Sunday, May 30, 2010

30 on the 30th

happy anniversary to my favorite parents.
[aren't they fabulous?]
they are celebrating the big 3-0 today.
i'm grateful they got married.
i'm grateful they got married in the salt lake temple.
so we can all be together forever.
without them, there would be no me.
and without me, there would be no Carly.
and what kind of world would it be without Carly?
not any kind of world I would want to live in, that's for sure.
~
anyway, I owe them a lot.
love you, mom and dad.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

and here we have idaho.





We love . . .
uncles.
aunts.
cousins.
strawberries.
costco.
books.
yogurt bars.
diamonds.
missionaries.
mexican food.
grandma loves.
grandpa's glasses.
playing games.
badminton.
giant rubber ducks.
playoff basketball.
May snowstorms.
shopping.
beautiful sunsets.
being together.
We love Idaho.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

frequent flyers.

A few days ago my friend Stacey blogged about a rough trip she had on the way to visit family in Texas. Upon reading her story, I thought "wow, I'm glad we have always had perfectly smooth trips, especially with Carly!" This is when I should have said "Knock on wood" and knocked on the cabinet next to me. But I didn't . . .
~
Yesterday morning, it was time for our Idaho vacay to come to an end. We were late on our way to the airport in Salt Lake. My parents were dropping us off, then heading down to Provo to take my brother to the MTC. Was that nuts? Possibly, but that's what we did and we were late. So upon our arrival to the airport we bid quick goodbyes and ran to our gate, making it just in time to board. Ok, we made it . . . smooth sailing from there, right?
[Carly loved looking out the window at the other airplanes.]

In the air on the way to Chicago, the captain came over the speaker repeatedly telling us about being rerouted. Over and over again. Then we were in a holding pattern outside of Chicago. Apparently, severe thunderstorms meant nobody was getting to O'Hare. And apparently all our rerouting and holding used up all our fuel, because we were headed to Rockford, IL to refuel. Things were looking good [this post will be heavy with sarcasm]. We landed, but so did a bunch of other planes. We had about an hour until we could even find out when we could leave Rockford. And we weren't allowed off the plane because the airport didn't have security. So for . . . oh, 2 1/2 to 3 hours we sat in the tiny plane in Rockford. With lots of unhappy people and a really unhappy baby. But when Carly is unhappy she doesn't cry, per se. She gets hyper. She is everywhere and needs to be moving constantly and get into everything. Like she is just beside herself. Makes for some fun times while trapped on a small un-moving airplane.
~
But finally, FINALLY we landed in Chicago. Of course, the time for our connecting flight to Nashville had come and gone, but if we couldn't get in, then maybe that flight couldn't get out? Ummmm . . . O'Hare is massive. And it was packed with people thanks to the missed/delayed/cancelled flights. And our flight? Cancelled. We got on the standby list for the next flight to Nashville, which was 3 hours away. Aww, yes. More waiting. Oh, and I packed just enough food/formula to last the length of the planned trip. So our exhausted baby was also receiving rations of sustenance. Anyway, we were numbers 10 and 11 the the standby list, and the screen showed 4-6 available seats at any given time. Our chances were not looking good. I began wondering how we would spend the night in Chicago. The cost of shuttles and hotels started to tick through my mind. Could we spend the night in the airport? Maybe it would be worth it. The panic began to rise in my chest. Luckily, Carly had passed out by this time, and I was left to worry without any distractions.
[But isn't she yummy? Could have eaten her here. I was starving.]
What we were praying would be our flight to Nashville got delayed . . . twice. Two hours after its original departure time, and five hours after our arrival in Chicago, they called for boarding for the Nashville flight and started calling out names of standby passengers. I heard some names being called repeatedly. The people weren't showing up! "Chen. Passenger Chen!" they called over and over. Please, don't show up, Passenger Chen! I thought. Just then Carly woke up and I lifted her to find . . .
Yes, I kid you not, the child had peed on me. At exactly the perfect time. I ran to the bathroom to change (luckily Chris had gym shorts in his carry-on), praying they would call our name, but not right then. Because if we didn't show up right away, we were out of luck. I got back to Chris just as I heard a miracle in my ears: our name called over the loudspeaker. I grabbed Carly and told Chris to run to the front. I grabbed our things and our still soaked-in-pee baby and ran. We went out on to the tarmac and Chris hollered in victory and tears sprung to my eyes. I have no idea how we got on. We were the very last two seats on the plane, and it took off minutes after we boarded.
~
The plane, however, turned out to be the smallest plane I've ever been on. And it was also about 8 million degrees. I changed Carly and didn't bother finding new clothes for her. It was too hot. The guy across from us said "I wish I was wearing what she is wearing!" I wished I was too.
[Not gonna lie, we sure looked classy.] 
As our plane took off and beads of sweat rolled down my stomach, I said a small prayer of thanks for our little miracle. What a blessing it was to be on our way to Nashville. Our trip had been extended nearly 8 hours. But we were on our way.
~
Rather than drive the remaining distance to Knoxville in the middle of the night, we got a hotel in Nashville. We stumbled into our room with a bag of Wendy's, covered in sweat and grime and more than a little Carly pee. But we were in the right state, and after a good meal and some Sportscenter and showers for all, we settled in for some quality sleep. And woke up just in time for check-out.
~
Did I mention we had a wonderful trip? Because we really, really did. But more than ever, I am grateful to be home.

Friday, May 21, 2010

a day with the fam.


today:
  • we went to Molinelli's and got all our wedding rings dipped and polished. my rings look bright and dazzling and brand new. i'm a little giddy.
  • we went to the big messy unorganized glorious used book store. chris and i came out with 3 books for $10. soon i will know everything there is to know about queen noor. i love autobiographies.
  • we went on a long walk after dinner. it was chilly. idaho can be like that in may. but we passed by our old old old house that we lived in as children and reminisced.
  • we watched the single family home video the T family has. good thing its the most entertaining minutes that could have possibly been captured.
who knows what tomorrow will bring.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

under one roof.

for the first time ever, all 10 members of the new and improved T family are all under one roof.
we are partying it up before our baby brother heads out to the mission field.
~
chris and I don't see a lot of Carly, but between the happy squeals echoing through the house, giant jaguar, giant duck, and lots of aunts/uncles/grandparents to play with, we think she is doing ok.

xoxoxo.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

master of the house.

We made it out to Chris's graduate hooding ceremony on Thursday.
Did you know I love graduations?
Wait, not graduations.
What I love is academic regalia. The robes and hoods representing different universities and degrees. I find it fascinating. As I watched the PhD students get hooded by their mentors, I couldn't help but skip ahead 4 years in my mind and imagine Chris getting his green and white hood placed over his head as I sit with 4-year-old Carly, and hopefully her little sibling. Crazyness.



It was nice, especially since I sat through the whole thing while Carly wandered through the halls with her ma-maw. And the Mexican food following was even nicer. Chris sees this as just another stepping stone. The next step until the ultimate goal: the giant PhD hood from Michigan State. But Carly and I, we are proud of our boy. He worked so hard. He did so much.

Yes, we are very proud of our boy.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

nine months old.

We had serious struggles during this month's photo shoot.
Carly isn't a fan of sitting still.
And she is a big fan of grabbing at anything and everything.
Especially the camera.
Only three left.
(I'll be stopping at a year.)
Time flies when you're having fun.
~
Carly, at nine months old you . . .

*are an energizer bunny. Every day you go - go - go. You are a busy girl and have so much to do, so little time to do it.

*get into everything. Cupboards, drawers, closets, shelves. Nothing is safe. You are even able to push doors open when I think I've shut them tight. You have a magic touch. But your favorite things to get into? The dishwasher and the fridge. I'm currently considering getting a safety gate to block off the kitchen.

*have a slight obsession with shoes. Like mother like daughter, I suppose. Only you don't like to wear them. You love to suck and chew on them. It grosses me out. We are learning to keep our closet doors shut, because no matter where you are your internal shoe radar will lead you straight to them.

*love love love your daddy. You love to play with him and you are so excited when he gets home. When he walks into a room you grunt and squeal like "Ok, daddy, lets play!".

*are just starting to grow out of your 3-6/6 month clothes. Finally! You have a ton of 9 and 12 month clothes for the summer and I'm stressing that you won't fit in them.

*are so funny when you wake up. You never cry. You just lay in your crib and moan until I come get you, and when I open the door you whip around and pull right up in your crib with a big smile and start jabbering away. You obviously have a lot to tell me every morning.

*continue to be our expert sleeper. About 10-12 hours every night.

*continue to be our lousy eater. You seem to find other things much more important than eating. But I've found that if I time it just right it works. You can't be too tired or too hungry, but you have to be tired and hungry enough. I have started giving you real banana pieces though, and you love feeding yourself and chewing the food. Maybe you're just not a fan of baby food. I wouldn't be either.

*have so much personality. We call you a diva and your daddy says "I have no idea where she got that from." That's called sarcasm, because he seems to think you got it from me. One example is you love giving kisses . . . if you're in the mood. If not you will literally push our faces away with your hands. And sometimes when we try to snuggle you, you wave your arms like "Give me my space!". Its hilarious.

*love attention. You love when people look at you and smile at you. You smile back and make happy squawking noises. And everyone tells you how cute you are. You are such a ham.

*are so beautiful. We can't get over how much joy you bring us.

Happy nine months, Car. We are glad you joined us.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

{3} here comes the sun.

The sun came out on our final day in South Carolina.
We spent the day taking long walks down the coast and playing in the waves.
A well-rested, well-fed Carly was much more interested this time around.
She was too much fun.
And way too cute.
We did learn one interesting fact about our daughter this day: she would rather eat handfuls of sand than a spoonful of green beans. I was seriously worried sand would come out in her diapers.
I love the ocean.
There is something majestic about it.
For some reason I feel the Spirit so strong there.
Something about the sand, the waves, the tide, and the beauty of it all testifies of the Creator.
~

Our final night we got ice cream cones (only I didn't get a cone) and walked along the beach at sunset. I have a hard time saying goodbye to the ocean. As much as I love it, we just don't have the opportunity to go as much as I would like. Our last visit to the beach was 4 years ago on our honeymoon. I said my goodbyes with my feet in the waves as the sun went down. I watched my handsome husband walk toward our beachfront hotel with my beautiful baby. And I didn't want our escape from reality to end.

It was a beautiful vacation.

{The end.}

sometimes taylor says it best.

Now I know why all the trees change in the Fall
I know you were on my side even when I was wrong
And I love you for giving me your eyes
For staying back and watching me shine
I didn't know if you knew, so I'm takin' this chance to say
That I had the best day with you today

The nine months I have spent as Carly's mother have been the greatest nine months of my life.

But they have also been the hardest nine months of my life.

And they have taught me how very lucky I am to be blessed with my wonderful mother/best friend/example. Motherhood is no easy thing. But my mother makes it look easy.

I am who I am because of her. I hope Carly can proudly say that about me some day.

Merci, ma mere.

Je t'aime.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

{2} the day the rain came.

The following morning we woke to find the rain hadn't shown up yet. We headed down for a long walk in the waves. It was a beautiful morning on the beach. So beautiful that I didn't even take any pictures.
~
However, the rain was inevitable.
We decided to find something in Charleston to entertain us on our rainy day.
It just so happens Charleston has an aquarium.
And Chris loves aquariums.
And I've never been to an aquarium.
And Carly loves people, things that move, and bright colors.
Perfect.
~
The torrential rains began just as we parked and headed into the aquarium.
Perfect timing on our part.


Carly wasted no time making a few friends.
(please note: Carly is sucking on her thumb in every single picture taken at the aquarium. She sucks on her thumb when she is nervous. And seeing fish bigger than she is made her nervous.)



This tank was massive and had sharks and giant sea turtles in it.
Carly loved looking at all the little fish swimming around.

She tried to grab at everything in the tanks.


Not sure what to make of the jellyfish.


Be still my heart. Isn't he gorgeous?

The aquarium heavily advertised two main attractions: Penguin Planet and the White [albino] alligator. I love penguins, but Penguin Planet was really more of a Penguin Village. Or neighborhood. Not very big at all. But they were very cute and Carly liked watching them swim around.

Lets Go Pens!

The white alligator was pretty cool though.
But I'm pretty sure he was asleep because he didn't move one bit.
The display said albino alligators are so rare because alligators maintain their body heat by lying in the sun, but an albino alligator gets burned by the sun. Isn't that fascinating? Maybe its just me.
Carly seemed to enjoy the tanks with a TON of fish the most:
video

After the aquarium it was time for the grown-ups to find some food. This is when we had a life-changing experience: Sticky Fingers. This day was Chris's real birthday (yay!) and he wanted BBQ. We headed to a place we had heard about, called Sticky Fingers. We got the rib platter for 2, which came with 4 kinds of Memphis BBQ ribs. I tell you, I will never be the same. It was amazing. And they had the best baked beans and potato salad I've ever tasted. And I'm a potato salad connoisseur of sorts. Amazing. We may have gone back the next day for round two. Its possible.
~
That evening Chris got a short birthday nap, and Carly was being fussy, so she and I headed out in the light drizzle to get some fresh air and check out the beautiful houses on Isle of Palms. I LOVED these houses. They were a combination of Charleston Southern style and beach house. So beautiful.

My favorite. CUTEST teal shutters.

We ended our night with the Cubs and Penguins on TV in our hotel room while the rain continued to fall. It was a wonderful day. And even better? The sun was on its way.

{to be continued . . . }

Friday, May 7, 2010

{1} ahead of the storm.

The storm that flooded Nashville hit Knoxville the evening before we were set the leave. It was then headed east toward South Carolina, which happened to be our destination. I wasn't exactly thrilled that our beach vacation had a rainy forecast, and Chris and I prayed we would get a little sunshine. Luckily, prayer works.
~
We drove through the crazy storm on the way to Charleston/Isle of Palms. It was intense, so much so that we had to pull over at one point and wait for the rain to let up. But we ended up beating the storm to the coast. Upon our arrival, it was seriously overcast and had a mugginess only the South can give you, but it wasn't raining. So we headed straight to the beach.
~
Carly was tired after our journey, and had no idea what this crazy place was that her parents had taken her to. So her initial meeting of the Atlantic had mixed reviews.

Carly and daddy checking out the seagulls.

She is turning into a serious daddy's girl.

She was good until we 1) got too close to the waves, and 2) put her in the sand.

Love this. Look how she is eyeing those waves suspiciously.

Getting a little better.

video
After her traumatic encounter with the ocean, we decided to get some dinner. We went to a seafood place (of course!). I love seafood, but haven't eaten a lot of it since meeting Chris because it literally makes him gag. On his mission he told people he was allergic to it. But he was nice enough to let me order a seafood platter. And let me tell you, it look like the bottom of the ocean. The shrimp and crab legs were de-lish, but the oysters, I'm pretty sure, still had sand on them. They were a little much, even for a seafood lover.
~
It was a really fancy place. Even came with a balloon animal maker.
Carly just stared at him while he made the giraffe.
He said, "Wow, by the time I'm done you are going to know exactly how to make it yourself!"
She is quite the observer.
The day was a bit exhausting for her. Took her about 3 seconds to fall asleep in the car after dinner. Unfortunately for us, and fortunately for her, the rain came the next day, and she didn't have to face the Atlantic again until the day after.

{to be continued . . . }