that we build together, "a foundation whereon if men build, they cannot fall."

My heart still aches for these sisters and their families. It is sad. It is hard. It is confusing. But I am grateful that we can all seek and find peace through the Savior. I'm grateful that we can share our experiences and learn from them together. This experience has made me realize that I do not want a day to go by without feeling and showing REAL love and attention for my children and my husband. I want to be grateful for every. single. day. that I get with them. 

I really DO feel my Savior's love, in all the world around me. His spirit DOES warm my soul, through everything I see. And when I kneel to pray, my heart REALLY is filled with peace.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016


Hi. My name is Shae Sanders Self. I am thwee. 

Here's some things you should know about me:

I draw really good stick people. Sometimes they are quite disproportional their arms come out of their heads. I love drawing my family. This is a snowman picture that I drew all by myself before Christmas that my mom put on the fridge because she loved it so much:

I don't take naps anymore. I try not to anyways. Mom made me take one on my birthday since I was going to stay up late with friends, but that was the only nap I took last week! Most days I just do quiet time. Well, mostly quiet time, it's hard for me to stay quiet while I play and read. I yell for mom a few times because I have to show her things, but I try to stay quiet. Quiet time has helped me realize that I have some pretty cool toys.

He called me back to see his train track and I was so happy to see him actually PLAYING with his toys.
His room after the first quiet time. Well, he does love to make big piles of stuff...and it kept him entertained.

My parents put a clock in my room. Now I know when it is 7 o'clock and I can get out of bed then, but not any sooner. I usually lay in bed singing while I wait for the clock to change to 7:00. Sometimes I lose control of my little fingers and they change the time on the clock, then I don't know when I can get up and mom or dad comes in to save me. I also use the clock during quiet time. Mom sets it to 1:30 and I can come out of my room at 3. 

I still really like to talk to people. In fact, I invited SO many people to my birthday party (the cashier at the grocery store, the mail man, the doctor, all my neighbors). But, I'm starting to become a bit more shy around people that I don't know. 

One of my favorite things to say to my mom is, "It's fine mom." She seems so concerned when I try to bite Belén or draw on the couch or when I ask for my fourth cup of milk that day. I just look up and sweetly say, "It's fine mom." She seems to need a little reassurance. 

Typical goof ball Shae right there.

There are so many books that I fell in love with last year, here's a few that I could read over and over and over again: The Watermelon Seed, Fraidyzoo, Leo the Ghost, The Gruffalo, 10 Minutes Till Bedtime, Very Little Cinderella, any Llama Llama or Froggy books, and Little Critter's Lift and Flap books (Hansel & Gretel, Little Red Riding Hood, and Jack and the Beanstalk).

The only Disney movie I watch is Cars, the other ones are too scary.  I love Daniel Tiger, Super Why, and Word World. Lately, I also enjoy watching Elmo with Belén because she loves him so much.

I overheard my mom tell my dad that I am becoming a bit more mischievous. I just get so curious when I have crayons and markers and stickers in my hands. I want everything to be decorated so nice! I just think I'm becoming a bit more adventurous. I want to try so many new things.

Marker all over his body.
Homemade bath paints

I love when I get to play games with BOTH my mom and dad. My favorites are Hide & Seek, Mother May I, Red Light Green Light, Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus, and Cat In the Hat Matching.

I also really love when I get to do crafts with mom.
Pausing while painting to eat some snacks from Aunt Amelia.
Play Dough with Tigger. Never a dull moment. (how does he still fit in that?)
I'm just so excited to be thwee! I already can't wait for my next birthday!

Some things that mom wants to remember from the past few months:
~"Ready, Setty, Go!"

~After some pretty epic tooting, "You see that noise my bum make? What that noise my bum make?"

~ Mom: What do we think about during sacrament meeting?
Shae: Peppa Pig!
Grandma S: I think about Jesus...
Dad: I also think about Jesus.
Shae: No dad! Grandma think about Jesus, you no think about Jesus!

~ While nursing Belén I tell him that I need him to leave so that she will focus. 
Mom: Hurry Hurry! Go! I need her to eat! Hurry!
Shae, while running out of the room, immediately stops and turns around: Why hurry? Is Santa coming NOW!?

~We did bubble gum bubble gum once to choose who says the bed time prayer. We have done it every night since then. One of those toddler things, you know? You do it once and they expect it every time. Sometimes it's easier to just give in then to fight it.

~When Darin and I are talking, he will say, "scuse me." When we acknowledge him, he clearly has nothing to say but, "Uhh, umm" as he tries to think of something to say. He wants to be a part of EVERY conversation.

We had our neighbors over last week (5 days before Shae's birthday). Our neighbors birthday was a week before. We pulled out some chocolate cake, Shae took one look at and said in a quiet voice, "Is it soooooomebody's birthday?"