Wednesday, March 25, 2015


An excerpt of an email I sent my missionary brother Max last week:

1:00 church might be the death of me. Usually our kids go down for naps between 12-12:30, and sleep for 2-3 hours. Obviously that doesn't work on Sundays, so we try to put them down for naps earlier, which only works like a third of the time and ends up being more stressful anyway. Plus, we still usually have to wake them up to get to church on time which means they are cranky, because who likes being woken up from naps? Then Sacrament Meeting is a wrestling match, trying to keep the kids contained, quiet, and keep ourselves sane. We basically bring about 12 different snacks (today we brought: a banana, a bagel with cream cheese, a bag of goldfish, two suckers, a water bottle, a sippy with milk, and some leftover crumbs from last week. Everything was eaten by the end of Sacrament Meeting) and just continually stuff food in their mouths to keep them happy and quiet. Then we either brave nursery or go home because we're exhausted and the kids are freaking out because they are tired. BEEEEP. If I have to play organ or Austin has to sub for a class it's ten times worse. Like today, I had to play organ but when I got up to play Natalie started shrieking and only quieted down when Austin shoved a sucker in her mouth, but she still yelled MOMMY intermittently. Then I wasn't paying attention and Stockton fell off the bench right before the closing song, so I took him out for the initial calm down but had to go right back in to play and as soon as I handed him off to Austin he started screaming and then Natalie started completely freaking out and here I am trying to play beeping Teach Me To Walk in the Light and I'm totally hating my life and my children are nazguls and everyone is watching me and Austin to see how we are handling the situation. Bless my sweet friend, she got up to take Stockton so Austin only had to deal with Natalie. But OH MY GOSH it was such a train wreck nightmare. BEEEEEEEEP. Srsly.

And his response:
The first paragraph of this email makes me never want to have children hahahah!!! Remind me to buy a mini wiener dog and wait on a wife for a while when I come home!! I'm pretty shaken after hearing about that sacrament experience....*shiver*

I was not exaggerating: it really is that bad most of the time haha. This too shall pass, right? But while I was reflecting on this experience and laughing with my family about it, it occurred to me that soon we'll be bringing three children to church. Three children to everywhere! Three three three. I guess it never really hit me like that, and now I'm a little panicked. How will we manage with three under three? THREE UNDER THREE, ARE WE MAD? Yiiiiiiiikes. Sorry in advance to everyone at church - I promise we are doing the best we can, ha! I probably won't even brave church for weeks this time...normally I am dying to get out of the house after having a baby but I'll be in c-section land this time and since I don't relish the idea of church-wrangling even when I'm NOT trying to recover from surgery, I'll probably put it off for a good while. I promise I still believe the church is true.

Back to three - we'll have THREE CHILDREN. At completely different and needy stages. Natalie is rambunctious and loud and fun and sensitive, Stockton is calmer but has a mischievous side and isn't talking yet, and we have yet to see the demeanor of the new baby but he or she will come with all the joys (work) of a newborn, so we at least know that going in. I'm envisioning situations like this: Natalie won't come upstairs unless I go down there and play with her but the baby is nursing and Stockton is climbing all over me (and the baby) to try to get some attention and I haven't showered in three days and I still can't do much since my abs are ripped apart.

OR: Austin is at school and no one is available to come help me take the baby to his/her checkup so I have to start getting ready to leave an hour early because I'm still moving really slowly and Natalie has to be coaxed into putting her shoes on (or, let's be real, I won't even have changed her out of her jammies/night diaper yet so she isn't even close to putting shoes on), Stockton will be ready to go but accidentally/on purpose spill something all over himself and the carpet when Natalie is having a tantrum because she wanted pink shoes, not blue, and the baby will be unusually starving that day so I'll have to drop everything and nurse while watching Natalie and Stockton now play in whatever Stockton spilled earlier since I still haven't cleaned it up, and by the time I wrangle all the children into their carseats and sit down and take a deep breath I'll be super sweaty and even though I finally showered that morning it certainly won't look like it. AND I still have the whole doctor's appointment to get through. And I didn't eat breakfast.

OR: Austin gets home from work and I lock myself in my room for a fifteen-minute cry/nap and then order pizza for dinner.

Nah, I'm not so pessimistic, but I know it will certainly be crazy for a while. Who am I kidding, it will always be crazy. Good thing I am bursting with love for these happy children of mine! (And that I have the greatest husband in the universe.)

And now for some pictures of these little hooligans:

 We tried to do a photo shoot since they were so cute on Sunday, and even matched!, but they were like "nah, we don't have a single picture where we're both looking at the camera and smiling so we might as well not take one now either." No wonder we don't have any professional family pictures (although we will this fall - that was my only new year's resolution!).

don't get me wrong, my children are obviously photogenic...

just not exactly cooperative yet : ) but I love how the "outtakes" capture their little (big) personalities and relationship
Will we ever get a perfect family picture? Add #3 to the mix and the odds continue to go down haha. I don't know how people do it!

daddy/daughter date to Barnes - aren't they cute?

Stockton LOVES this crown/whatever it's called (remember buying this at the Ren Fair for me, Ananda?) and I think it is so funny every time he comes out of Natalie's room wearing it. HA! I'm sure we'll tease him about this looking back.

Natalie's art
Natalie has now lost coloring privileges for a few days because of one (or four) too many marker-on-unapproved-surface incidents, but she still loves pointing to her pictures on the wall and saying "look at my projects!"
dun dun DUNNNN
We have this theory that Stockton intentionally leaves the popper where he thinks Austin will trip over it. I've never had issues with it, but Austin probably runs into it/stubs his toe/stumbles on it daily. I hadn't seen the popper in a few days and went to get something from the top shelf of the coat closet and what do you know, the popper had been put on probation up there haha. Austin's nemesis.

We got this book for Christmas and it has been so awesome! It's not a child's book in that it has way more words than pictures and reads as a paraphrased version instead of at a child's level, but Natalie LOVES it. As in, can't get enough. She will point to the pictures and tell us who it is or what's going on. She knows so many of the stories and it is so cool! Her favorite story is King Noah/Abinadi for some reason, but she also frequents the Liahona page and one with a picture of Jesus healing a sick child. Listening to her little voice tell us about Jesus and the familiar stories of the Book of Mormon (imagine her saying "Zeezrom" - so cute) is so wonderful and I love the spirit it brings into our home. She likes the board book we have about the Book of Mormon and also a lift-the-flap Bible stories book, but this is by far her favorite.

I asked Austin for an Oreo (there are two though because whoever heard of having a single Oreo?) and he asked if my stomach could catch them. Answer: yes. I think this baby is already big enough to come out, ha.

Hot Dogs

Ugh, I accidentally deleted a whole post about my experience with hot dogs at the cub scout Blue and Gold Banquet tonight. I don't really care enough about the stupid hot dogs to rewrite it, but I'm mad because it was actually a pretty funny post, if I do say so myself. Basically, it was a giant fiasco because the water wasn't heating up fast enough in the big roaster pans and the hot dogs were still frozen solid and dinner was supposed to start in fifteen minutes. Through a ridiculous assembly line of sink defrosting, oven warming, microwave cooking, and roaster finishing we made it work and everyone was fed and content in time, but now I smell like hot dog juice and mustard.

Also, I REALLY want chocolate magic cake right now but it's 10:22 and even if I felt like getting up and making it I still wouldn't be eating it for another hour and then I'd be in chocolate heaven but probably wide awake when I need to go to sleep. Sighhh.

Also also, I haven't had a single drop of soda in twelve whole days. For me, that's a lifetime, and I'm very impressed with myself. I wonder how long I will go without it? I feel like I've betrayed a friend.

Also also also, I highly suggest making friends with someone who has delicious and easy dinner recipes. We use the Birdsall's recipes like twice a week and have truly benefited from our culinary interchange. Thanks, Renetta. (And Dan, ha.) I will semi pay them back tomorrow night by teaching them how to make my favorite dinner, chicken fillo. MMMMMMM. It's what I always asked my mom for on my birthday/special occasion dinners. Actually, I still ask for it. She made it for me just last month : )

Also also also ALSO, I can't wait to find out if we are going to have a girl or boy!?!? The suspense is making me antsy. So much anticipation! I have zero intuition either way, so if someone is feeling strongly pink or blue, pass that feeling along please. Eeeeek! We've pretty much decided on names for either gender and we're excited for the grand debut : )


Wednesday, March 18, 2015


The weather has cooled down since last I wrote but it's still not deathly like it was before, so I can't complain too much. It has sort of confused the kids though - all of a sudden we're back to coat weather and aren't playing outside multiple times every day. We try to snag a little play time in the late afternoon sun when it seems warmest. This flip-flopping of temperatures must mean SPRING!! I'm sure it will continue to fluctuate, but as long as we get lots of sunny days thrown in there I'm happy.

Spring also means BABY! This is our first spring babe and I am SO appreciating the timing. No huge and pregnant during the hot months, the baby will be older by the time it gets cold again so I'm not quite as worried about them being freezing, plenty of activities for the kids to do over the's going to be great. Remind me that having a baby in spring is a good idea for next time.

happy park swinging : ) 

i love his smiley eyes on the left and his wispy hair
 running free chasing robins, and a cool little copse of trees we found at Pioneer Park (which Natalie has dubbed "peach park" for some reason)

so the photo doesn't do it justice, but i love how coming out of Pioneer Park you
can see straight to the Capital even though it's miles away
Natalie has been really into coloring lately. It's pretty standard now that when she wakes up from her nap, it is straight to the table to color. Her favorite thing to do is draw really hard with the markers all together and then put them down and wipe the paper with her fingers. She says "Mommy I'm painting!" which is really cute. She loves proudly showing me her dirty, colorful hands, and since she's technically not actually drawing on them she's within the bounds of my restrictions so I can't be upset, creative girl. She must take after her mother: finding ways to break rules without going far enough to get in trouble.

the before picture
(...there isn't an after picture because i was too worried
about markers getting everywhere haha)
another warm day - Stockton tried on some hand-me-down swimwear
and I think those huge shorts are hilarious hahaha. also, Natalie's hat that she
found in the dress-up pile downstairs. classy.

she put daddy's basketball shoes on one morning and clomped around calling them "stormtrooper shoes." maybe because they are white/black?

ha, this dog staring at me in the target parking lot made me laugh
March is going by fast - will I ever get tired of writing that time is flying? - and we are counting the weeks until our baby is here (and I'm not pregnant anymore!!!). Pregnancy is not a huge awful ordeal for me like it is for some women (sorry ladies, I won the lottery there) but I do feel significantly more uncomfortable as we get closer to the end. I feel like this time my belly is protruding even more so I'm constantly worried that my shirts aren't covering everything. At home I often walk around with my belly hanging out and feel super trashy, ha. Also, this dumb pelvic pain! It mostly flares up when I'm in bed, which is so uncool since I need my sleep. Now my lower back muscles are being obnoxious too and my sciatic nerve is asserting itself even more than usual, so when I get up after sitting in the same position for too long or especially when I try to adjust positions in bed, I feel like I'm 90 years old, my creaking body protesting and feeling so useless. Waaah, listen to me whine. I keep reminding myself that at least I don't get nauseous at all. It doesn't really help haha.
my beautiful, rosy, brown-eyed Natalie Jane 
I did do a fun project yesterday to take my mind off of my discomfort: we washed all the 0-12 month baby clothes in the perfection that is baby detergent (ahhh that smell is like my drug) and then I got to sort and fold alllllll of the cute baby boy and girl outfits that my Stockty and Natsby wore. So fun! I even washed all the baby blankets, and it was very fun to look forward to dressing and swaddling our new baby. When we are done having children I better lock away all the baby detergent in the world, sleeping beauty/spinning wheel style, because once I smell it I can't help but NEED a fuzzy, soft, Johnson and Johnson shampooed baby in my arms.

thanks for the pic, Kimber! 

Also, a bunch of friends went to see the new Cinderella movie last night, and it was delightful. The movie itself was great, but the company was even better. It's so nice to get out and be with friends, especially those who understand the need for a break from being a mom. Ha, clearly they understand - look how many of us showed up! I didn't get home til after midnight though, so it was definitely past my bedtime! I'm going to be so sad when practically everyone leaves after their rotation of dental/law/other school - our ward turnover rate is crazy. Kind of stinky being the one who stays and has to see everyone go, but I'm sure we'll get new families and love them too.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

A Happy pictures!

my sunny Stockty

 water, measuring cups, random mixing bowls....perfection. i think they did this for over an hour the other day, and it was literally the first thing natalie said when she woke up. "let's go play wiff the waterrr outside!"

daddy is a good sport and pulls Natalie (and sometimes Stockton too!) all around 
(by the way, sorry not sorry for all the backyard pics. you'll have to deal with them for the next few months, muahahaha!)

marathon naps - Natalie hardly ever takes more than a two hour nap, but this was going on 3! they are just so cute all rosy-cheeked and cozy with their blankies. kitty right by natalie's face, so adorable.  

playing chess with Pop-Pop; fresh batteries in one of Stockton's favorite toys, and the picture we sent to Mimi when we were sad she wasn't hanging out with us

welcome the newest member of our family
 I finally bit the bullet and ordered a four-person 72-hour kit so I could get it off my mind. No more scary volcano dreams where I panic because we don't have food storage! (I put it off for a while thinking I would make my own, but that turned out to be too overwhelming for me and my limited food storage expertise.)

Natalie and her "grils." She loves these barbies! GREAT motivators - "Uh oh, do I need to take Rapunzel away?" etc. Also, I'm loving the placemat idea. She loves having her own special spot at the table and now Stockton gets more high chair time, although he still prefers roaming. I think she looks so cute eating her meals at the table :) 

defy gravity for a friend's birthday - she loved it! I love her ponytail straight up in the air in the middle pic

fun with selfies at church. i found these (and about 8 more) on my phone one sunday.

 we laughed ourselves silly trying to come up with words with this boggle board - our favorites included "quorn" and "squee" (which is, in fact, a real word, thank you very much!)
also, Natalie helped me make cookies and I love her little ball of dough...can you tell which is hers?

crafting into the night
Slightly negative side note: this baby must either be huge or sitting funny on my pelvis (or both), because the tip of my pelvic bone aches like CRAZY. It's at its worst when I'm in bed - it feels like I'm only sleeping on the surface most of the night, waking up often and gasping when I change positions because my pelvis hurts so bad. I seem to get more consistent sleep if I go to bed later (even though that seems kind of counter-intuitive) so one plus of my pregnant sleeping problems is Austin and I usually get more hang out time at night as we stall before bed. Psych, movies, crafting, games, or Austin's favorite: tidying haha.

And now my Natsby is warm and fresh from her nap, snuggled cozily next to me (I'm using one hand to type) so I'm signing off!

A Happy Week

My mood has been so boosted the past week with the BEAUTIFUL weather Nebraska has bestowed upon us. It's like our humble state is apologizing for the terrible months of winter frigidity and is asking forgiveness with perfect sunshine, cool breezes, and consistent temperatures in the high 60s. THANK YOU!

Other things that are making me happy lately:

Hy-Vee pears (fresh). I can't get enough. I buy some every time I go to the store and they are gone that day or the next. SO DELICIOUS, especially after they've been refrigerated.

Big Hero 6. We watched this movie with some friends a couple weeks ago and the kids LOVED it, so I thought it would be fun to buy when we have the new baby...a week later, Natalie still hadn't stopped talking about "starfish movie" (she thinks the robot at the beginning looks like a starfish) so I caved when she grabbed it at Target and now we haven't watched a different movie in days, except...

Guardians of the Galaxy. I finally watched the movie everyone has been glowing about, and at first I wasn't as impressed as I thought I'd be, but the more I think about it the more funny it gets. I think the opening scene when he is dancing through the ruins of that building listening to that song is so great - in fact, I popped the dvd in my computer for background noise before I started to blog/do other computery things because the soundtrack is so enjoyable!

BACKYARDDDDDD. Can I write this one eight more times? I had four must-haves on my list when we were looking for rental houses, and a fenced-in backyard was one of them...thank goodness I didn't settle because even a mansion wouldn't be worth it without an enclosed yard. We have already spent HOURS out there, and it's only been nice for a week. We hardly even have any toys out there - just a happy patio with two chairs, a slide, basketball hoop, and whatever toys we bring out for the day. My kids seriously SOAK UP the sunshine - they would honestly be happy never going inside again. Our friend was saying it's Mother Earth nurturing the children when they play in nature...I like that.

Nap time. I am so grateful that my children love naps. I don't think Stockton has ever protested going down for a nap in his life, so he's always been great, but with Natalie's sketchy sleep habits you'd think that naps would be stressful...on the contrary, they are glorious! She lays right down and gets cozy and they are both usually asleep within minutes, leaving me 2-3 hours of glorious, coveted, pure JESSIE TIME.

Windows. I have always felt refreshed and boosted by natural light, but the effects are compounded now that I can throw open every single window in the house. Everything feels fresh and happy, and I smile every time I feel the breeze.

Have I mentioned HOW MUCH I LOVE THIS WEATHER!?!?!?

Mom time. My mom is the best, but with her work schedule and my child wrangling it isn't always easy to hang out. We do our best though and make it happen as often as possible. Last week she came down late one night for a delicious Target browse, and then we stayed up late watching Mockingjay Part One. This week we're going to see the new Cinderella movie. Anything we do together usually ends up being hysterical and totally fabulous. I am so glad we live close!!!

A clean car. A funky smell was creeping up in the car yesterday and I was NOT into that, so since Austin got out of class early this morning he helped me clean out the car (sooo much trash and random toys)...and we found the culprit! A who-knows-how-old sippy with half an inch of very sorry looking milk. Then, since we were on a roll, I took the car to be vacuumed and washed (go to 48th and Leighton, friends, the vacuums are free and the legit car wash is only $3!) and it is soooo fresh and happy! Wow, vacuuming was so necessary. I'm not kidding - it took 30 minutes.

Baby #3. I am 33 weeks tomorrow, can you believe it!? We are getting more excited to meet our new son or daughter. We have names picked out and I'm getting antsy wondering who it will be, boy or girl! I'm so looking forward to warm snuggles, swaddling, all their cute wee clothes, their fuzzy head (on the ultrasound this week we saw plenty of hair, pretty cool!), and introducing Natalie and Stockton to their new sibling. Also, I am very much looking forward to not being pregnant anymore. FOR A WHILE THIS TIME.

And of course, my children. They have been extra joyous to be around this week - they are also extremely happy about this delightful weather and it shows in their behavior and temperament. The pure joy that shows on their faces when we go outside is radiant and makes me feel like such a great mom! Plus, they have been sleeping soooo hard after all that sunshine and play time. (Did I mention HOW MUCH I LOVE OUR BACKYARD!?)

There are plenty more things that I keep thinking of - progress on t shirt quilt, Honest Abe's with friends, Stockty getting closer to real words, playing in the neighbors' driveway, how Natalie hasn't once gotten out of her bed unless we come in her room, deep cleaning the washer and dryer and laundry room floor (have you ever done that? holy SATISFYING to get into all those crevices, especially the feels so much better doing laundry in a super clean place), my freshly trimmed bangs, Natsby in her summer shorts, laughing with is good, and I am grateful for the happiness that has been pouring into my life lately.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

MARCHing Forward

That's what we're doing, just sort of trucking along! Not much has been going on - as I'm getting more pregnant it is becoming harder to do everyday things, so I feel like we've slowed down a little bit. For instance, I have to reeeeally want to go somewhere if I'm going to put in the effort to get both kids bundled, outside, in carseats, out of carseats, wrangling at the store/friend's house/misc errand, back in carseats, back out of carseats, inside, DEEP BREATH. My protuding belly just gets in the way! It's hard to carry Stockton. Then throw in Natalie having some sort of tantrum issue, and going out turns into the type of production I don't really want to sign myself up for. But I still feel rejuvenated when we leave the house, and the kids always seem uplifted as well. Plus, better naps! : )

Totally mesmerized by Let it Go, blankies in hand. Cute post-nap babes. 

I'm starting to rely on Austin even more - "will you go switch the laundry?" "will you unload the dishwasher?" "will you do everything the kids need so I can just slug on the couch?" "will you go to the store and get some ice cream?" He's more than willing, and I love him all the more for it! We were laughing tonight that we are both sick of dealing with my pregnant self by the time we have the baby, ha, and I don't even get really sick or anything. Oh, hormones.

We are 32 weeks this Friday! What!? The 30s always sound soooo much further along than the 20s, I loveeee it. And then it feels like it just absolutely crawls up til the due date. At least this time I have a true no getting around it DATE so it's more concrete. (Bah, I'm feeling less c-section confident since last time I wrote. Just scared.) It's fun talking to Natalie about her new brother or sister, having her be cozy with my belly, asking her what names we should use, etc. I'm glad she's more understanding this time, but she's still only 2 and a half! (Which she will tell you proudly, by the way.)

Stockton is a sleep CHAMP. I still never ever take a night of his good sleep for granted. Sleeping through the night is such a beautiful thing, since we almost never get it from Natalie. He makes up for her continual issues by sleeping a SOLID twelve hours every night, and a 3-hour nap every afternoon, bless his heart. LOVE IT. I don't know what to do about Natalie's sleep. I rotate through phases: annoyed at how much she wakes up in the night so trying new solutions and being a "tough" mom, OR feeling guilty and lovey and helping her every time she wakes up and saying "this too shall pass," OR getting depressed and exhausted at how little sleep it seems like we get some nights. I'm in the "whatever" phase right now - she'll sleep solidly eventually, right? Plus, I'm in the tossy/turny pregnant phase so it's not like I'm sleeping great anyway.

I came out of the kitchen one morning to find him fast asleep, double fisting binks. I picked him up and he was so floppy and warm that I couldn't bear to wake him up, and we had cozies in the chair until I put him in his crib. It's been a while since I've gotten to hold a sleeping baby! There's something just so precious and special about them when they sleep, so limp and trusting and beautiful. Remind me of that when this new baby wants to be held at three in the morning!

We've had a couple random "nice" days (I say "nice" loosely because it's more like "not super freezing, hurry let's get fifteen minutes outside") that we took advantage of. We sort of even had walking group one morning! I hope I can figure out a way to bring all three kids to walking group this summer. Hmm.

playing at the neighbs

 exploring the bleak wilderness

Natalie and Stockton are playing together more, which is SO fun to see. I love them! This high chair scene happens multiple times daily, ha.

I have this cake in the oven and it smells FANTASTIC. I love this dessert because we don't have it very often and it's completely different from any other treat we typically make. Mmmmm. Also, I finally found a winning rolls recipe! I've tried several in my research and none were bad, I mean we're talking about ROLLS here, but this was by far my favorite one. YUM.

Also also, my parents took us out for a belated birthday dinner for Austin at this incredibly fancy steak place, and it was amazing! The boys shared the "Tomahawk" steak, a 44 ounce, yes, FORTY FOUR OUNCE ribeye that came on an authentic, real life cow rib. It was grotesque to me, but they feasted (as they should considering it cost $110!). Austin threw the bone around in the backyard for his workout the next day, haha!

And lastly, I just wanted to announce that I am in temporary relapse from my literary lethargy! I loved "Language of Flowers" and I'm enjoying "All the Light We Cannot See." I think there was another book I read, but I can't remember now. Hmm. I think it's fun to document what you're reading lately...any recommendations?