Viv turns 4


Viv turned 4 today, and it has been a fun week. A little glimpse into what our life with a 4 year old looks like:

It includes a lot of dress ups and pouting

Coloring and painting in the quiet mornings when I decide to not wake up

playing with friends and constantly in a dress --- like rotating through maybe 3 of them.... and the rest of her wardrobe consists of princess dresses.

And on days when I don't want to fight the big fight, we make it out of the house dressed in our very best.

Living with a 4 year old includes a lot of hand holding with friends and doing "work outs" in her workout clothes and looking for flowers to make a bouquet.

We do drive in movies with friends and get popcorn and treats and basically anything she can talk her dad into.

Are you surprised? more dress ups. Blowing pixie dust into the wind and matching with little friends.

And also, ballet, because there is nothing cuter than a little body in a leotard and tights. She loved her first dance class!

A few days ago, we had a little party for her with some of our friends to celebrate. It was a simple thing because she specifically asked for the exact same birthday party as she had last year: a pink minnie mouse affair with pink balloons, a big minnie mouse balloon and a pink cake with white polka dots "except with a 4 this year, mom". Turns out it's easy to duplicate something you've done before when you're 9 months pregnant. So it was simple. Friends, bbq, pink stuff, Minnie. easy peasy, and the girl is easily pleased. She loved to have her friends over playing, singing her happy birthday and bringing her presents. She was so excited the whole day.


This was the best I could get of the kids...and we're even missing 3 or 4 of them that came, because hello. it's impossible to get a decent picture of kids. 

Today was her actual birthday, and we kept things simple. She chose her whole day. Chocolate chip pancakes for breakfast, a drive out to visit dad at work and eat lunch with him, making birthday cupcakes together during mo's nap, cuddling and watching a movie, park and her favorite birthday dinner, pasta with white sauce and broccoli. Afterwards we stuck some candles in the cupcakes we made, sang Happy Birthday and she licked off only the frosting (classic Viv move).



Viv is turning into such a sweet, beautiful person. She loves to cuddle and read, watch movies, wrestle her brother and listen to loud music. She's smart and loves to color and paint and learn her letters. She loves to dress up constantly and loves to pretend. She is funny and silly, loves to tease people and be teased. I couldn't think of a better sister for Mo Mo or a better big sis for this baby girl coming soon. I love watching her grow into the person she will become. This year has brought big changes for our family and she rolls with the punches and keeps a happy smile on her face. I love her so.  Happy birthday, my girl. I love being your mama.

Mo at 18 months


holy crap. i guess i'll just do Mo at 18 months when in real life he's 19 instead. Because I"m all about keeping my blog up to date and current and stuff. You know? I mean, I haven't even blogged about my amazing trip to Scandinavia and it's almost been a year.


So, Mo Mo. Oh, he's the very best. Such a happy, smiley boy. I love him so much. He's busy, and silly. He loves to make people laugh. He loves dancing a little gallopy dance, shaking his bum, grinning at us with his little teeth and making dorky faces.

He loves food, especially apples and yogurt and goldfish and cheese. He loves animals and making their sounds (elephants, snakes, owls, lions, fish, dogs, cats, birds, monkeys, etc). He's started babbling more, but has a few choice words he can say well (apple, cheese, hi, bye, mama, dada, fif (viv), papa, more, purple, night night, turtle, no, yeah, ow, ouch, whoa, ball, book, uh more I can't think of right now). One of his favorite things to do, especially after dinner is wrestle with Viv and Dale. He body slams them and wraps his arms around Viv's waist and drags her down on top of him. He is a rough and tumble guy, and everything that I think hurts him, he looks up and laughs at me instead. What a boy thing to do, huh?

During a regular day, if he bumbs his head or steps on something or spills something, he pats that part of him with a serious look on his face and says "ow" until I react to it and ask if he's ok, then he nods and goes on doing whatever he was doing in the first place.

At 18 months, this little guy demands to be treated as a big kid. He's out of his high chair because he wanted to sit at the table with us, and after bathtime, insists on being cloaked in a towel like Viv as he leaves the bathroom, walking around with it as long as he can.

He's obsessed with those red striped rain boots and his best buddy Pluto. he wants to have both on him at all times. He makes sure to bring me those boots and hits me until i put them on him, no matter the weather, and Pluto or any kind of dog or mickey mouse character, stuffed or figurine, are usually crammed in his hands as he struts around the house. I can't get enough of his little obsessions with this stuff. He has a little stuffed dog he likes to carry around and sleep with and he is so obsessed with his blankie too. I can't keep it away from him, especially now that he's in a toddler bed (did I mention that? this new baby is making us do all kinds of crazy things -- but actually he's doing really well with it).

The boy loves books. He LOVES them. He wants a pile of them in his bed at night and during naps, and if he's being quiet for a long time, I'll usually find him randomly throughout the day sitting on the floor flipping through books. He also loves having them in the car and he falls asleep with them in his hands a lot. I love when my kids love books. His favorites are Peek a Who, The Wizard of Oz book, Goodnight Zoo, any Mickey Mouse book and I think he might be starting to like dinosaurs.

Also into sunglasses, because what toddler isn't, you know? He thinks they're the coolest thing ever.

Nobody reads blogs anymore, so i thought it would be appropriate to stick this bum picture in here. I mean, what is happening here? It's so chunky! and he has a roll on one side and not on the other? I can't get enough of the dimples.

I took these pictures the day he turned 18 months because he was acting so 18 month-y. Which means I couldn't get a decent picture of the kid because he wouldn't stop moving. I tried to get him to love on a baby doll so that maybe he'd realize that an invading baby is gonna rock his world in 2 months....he promptly threw that baby doll on the floor. It's gonna be fun, you know?



 He loves to play ball, play catch, throw things, hit things, make baskets...he just loves playing with any kind of ball.

His daddy is his favorite pal. He's obsessed with Dale, and the older he gets, the more attached he is. He wakes up and asks for Dadda, any time we go outside he asks for dadda, and randomly asks for him throughout the day. Once he gets home, he's attached at the hip, cries anytime he walks out of the room, blah blah blah. He loves his dad. It gets a leeeeetle old. But at the same time, I get a killer break on the weekend because he wants nothing to do with me. SWEET! He doesn't hate me during the week which is awesome.

This was taken on his first official day in nursery. He did pretty well and loved snack time...but now that we're a month into it, he's kind of sucking it up at nursery. He has a haaaaard time being separated from Dale, and even if I sneak him away he still cries. So that's fun. BUT at the time this picture was taken, he was pretty awesome and CUTE.

Also he loves his sister so much, and they are the best of buds most of the time. I love them together.

And then he was teething for a week and this little naked bum was the only thing that would make him stop crying for a good 5 minutes. maybe.

He's recently been into jumping off little curbs. he did this for a solid 30 minutes one day. he was SO proud of himself. When he's not jumping, he's running....everywhere. He has this cute little run where he throws his legs out sideways and waddle runs fast everywhere, giggling as he goes and his cheeks jiggling like crazy. I hope those cheeks never slim down.

He loves when I sing with him. His favorites are Popcorn Popping, 5 Little Monkeys, Patty Cake, Itsy Bitsy Spider, and You Are My Sunshine, which I sing to him at night when he goes to bed. He loves to sing too, especially the Ariel song (while wearing Viv's necklaces). He just baaaaarely started folding his arms when we say prayers and it's so cute. I can't get over his chubby little arms folding over themselves.

How many times can I say "he's so cute" in this dumb blog post? A lot. Obviously. I'm not really writing up to par these days.

Moral of the story: Mo is such a sweet, lovable, squishy boy. Full of energy and silliness, busy and fun. He doesn't like to be bossed around, and he doesn't like listening to me. He gives the best hugs and kisses and loves his big sister and his daddy. I wish everyone could have a Mo in their lives. He makes everything brighter, you know? 

Happy 18 months, little squish.

Baby Beard Numero 3


Well....surprise! To everyone! Even us!

We're pregnant. again. Kind of (a lot) faster than I would have liked, but I guess these things happen when you don't practice abstinence (strongly considering that).

Turns out that the baby is due on March 27, 2015, just ONE day past Vivian's original due date of March 26th. And it also turns out that the baby is a GIRL! Dale and I really thought it was a boy, so we were super surprised, per usual of this pregnancy, that she was indeed a girl.

15 weeks
 Because of our crazy living and financial situations at the time we were supposed to find out the gender the normal way, we had no money, no way to get insurance and no way of self-paying for an expensive ultrasound, but decided we didn't want to wait for however long for things to work out and went to a little gender reveal place nearby. It was a special little time because both kids got to come with us and the office was set up for families with young kids. A huge, homey looking bed, a big screen tv, toys and books for the kids and a really friendly and sweet technician. The whole thing was just fun and comfortable, and we were so excited to finally see the squirmy thing in my belly.

The tech said she was probably gonna be a big baby, and showed us her legs that folded all the way up over her head. When she announced it was a girl, Viv had a bit of a melt down because she wanted another brother (though i think she just thought since Mo was her brother that there was no other way to have soemthing different). A little later she was so excited to have a sister and hasn't stopped talking about all of the things she'll share with her and all of the too-small clothes will be "just perfect for the baby!". Right away she wanted to name the baby Margo (from Despicable Me) or Margaret (from Daniel Tiger), and more recently has gone with Mary. I have no idea where that came from. Either way, she's been so cute, showing the baby pictures, telling her funny jokes, kissing and hugging my belly and asking if she's asleep or awake. It's been really fun with her this time around.

15 weeks
Mo? he's in his own little world, and I'm afraid he will be rocked when this baby gets here. Recently he's been lifting up my shirt and patting (read: hitting/jabbing) my belly and saying "bebe", so i think he kind of gets something, whatever that is. It will be an interesting transition, that's for sure.....He's still such a baby! I think that's the hardest part for me is the guilt of not being able to give Mo the attention he should get being so young.....and also i'll have to kids in diapers and probably two kids in cribs and two kids being babies. I think I might go crazy. It's gonna be a hard year....something I didn't exactly sign up for. I mean, technically I guess I did, but this space isn't an appropriate venue for that conversation ;)
20 weeks
Anyway, we are trying to gear up and get excited about this new change coming our way. I'm trying to pretend I'll ever have my shit together again. I probably won't....i think this might be the undoing of me. But geez, listen to me being all dramatic. Ha! What's new?

So, here we go! Bring it on baby girl! We're ready for you.....or we'll just pretend we are and hopefully you'll help us out. Fake it 'till you make it, right?

Hindsight is 2015


Alright, let's see if we can get through this craziness that was my year. There aren't a lot of words and too many pictures. I guess that's what happens when you don't blog half your year and a lot happens. I don't even know. Here we go!


Mo is a super fat 6 month old. We take a trip to Florida to search for an area and house to live in in our new destination of Clearwater, FL. We take the kids to Disneyworld. I start taking a food styling class.




The winter is never ending. I kinda hate my life because WINTER. We basically live at the YMCA. I win a free dress with a KILLLLLLER dance in the snow. Viv is showing major signs of being a threenager and her attitude about kills me dead. Mo is still fat. The kids are getting cuter and cuter together. And seriously. Winter is never ending. It never stops snowing and everything gets buried.


Viv turns 3 with a pink Mickey Mouse party. Mo is still fat and freaking ADORABLE at it. I leave the babies and fly across the country to go to an epic dance party in California. Worth it. 


We realize we're leaving Ithaca soon and break out our bucket list of travel spots. We do Spring Break to D.C., a trip to Philly, and  a Girls trip to NYC,






BIG MONTH! It gets kind of warm, we remember how much we actually love Ithaca and how sad we'll be to leave it, Viv graduates from her little pre- pre- school BOCES, we graduate from Cornell, go on a ten day, kidless trip with some of our best friends to Scandinavia (Denmark, Norway, post forthcoming) and come home to pack up our lives and get ready to leave New York forever.


We say goodbye to Ithaca and take a two day drive down south to Florida. We rent a house in Belleair Bluffs and realize it's literally 5 minutes from the beach. Basically this month is an amazing time of loving new jobs and visiting daddy at his work, enjoying the beach/going there every night together, making a lot of money, decorating our new house, riding in our new jeep every night until the kids fall asleep and we make out,  and trying to find a spot in our new surroundings.



We played at the beach more. It rains a lot and it actually is a really nice respite from the heat and humidity. The  4th of July in Florida is HOT but we make it work. We go to a few minor league baseball games ($1 family nights!). Siblings come to visit and we go to Harry Potter World and I buy a wand like a kid. We take a paid-for work trip to Bermuda without kids. WE WENT ON A PRIVATE JET. It was amazing. Mo turns 1, so we have a small party with our family and then celebrate on his actual birthday by going to Mormon Night at the Tampa Bay Rays.


 We ended up waiting in the grass for hours saving our spot to watch fireworks later that night over the bay. We ate a lot of popsicles and it ALMOST got rained out at the last second. Seriously, the storms there are insane and I MISS THEM.

 minor league baseball games!

Tanner and Marinn visit:



Mo turns 1


More playing at the beach, we visit family in Southern Utah and have a reunion in Bear Lake with extended family AND I found out I am pregnant (surprise!). Viv does swim lessons at the YMCA and loves it!


Reunion at Bear Lake:


 Farm girl:

 We did a lot of fishing and s'more roasting:

Mom and I go to Shakespeare

We hike Kanarra Falls:

we get to see friends while in Utah:


Viv starts preschool at a Christian private school and loves it. Work suddenly nose-dives, Parents come out to celebrate my mom's 50th birthday. After much debating, praying, and everything else, we decided to quit our job, pack up and move to California without another job lined up. It was that bad. And it was super stressful and sad and everything else you can imagine. We still had high hopes that things would work out quickly., we don't have many pictures of this month.  But we did try to do a few bucket list-y things before we left Florida, like the Tampa zoo (it rained buckets on us and it was so much fun), trolley rides, and hitting our favorite beaches. Then we said goodbye to like...the one friend we made there (we miss the Kaspers!) and our little cute house with the pool and cockroaches and the job that was supposed to be good and wasn't.

First day of school:

Ferry to Caladesi Island:


Tampa Zoo!

Mom's 50th. They rented this sweet ride:

Last day at our favorite beach (Indian Rocks Beach):


The kids and I are living with my parents, adjusting to our weird situation and not living with dad. Dale is living in California with friends job searching. Towards the end of the month, we move to California to be with dale without a house OR a job. still. this is definitely one of our hardest months, by far.  Pirates, mermaid and parrot for Halloween.

 One of the first things we did together as a family back in California. Pumpkin Patching!



Another hard month. Still no house. still no job. squatting in 5 different houses, job searching, mooching, trying to stay positive and enjoy a California November weather, trying to put off the doctor without insurance for a little longer. We get family pictures! We find out baby is a girl!  Things take a turn for the better when we finally score a house to rent in Concord. big enough for our family, a good location. worked out better than we could have dreamed (except we could have dreamed the rent 2 times lower....). We visit Seattle to have Thanksgiving with family.

Thanksgiving in Seattle with family:



Dale finally lands a job. starts on my birthday. I turn 27. We still don't have a paycheck. We do lots of Christmasy things like visiting the city, ice skating, decorating and driving around to see the lights. Viv and I go on a date to see the Nutcracker in San Francisco. We have breakfast with Santa at our ward party hand later that night we had a beautiful Night in Bethlehem party at the church. We drive to Utah to spend Christmas with family (not an easy feat with an almost 18 month old and a 27 week pregnant body). It was a quick trip but fun. Viv got her coveted Snow White ensemble (a movie she's never seen) and alarm clock (why??) and a big girl bike. Mo? He got a basketball hoop and a ton of Mickey Mouse stuff because he's obsessed. It was a great, low-key Christmas.

This movement was not set up. They did this at the exact same time. Are the related?


So.....There it is! My year in a nutshell. Looking back it feels a lot like a whirlwind. I see pictures and feel the emotions that went with them and I just can't believe the range of emotions and things that happened over the year. Never in my life would I have imagined that this year, which started with so much opportunity and promise for us would come to a close with us being homeless, jobless. pregnant and in a completely different position than we imagined for ourselves. I don't know how it happened. I don't know why it happened. I don't know how we got through it. I just don't even know. I guess I just dub this year a year of the unexpected (which even that feels like an understatement). An unexpected job, an unexpected baby, an unexpected job loss and an unexpected move. Unexpected trials, unexpected everything. It was a hard year. I'll be honest, we're still reeling from it and trying to put the pieces together. The basics of our life are put together and now I feel like I'm dealing with the emotional baggage that came with all the change. I feel awkward because I just don't know where I belong. I don't know if that even makes sense, but it's hard for me to act like my normal self...I feel like I don't even know what my normal self is. So. This year is ending on a weird note. But mostly, I am so grateful for wonderful people, for a God that watches over us, for a healthy family, for a supportive network, for a hardworking husband. We have seen so many angels in our lives the last few months, so much so that I can't even comprehend the goodness and charity of people. I will write about it one day, but this measly paragraph tacked onto the end of a year review is not the place. So. Hard year. yes. Grateful? So much.

And that's where I stand. Over and out.


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