Tuesday, October 28, 2014


October has passed much too quickly. We are hitting a stride in this not-so-new-anymore place, and it has been nice. Sometimes things still feel too new, and there is so much to learn and so much to still settle in to. But now is better than it was. And next time will be better than now.

We kicked off October the way we love to: General Conference weekend and my birthday. We went apple picking between Saturday sessions . . . in our backyard. The apple tree we expected to be a worthless hassle is proving itself to be anything but. We got a lot of apples this fall, and that is without the tree being taken care of. We have high hopes for many apples to come when we actually prune it and do what one does to trees to make it so the worms don't eat through three-quarters of the apples (obviously we've got some learning to do). My birthday was simple. We celebrated with homemade pizza and pumpkin chocolate chip cake with cousin Alyssa on Sunday, and on Monday my aunt and uncle were kind enough to watch the kids so Chris and I could go on our first date in much too long. I think 28 will be a good year. 

We are figuring out a groove. Carly has school every day and dance once a week. Our regular schedule also includes my D&C class and library story time (our story time is really awesome here!). Having school every day has been rough on me; not so much Carly, just me. For whatever reason, getting her there and back with the twins in tow is exhausting and stressful. Late afternoon pick up is somewhat disastrous. J and Q don't nap anymore, but get tired and drift off in the car, meaning I drag two cranky/sleeping babies in to pick up Carly. Oh, how I wish it was 1994 and I didn't have to sign her in and out. Our mornings are spent simply, coloring and playing. One morning I was feeling stressed. Lunch was approaching and the kids were all still in pajamas. The house was a mess from the morning of imagination. Imaginative games are their number one form of entertainment these days, and it is so fun to hear them play. But on this morning, I felt bad. I should have things more structured, I should be doing those crafts I pin or going to the children's museum. In my mom guilt, I came down the hall and found three little pirates on their pirate ship (the couch). "Hoist the sails!" Carly cried out. "O-tay!" John replied, clearly having no idea what "hoist the sails" meant. And then I heard the answer: This is why you kept her home. There were a lot of factors that led to us waiting a year to start Kindergarten, and for me having an extra  year of childhood, an extra year to stay in her jammies until noon and play pirates with her brother and sister, was a major one. I love these relaxed unscheduled mornings. I try to cherish them, because I know they will be gone much too soon.

Chris continues to love his job. There is so much to do, so many facets, that it is hard to balance them all. But they are all so positive and exciting, one can't complain too much. To add to the exciting balancing act, Chris was called as the Young Men's president in our ward. To say we were surprised would be an understatement. We had been in the ward a month and a half when he got the call. We met with the bishop and I was fully expecting to be called as primary team teachers--why else would he want to meet with both of us? Honestly, my heart initially sank. I felt like I had just gotten him "back" from his dissertation, and felt like things were so pleasant and simple. The bishop asked if I would support him and I barely squeaked out a yes. Right then Quinn started throwing a fit, so I took the kids into the hallway and burst into tears (hows that for support?). But there was no doubt in my mind he would be great with the Young Men. It has been a bit hectic. He is just getting started and has a lot to figure out, not to mention the fact that we don't know anyone in the ward. But the day after he was set apart, I felt the strongest spirit in our home, and I continue to feel it as long as I'm not being a negative Nancy when he's gone. I know we'll be watched over, and I know he's serving right where the Lord wants him to.

We got to have both sets of grandparents come in the last couple of weeks. It was so fun to have them in our new house and show them this new place we call home. We took them on tours of campus, seeing Chris's office, lab, and the bookstore. We ate yummy food and got ice cream. My mom piled in to the BodPod with the kids and they counted down to blast off to space (naturally). Chris and I managed to go to the temple and a [very tragic] WSU football game when his parents were here, and his dad painted the kids room (yay!) and gave Chris light fixture replacing lessons (more yay!). We loved having our mimi & grandpa and grandma & papa here. We are always accepting visitors, FYI.

Carly continues to enjoy school. It has been an adjustment for me as her school is not traditional. I sometimes feel like I should be seeing more "results" or academic rigor, but that isn't the point of Montessori, and I knew that going in to it. Its clear she's learning, as she knows her months and days and continents. She's constantly singing songs and reciting classic rhymes I never thought to teach her. And she has a French/music teacher come in a few times a week. She sings this song: "Bonjour! C'est moi. Je m'appelle Carly." It is really cute and the twins sing it too, so we are basically a bilingual home. She had her second primary program this past weekend. Her part was a fraction the length of last year's, and she delivered it flawlessly: "My body can do many things. I like to go swimming." John and Quinn were pretty interested in the whole thing. When Carly reached the stage, and things were kind of quiet, Quinn waved and yelled, "Hi, Sissy!!"

John is the sweetest wildest boy. He's a simple man. The other day there was a leftover fort in our living room. Chris and his parents were looking for John, and were everywhere calling out his name. Then Chris spotted him: in the fort, laying back on a pile of pillows, one leg folded over his knee, eating a sandwich. Chris asked why he didn't answer their calls and John held out his sandwich and replied, "Sandwich." Obviously. John is a really funny kid. He makes his sisters laugh all the time. He makes me laugh all the time. His obsession with construction equipment continues. The other night we had dinner at a Mexican restaurant and John was scooping up chip crumbs with his little toy front-end loader. He's a constant source of tackle-hugs and big wet kisses. Now that the kids are out of the baby stage, I can't get over what a contrast John is to his sisters. He does the boy thing exceptionally well. 

Quinn is a total crack up. She has been using longer and more complex sentences lately, and it helps that big little personality show through. The other day we were at the park and it was cloudy and she kept saying, "Rain in two minutes!" It was so cute how worried about it she was, I started to laugh. "What's funny?!" she asked with her stern little face. She's a stubborn one. We got her boots that you slip on, and she kept trying to step into them, instead of pulling them on with her hands. She would fall over, and I said "Quinn, you CAN'T do it that way." But she kept trying and wouldn't you know, she learned to step into her boots. She did it and looked at me, crossed her arms, and gave me the proudest I-told-you-so smile. Stinker. Q continues to be a mama's girl, and most of the time I rather love it. She's my little pal, and I know I will be so sad when she grows out of wanting to be with me all the time (though it will be nice to use a bathroom without her sitting outside chirping "Maaaam! Maaaam!"). She is such a girly girl. She loves wearing dresses and her little ballet outfit we found at a consignment store. When we wears it she does ballet in the living room with the most intense little face you've ever seen. Quinn's most frustrating, yet somewhat endearing, habit right now is the wardrobe changes. She's a regular Kim K regarding the number of outfit changes she does per day. And she manages to get each one just dirty enough to not be able to stick back in the drawer. Three or four (or five!) times a day I find her wearing something totally different. Which is great because I don't have enough laundry to do as it is.

So, we are settling. 
I might even stop talking about how we are settling, that is how settled we're getting.

It has been a sweet October. 
We are all set for the main event on Friday.


Monday, October 13, 2014

our last days in Lansing.

Our final days in Lansing were hectic ones. We were throwing things in boxes, dumping things in the garbage, eating as many Dairy Dan flurries and Cottage Inn pizzas as possible, and visiting our favorite places. The weeks leading up to our departure were so stressful and busy with moving and visitors that I didn't have time to feel sad. Then we were in Idaho, and I didn't have time to feel sad. The sadness came when we settled in Pullman. Now that it is Fall, the very best time of year in Michigan, my heart still hurts. Maybe it always will? I am learning to love this new home, but I ache a little every day for what was. You know, besides the whole getting a PhD thing.

The 4th of July was a fun and simple one. We went on a walk at a nature reserve, John put a golf ball through the tv (which we have yet to replace; thanks, bud), I made the coolest fruit pizza you've ever seen, and we enjoyed a small-town tractor parade. You better believe I'm writing about the 4th of July in October, mostly because my posterity needs to know I made that United States shaped fruit pizza.

We visited lakes as often as we could in the final weeks. Chris sister Jenny and her husband Christian came for a visit and we headed up to Lake Lansing. Sadly it was a pretty chilly day, but it was nice to make one last visit.

We also bid farewell to our MSU Kinesiology family, particularly Chris's adviser Jim and his wife Linda. They were and continue to be a blessing in our lives. Goodbye was hard, but we can't wait for them to come visit (hint, hint).

Our final week in Lansing, my parents came to town to help me progress in packing and to fly with me and the kids back west. We paid our last visit to MSU. We took our picture next to Sparty and saw Tom Izzo and fed the terrifying aggressive ducks. My mind kept wandering to our first visit to campus with one-year-old Carly in a little jean skirt. It felt like such a long road, but somehow the journey we had there turned Michigan into home. I still think of it that way. I'll let you know when it changes. 

Our last Michigan weeks were good ones. We are pretty lucky to have loved it so much that it hurt to say goodbye, only to move to a place we will surely love just as much.


And a little bonus: I found a few pictures of the kids from our final trip to Lake Michigan. 
A beautiful place and some beautiful kids.

an Idaho summer.

We spent a few weeks this summer living the Idaho life. Chris had the not-so-fun task of completing his dissertation revisions, finishing the house and packing up the truck (with the wonderful help of his parents), and driving across the country by himself. We left Michigan a few weeks early to get out of his hair and partied hardy at Mimi and Grandpa's house.

In Idaho we jumped on the trampoline a lot. Cousin Shay came to party two weekends in a row and the sprinkler under the trampoline was a hit. We went to soon-to-be aunt Sierra's bridal shower. We met beautiful new baby cousin Nora. We stared at the mountains. Upon our initial landing into Salt Lake City, my kids were amazing my the mountains. J and Q kept pointing and saying "woah, dirt!" and Carly kept saying for several days, "The mountains are soooo pretty!" We went to parks, had a pool day with Mimi, ate too much, and slept not enough. It was everything an Idaho vacation should be. During that time we also closed on our house, a 4 state transaction with the sellers in Texas, Chris in Michigan, me in Idaho, and the house/title company in Washington. It was a party.

It was so wonderful to be with my family. Living in Michigan meant missing a lot. Holidays and weekend visits and weddings and more. It was so sweet to be all together.

The main event was my baby brother's wedding. The day before the wedding we were all home, so we headed up to Scout Mountain for a day of hiking, hot dogs, and roasted marshmallows.

Saturday morning we were up early to get all fancy for the big day. It was a beautiful, though very hot, day. My shoes were making me want to cry before we even got to the sealing, but considering the bride had knee surgery weeks before her wedding, I decided to tough it out. The nieces and nephew looked adorable, and the bride and groom were glowing. I love weddings and temples and girls in white dresses and boys in bow ties and suspenders and yummy food. 
So really it was a perfect day.

John was obviously OVER it at this point and really wanted lunch.

I just love this picture. Such a handsome brother and his beautiful bride.
 The reception was a beautiful and fun party with lots of delicious food, music, and dancing. Sierra is Hawaiian and Samoan, so the reception was full of culture. Island culture is so beautiful, and now our white family can claim it as our own (right?). Brady embraced his newfound culture by making his mostly-white groomsmen (including Chris) do the haka. They were reasonably impressive until a group of 10 years old and under Polynesian boys showed them how to REALLY do the haka. But we danced and ate the night away and then dragged our exhausted selves home. Quinn was literally asleep as soon as her head hit the pillow. It was a beautiful day.

Luckily, the partying and pretty girls in white dresses didn't stop there. The next morning, at 8:30 am church, my brother gave sweet baby Nora her blessing. Nora is painfully cute. You just want to eat her with a spoon. We loved getting to snuggle on her and be there for her special day. (The newlyweds didn't show up, but whatevs.)

It was a fun few weeks that went by too fast. We had a hard time without our daddy, and it was so sweet when he pulled up after his three day drive and we were reunited. But we loved being at Mimi and Grandpa's house. There's nothing quite like it.

Also, my parents have the cutest grandchildren ever.