1.24.2015

Without You

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I never thought I’d know how it feels.

It still feels like it can’t be real.

There’s no way he could be gone. I just don’t understand.

He’s always been there. He’s never let me down. But he isn’t here. He’s no where to be found.

I wish he was here to see my next daughter born. But mostly just to hold my mother’s hand.

 

I never knew how much it would hurt. Before, I’d hear of friend’s losses and care, but not understand. We never expect it to happen to us. Our dads are fearless and strong, we can’t picture them vulnerable and sick. But now I know their bodies fail. And life without them can never be the same.

Today I attended the first funeral since my dad’s. It was difficult and I thought about his most the time. My grandfather’s brother passed away at the age of 92, leaving behind a beautiful posterity of dozens of grandchildren and great grandchildren that loved him immensely. Comparing his death to my father’s was surprising to me. I often feel annoyed and angry that my dad had to die at the young age of 53, when so many children get to enjoy their parents for so much longer. But today I realized, while listening and seeing each of this great man’s children tell of their memories and love, that age does not change the grief.

He had nearly 40 years longer on this earth, a lifetime to many. But, the impact of his loss was the same on those he loved. I watched as his widow, my sweet great Aunt Edith, walked behind his casket. Her grief was as great as my mother’s, even though she was able to enjoy much more earthly time with him. A lifetime is never enough; our souls always seek for more. I believe that the eternal nature of our spirit is constantly reaching for life and love outside of this world. Maybe that’s why these losses hurt so much.

Our bodies ache for our loved ones and the memories we can no longer create on earth, while our souls are holding on to all the time we had with them and will have again. They know something more. Because of the beautiful things the gospel has taught me, I fully believe that I will see my father again. We will walk hand in hand and never have to say goodbye. He will be in my spirit’s life eternally.

Although I am often jealous when I see families enjoying their fathers for far longer than I was able to, or seeing couples growing old together while my mother adjusts to life as a widow, I know that it is temporary. A spirit’s life is eternal and if we live a life of love, we can live forever. This knowledge is priceless to me; it brings me so much comfort. I can’t imagine not knowing that families can be together forever.

 

For now our hearts and bodies hurt as we miss our father, friend and love~ but someday soon we will be with him again.

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1.12.2015

Nursery #2

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Well, last week was my first full week as a stay at home momma! I have been anxious to put together a ‘nursery’ for our baby girl that is due in less than 3 weeks and so that was the first thing I worked on. It is pretty much done and I love how it turned out!

All of this is in our bedroom (we only have a 2 bedroom and I don’t want her and Vivi in the same room yet), so I was working with limited space. Scott helped my arrange everything and although he has very little room on his side of the bed, he says it works great. Where my head lies on our bed is right next to the baby’s bassinet, so ideally I can nurse and then ‘co-sleep’ easier, without having her sleep in our bed. 

We found the bassinet on KSL.com and I love it! We got it for $50 and it looks brand new. It retailed for $140, so I felt like we got a great deal. My mom sewed a new mattress cover for it, but everything else is original and I think it matches my color scheme perfectly!

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My cousin Candice sold us the beautiful changing table for $30 and my grandpa actually painted it for her after she found it online or secondhand somewhere. I love it! We got the changing pad on ksl.com for $10 and then my mom sewed the cover with the pink polka dot fabric I found at Hobby Lobby. I also found the pillow shams at Hobby Lobby (I already had old throw pillows to fill them). Those will go on our bed once the baby is actually here. The baskets were found at Hobby Lobby as well (50% off) and I painted the gold basket that I already had. I did buy the wooden LYLA letters at Hobby Lobby and painted/glittered them. We still haven’t entirely chose the name Lyla or Isabelle. We are waiting until we meet her to decide 100%!

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The only other items I purchased that I didn’t already have were the lamp and deer head. The deer was 50% off at Hobby Lobby ($30) and the lamp was $20 at Ross. My mom gave me the cute little star frame she found at a thrift store and I painted/glittered it.

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My mom helped me sew our little paper banners together. I have been having major braxton hicks lately and can barely do anything at all strenuous without constant cramping. And by strenuous I mean walking or standing or painting, etc. So just cutting papers while trying to entertain a toddler was a tall order and having my mom’s help was so nice. I cut and she sewed and it was so much easier than gluing or stapling, etc. I can only use 3m hooks to hang stuff in my apartment, so taping really light paper to the walls turned out to be a great idea. 

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For the dresser, we actually got that for free from someone in my parent’s neighborhood a few months ago. It was already a pretty white, but I painted the top with DecoArt’s Glorious Gold Metallic Paint (found at HL for $8.99). It took a lot of coats, but they dried super quick so I was able to finish it in one day. We sprayed it with a sealant spray paint. I used a Gold Leafing pen made by Krylon (found at HL for $7.99) to brighten the knobs and fixtures and also sprayed them with the sealant. I love how it looks and hopefully the people that gave it away never see these photos because they may decide to reclaim it! All in all I spent about $200 on everything and somehow stayed within budget, to Scott’s relief.

Now that everything is done I am just in countdown mode and trying to spend as much time with Vivi that I can. It will be so much different to have two children and I know I will miss giving her all my attention. I am still planning a VBAC and everything seems to be good to go. I’m down to weekly appointments with my midwives and will get checked out tomorrow afternoon, actually. I hope and pray the delivery goes smooth. Can’t wait to meet our sweet baby girl~

1.07.2015

Mandy’s 19th Birthday!

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My favorite little sister turned 19 on January 3rd! She probably isn’t a big fan of having a January birthday, but I love it because we immediately have something to celebrate and plan for right after the holidays. This year we went bowling together and had a really good time at Fat Cats in Provo.

Vivi was really into it and loved helping us bowl and pushing the ball down the little ramp.

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Tiff dominated us and I struggled a bit since my body is just a little disproportionate right now. After awhile I just let Vivi bowl during my turn and she couldn’t get enough. She is so sweet and makes our lives so much happier. We would be so bored without her! :)

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Mandy chose dinner at the Brick Oven afterwards, where some more family joined us. They have the best homemade rootbeer and of course the pizza is great. Vivi was in heaven going from mine to Grandma to Nene’s laps, eating off our plates. She loves her some pizza- but especially olives.

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After dinner we all met at our apartment to open gifts and have birthday cake~

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Here’s our traditional sibling pic! {Tina was sick}

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Scott told me not to post this next one but of course that encouraged me to even more {even though it really shows how massive I am with this pregnancy}. Isn’t my husband attractive?

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Happy Birthday Mandy!

Thanks for letting all of us celebrate with you~

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We love you!

1.03.2015

2015 is Here!

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We rang in the New Year at my momma’s house and had a good time with my sisters. We started the night off at Red Rock Brewery in Sandy for some delicious food! My mom wasn’t feeling well, so she stayed home. We were thinking of going to Cheesecake Factory, but the wait was insane and it is always over packed. I’m glad we went with Red Rock- it was really yummy and a nice atmosphere.

On December 31st Scott was offered a full time position with Regence Blue Cross Blue Shield! So, we were celebrating more than just the new year- a new job as well! It also happened to be my last day at Farmers. We have a lot of changes going on for 2015 and are really excited to see what life will be like with them. Scott will be a Provider Consultant with Regence and help educate hospitals and practices on new Blue Cross Blue Shield insurance initiatives that can benefit them. He is super excited to be done with school and providing for our family. I am amazed that I get to be a full time mom and stay home with my sweet babes. It will be so different, but much simpler and sweet, I think. We are beyond grateful that everything happened when it did- it was a true blessing for us.

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We went back to my mom’s to wait until midnight, watching the ball drop and playing some games. I made a little banner earlier that week, so of course I made everyone take pictures with it! I love this picture of Tiff and Vivi~ she really loves her aunts! One is posing with her, another making her smile.

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I tried to get a good picture of our little family for a ‘Christmas’ card…aka New Years card and I think this is the best one~ However those never got created or sent out, so I’m thinking our baby’s announcement photos will be our Christmas letter this year. I really love receiving all our friend’s and family’s cards, so I want to make sure and keep up the tradition on our end.

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When I reflect back on this year, I can’t help but be ready for a new, fresh start. 2014 was a tough year for me. Life as a working mom was difficult and even when I had an end date set, I felt I couldn’t go on another week or day sometimes and it was a struggle to balance everything. Working from home was a luxury some days but also incredibly difficult on others. I’ve also spent 8 months of the year pregnant and this pregnancy has definitely been my hardest so far. I am very anxious to get some energy back and hopefully become pain free once the baby is born. Scott was gone a lot finishing school and that meant some lonely nights for me and Vivi, not to mention long nights for him. Losing my dad was the toughest thing and his sickness during the first five months of the year was a strain on everyone. Sometimes it feels like every year I age, life only gets more difficult. But, aging also brings more joys, I think.

Last year we also had so many fun celebrations and happy days~ Watching Vivi grow up and celebrating her 1st birthday was so fun. I can’t imagine life without her and I’m so thankful to be a mother to such a sweet, smart little girl. Even being with family and friends at my father’s funeral was a highlight- it has made our extended family that much more important and special to us. I loved our few visits with Scott’s family and feeling their love and support. It has been tough to be away from them while Scott has been in school, but they are so supportive and proud of him. I won’t talk about everything, because I’ve posted about many of our ups and downs already this year; which makes me so glad I kept a blog for another year. Thanks for following along on our little family’s adventures~

Cheers to 2015!!!

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12.27.2014

Christmas 2013

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This year we got to spend Christmas with my mom and most my family besides Jared. It was supposed to be our year with the Schlegels, but we opted against travelling this late in my pregnancy. My favorite part of Christmas, besides all the festivities leading up to it, is Christmas Eve. It feels so magical and everyone is excited and happy. Notice how picture perfect my mom’s house is. It takes so much work, but makes everything so special.

We all got to enjoy a delicious dinner made by my mom. Our tradition is steak and shrimp, but this year we opted for a roast instead. My dad usually cooked the steak and shrimp and we definitely missed having him around for that and I’m sure my mom missed his help. It is strange to celebrate without him, but also makes perfect sense. He loved Christmas and our traditions and although it will never be the same, we felt his love and spirit with us because he has made our family what it is. To be honest, it still feels so surreal that he is gone. Its like he is just away for a little while and will walk in and join our conversation or our card game someday. Sometimes I think time passing will just make it more difficult and ‘real.’ We never expected to have to spend Christmas without him and that hurts, but gratefully we have so many wonderful memories together.

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This year I volunteered to make a Christmas Eve dessert! I had been wanting to make a red and white cake for awhile and thought this was the perfect occasion (yes, these are the kinds of things I think about). We usually just put together a plate of all the homemade goodies we’ve made but instead saved some room for this red velvet and cheesecake cake! I used this recipe with a white chocolate buttercream of my own creation (aka I don’t remember how I made it or what I put in it). I was really happy with how it turned out and everyone said it was good. Win win!

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After reading the Christmas story and singing lots of carols and Christmas hymns, we got to open our jammies! My mom is the best and still buys us grown folks Christmas jammies and we all look forward to it!

Here are the matching ladies: (I was a little too large to fit into ‘normal’ PJs, so I got a beautiful robe that I love)

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Like usual, we all slept over and made an agreement to not wake up until at least 8 am. Even Vivi complied, yay!

We had the best surprise in the morning: SNOW!!! It hasn’t felt like Christmas because the weather has been ugly and pretty warm for Utah, so we were all amazed that we got a White Christmas! It felt pretty magical. We all woke up somewhat together and got to look through our stockings. Ever since we’ve been married, Scott and I have only given each other stocking stuffers and kept a low budget. I think its great because it causes us to put more thought into our gifts. Stockings were always my favorite part any way and my mom still adds things to ours making it even more of a surprise. Vivi loved her stocking and grandma and ‘Nene’ added lots of goodies to it!

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Before opening the gifts under the tree we all enjoyed a delicious breakfast of sticky buns, sausage, egg casserole and probably a lot more I’m forgetting. We eat well at my momma’s house!

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Vivi’s gift from Santa was the Curious George Tea Set above. She loved it! She is so sweet and petite with it. We always have to lay a towel underneath because her water pouring skills are lacking, but she has lots of fun giving everyone ‘drinks’. She got a ton more toys from both grandmas and ever since Christmas she has played a lot more on her own because of all the fun things she got- so I am very grateful! We all got so many amazing and thoughtful gifts and as usual I felt way too spoiled. I am always amazed at how giving everyone is and I don’t know why I deserve it! {There are no  pictures because we pretty much have a rule that we don’t have to be photographed or look presentable at all on Christmas. I definitely stayed in my robe all day.}

Vivienne was so excited to see all the snow outside and we didn’t even change her out of her pajamas before we let her go play in the ‘ice’. She ate a bunch and made a tiny snowman with her daddy. Ice is her favorite food, so this was pretty much a dream come true for her and has been ever since.

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My grandparent’s stopped by for a little while in the morning and opened their gift from all their daughters. It was a Smart Phone! Pretty much the best android on the market right now and my grandma has been wanting one for awhile. My sisters have spent time teaching her and she is doing great with it. I am impressed by her desire to stay up to date on technology~ I know she does it all to stay in touch with her family, even though it can be difficult. My grandparents are so great; we love them so much.

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Like most families, we spent the day lounging around, eating homemade goodies, enjoying our gifts and playing  lots of games. We did leave the house at night when it started snowing again and went on a ride to see some lights. We went for at least an hour and although Vivi was tired (I fed her snow from the top of the truck to keep her happy) we saw some pretty amazing light shows that people had put to music. But,  the tree in my mom’s back yard is still my favorite~ lit up and covered with snow.

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Merry Christmas to you and yours~

12.23.2014

Christmas Baking

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This year we did lots of baking! So of course I loved it! Plus, with it being freezing cold and being 8 months pregnant, there wasn’t a whole lot else we could do. One Sunday night we decorated sugar cookies after my mom rolled them out and baked them (for hours! Seriously, its a big job) for us. Vivi did great and loved putting frosting on her cookies. And of course eating them too.

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I think I ended up making about 3 or 4 batches of these peanut butter kiss cookies. I took some to work and to Scott’s work. They were so good and I used a new recipe: found here.

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This Christmas season my goal was to make a gingerbread house! Strange goal, I know- but Pinterest will put things like that into your head. I really wanted to make the gingerbread and cut the house out, etc. but, pregnancy/holiday exhaustion beat me into buying a premade set and I’m glad I did! Decorating and putting together the little houses took long enough! But, I am glad we did them and they turned out great.

Tiff’s house is the one with the cute little Triscuit roof! I love how it looked. I found most the candy in bulk at Winco and the (super nasty) gummy gingerbread men. We found that the key was to decorate the individual pieces separately and then put it all together with the (glue) icing.

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On another evening we made gingerbread cookies. This was my first time and the recipe is in my mom’s old Betty Crocker cookbook. I will have to make a copy of it because they turned out perfect and actually tasted really good! I had a ton of fun making these especially because Vivi helped me and was the cutest thing ever. She was legitly rolling out the dough and using her little cookie cutter; we were all dying! I was a proud momma baker.

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I took my time decorating each one with a lot of idea help from Pinterest and used this Royal Icing recipe.

 

I love baking!

Pregnancy Update! Baby #2

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How far along? 35 weeks

Total weight gain/loss: +40 pounds ( let’s not talk about it)

Maternity clothes? I’m way past the days of wearing real pants; its all leggings & sweats from here on out people! I love baggy tops and sweatshirts- which means I have taken over Scott’s closet whenever I’m at home. I have a bunch of dresses and long tops that I still wear when I have to work or be ‘presentable’…psh

Stretch marks? My existing ones are stretching out, almost to the max.

Sleep: Is a struggle. But, that’s normal. Vivi and I are usually on the same schedule. So, if I can get to bed around the time she does, I am usually rested between waking up to move a million times and taking way too many trips to the bathroom all night long. Luckily I don’t have to wake up until 8am when I work, and Vivi usually sleeps until 8:30 or later when I’m working from home. Scott gets up with her if she ever wakes up in the night and for that I am SO grateful.

Best moment this week: Seeing that our baby girl #2 is head down at our midwife appointment today! VBAC is a go for now! :)

Movement: She is an active, busy baby!

Miss anything?:  Sleeping on my stomach, working out, having enough energy to play with Vivi and keep up with my house.

Anything making you queasy or sick: Nope.

Have you started to show yet: Um yes, I am huge. And please don’t tell me that I don’t look huge because even though you are trying to be nice, it feels like it means you think I’m always this huge. A girl I met (for the first time ever) at Scott’s work last week said I really am not that big. Hello you don’t even know my life, girl!!! Hahaha, but seriously.

Symptoms: Back aches, lots of Braxton Hicks this time and always so sore and cramped up in the evenings. Hurts to walk, but I know that is because she is head down and so I am somewhat grateful if it means I won’t have a C-Section.

Labor Signs: Just lots of small contractions and lower back pain. Some days I have to take it really easy.

Belly Button in or out? Out I guess? Mostly flat ‘cuz its stretched so much.

Wedding rings on or off?  On. Not much swelling except a little in the ankles at night.

Happy or Moody?: Happy {Scott may disagree, but I hope not}. I just get really tired. Excited for Christmas!!

Baby Names: We thought we had decided on Isabelle Ruth. We would call her Izzie. But, we are having second thoughts and we may love Lyla Ruth more. We think we will wait until we meet her to decide. :)

12.22.2014

Thanksgiving in Seattle

I am finally getting around to blogging about our week long trip to Seattle for Thanksgiving- and Christmas is in 2 days! Oh well, my life is a little busy these days between growing a tiny human, taking care of another tiny human, working, preparing for Christmas and hoping my husband can find a good job before our next baby comes and my last paycheck runs out! We are busy these days and in such a transition period. But, things are looking good and Scott has some great prospects for work.  He finished all his finals last week and it felt pretty amazing for him to finish his undergrad! He is awesome and we are proud of our daddy.

Anyway, back to Thanksgiving! We were able to fly to Seattle this year which was a blessing, although way harder with a toddler and a pregnant belly than I thought it would be. But, Vivi was seriously so good on the flights and so patient. She never screamed or cried and although people are not always nice when they see you have a child, she was an angel.

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We stayed with Scott’s parents and sister Amy, as well as her 4 kids. It was so nice for Vivi to be around her cousins! She loved Macy and they got to play together a lot. Grandma gave her cute little bunny slippers and she warmed up to her Grandma Sally right away. She kept asking her to go with her places and said ‘Hi mommama’ whenever she saw her. Vivi is a major momma’s girl right now and most the time wouldn’t let me out of her sight. But, Grandma and Macy both got some one on one time, luckily.

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We spent lots of time with the family and really just enjoyed relaxing and talking or watching movies or playing games together. It was a really cold Thanksgiving in Seattle (Utah was much warmer!) and we even got some snow. So, we stayed inside most the time, cozy by the gas fireplace. Unfortunately I don’t even have any photos of our amazing dinner, because our camera lens broke when we dropped it at the airport! It was sad for me, but at least I have a camera on my phone.

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On Thanksgiving night my poor Vivi got really sick and cuddled/slept on me for hours while we watched the Seahawks dominate the 49ers at Ginny’s parent’s home. She has never been that way before and was so sad; it was no fun.

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So, we went to the local clinic in Edmonds the next day and sure enough, Vivi had a double ear infection. That explained why she was so clingy and mommy obsessed during the week. She started feeling a little better the next couple days, but I felt bad that she didn’t get to have as much fun with the family as she could have. And it meant that I didn’t get to either. We napped and cuddled a lot.

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We were able to take the annual grandchildren photo with Santa though, much to Vivi’s resistance. We met up with everyone at the Everett Mall and then got to enjoy dinner afterwards at a yummy mexican restaurant.

santa6{Notice how sad Vivi is to be literally 10 feet away from me (and with grandma, whom she adored!). She had a rough couple of days, poor baby.}

 

Before we left town we were able to go visit my BFFs, Chrissy and Erik! They are step siblings and from one of the best families! I miss them all a ton and we have such different lives now, but are really still the same people and had a great time catching up. I love these two and have so many great memories with them. Someday we will be back in Seattle and can hang out a lot more.

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{ Notice how large my belly is at about 31 weeks along. Please tell me my due date is wrong!! }

 

We are so lucky to have such a great family and again I feel blessed to have great in-laws that I love and love me back. I can’t believe we don’t get to be with them in Seattle more, but we are grateful we were able to be there for Thanksgiving. Thanks for hosting us!