Sunday, November 27, 2011

Thankful Days 23-28

Sorry for the thankful blogging hiatus. Nate was home early on Tuesday and was off for the rest of the week so the girls and I were busy soaking up every moment with him possible!! Gosh, I love family time! Anyway, here goes the catch up!

Thankful Day #23: All Recipes
I love this site. It is my go-to site for recipes and most every recipes has turned out so good! Thanks all recipes for making our tummies oh, so happy!
Thankful Day #24: Thanksgiving

This year was my first year hosting Thanksgiving and I was SOO thankful that we pulled it off without a hitch (probably because I was NOT in charge of the turkey)! OK, well dinner was actually ready 45 minutes later than we hoped, but it was all so yummy! Everyone brought delicious food that I had been craving all week. Kevin smoked a turkey and had smoked gravy that went along with it. The turkey, along with the mashed potatoes, was my absolute favorite part of the entire spread. I seriously could have eaten it all but my friends probably would have been pretty grossed out :)
Here's the gang, minus all the kiddo's.
A very poor picture of the spread/kitchen setup.
My pretty stuffing from Allrecipes. To be honest, I think I put WAY too many craisins in it!
The tots were all so good while they happily ate their popcorn while watching Snow White.
We also busted out the ping-pong table. Tyrus was the champion of the night... and all the other nights :)
Me, Ruby, and my good friend Haley.
We had such an awesome Thanksgiving! Thanks to all of those who joined us and made it spectacular!

Thankful Day #25: My Dedicated Husband

One thing I made clear to Nate several weeks ago was that I wanted him to put Christmas lights up the day after Thanksgiving and he happily agreed. What he, and I, didn't realize was how terrifying the process was going to be.

Our house has a lower roof, and an upper roof and both of them are pretty steep. To make it even more nerve-wracking, it was super slick! Every time Nate made a move, the grit on the roof would come off and run down the sides. This made Nate a wee bit nervous.

Nate, laying on the roof to ensure his safety. He was not very happy with me taking pictures of him while he was trying not to slide off the roof but I had to preserve the memory :)
If we thought the lower roof would be difficult and scary, the upper roof was 10x worse! We borrowed our friends 15 foot ladder that just barely reached the bottom of the top roof. I held the ladder for Nate while he climbed up it and when he got to the top he was shaking. I realized then just how high and dangerous it was and told him he didn't have to do it and it wouldn't be worth it if he fell off. But he went ahead with it anyway because he knew I wanted the lights up. This man spoils me! I felt okay since I knew he was going very slowly and was mindful of all his movements.

My studly husband finishing up the upper roof...

Anyway, I found out later that day that several people have actually died trying to put up their Christmas lights and falling off the roof. After I heard this I really felt like the worlds worst wife and that I have the worlds best husband. We may just keep these lights up for the remainder of our stay here in Durham, haha! Thanks babe for risking your life on the super steep and slick roof, just to make me so happy! You're amazing!

Thankful Day #26: Christmas Decorations

I started to decorate while Nate was doing lights, but when we realized how dangerous it was, I stayed outside and saved the decorating until the next day. I was SOO excited to decorate because we bout a bunch of awesome decorations last year after Christmas at Sears that were on sale. Anyway, here are a few pics...

The train around our tree...
Our Christmas village...
Most of the inside setup...
We finished our decorating and cleaned everything up. We had friends over and had a fabulous time. After everyone left, Nate went to return a redbox and came home with pizza. We turned the lights off and all the Christmas decorations were lit up and our little family watched Elf while eating our pizza. It was complete bliss. I love the feelings of Christmas, especially with my little family and I love my family more than anything!

Thankful Day #27: Evey

My girls LOVE dogs, especially Lyla. Every week day we take our friends puppy, Evey, out to go potty while her owners are at school and work. This has been really great for my girls to get some interactions with dogs since we fully intend to get one in the future. We've been doing this for the past month and my girls have sort of developed a bond with this pup. Anyway, our friends were leaving town this past weekend and asked if we would be able to watch Evey while they were gone and we happily accepted!

We seriously had such a great time! There were a few hiccups here and there, but nothing that the 4 of us couldn't handle. Ruby has learned how to defend her face when Evey attacks her with slobbery kisses. Lyla has felt so comfortable wrestling around with "Evey Girl" and has had a blast playing with her. Evey was also very protective of the girls. When we put them to bed the first night, she sat at the top of the stairs as their "watch dog". And when we sent Lyla to timeout, Evey went and sat dutifully next to her the entire time. Lyla LOVED that!

Anyway, this has been the perfect way for us to get our "dog fix" while we aren't able to care for one ourselves at this point in our lives. And Lyla wasn't even upset when she went home because she knew we see Evey all the time. Perfect setup if you ask me!

Evey was sooo patient with Lyla!
Lyla loves this pup!

Thankful Day #28: Family Time

I just have to say how much I LOOOOOVED having Nate home for such a long time. It was all about family and the girls and I ate up every moment! Complete, Christmasy bliss! Nate seriously is the greatest father and husband and he is the calm to our emotional storms! Now, he only has 2 more weeks of crazy, I mean class, and then finals. After that he gets an entire month off!!! Oh, I can't wait!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Thankful Day #22: When Daddy Comes Home

Today was sort of a meltdown day. It started off when Nate left for school this morning, Lyla started screaming and crying. I quickly ran downstairs and she was staring out the door window just crying and crying. Here was our conversation:

Me: Lyla are you ok? What happened? (The sobs continue and so I crouch down next to her and give her a hug) Oh, are you sad that dad left?
Lyla: Still sobbing, she nods her head.
Me: Oh sweetie, It's ok. He is just going to school. He'll be back later. (She continues the crying). Do you want me to call dad so you can talk to him?
Ly: No! I don't like him!!!
Me: What? That's not true, you love daddy.
Ly: I just want him hooome! Sobs continue...

I tell her it's going to be alright and that he was getting home early tonight and we were going to have 5 days with him all to ourselves, etc. This seems to stop her crying almost completely but she was still pretty emotional. So I walk into the kitchen and call Nate as he was still on his way to school and tell him what happened. So he asked to talk to her and I put the phone on speaker next to Lyla so he could talk to her and I could translate since I was pretty sure she wouldn't say anything.

You know when you're feeling really emotional and upset about something and when you see or hear that person, it takes everything within you to keep your tears from gushing out? Well, that's exactly how it was for Lyla. As soon as Nate started talking to her and trying to reassure her that everything was going to be ok, she was just silent and was working sooo hard to keep from losing it, occasionally letting out the high pitched little whimper. It was the saddest thing I had ever seen!

And then the emotions somehow transferred to me later in the day. Lyla ended up being in a great mood, thankfully. But I think it was a combo of different things going on for me... worries, children (and dogs) not listening to me, never ending cleaning, and some other things. So when I called Nate to see when he was coming home, it was me who was trying to hold it together and not unleash the waterworks.

And somehow, when Nate got home, everything was better for all of us. We all went to Chik-Fil-A for dinner and then went shopping for our Thanksgiving Extravaganza (I LOVE grocery shopping with my whole family!). The best part of our night (besides being together) was Lyla. The store we shop at has double seater, race car shopping carts where two kids can sit in the cart that looks like a car and they have little drivers wheels. The girls LOVE these carts and it makes shopping with them bearable and even fun! But when we went to get the car cart, Lyla saw something even better–a mini shopping cart with a huge obnoxious flag that says "Customer in Training"– and her eyes just lit up!! So the whole time, she dutifully carted along right by my side with such a proud look on her face! She wouldn't let anyone else push her cart and she wanted that thing filled to the brim! And then when it came to check out, she hand delivered every item in her cart, one-by-one, to the cashier. It was sooo cute and the cashier was very patient and encouraging. Hopefully next time she'll figure out the concept of moving out of people's way, not running into shelves, not running at all, etc.

Thanks Nate, for being so patient with your emotional girls. We LOOOVE you!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Thankful Day #20 & 21

Thankful Day #20: Relief Society

Because I don't know of any other organization that takes care of its members the way the Relief Society does. I've seen it's power throughout my life growing up with all these amazing women helping my mom AND my family every single day. I've seen it play out in my own life after I moved out of the house through visiting teaching, my Relief Society president, and others. I've served in Relief Society presidencies and just felt a unexpected amount of love for each of the sisters, even if I didn't know them. I couldn't explain it except that I truly felt Christ's love for them. The Relief Society organization is so inspired and a blessing in mine, and many others lives. I love the Relief Society!!

Thankful Day # 21: Hot showers

I loooove a nice, hot shower! Nate thinks my showers are scalding, but I think they are perfect. And I feel so good after I have showered. If I skip a day of showering I just feel gross, unmotivated, and tired. A nice, hot shower makes my days soo much better! :) Shower, shower, shower!

PS: Baths are pretty amazing as well, but I always take a nice hot shower when I am done with my bath!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Thankful Day #18 & 19

Thankful Day #18: Modern Medicine

Because let's be honest, a lot of us wouldn't be here if it weren't for that. Here are a few things I am thinking of:
  • Epidural: I am convinced that the epidural keeps me wanting to have kids.
  • All medications, chemotherapies, etc. that help us fight for our lives against horrible diseases.
  • Medicines for headaches and migraines!
  • If we were born way back when, my sweet Lyla would not have been able to walk due to her clubbed feet.
  • Muscle relaxers that have helped my hubs back when he has problems with it and the really strong doses of them that made my mom's life livable.
  • Ultrasounds, xrays, ct scans, mri's, etc.
I just feel so blessed to be a part of this generation where we have so much knowledge, medicine, doctors, hospitals, etc. that help us to survive and live long and healthy lives!

Thankful Day #19: Technology

Computers, the internet, digital camera's where you can see if you actually like your picture, cars, radio, i-pods, photoshop. The list goes ooooooooonnnnnnnn!!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Thankful Day #17: My Lyla Girl

I am sooooooo thankful for my Lyla girl. In a few weeks she will turn 3 and I just can't believe it! I already feel like she is a little girl now and not a toddler! Whaaa????

This little girl one of the lights of my life and here is why...
  • She has THE best facial expressions I have ever seen! I have several pictures of them that are just priceless and make me laugh every time I see them.
  • She has the cutest belly laugh I have ever heard! And so does Ruby.
  • I love watching her with Ruby. She loves her sister and to hug and squeeze her! And she is getting much better at sharing with her.
  • Her eyes completely light up every time Nate and I sit down to play with her, but she sometimes will try to hide her excitement as if trying not to lose her cool :)
  • She is a great eater.
  • She's an even better sleeper! Last night I put her down to bed early as a punishment at 6:30. She woke up with some tummy aches a few times later in the evening so we made a bed for her on our floor. Then she slept until 7:30 and waited so patiently until 8:15ish for Nate and I to finally get out of bed and make breakfast. Heavenly Father blessed me with ANGEL sleepers!
  • Lately she has become a really big cuddle bug. I think Ruby sparked some competition in her!
  • Whenever Nate gets home, she just starts laughing uncontrollably as soon as she see's or hears him because she knows he's going to come tickler her.
  • She is suuuper dramatic and loves to pretend. She is going to be an actress one day, I just know it!
  • She's super smart. I love listening to and watching her learn and remember things.
  • Any time she see's a picture of a beautiful, blonde model she says "Look! It's my mom!" Thanks for the confidence boost Ly!
  • She is starting to actually want to be just like me. This really helps me to shape up. But it's usually looks she wants to imitate. She'll often ask me to do her hair like mine. So we'll blow dry and straighten it occasionally. One day I did my hair like hers and her eyes just lit up when she noticed! And then the other day I was wearing a hat and she wanted to wear one just like me. I know this won't last forever so I am eating it up while I can!
  • We are best buds!
  • And there is more but I'll spare you the rest...
She does have days when she is very tantrumy or she doesn't listen very well, but they are always usually when she is super tired, hungry, or genuinely upset. And I know that post I did a few days ago about our doctors office visit sounds horrific. And it was. It was absolutely horrifying for everyone involved. But in the end, I can't blame the girl one bit! She has had several traumatic doctor visits that completely merit her response and protectiveness over Ruby.

In the end though, the day I had Lyla was the day that the BEST change in my life occurred. I became a mom. My heart expanded beyond what I thought was possible. She was and is my mini-me! I grew a protectiveness in me that I never knew existed. Seeing her having to go through treatments for her clubfoot was so sad, but I was so grateful that I just felt peaceful through it all. I honestly feel that Heavenly Father put her in my life to help me grow in all the ways he needed me to. I love my sweet Lyla!

Where's Lyla?

I posted several of these pics on Facebook but we had so much fun taking these pictures! Here are some of my favorites....
Crazy Face
Sad face
Laughing at our previous sad face
Love you Ly, and I am THANKFUL for you!!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Thankful Day #16 - To be living in a house

I know I have talked about this before, but I am sooo grateful that I live in a house now... even if we are just renting it. We had lived in small two bedroom apartments our whole married lives and they each were great places. Our last apartment was great and perfect for us for a little while. But I began to go completely stir crazy.

I think it was a combination of having a second child, the cooold Chicago weather, only having 1 car so I was often stuck at home, zero natural light, always worrying about disturbing the neighbors below when Ly would throw a tantrum or something, and then probably a little depression from my mom passing. And Nate was always really busy at work.

So when I thought about us moving to Durham and being really poor students and living in yet another tiny 2 bedroom while practically never seeing my husband, I felt very unsupportive and unexcited! I just told Nate that I would be a much more supportive, happy, and loving wife while he did school if I could just live in a house... (and to have a second car so I could actually take advantage of the awesomeness of Durham). I know this makes me sound soooo spoiled, and maybe I am, but I have been a very happy and supportive wife while Nate is gone allll day long almost every day for school.

So when we found this house that was within our price range, it was a huge answer to our prayers! This is our place. I don't have to worry about bothering neighbors if the girls run around. I don't feel trapped. We have plenty of natural light. We have a garage that actually connects to our house (say whaaa???). We have the perfect setup here for our family. We have a big backyard where the kids can just run around and play (even though Ruby doesn't go back there yet). I am just so thankful that we live here. I feel like I am on vacation all the time :)

Thanks Nate for putting up with your high maintenance wife!! :)

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Thankful Day #15: When I Learn Something About Myself

Thankful Day #15: When I Learn Something About Myself

I think in the past I have struggled with identifying what I want to like vs. what I actually do like. And sometimes I get in my head that I want or need to be good at certain things, or I try to make it some hobby of mine. Does that make sense? Let me tell you, it is overwhelming! Here are some examples...
  • I want to be one of those people who just loves to cook and bake. I do like cooking and baking and I make good stuff. I just don't like to do it every night. It overwhelms me. Probably because of the mess I have to clean up afterwards.
  • I want to feel like cleaning is therapeutic, but it is sort of torture for me. I sound like a teenager, I know. But when things are clean and orderly, I feel more at peace and in control.
  • I want to get to all those projects sitting in my garage (repainting a blanket box and 2 bookshelves, re-doing our coffee table and our kitchen table), but I do not have the time!!
  • I want to read a book or two every month, but by the time I have the time to do it, I'm just too dang tired.

Anyway, I think I had just been trying to do too much and I just felt really overwhelmed. There is just not enough time in the day to do so. So, I started to try and figure myself out and what I really want and enjoy and accepting myself for it. Let me tell you, it really has been such a weight off my shoulders! So here is what I have figured out...

Having a clean home is therapeutic to me, but cleaning itself is not. So, I decided that I would clean for about 45 minutes every morning and then be done with it for the rest of the day. Well actually, we do a clean up with the girls before bed. I am hoping that will make sure things stay picked up, cleaned, and orderly.

Still don't like to do this very much. But what I do is just buy meals for the week or two, make enough for leftovers, and I also get some easy meals. Freezer meals are also a great idea. This one time, a couple of friends of mine and I spent an entire day just cooking freezer meals. It was so fun and it provided a ton of meals that were so easy to assemble. I think I may start that again.

Things that are important to me (in no particular order):
Good, quality time with Nate and the girls. Sleep. Staying home with my girls and being able to raise them myself. Feeling like I contribute at home and financially. Everyone being happy. Time for me to just sit and relax. Church.

Things I have time for:
  • My kids. That includes feeding, changing, bathing, playing with, teaching, and crafting with them. And taking them to play groups, parks, etc.
  • Husband. He is so busy and is gone most the time. I take care of him by taking care of the kids, giving him food when he gets home, trying to keep the house clean, and you know, basic needs. I also make sure we get to spend some good quality time together before bed... probably more for me than him :)
  • Photography. I can take pictures of people on the weekends, and edit the pictures during nap times, while Nate is doing school stuff, etc.
  • Books. When I don't have pictures to edit, I can read the book club book.
  • My calling. Because let's be honest, I can't afford not to do my calling.
  • If I have a lazy Saturday or something where Nate is home, then I can do my projects sitting in my garage. More than likely I won't get to those until Christmas break.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Thankful Days 11, 12, 13, & 14

I have seriously been neglecting my thankful blogging but what can I say, I've been a little busy. So here goes.....

Thankful Day #11: For Duke because it has already proven to be a huge blessing in our lives and just continues to do so every day. It's such a privilege to be here.

Thankful Day #12: That Ruby got her two bottom teeth. I was really starting to wonder where they were!

Thankful Day #13: For good, one-on-one time with friends. I feel like you really get to know someone that way and create a bond. It's good stuff.

Thankful Day #14: That despite the fact that Lyla was/is a candyholic, she LOOOOVES fruits and vegetables. Especially carrots. We've pretty much gotten rid of her Halloween candy since she would go potty not because she actually had to go, but to get the treat itself. And she has made an awesome transition to eating vegetables or crackers instead. Yay, for a healthy tot!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

A visit to the doctor that I'd like to forget (and not forget).

Just had to document this outrageous experience today...

Ruby had her 1 year well visit today at the doctor's and oh man, it was a disaster! The whole thing!! Not because of Ruby... she was actually just fine. But Lyla. WOW!

We went straight to the doctor's from Lyla's dance class and Lyla was in a really great mood. She was super cute and talkative to all the doctor's and was just very sweet. Oh how quickly things turned! Our doctor was examining Ruby on the table and Ruby was reading an animal book and everything was fine. Lyla kept asking to get up and I told her she couldn't because there was no room. She started to throw a fit and so to avoid this, knowing there was still much to go over, I just let her sit up there and keep Ruby company while I talked to the doctor. So they read a book together.

THEN, Lyla started to rip up the paper on the table saying "Oh, no! I ripped it!" The doctor told her it was fine and so I didn't worry. But then, she started ripping it in little pieces and throwing them on the floor. So, I kindly asked her to stop and she got really mad at me and just spit. This, apparently, is her new thing when she is upset. Not cool.

Trying to avoid a scene, I just said "Lyla, we do not spit. If I see you do this again, you will have to get off the table, and go to time out". Long story short, she spit again about a minute later when I told her to stop doing something. So I said, "I'm sorry, we're going to have to get off the table now and sit in timeout". This. Set. Her. Off.

So, as I was trying to watch Ruby and make sure she was fine on the table, while also trying to pay attention to the doctor's counsel, Lyla was screaming and bawling hysterically. She was ripping paper from the table and then throwing it on the ground, picking up the pieces and throwing them all over again, throwing herself on the ground, ripping her jacket off and throwing it on the ground, and then again herself, all while in hysterics and huge tears coming down her face and saying things like "No mommy, NO!" and "I want my daaaaaddddyyyyy!!!!". The doctor and I did our best to ignore the tantrum.

Anyway, so when the doctor left and we were waiting for a nurse, I had a talk with Ly. We hugged, we talked, we took deep breaths, and she calmed down. She put her jacket back on, picked up all the pieces of paper on the floor and was ready to apologize to the doctor.

Then two nurses came in to draw some blood from Ruby. Ruby has been throwing up a little every time she eats something. Sometimes it's a lot, sometimes it's a little. But it always happens. After talking with the doctor, they decided to run some tests to be safe. Anyhoo... they put on a little tourniquet to find a vein and one nurse was holding that arm, while I held the other and the the other nurse was doing the poking. Curious Lyla went to take a look at what they were doing and she LOST IT. She was in complete hysterics flailing her body and burying her face into my body saying, "No, no, no, no, NOOOOOOO!!!!!! Please stop, please stop, STOP IT!!!! Mommy, daddy stoooopppppppp!! I don't want you to hurt heeeeeerrrrrrr!!! I want to go hoooomme!!" Over and over and over again. I kept trying to show her that Ruby was ok but she didn't seem to hear me :) Ruby cried when they initially poked her but she stopped crying after that and was fine. Lyla didn't care. SHE was not fine with it and then she started to make Ruby nervous and so Ruby kept looking back at Lyla freaking out and would cry nervously watching her but would stop pretty quickly.

When the nurses finished and left I was trying to get Lyla to calm down and was trying to show her that Ruby was fine and there was nothing to worry about. Then, another nurse came in with the vaccinations, or in Lyla's eyes, 4 needles. And that is when all hell broke lose. There is no other way to describe it. Lyla saw the needles and she lost it even more than the first time (if that was possible). We kept trying to tell her that they were to help her so she won't get sick later on, blahblahblah. She just kept bawling and bawling and finally said "I don't want you to poke her!! Please don't poke her!!! Don't poke heeeeerrrr!!!" It just crushed me because she was so sweet and protective over her baby sister. We kept trying to assure her that everything was fine and when she realized that she had zero control over what was going to happen, she had had it! She ran to the door, turned and gave us a look like (you guys are crazy, I'm outta here!), opened the door and booked it down the loooong hallway screaming and crying out "I WANT MY DADDY! I WANT MY DADDY! AHHHHH! I WANT TO GO HOOOOOOME!". I quickly passed Ruby off and chased after her and brought her back It was quite the scene. Her doctor then asked Lyla if she wanted to go read a book with her so I could be there with Ruby and Lyla decided that was ok.

After all the vaccinations, I went back out to get Lyla and she was calm but still really upset. As the doctor was summarizing all my to do's, I looked down at Lyla and she looked up at me with these big, wide, teary eyes and she quietly and sweetly said "Please, can we go home now, please?" Ah, it just broke my heart!! It was like the house of horror for her, that poor girl!

So we got Ruby dressed again, packed up our stuff and I had to finish filling out paperwork. During that time Lyla must have composed herself because before we left she said "I need to go apologize to the doctor!" I told her she didn't need to and that she had been through enough and I was sure they understood. But she insisted on apologizing.

It was so sweet and so sad to see how concerned Lyla was over Ruby. I, and all the nurses and doctors, were just shocked at how protective she was. It totally made me forget about being frustrated with her for misbehaving before. I just felt for the poor girl. I love my sweet Lyla and she sure does love her little sis.

Wish us luck when we go back for Lyla's 3 year well visit, haha!

Thankful Day #10: Ruby

Thankful Day #10: Ruby

I am thankful for my little Ruby, who just turned 1 a few weeks ago. Don't worry, I am grateful for Lyla as well but I'll get her later. Rub is such a delight in our home and she makes everyone around her smile. Seriously, how could you not love this face and those eyes?

She just started walking a week or two ago. The most she has taken is 6 steps or so, but she still crawls way more than she walks. Look at that cute, standing girl!

One of my favorite parts about Rub is her cackle laugh. She does this when she is running away from being tickled or something like that. I've tried to imitate it, but it scratches my throat and makes me cough. But that funny cackle laugh is always accompanied by this sweet laugh/smile...

Here are Ruby's stats...
Height: 29.3/8 inches (50%)
Weight: 23lbs 3oz (75%)
Head: 46.6cm (76-90%)

What she's up to:
  • She has her two upper molars but no other teeth.
  • LOVES water. As soon as I start the bath water, it takes everything I have to keep Ruby from climbing in (yes, she can climb in herself now) before her clothes are off. And when she goes swimming, it takes all my energy and attention to make sure she isn't trying to dive in head first while in her floatie thing. And also not to drink the chlorine water!
  • Makes a cute little scrunchie face where she purses her lips and furrows her eyebrows and breathes in and out really loudly and quickly. She also does this on command.
  • Her hair is straight in the front, curly in the back. And it's getting very long and into her eyes. I keep trying to decide if I should cut it or just let it be so it can grow out.
  • She is an awesome sleeper!! She goes to bed around 8 and wakes up around 8 (sometimes til 9!). She also takes about 5 hours worth of naps a day. She sleeps like her mother :)
  • Loves almost anything to eat that you put in front of her.
  • She can clap, just waved for the first time today, and can understand the word no.
  • She started to walk.
  • She has started to imitate.
  • Loves to be tickled and wrestled around with by her dad.
  • Loves her big sister and thinks she is hilarious.
  • Loves reading. It's like she has entered a magical world when she is in front of a book and points to things and turns the pages. It's super cute.
  • Is a lover of accessories. She will go to anyone with a necklace, bracelet, watch, earrings, etc.
  • Is the best snuggle bug in the world. We can't get enough of her snuggles and they just melt our hearts!
  • Loves to play on the "jumping couch" with Lyla.
  • Loves dogs and laughs hysterically when she encounters them.
  • Likes to drop the food she is done with on the floor.
  • Has found her voice and just talks and talks and talks like she is having a real conversation with us.
  • Has also found her screaming voice and loves to scream in a really high pitch really loudly. She especially enjoys screaming wars with Lyla.
  • Likes to pull all our dvd's off the shelf, dump toy food and blocks all over the toy room. She likes to make a mess!
  • Has just started to dance a little.
  • Is a mama's girl.
  • Laughs and smiles at just about everyone and everything.
  • Is just about the happiest baby around.
We love our sweet Ruby and we are so, so THANKFUL to have her in our family!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Thankful Day #9: A Loving Heavenly Father

Thankful Day #9: A Loving Heavenly Father

To say I am "grateful" for my Heavenly Father seems like an understatement. It is so much more than that. I owe him my LIFE and unfortunately, I don't think I always give it to him 100% like I should. I have had a really good life and have been blessed beyond what I can even comprehend. I know those blessings come from Him. Just like in everyone else's lives, I have also had times where I have just struggled. It has been during those hard times when my Father in Heaven sweetly lets me know that He is there for me, always has been, and always will be, in some way or another.

My Heavenly Father was right by my side throughout the whole process of my mom dying. I think my mom was, too. The day of her funeral was really tough. I rode with my stepdad on the way to the church building while we listened to her favorite Mormon Tabernacle Choir cd, and I was just feeling anxious. I had done a lot of the planning and I wanted to make sure everything looked right, that the display was in order, the flowers were received, etc. I wanted to look like I was put together. I was also supposed to speak, which I was fine with. Public speaking doesn't bother me. But the fact that this was all for my mom's funeral made it extremely overwhelming. This was a day that I had always known would come, but not as soon as it did. I felt so sick to my stomach, I was shaking from constant chills, and I was on the verge of losing it. So, before everyone got there I asked my stepdad to give me a priesthood blessing. I do not remember all the words that were said in that blessing, but I remember that immediately afterwards, I felt complete peace. My body wasn't shaking anymore, my stomach didn't hurt one bit, and for the entire day I felt the peace I needed to feel to get through that dreaded day.

I know without a shadow of a doubt that that blessing came directly from my Heavenly Father. He was there for me when I needed Him and He still is. I know that this is not the only occasion where I have had such a strong confirmation that He is there for me. He watches over me day by day, through good and bad, all the time. I know that when I come to Him in prayer, he listens and he answers. And he does the same for you. He knows our fears, our joys, our trials, our insecurities, our successes and failures. Everything. All he asks is that we let Him into our lives, our hearts, our minds, everything. Luke 11:9 reads, "And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you."

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Thankful Day #8 - Our busy life in Durham

Thankful Day #8 - Our busy life in Durham

One of the best parts about living here in Durham is how much there is to do for me and my girls. Between our ward and Fuqua Partner's, we really could do something every day if we wanted to. Take a look at our schedule:

Monday: Music Maker's
Tuesday: Fuqua Partner's park day
Wednesday: Playgroup with ward member's
Thursday: Dance class
Friday morning: Playgroup park day with the ward
Friday evening: Fuqua Friday

Yes, sometimes it can be overwhelming when you have a ton of laundry to do or when you need to clean the house. That is when we skip a park day or something like that. Then starting in January, Lyla gets to do joy school, which I think she will love. For now, Ly is loving music maker's (Ruby loves this one, too!) and dance class the best!

A big part of me thinks that Heavenly Father sent us here to Durham more for my sake than Nate's. Being this busy and involved has been a huge blessing in my life, especially with Nate being gone so much for school! And the fact that I get to do all this with my beautiful daughter's and really great friends makes it even sweeter :)

Monday, November 7, 2011

Thankful Day #7: Twilight (Don't judge me)

Thankful Day #7: The Twilight Saga

Don't judge me. I know this sounds so stupid but hear me out. I had never really been a reader. I thought reading books was sooooo boring and those who read them for fun led really lame lives. I was the student who always read cliff notes rather than the books themselves. Plus, no one in my family ever read for fun (at least from what I remember), so books were hardly a part of my life.

Then, one day at work, all these young girls were ranting and raving about this book that was "Amazing" and they all were like "You HAVE to read this book!". This was before New Moon had come out and before there was a huge media hype over it. Anyway, I randomly decided to head to the bookstore a couple of days after that and saw Twilight and read the first chapter and thought, "This chapter actually kept me interested. Hmm, I guess I'll give it a try ". So, I bought the book and took it home and Nate was really shocked and a little proud that I was actually going to read a book! Anyway, long story short, I really loved Twilight and it completely sucked me in! Yes, a lot of people trash talk the books because of its crappy writing but I don't really care too much about that. It's the story that sucked me in. And what got me the most excited was that I (me, Kelly who does not read books because it is lame but secretly always wanted to be a lover of books) actually got sucked into a book for the first time ever!

And so yes, I do like the whole series but I am most grateful that the books got me into reading a lot of other books that I have also really enjoyed. And right now I am even reading a BIOGRAPHY (I never thought I'd say that) and I am seriously enjoying it. Who am I? What have I done with myself? Thanks Steph Meyer for, you know, writing about hot vampires and such :)

PS: The biography I am reading is called Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand and it is really, really good so far!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Thankful Day #6 - Skype

Thankful Day #6: Skype

One downside and definitely the one of the hardest parts to living away from family is not being able to see, talk, and hang out with them on a regular basis. A couple of years ago Nate and I decided to get webcam's for his parents and my mom and Rik so we could chat with them on a regular basis and so our kids could put their names to their faces. Both sides of the family just loves this technology!

I guess there is just something about talking to someone face-to-face, rather than over the phone. Conversations last MUCH longer and everyone seem's to connect more. It makes it so my girl's don't "forget" who their grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and family friends are.

I truly LOVED getting to Skype with my mom. Their laptop would just sit on her lap and so the webcam would be shooting at an upward angle and we always had a really great view looking up her nose :) Which sounds so gross, but really it was so endearing. But I loved watching her expressions as we told her things and then listening to her chat about whatever was on her mind. I loved watching her use up all her energy to blow kissy faces toward my girls. It was just like we were there with her at her blue chair. Gosh, I miss her.

Tonight I was Skyping with my brother Scott and my stepdad Rik and it really was just what I needed. I have been a total crab all day long and I have no idea why. But I had so much fun being able to chat with two people whom I love dearly. And then after Scott left Rik's house, I kept talking with Rik and we just chatted as if we were there with each other playing cards, and not across the country. It had been quite a while since he and I have chatted. I was able to talk to him about a few things that I have really been struggling with lately and about how much I miss my mom, and he was able to do the same. It was just what I needed for my crabby mood today. You don't always get those sorts of things when you're on the phone. Sometimes I feel like Skype is a virtual hug :)

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Thankful Days 4 & 5

Thankful Day #4: The Indian Culture
Well, most other cultures I also really appreciate. But yesterday I was feeling sort of sluggish but things became SO much better when me, Nate and the girls went to an Indian celebration. Duke has what they call "Fuqua Friday's" where every Friday they feed the students and their families and we all have a great time. Yesterday was probably the best FF yet!

It was at a hotel hosted by the South Asian Business Club to celebrate Diwali, the Indian Festival of Lights! There was delicious Indian food, a couple of Henna booths, and DANCING!! Oh the dancing! At first no one was really dancing that much, but Lyla was just drooling over the few who did get on the dance floor to strut their stuff. When I finished eating I took Lyla to the dance floor and that's when the party REALLY started! The music was awesome and we looked like a couple of foolish white girls, but oh we had so much fun. And I found that Lyla really likes break dancing! She kept getting on the floor and spinning herself in circles and when she wasn't doing that, she would STUDY everyone else's moves. Oh man, we had so much fun and we were just sweaty and gross by the end of the day!

Anyway, I loved everything about last night. I loved the clothes, the colors, the food, the music. EVERYTHING! Oh man, we truly had a great time!

Thankful Day #5: Our new furniture
A family in our ward was moving and sent an email out saying they were giving stuff away and on the list were a 6 drawer dresser and a love seat couch. These were the exact two pieces of furniture I was really wanting to get for our home but just did not have the money. So when I saw these two on that list, I quickly sent my claim!

The couch we didn't NEED, but have thought it would just complete our toy room. It's older, but has a really nice and comfortable slip cover and it truly looks SOO nice in that room. Plus it is REALLY comfortable! But we use it to watch movies on, family scripture study and prayer, and it's the girls "official jumping zone". I told them they can't jump on or off anything else but that couch. It is PERFECT!

The dresser, on the other hand, we did need and when Nate brought it home, I was SOO excited! The girls did not have a dresser in their room and we were using our changing table to put their folded laundry on. To say it wasn't working is an understatement! Everyday the clothes just ended up being pulled off and onto the floor and just created a big mess. And then I started to confuse what was clean and not clean! The dresser was in really great shape and already had a coat of primer on it! So we just painted it a nice cream color and it looks fabulous! We decided to keep the mirror the same color it was before because it matches both of our cribs pretty well.

And the best part of these two items is that they were FREE!!!!!!! Heavenly Father answers prayers, people... we just have to be patient :)

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Thankful Day #3 - Music and Dance

I am thankful for music because it moves my very soul and makes me feel on such a deep level. I don't know what it is, but it can make me laugh, cry, get extremely giddy and excited, make me want to dance around uncontrollably. I love music!! There are a few songs in particular that when they start playing, I just sort of stop everything and breathe in their beauty. Anyway, here is one of those songs that I first heard in the modern day Romeo and Juliet (with Leonardo DiCaprio... my celebrity crush since Titanic :))

I promise this is not as risque as it looks :)

But when you combine music with DANCE, oh man... that just kills me in all the right ways. So You Think You Can Dance is one of my favorite shows and these dances are a few of my favorites ever. Seriously, take the time to watch because these dances are phenomenal!

The first, Bleeding Love performed by Mark and Chelsea... Dancing, song, story, oh man!

This Woman's Work, performed by Melissa and Ade is a dance about breast cancer... makes me cry every time. Watch it!

Gravity, performed by Kayla and Kupono... a dance about addiction. Gosh, this dance makes me so grateful I don't battle with addiction and so sad for those who do. Sooo good!

And just so you don't think that I only like sad songs and dances, do yourself a favor and check these bad boys out. I couldn't embed these next two in here but they are some sweeeeeeet hip hop songs that seriously make me consider creating a double life where I have some wicked cool moves like these...

My chick Bad - Twitch and I think her name is Lauren. This makes me want to be in a western.

Outta Your Mind - performed by Twitch and Alex. This just makes me want to get outta my mind and LOSE IT! :)

And this one performed by Danny and Lauren just makes me blissfully happy and gets me smiling :)

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Sick and Thankful November

For two weeks in October the girls and I were sick and homebound for 2 weeks straight. It was horrible! Thankfully we got over it and everything was normal and happy. That was until Halloween night I got a random headache right before bed. I thought I could just sleep it off but it just got worse and worse. I finally got up around 2:?? am and got myself some ibuprofen and was able to fall asleep. When I woke up, I was feeling fine but with symptoms that felt like I COULD be getting sick, but I wasn't sure. By the time it hit about 3-4ish in the afternoon yesterday, I definitely felt sick. My nose was constantly running, I felt lethargic, my throat felt funny. I slept terribly last night because of my runny nose. And now today, I feel worse than ever. I'm congested, my head hurts, my stomach aches, I feel nauseous if I do anything besides sit here or lie down, and my ears even ache a little. I would love it if Nate could come home so I can curl up in a ball and sleep forever. For now though, my girls will have to get by with half a mom.

Anyway, I'm obviously feeling a little cranky and this is NOT how I wanted to start my November. So I decided to join the "Thankful November" blog thing and blog about something I am thankful for every day and hopefully that will keep my feeling positive. Hopefully I can do it. I'll submit two things since I missed yesterday.

1. Nate: I know this is kind of an obvious one. But I am thankful for him because when he came home from his LONG day yesterday to a messy house and no dinner made, he wasn't even upset. He just helped finish getting the girls ready and in bed and then HE made ME some fajita's for dinner and then forced me to go to bed right after our show Parenthood. What a stud!

Thankful #2: My Vacuum: I seriously use this bad boy at least once a day. Miss Ruby loves to throw her food everywhere when she eats and rather than using a broom and sweep around the legs, the vacuum hose does the trick so easily and quickly. And it cleaned up Lyla's spilled cereal today (without milk). In fact, I use it for the entire kitchen, the bathroom's, all the bedroom's, and sometimes for the living room. Thank you vacuum for working so efficiently!

Happy November everyone!!!