Thursday, September 17, 2015


With things getting kind of crazy at work for Spencer and baby time approaching quickly, we decided we needed a quick weekend getaway. Spencer's birthday was in April so we decided to celebrate by going to Chicago.

We decided to rely completely on public transportation, so we started out by taking the train to Chicago. What was supposed to be a four hour ride turned into almost six, due to several tornado warnings along the way, but we finally pulled in at about midnight and then took a taxi to our hotel.

Back to public transportation!

The beautiful thing about traveling without scheduling it all out ahead of time is that you get to sleep in. Oh man, I love to sleep in! So day one (which was Spencer's birthday) we slept in longer than we had in a REALLY long time. After taking our sweet time to get up, we got breakfast at McDonald's (Spencer's favorite) and then headed to the Museum of Science and Industry.

We created hurricanes, saw a real Tesla coil, learned about planes and trains, played with the table of elements, watched a baby "grow", and all sorts of other cool science-y things. Spencer was a kid in a candy store, the nerd.

My brother works for Boeing, it made
me smile.

Being my largely pregnant self we had to stop pretty often, and I really appreciate Spencer being so patient with me and constantly making sure that I was doing ok. After exploring the museum all afternoon I was EXHAUSTED so we went back to the hotel to take a much needed nap. Again, loving the sleep!

Feeling refreshed we walked several blocks for dinner. Of course Spencer chose pizza. Of course. I didn't even have to ask. So we did some research and Spencer chose Gino's. Luckily we got there early enough that there wasn't too much of a wait. By the time we left there was a line down the street and around the corner!

Spencer was in pizza heaven. Neither of us had ever had Chicago style, and we were not disappointed. And of course we ordered too much. I ate ONE slice.

Somehow we dragged ourselves another few blocks to Cheesecake Factory for some birthday cheesecake. Oh man it was so good.

In our "lovely" hotel room.

The crowning event of the day though, was the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. We love a good concert, and this one did not disappoint. The hall was beautiful and the music inspiring. I also loved having an activity that let me just sit for a while.

It was the perfect end to a perfect day. Happy birthday to Spencer!

Day two was pretty low key. My 37 week pregnant self was totally worn out, so we didn't get to everything we wanted to, but it was still really fun. Our first stop was Chinatown!

There wasn't really anything to do, per se, but we enjoyed walking the streets and feeling a little bit like we were back in China again. We went into EVERY grocery store we could find looking for our favorite soy sauce that we found while we lived abroad, but it was nowhere to be found. We enjoyed the authentic things we did see though, and we had to resist the urge to buy a bunch of stuff to take home. Again, we had to stop a lot so I could sit and rest, but Spencer was a total stud and took good care of me.

After Chinatown we headed to Cloud Gate, or the bean, and we actually ended up spending a few hours there. The weather was beautiful, and I really needed to get off my feet, so after exploring the bean and the park for a little bit we found a nice bench and people-watched for a while. I love that we can just sit and talk and it still be so much fun. Spencer and I fell in love during our late night conversations, and I appreciate that we can still find things to talk about.

We spent the rest of the afternoon exploring Michigan Avenue. Again, stopping often to rest, but we found some fun shops and ended the trip with a much needed stop at the Ghirardelli's store for ice cream. Fun story: So you order and get a number and wait for them to call yours. We ordered one scoop to share and while we were waiting they kept calling the same number over and over and no one was claiming it, so the server looks at me and smiles and says "Last call for number so-and-so, or this pretty lady gets it!" Going once, going twice, SOLD to the pregnant lady who was very happy to get a free ice cream cone. Suddenly our expensive dessert stop became affordable and exciting.

I'm so glad we were able to take this trip before baby boy showed up. We had so much fun, and it was totally worth the swollen ankles.

Yikes! For the record, this was the one and
only time I had an issues with swollen
ankles my whole pregnancy.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Being a Mommy is Hard

Guys. Being a mommy is hard.

At first, NOTHING gets done. There is just an endless fog. You are so tired, there are so many diapers, and he never.stops.eating. When he's awake you feel like you need to be completely dedicated to him, and when he sleeps you don't dare to make a sound for fear of waking him up. The dishes pile up (buy paper and plastic people, and then throw it away!), the dust gathers, and the clutter builds. You barely get out of the house, and when you do you're so disconnected that you forget to say hi to your friend when you see her at the grocery store.

But that baby smell, mmmmm. And the way he impishly smiles while he sleeps. And the snuggles. Oh the snuggles!

Then things start to get a little better. You learn how to use what little time you have to sneak in a blessed nap, or to eat something by yourself. Or to freakin' use the bathroom. And maybe on occasion you wash a few dishes or get a load of laundry done. Or maybe, but just maybe (and only if you are feeling really motivated) you make a quick trip to the store between naps. But you still fill disconnected from reality in a way. It's hard to focus on relationships or responsibilities outside of the home.

With all that, your baby starts to smile at you. And your heart literally melts. Ok, not literally, but it sure feels like it. And he looks at you, and you know that he can see you. And he calms down when he hears your voice. And you just know that there was never anything so precious.

Slowly, a routine appears. This daily routine that feels like it repeats every 5 minutes. But without the routine you might just lose your mind. And routine turns into somewhat of a schedule. Your baby starts to sleep in long enough stretches that you feel like an actual human being in the morning. And suddenly you realize that you have both the energy and the mental capacity to actually invest in the projects and people around you. You still have to make yourself get off your butt and get moving, but the fog has lifted. And it's a beautiful thing.

This is where I am now. I love that not only do I feel connected to life again, but I am constantly delighted and amazed by the little things my baby boy is learning to do each day. There have been billions of people born on this earth, but I am completely enthralled when my son rolls over or sits up on his own. I get absolutely giddy when he laughs, I can barely take it when turns his head away and smiles as if he's embarrassed when he is playing with a toy and looks up to see me watching, and his newest trick of holding out his arms to us when he wants to be held fills me with warm fuzzies.

All this goodness does not mean that it's not still hard. There are days when I just want to stay in bed all day and play on my phone. Or other days when I just want to go to the gym because I finally feel motivated for the first time in weeks. Days when I'd like to be able to run over and help a friend at the drop of a hat. Days when I'd like to be able to focus entirely on a project that I've been dying to get done for months.

But a lot of the time I can't. I have a baby, and he needs me. So I get out of bed and play with my little boy. Because of his sleep schedule I can't make it to the gym while babysitting is available so instead we go on walks around our neighborhood, sometimes multiple times a day. I can't always just run out the door to help someone in need, but I can help them find help, and do what I can when I can. And instead of spending a day on a project, I work on it little by little during naptimes and while he is content to play on the floor by himself for a few minutes at a time.

I do what I can, even though I can't always do it when and how I want to. But looking back, I'm just so glad that I can actually get things done. My baby is growing up, and I love to watch him grow.

Being a mommy is hard. But being a mommy is awesome.

And I love being a mommy.

Monday, April 13, 2015


So the last few months have been a blur. I feel like we have been really busy, but when I look back I can't remember what we were doing for all that time! So here are a few highlights from the new year.

First, Spencer has been CRAZY busy at work. Due to some very unexpected events he ended up being the only engineer on site shortly after New Years, so he has been responsible  for a whole lot and was coming home a lot later than usual. Luckily things have mostly died down, but for a while it was a lot of very early mornings and very late nights.

For a little while this pregnant lady got REALLY lazy. This same dinner scenario has happened on more than one occasion, though sometimes with French toast or pancakes instead of grilled cheese.

And then it finally snowed! A completely sunny and warm Christmas, and finally it dumps snow in February. Spencer and I finally got to make a snowman, as tiny as he may have been.

I also turned old (note: this is not a typo, I meant old, not older). Birthdays aren't a huge deal anymore, but I very much enjoyed the letter from my hopped-up-on-drugs missionary sister (in her defense she had just had surgery) and the giant box of oranges from my mommy's tree. Baby boy also very much enjoyed the oranges and would have a disco party every time I ate one.

Since Valentine's Day is two days after my birthday and was on Saturday this year we had made plans to make a day of it, but a bunch of things went terribly wrong at work for Spencer and he ended up working all weekend, so we salvaged the day as best we could with a 10 o clock dinner at Buffalo Wild Wings.

We also love to get in as much skyping/facetime with nieces and nephews as possible. And we've gained a new niece and a new nephew since February! I love watching them grow.

Spencer and I both got new church responsibilities. Spencer was called as a counselor in the bishopric (meaning he helps the Bishop, who is in charge of the congregation, with whatever is needed to take care of the members and to keep things running smoothly). I was asked to serve as a youth leader over the young women in our ward. It is a challenge for me at times, but I love it and the girls don't seem to mind my sometimes silly ideas. This was after a lesson on our divine nature, and I made all the girls make crowns and wear them around at church to remind them that they are princesses and daughters of God!

We've also been working on finally finishing up some projects around the house so that it's in the condition we want it to be when the baby comes (more pictures to follow). So we finally put up one of our Christmas presents to ourselves just a couple of weeks ago. No big deal, it's only 6 feet long...

But one of our favorite highlights from this year was a trip down to Texas at the end of February. Spencer had a corporate training in Corpus Christi, so we drove down a few days early to spend the weekend with my brother and his wife in Dallas. We love visiting them, and we always have so much fun when the extended family gets together!

Weather in Jacksonville...

Weather in Dallas. Blessed sunshine.

The girls.

Big belly!

Proof that we actually love each other.

Texas family!

And funny story that I need to document so I don't forget, but just a few weeks ago Spencer decided that he needed to change the brakes on his car and that he wanted to do it himself. He started around 9:30 that morning, and I don't know the exact details but there was a part that just wouldn't come off. He worked and banged at it for a while, and then our neighbor across the street noticed that he was struggling and came over to help. Spencer felt vindicated when he couldn't get the piece off either (he's a bigger guy and worked as an Air Force mechanic for 6 years). So together they decided to saw off whatever this piece is and replace it with a new one, so Mr. Neighbor brings a hacksaw over and they go at it. They finally get it off, but now a different piece is stuck inside. After working on THAT for a while, Mr. Neighbor suggests that they take a blowtorch to it to expand the metal so the piece can fall out. Which  they do, and it works. Hallelujah. We say thank you to the neighbor and Spencer proceeds to change the brakes. Only to find out that the brake pads were still in plenty good condition and didn't need to be changed after all. So after 5 hours, 3 trips to the auto shop, a hacksaw, and a blowtorch...our car is in the exact same condition it started. Oi vey. But Spencer had a blast, so I guess it's a win.

Anyways, it's been a great year so far and now we're just waiting for little boy to make his grand appearance!

Monday, April 6, 2015

Wedding Planner, At Your Service

I spent most of the end of 2014 helping my good friend Katie plan her wedding. This was a big adventure for me, especially since I almost literally did nothing to plan my own wedding (thank you Momma!). But I loved helping my friend put together her fairy tale day. It was a test of my organizational skills and, with a few major setbacks, of my ability to be flexible and adaptable. And in the end it all came together. She was gorgeous, the weather (mostly) cooperated, and there is just about nothing better than watching two best friends commit to spend eternity together!