Tuesday, June 25, 2013

A Weekend in California!

I finally did it. I left all three kids (AND my husband) for a weekend on my own. I never understood why married women enjoyed weekends without their husbands, but now I do! Of course, I missed Nathan and the children but spending some time with my dear old friends from college gave me an emotional boost that will hopefully last for months.

On Friday morning, Becca, Ruby, and I boarded a plane in Provo and flew directly to Oakland.

The flight was wonderful, and we made it to California in just a couple of hours. Becca's mom, Karen, picked us up, and we headed straight to Oakland for Ashley's wedding. Becca and I were bridesmaids, so it was a mad dash to make it to the temple in time for pictures. Ashley looked beautiful, and it was wonderful to see her and our good friend CoreyAnn.

I feel like I've known these girls forever, so it's strange to think I have only known them 8 years; I guess that's a true hallmark of a good friendship.

I spent the night at Becca and Katy's home, and we stayed up late talking and watching Supernatural. Again, this made me very happy. The next morning, we headed to Monterrey for the reception. I had never seen the west coast and the Pacific Ocean (unless a distant view of the Seattle Harbor counts), so I was in for a treat. Becca has always told me that Monterrey is paradise on Earth, and I would have to agree that it is absolutely lovely.
Ashley and Junior had a traditional Tongan wedding reception, so we were in for a treat! Ashley had adorable decorations, and we had a good time visiting with one another. 

Afterwards, we headed back to the piers of Monterrey and saw the sights, which included seals and a giant mechanical man.

And to top off a perfect day, we went and saw World War Z that evening. 
By Sunday, I was definitely missing my babies and Nathan. It was nice to see these smiling faces the next morning!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Keeping Eliza Entertained

Eliza needs constant entertainment. What child doesn't? She does not like playing alone for longer than a couple of minutes (a puzzle is about the only thing that I can distract her with), which makes it difficult for me to accomplish simple tasks like making meals and even bathing the twins. Fortunately, her new dance and swim classes have been a great source of entertainment. That being said, her classes aren't every day and they aren't very long. When she isn't taking classes, all she wants to do is see Ruby. Every day, I am thankful Eliza has a friend that she loves so much. And best of all, her dearest friend lives right next door. Eliza doesn't play with Ezra and Elliott much, and I think she feels left out in a sense because the twins always have each other.

Several times, Eliza has requested that we give her a sister. Last week, she looked at me and said in a matter-of-fact voice: "It is your responsibility to give me a sister. Now." She knows what she wants! Luckily for Nathan and me, Eliza forgets all about wanting a sister when she is with Ruby. When they see each other, they run towards one another with their arms wide open and call out each other's names before hugging. They will randomly tell each other, "I love you" or "You're my favorite." It's pretty cute.
Greatest of all, Eliza is happy! She comes to life when she is playing make believe and showing her friends all of her tricks and games. And just look at these faces:
 It's pretty easy to love Ruby.
And I suppose it's a good lesson to me that no matter how old you are, you always need a good friend.

Two Favorites

I took these photos earlier this week, and they are two of my most favorite photographs ever. I feel like they perfectly capture the essence of my children. I have so much to be grateful for.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Swim Lessons

Eliza started swim lessons yesterday!
I was worried about her anxiety regarding swimming, and Nathan thought that lessons would be a great way to assuage some of her fears. Having a phobia of water myself, I agreed it would be good to start Eliza swimming young so she could actually enjoy being in the water rather than being terrified.

Her first lesson didn't go too well, though. She was already a little apprehensive, but was slowly warming up to being in the water after she received a lot of positive encouragement from her two instructors. The children were given rubber duckies and told to chase them in the water. This definitely helped ease some of her tension (Eliza loves games), and I felt okay looking down at my book for a minute. I glanced upward a few seconds later (seriously seconds) and saw that Eliza had walked down to the deep end of the pool and was completely submerged. Before I could freak out too much, an instructor immediately grabbed her and pulled her back to the group.

The look on her face, though, was pure terror. When I was three years old, I nearly drowned, so I immediately started to panic. I remember jumping into the deep end because my sister was swimming and pretending she was a mermaid. I then remember realizing I was drowning and reaching upward towards a pair of feet that were bobbing above my head. My one year old brother was floating in a Garfield life jacket, and I did my best to hold on to him for dear life. Fortunately, my grandfather was watching and jumped in to rescue me. I haven't really enjoyed the water ever sense (so basically my entire life).

With this in mind, I, of course, thought that Eliza would hate being in the water after a near drowning incident. I tried to let her teacher calm her down and acted like it wasn't that big of a deal. I gave her an encouraging smile from the stands, but I could see it wasn't helping much. I ended up going down to the pool side and talking to her for a second. Her two teachers were great at encouraging her to stay in the water and lavished her with positive praise. Once she was out of the water, she seemed a little stressed
Today, she was able to go back into the water, so maybe there is no permanent damage.
 She participated in the various games and exercises, so that was encouraging!

Also, she loves her swimsuit and loves getting ready for her swim class. That's another good sign! I hope she becomes a swimmer like her dad.

(And she also got her first pair of real ballet shoes today!)

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Berry Party

Berries and yogurt remind me of summer and good friends. Several years ago, Becca and Kyle introduced me to the tradition of making berries and cream for the Fourth of July. It was a festive dessert that was healthier than most and absolutely delicious. Now, every year, I look forward to this light snack! True to form, Becca and Kyle decided to host a berry/yogurt gathering and serve the summer treat. It was amazing. I have missed this stuff!
I also tried the yogurt with blackberries and raspberries for the first time, and I loved it! I usually stick with the Fourth of July fruit (strawberries and blueberries), but I am glad I ventured out and tried something new. I brought some home for Nathan, and the babies went crazy over it! 

Also, I just have to mention that Eliza went to the party dressed like this:
After putting on her knee pads, elbow pads, and fingerless gloves to walk to Becca's house for the party, Eliza looked over at me and said, "Mom--I. look. SO COOL." I couldn't argue with that.

If you want to try some berries and yogurt yourself, here is the easiest recipe in the world. Thanks, Pioneer Woman!

  • 1-1/2 cup Plain, Unflavored Yogurt
  • 1-1/4 cup Heavy Cream
  • 1/2 cup (to 3/4 Cup) Brown Sugar
  •  Blueberries (or Other Fruit Of Your Choice)

Preparation Instructions

First, pour the yogurt into a bowl. Then add the cream. With a whisk carefully stir until combined. It should be nice and thick.
Sprinkle the brown sugar evenly over the top of the yogurt mixture. Do not stir the mixture. Cover the bowl with foil or plastic wrap and tightly seal the edges. Place in the refrigerator for at least three or four hours.
When you are ready to serve, place a small handful of berries (or other fruit) into a bowl or cup. Now, you can either not stir the mixture and have small visible bits of brown sugar in the finished product or you can whisk the mixture until smooth. This is how I like it. Stirred or not, spoon the yogurt mixture over the berries or fruit. Repeat the layers once, ending with berries on top.

Friday, June 7, 2013

To the Carnival!

Nathan and I decided we wanted to check out the carnival on Main Street that was part of the Art City Days Festival. After going to the child's carnival, Fun-A-Rama, I was pretty disappointed with the larger carnival--mostly due to the price. The rides were, on average, three dollars each. With that in mind, Eliza only went on four different ride (which I felt was very generous!). I don't regret spending the money, though, because Eliza really had a great time. There weren't any lines, so Eliza got to ride all of the rides for at least 5 minutes. Seriously, though. We were the only people there.
She was actually begging to get off of the spaceship ride (she was the only one on it, so the lady let her stay on forever).

She also rode on her first rollercoaster and was screaming with happiness. She loved it! She's definitely my child.

After the rides, we walked down the street to an old pharmacy that also serves ice cream. It reminded me of It's a Wonderful Life, and I immediately loved it!

Our friends promised we would adore the place, and they were right. Kyle recommended that we try the root beer, so Nathan and the twins shared an enormous float. The babies couldn't get enough! They were pretty exhausted and hot from being outside, so they definitely got a good serving of ice cream.

Eliza got some strawberry ice cream and enjoyed eating her cone while sitting on a barstool.

 I got burnt after being outside for 45 minutes, so I wasn't in the mood for ice cream. Regardless of the burn, I still had a great time. Family days are the best.