Thursday, May 29, 2008

A little R&R away from the kids ...

Ryan and I had the opportunity to re-kindle the flame this past weekend as we went to San Francisco SANS the kids for a little 5 year anniversary celebration. My oh my - can I tell you how wonderful it is to have some down-time without kids fighting over toys, sippy cups, books, crying for no reason ... yadda yadda yadda? Really, it's a little bit of heaven on earth and we had such a fabulous time that I am hoping we can make it a regular habit (meaning once a year) to get away from the kids for a weekend.

We got in Thursday afternoon and after checking into our hotel (The Sir Francis Drake on Powell Street) we shopped then took the trolley down to the Wharf for dinner. Friday we went on a bike ride thru the waterfront park, over the Golden Gate bridge, into Sauselito, then into Tiburon (16-miles in all) and took the ferry back to the make Ferry Building. It was awesome and the weather was perfect. Then we went to the Mission district ate YUMMY ice-cream from Bi Rite creamery (Honey Mint Lavendar - yum yum!!!) and ate some fish tacos with this amazing fresh mango salsa at Weird Fish. Then back downtown for a movie: Ironman (it was alright for an action movie). Saturday we went to the Farmer's Market down at the wharf on Embarcadero and had one of the best bacon blue-cheese hamburgers I've ever had, fresh oysters, sampled cherries, apricots, peaches, tangelos, chocolate and pretty much anything you would find at a Farmer's market. Then to Coit Tower and little Italy for some yummy Tiramisu and pastries, into Chinatown for dim-sum and of course super cute outfits for the kiddos, next was Japantown for some sweet finds (Ichiban Kan dollar store RULES!!!) then back downtown for a romantic dinner at Morton's Steakhouse (delicioso!) and finally off to another movie: Son of Rambow. Sunday was low-key as we were going home that afternoon so we just got up and did some last minute shopping. It was great and with all the walking/biking we did, I am happy to say I didn't gain the 10 pounds that I thought I would. All I can say is that Ryan is the best to travel with because he researches before we go and finds the best places to eat, shop, and check-out. I just love my hubby!!!

Getting ready for our bike ride.

View of the Golden Gate bridge on the bike ride.

Relaxing by the water as we wait for the ferry at the end of the bike ride.

The View of the Oakland Bridge looking out from the base of Coit Tower.

Of course, none of this would have been possible if it weren't for Ryan's sister Teresa and her family taking the kids. A HUGE thanks to them for putting up with them (especially since I found out on Tues that both of them had ear infections while we were gone - and still have for that matter). Finley loved being with his cousins so much in fact that he didn't want to come home with us, and for 2 days after being home, he kept asking when we were going back down to Tissie's house.

So here's to looking forward to the next trip without the kids.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Out with the old, in with the new ...

Finley has been attached at the hip to his blankie since he was born. Seriously, this was his paci. If ever he was sad, tired, upset or just needed comfort or something familiar, this is what he went to/asked for. It's been to Hawaii, California, Bear Lake, Germany, Austria, the park, the pool, the zoo, hiking, the children's museum, the train ... pretty much everywhere that he went it went too.

Unfortunately, blankets just aren't meant to last forever (3 years is pretty good) and his blanket has been starting to show signs of wear & tear for months now. Around all four sides are holes in the fabric where he rubs the edges while sleeping. Then I noticed the holes started popping up all over the blanket and not just the edges. But once the batting started coming out (thanks to Finn's little fingers picking it in his sleep) I knew it was time to retire the old blanket and replace it with a new one. Luckily Babystyle still carried the blanket (and on clearance!!!) when I went online a few months ago. So last week we switched out the old one with the new one. Here are the pics of Finley saying goodbye and giving his beloved "cool blanket" loves. It took a couple days before he fully accepted it, but luckily the new one has worked it's way into Finley's little heart and has won his affection.

giving loves to his old blankie

a couple tears were shed when he saw the new blanket. He said the new one wasn't cool.

Finally allowing us to tuck him in with the new blanket as I put his old one away upstairs.

Friday, May 16, 2008

15 month Photo Shoot

I have to say that I'm grateful the warm weather has finally arrived. 80 degrees is perfect weather for all the cute sundresses, tank tops, and bathing suits that have been patiently hanging in the closet. Berlin was so cute yesterday I just had to take some pictures. She is such a ham for the camera.

Today we had her 15 month check-up and immunizations. She's officially 30 inches tall and 18.11 pounds (fully clothed). She's my itty-bitty girl. We switched her carseat to front-facing a little while ago, however, my Dr. informed me I should switch it back to rear-facing since she's so light. I think he heard my guffaw because he said that there are some folks at the hospital (and safety folks I guess) working on getting the law switched so that all kids 2 years and under have to remain rear-facing. Are you kidding me???No offense but do those people have kids? No offense, but it's hard enough to keep a 1 year old happy in a carseat, let alone have to face the rear for a whole extra year. Needless to say, I'm not cheering that proposal on. But she's healthy and happy considering that all 4 molars are cutting through and she had 3 shots in the leg.

"I did it, Mommy - I did it!"

These were the words coming out of Finn's mouth as he was sitting on the potty Wednesday night. At first I thought he was humoring me, but when I went into the bathroom and checked, sure enough he had gone pee in the potty for the first time ever! I was so proud of him that the cheesy high school cheerleader inside me came out. I was clapping and cheering and jumping and giggling. I was so happy and he ate it all up. He even got to open the long-awaited talking Muck toy (the poor thing has been sitting in the windowsill in the bathroom for the past oh, 9 1/2 months or so).

After 2 accidents today, I was about ready to throw in the towel and put the diaper back on. But I thought, what's 3 accidents at this point? So on went another pair of Thomas the train underwear. Imagine my surprise when I came back in from watering my flowers in the backyard and asked Finn if he was ready to sit on the potty and he responded with a "Yes, I'm ready now." So on he went and sure enough a few minutes later he peed AGAIN! Twice in one week? Again, the inner cheerleader came out and we cheered, clapped, and giggled.

I'm beginning to feel optimistic about this whole potty training thing. I'm sure that will wear off when I look at the laundry that's piled up over the past week from all the accidents, but I'll take the few successful moments he's blessed me with this week and pray for more.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Sooooo close, but still no go

Berlin is 15 months old as of yesterday and she still isn't walking. Not that I'm worried about it, but I am a little tired though of people commenting on the fact that she's 15 months old and not walking yet. Give me a break. Every kid is different and I'm not going to stress about it - unless of course she isn't walking by 18 months. Then I might kind of worry a little bit. But she is getting soooooo close. She loves to stand up & down all by herself and hams it up anytime she does. I think she learned this from Finn because he cheers her on anytime she does so. We also practice walking together inside and outside with her just holding one of my hands. All I know is that she's the cutest stinkin' 15 month old little girl I know. When she's happy, she's happy and is so much fun to be around. Finley's been a little under the weather with a cough, so while he napped yesterday she and I had some fun together time playing with her barking puppies and the kitchen.

This last week we also had the opportunity to go to the Real Salt Lake soccer game. It was lots of fun and the kids were both so well behaved. I think it was good for Finn to see big guys playing soccer amidst all the chaos because he's a bit intimidated by it all at his own soccer games. And after the fiasco that was last weeks soccer game & team pictures (that's a whole other blog), we are just hoping that he'll get on the field this Saturday without tears.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

A Shout out to Mothers

As I watched Finley standing up front & singing the mother's day songs, I found my mind turning back to one of the last talks given in the Sunday afternoon session entitled "Daughters of God" and was given by Elder Russell M. Ballard.

In all honesty, I fell asleep right before this conference address and awoke about 1/2 way thru the talk to find Finley in my face telling me to wake up. But I've read the talk a couple times since and it's helped remind me that though being a mom is often times stressful, tiring, and often thankless, that it's also an awesome calling and gift.

If you don't have the time, here are some of my favorite parts:

"We need to remember that the full commitment of motherhood and of putting children first can be difficult. Through my own four-generation experience in our family, and through discussions with mothers of young children throughout the Church, I know something of a mother’s emotions that accompany her commitment to be at home with young children. There are moments of great joy and incredible fulfillment, but there are also moments of a sense of inadequacy, monotony, and frustration. Mothers may feel they receive little or no appreciation for the choice they have made. Sometimes even husbands seem to have no idea of the demands upon their wives."

Ballard continues on stating the need to, "recognize that the joy of motherhood comes in moments. There will be hard times and frustrating times. But amid the challenges, there are shining moments of joy and satisfaction."

Ballard also says that, "There is no one perfect way to be a good mother. Each situation is unique. Each mother has different challenges, different skills and abilities, and certainly different children. The choice is different and unique for each mother and each family.... What matters is that a mother loves her children deeply and, in keeping with the devotion she has for God and her husband, prioritizes them above all else."

I find much comfort & hope & assurance of my purpose and mission as a mother in Elder Ballard's talk. Especially when I see Finley singing very happily, waving & talking to me from the stand (he kept saying, "Hi Mommy! Where did daddy go?"). These little moments make a day of stubborn temper-tantrums (yesterday) worth every penny.

I just hope that all you mothers (and even soon-to-be mothers) know how much you are LOVED, APPRECIATED & NEEDED -- even if our hubby's & kids forget to tell/show us. If I could, I would send everyone a huge bouquet of my favorite flowers:

Happy Mother's Day!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

A rose by any other name would smell as sweet ...

meaning: What matters is what something is, not what it is called.

I agree that what something is is important, but I also think that what we are called matters. Personally, I love my name and can't imagine being called by anything else. Names are often passed down from generation to generation, they have personal meaning to us from special experiences or people in our own lives. Most of society takes the naming of their children seriously. Hence the million "Name Books" out there, meant to soothe stressed parents looking for the perfect name that's just right for their child. Something they can hopefully be proud of down the road.

Here's what prompted all this: I was picking up the kids from the gym's Kids Club yesterday when one of the gals there complimented me on Berlin's name. I said thanks, we really like it too. Apparently she thought that response was an invitation to tell me that after hearing Berlin as a name, she's decided that when she and her husband get pregnant if it's a girl, she wants to use Berlin as her name because it's "just so cool!" (those were her exact words). Cool??? Hmmm. That's not what was really going thru our minds when we named her, but ok.

But this isn't the first time this has happened. Last month I attended the 1st birthday of a little boy in our ward. One of the gals there used to be in our ward about a year ago. I found out that she's expecting her first child in June and it's a girl. We got to talking about Finley and the arrival of Berlin and that was that. Apparently, she had her baby shower last week and she told our mutual friend (the mom of the little boy who's 1st birthday it was) that she and her husband thought Berlin was a cool girl's name and thus have decided it's one of their top 2 names right now. Again what's with the cool factor? Does everything have to be about being cool?

It just bugs me because Ryan and I spent a lot of time (and I mean A LOT) deciding on the names of both of our children. I feel like they should pay us a finder's fee or something. I mean there are people out there that get paid big bucks to help couples find the "perfect" name for their children. Don't get me wrong, I know that we aren't the first people to name a child Berlin and we won't be the last. But COME ON PEOPLE ... Be original! Or atleast just say it's a nice name and leave it at that. Don't go on a diatribe about how "Cool" it is. It makes it sound trendy, cheap, and fleeting.

Am I wrong? Should I feel more elated that people like her name and want it for their own? Am I just being petty or should I suck it up for the sake of knowing my kids' name is "Just Cool!"

Friday, May 9, 2008

Just Playin' Around

Finley and Berlin have always been the best of playmates, but this past week they have been more so than usual. Finley got a Dr's kit for his bday and he loves to check everyone's heart atleast two times a day. Berlin especially LOVES being the patient and she is so good for him. It's super cute to see them play together like this. Ryan asked Finley this evening what he wanted to be when he got older and he replied he wanted to be a Robot and a Daddy. When Ryan clarified and asked what he wanted to do for work when he got older Finley replied, "A Doctor, so I can help peoples hearts." All I can say is that if he chooses that path down the road, he'd be great! Maybe I should have splurged on a real stethoscope where you could actually hear the heart?

We had some downtime today while Berlin was taking her afternoon nap so we pulled out an extra build-a-bot kit I had made for his bday goodie bags a few weeks back. He had so much fun eating, I mean building his robot. Here's some cute pics of him building & then playing with it.

(below) Making his robot dance while singing Body Movin' by Beastie Boys.

As I mentioned in a previous post, Finley has taken to dressing himself. This is a picture of the outfit he put together yesterday for our trip to Target. And yes, I let him go out in public like this - soccer shin guards and all (note: there is a red slinky on his arm under the silver dryer vent).

Berlin has also mastered eating by herself. Ok, mastered is an exaggeration, but she no longer allows us to feed her. She wants to do it herself and with silverware (especially forks0. Her favorite food is yogurt (also the messiest) but she likes her Mac-n-Cheese too. I, of course, HATE the cleanup.

And finally, a huge shout out to Grandma & Grandpa Leach for this SUPER FUN birthday present that kept Finley entertained for 2 hours this afternoon. I think the look on his face shows just how much he LOVES the gift. Thanks so much - it's perfect for him. And a HUGE thanks from me as it gave me 2 hours of time to do 4 loads of laundry this afternoon.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Small Victories

Having 2 kids in 3 years has literally wreaked havoc on my body and whenever I go shopping I'm reminded of the train wreck that I have become. Thus, one of my New Year's resolutions was to get back down to my Pre-pregnancy weight (that means Pre-Finley = 140lbs). I'm still no-where close to that, but after a tough month with a depressing Dr's appt (I weighed 10 lbs MORE than I did 4 months ago when I started going to the gym), I have reason to rejoice. I went shopping today for a fun new dress for our 5-year anniversary dinner in San Francisco later this month. This is what I found when I pre-shopped online and I fell in LOVE with it. I knew I had to go try it on. It's screams me with it's pin-tuck pleats, puff sleeves with ruffles and black swiss dot cotton fabric.

So I packed up the kids and we hit the store. I was so nervous being that the last time I tried on a dress I had to go with an XXL (I know, I'm ebarrassed announcing that to the world). However, I tried to be positive and took the XL, hoping & praying that it would fit and that I wouldn't need an XXL again. When I put it on it was TOO BIG!!! TOO BIG? The XL? WHOO HOO! I was SOOOOOO giddy (and literally floating) when I asked the store attendant to bring me a Large. When I put it on, it fit perfect ... everywhere EXCEPT the chest. These darn baby boobs! I swore that instant that Berlin was getting weaned for good this week. If they are the one thing holding me back from being a large, then she is getting cut off for good. After toying with what to do (go with the slightly too big dress or the too tight in the chest dress), I went with the XL. The attendant said it would shrink a little if I washed it in warm water. So that's what I plan to do. But all I can say is WOO HOO WOO HOO WOO HOO. Despite weighing more that I did before, I am getting smaller. So I guess the last 4 months of dragging my kids to the gym 4 days a week hasn't been a total waste of time. Here's to 8 more months of dragging them to the gym!

It's a small victory, I know, but it gives me hope that it will lead to more small victories and that hopefully by the end of the year I will have achieved something bigger - like getting down to 140 lbs again and looking at myself in the mirror and loving what I see.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

the Beehive Bazaar

I was introduced to the Beehive Bazaar last year. It is an art & craft fair down in Provo, Utah. It is an AWESOME show and it inspires me to dust off my sewing machine and get crafty. As this years Spring Bazaar is next week, I thought I would plug the show - it's May 9 - 10th.

I am hoping that I will get down there on one of the days (I really want some of the illustrations by Sarah Wright). And if you happen to be crafty, sometimes it's just great to get fresh new ideas for your own doing.

Here's a link to the Beehive Bazaar Blog where you can preview some of the goodies from the vendors.

Friday, May 2, 2008

a New Change

in my life. I have been teaching RS every 3rd Sunday for the past 4 years (but I've been thru 5 manuals now). Needless to say I've been itching for a change for some time now. Well, the Lord must have known this and finally decided to answer some prayers as a couple weeks ago I was officially released from RS, then immediately called & sustained to the position of Laurel's advisor in our YW's.

I am excited for the change - which surprised me a bit given that my own YW experience was less than great (I personally hated it and had some negative experiences.) But hopefully I can take those experiences and turn them into something positive that will help me be a good advisor. I only have 2 Laurels under me (one is inactive, the other comes about 50% of the time) and I don't have to teach as we always meet together (we only have 6 YW in all). But it will be fun to get to know the girls that come out as well as the other YW leaders. Needless to say I am excited for this new challenge, especially the Super Activity which I get to help organize the end of July -WHITE WATER RAFTING in Jackson Hole for 3 days!!! Whoo-hooo! I can't wait.