Sunday, October 26, 2014

September, September

I refuse to start yet another post by saying how busy and crazy life feels right now and how it's difficult to find time to blog.  Oops, I guess I just did.  Forgive me for being repetitive, but seriously, where does the time go?  How is it almost the end of October, and I am just now blogging about September??  The problem with these massive monthly update posts is they are so long that they are overwhelming to write and probably equally overwhelming to read.  If anyone gets to the end of this post, you deserve a medal.  But maybe it's effective to just dump all of the big events from the month into one insane post because that's sort of how it feels living it all.

Okay, let's just get one thing out of the way before I start: I want to gnaw on my baby.  Truly.  She is so snuggly and sweet and squishy.  Here is a recent photo of her:


Nom nom nom.  Don't you just want to nibble those cheeks and chins?  She is still as sweet as ever and makes life easy on me.  She deserves her own long update post, and I plan to get to that soon (which probably means three months from now), but I thought the least I could do was throw up a cute recent photo of her.  You're welcome.


September.  It was a busy one.  We started off the month with a visit from my sister Sarah, who came to meet the baby and help.  I was actually feeling pretty good by then (I was about five weeks postpartum), so we got to take a few fun outings, such as a family trip to the Twin Falls Fair (where we had a little too much fun with the photo props), an evening at Shoshone Falls (a Twin Falls icon), and a girls' night to get dessert (Sal came too!).  It was so fun to have Sary here.  My sisters are my best friends.









Sarah is a craft blogger (do you follow her blog, Bombshell Bling?  You should!), so while she was here, she helped me do a little work on the kids' rooms.  I have no artistic abilities, so I was grateful to have Sarah's skills and creativity at my disposal.  We created a little reading corner for Noah in his room, and we made some darling decor for Sally's nursery, including a pinwheel frame to match the pinwheel quilt that Ryan's mom made for her.






I have to take credit for the cute pennant banner above Noah's reading corner.  I have been saving dust jackets from Noah's storybooks for the past three years because it seemed like a shame to throw them away, but I wasn't sure what I would do with them.  Then all of the sudden one day, it came to me: a pennant banner!  Pretty great, right??  I'm allowed to brag because I never come up with crafty ideas for my kids' rooms.  Like ever.  I borrowed my mother-in-law's sewing machine and managed to create it myself, with a cute little helper on my lap.


I may not be much of a decorator or crafter, but I must say, I am a good organizer.  Man, I love to organize.  I thought it was just pregnancy hormones and nesting that made me go crazy with the bins and the labels, but the bug hasn't left me yet.  I think organizing gives me such a rush because it is something in my life that is controlled and neat and manageable.  Not much else is with two little ones!

I am continuing my rampage of purging and organizing our house, and though these projects take forever with kids (you can't work more than a few minutes before someone needs you), over the past few months I've gotten the kids' closets organized.  This was actually a June/September/October project (just finished it today!), and it is kind of ridiculous how happy these organized closets make me feel when I look in them.  Let's see if they have the same effect on you.  BEHOLD!!!



No?  You didn't feel your heart skip a beat?  Okay, maybe it's just me.

In between caring for children and organizing closets, we took a day trip to a nearby state park called City of Rocks one weekend in September.  What a fun day.  It was Sally's first hike, and she worked really hard and was all tuckered out.



On the way home, we had a little incident that ended with me driving our car right into a ditch.  No one was hurt, and it wasn't a scary situation--I literally just did not see this ditch and drove right into it as I tried to turn onto the highway.  Yeah, I'm a moron.  Ryan just sat there in awe and didn't say anything for several long seconds.  I wish I could say this is the first time his wife has done something moronic behind the wheel, but that would be a lie.  (Anyone remember the quagmire debacle?)


It was rainy and super muddy, so our tires were just spinning and spinning in that ditch.  A kind man stopped to help us, and he said he'd be right back with his tow truck (apparently people in Idaho just have tow trucks in their garages?).  As we were waiting, Noah started praying in the backseat: "Dear Heavenly Father, please send someone to help us.  My mom drove us straight into a ditch, and I'm pretty sure we are going to be stuck here forever!"  


Our precocious, extroverted little Noah started preschool on September 9th, and it's been good for both of us.  I love the quiet time with Sally twice a week for a few hours, and he loves the crafts, friends, and playtime.  He has a blast once he's there, but he often pitches a fit about going, and he's already lost recess twice for refusing to listen to the teacher.  Oh man, this kid.  I just have to shake my head and laugh.  He's going to think these stories of his strong will are hilarious someday.  He can certainly be a handful, but he is also delightful and funny and a good little helper.  I adore him.


Also in September, Ryan and his dad did a 100-mile bike ride over a mountain near Sun Valley.  Yeah, they are nuts!  And Ryan only went for two--yes, two--bike rides in order to train.  What the heck?  In the weeks leading up to the ride, I kept asking him if he should be biking more often to prepare, and he would sort of shrug and go back to studying.  The ride was the weekend after his last Boards exam, which he took in Dallas, Texas, so he was too preoccupied with preparing for the test to worry about biking.  He passed the exam (hooray! no more tests ever!), and the following weekend he rode in the beautiful mountains with his dad to celebrate.  He wasn't even sore the next day.  It's not fair.



Katie and Drew came for a visit one weekend, and it was so fun to have them here.  Whenever they come, it is a non-stop party for Noah.  They just PLAY PLAY PLAY!  We all went to lunch, then they took him to the bounce house place and out for Dairy Queen.  He is in heaven with all of the attention and adoration whenever he sees them.  We love them and are so grateful that they are in Noah's life.




The most exciting event of our September was the birth of Lucy Jayne Cuio on September 13th.  Ashley, Nate, and Kate welcomed her with love.  It is so fun to have their family living fairly close--just two hours away in Pocatello--because I've already gotten to see Lucy twice and snuggle her cuteness.  So fun to have another niece!  She and Sally are only six weeks apart, and I have no doubt they will be great friends growing up.





Noah participated in his first official run with his dad--the 5K "Color Run" that came to Twin Falls.  Now before you start feeling impressed that our three-year-old ran a three-mile race, let me assure you that his lazy little bum rode in the jogging stroller while Ryan pushed him.  Noah's not exactly thrilled about exerting himself most of the time.  It's rather hilarious.  He acts like he's run a marathon when he walks to the end of the block.  He did love doing this race with his dad--and who can blame him? Colorful chalk strewn on you every mile? Pretty exciting for a preschooler!  I am hoping that if we continue to involve him in fun, family fitness activities, he will eventually overcome his aversion to exercise. :)






And last but not least, we ended the month with a visit from Bapa and a baby blessing in church for our little Sally.  Bapa came a few days early to spend time with us, and we loved every minute of it.  It's been so great to have him here so often lately. He loved snuggling on Sally and playing with Noah.  One day I wondered what was taking him so long to read Noah his story before nap time, and when I peaked in there, they were both conked out in Noah's bed.  Cutest!




Sally's blessing deserves its own post with a million photos, so I will save that for another time.  This post is definitely long enough as it is--but here is a little sneak peak of our cherub, all dressed in white.  (Might as well start AND end the post with her precious face, just to keep my blog readers coming back for more.)



Phew--what a month, huh?  Is anyone still reading this post??  I hope so because I am feeling pretty frustrated about how long it took to write and upload photos.  If you read and enjoyed this post, leave a comment or send me a text and encourage me to keep blogging.  Yes, I am begging for comments right now.  I want to continue blogging because I love having a record of our family, and I hope our children will enjoy reading the blog books I create someday, but holy moly does it take a lot of time.  I need to rethink how I am going to do this blog--maybe not document every single event but spend more time on my deeper thoughts about life and motherhood and just put up photos of the highlights?  (Uploading the organizing the photos takes forever.)  Okay, done whining and brainstorming.  Let me know if you have ideas, blogging friends.

So that was September.  It was a great month because of all of the planned family events and activities, but it was also a great month because of all of the impromptu moments with the kiddos--tricycle rides at dusk with Noah, big open-mouthed grins from Sally, and just enjoying the chaos and the joy of two awesome kiddos.




It is such a happy life.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Pictures of my Heart

When Sally was two weeks old, we packed up the family and drove two hours to Pocatello to get some photos taken by the amazing Allie White of AK Photographie.  I had seen her work before and loved it, and since I didn't know any photographers in Twin Falls, I thought we might as well go and have her do a family/newborn session with us.  But on the morning of our shoot, I remember thinking, "This is crazy!  I am still hobbling around as a result of labor trauma, I am so fatigued from getting up in the night, and the baby and I are big-time struggling with breastfeeding.  What am I doing trying to get the family cute and photo-ready, just to drive several hours for a long and tiring photo session??!!" I silently vowed that I wouldn't do something so silly in the future, if we ever have another baby.

Well Allie made it all worth it.  She made the session so fun and low-stress.  She was a miracle worker with Noah, somehow getting him to calm down and cooperate for some amazingly sweet photos with his baby sister.  Honestly, I love all of the photos that she took and am having a very hard time narrowing them down for framing (and for sharing on this blog!).  I feel like she captured my heart through the lens of her camera--all of the love, joy, and adoration that we feel for our tiny Sally Grace.







Sally is every bit as sweet and angelic as these photos make her seem.  A friend of mine recently called her a "magical baby," and that description fits pretty perfectly.  She rarely cries, she sleeps long stretches at night, she takes great naps, she loves to snuggle and be held, and yet she also sits contentedly in her swing while I clean or work on projects.  I sort of hate to admit all of this publicly for two reasons: 1. I fear that I will somehow jinx myself and she will suddenly become a screamer, and 2. I fear that someone reading this blog who has a colicky baby will come away feeling very defeated.  Oh colic is sooooo hard.  And when I was going through it with Noah, I was so jealous of moms who had "easy" babies.  (If you have a colicky or fussy baby, email or call me, and I will let you vent/cry/curse all you want, and then I will send you a care package of brownie mixes because that's the only way I got through it!)

Having a hard baby first was a blessing, though.  It forced me to read and research and pray and soul-search, and what I learned about sleep schedules, swaddling, letting go of control, sacrifice, love, and ultimately myself has benefited me so much this second time around, even with a content baby.  I am a better mother and person because I had a colicky baby.  Silver lining, right?

I love my children so much--and I think it will be obvious why as you look through these photos.  I love my Noah's spunk and my Sally's sweetness.  It will be interesting to see how their temperaments change and/or stay the same as they grow older.  They are both magical--and such a gift.






And now for a few more of my favorites from the session.  It was so hard to narrow it down even this much (and this is an overload)!  Please give feedback if there are any that you particularly love.  Needless to say, if we ever have another baby, we will be making a hectic but worth-it trip to Pocatello for photos!