Sunday, December 25, 2016

We're Halfway Hair

I had my 20 week ultrasound without any plans of doing a gender reveal party. Due to the fact that all of our family is too far away to gather together as usual and due to the fact we were already fairly certain it's another boy, we kept things on the down low. 

We did take a quick minute to do a belly shot before the appointment where I later looked at the picture and fount it ironically fitting that I unintentionally wore all blue to my appointment. 
Because you guessed it. The ultrasound tech repeatedly told us she's 100% certain it's another boy, making us an all blue family. We saw this coming. Like 5 years ago, so we accept you #4. We know how to raise you. We can almost guarantee we have all your favorite toys already. We have 3 buddies already in place eager to assist you through your journey to manhood. We are getting good at this. You picked the right family. 

Also, it should be mentioned, those 3 buddies have decided to name baby Papi? Poppy? Poppi? They haven't clarified the spelling. Or the meaning. One day we were asking them what we should name the new brother. Without hesitation, Eli said Poppy. It's stuck ever since. Whenever I try to bring up other names, the boys go, "That's YOUR name, but OUR name is Poppy." 

They even got Lincoln on the Poppy bus. Lincoln kisses my belly anytime someone utters the word Poppy. It's cute they have their own little name for him, I just wish I could figure out what inspired it!

All my pregnancy issues disappeared the minute Jeff got back from Canada. It was a week of crazy, and now I feel totally normal again. At the appointment, everything checked out great. Baby measured perfectly on everything. The placenta previa has corrected itself. All body systems go for delivery. Thumbs up. 

I may blame the hormones. I may blame the ever growing belly. I may blame the cold weather. I may blame my constant underlying fixation on growing my hair out to impressive lengths only to chop it all off without any warning. It's probably some kind of mixture of all of that which led me to stare at my locks one week and grow to detest them. They just had to go. I had not even been considering cutting my hair, and then, very abruptly, I could no longer consider keeping it long. 

Just weeks ago I told numerous people of my habitual hair chopping, but assured them I was keeping it long this time. Never trust a chopper. 
I did it again! And no. I didn't donate it. Hate me if you want. I still have a ponytail from my last chop I need to send in somewhere, but I'm also kind of precautiously keeping it in case I ever lose my hair, because how cool would it be to have a wig of years' worth of your own hair? Should have kept this chunk of hair for my own selfish wig cause, but I didn't. Anyway.

I chopped! I love it! I can turn my head without static, frizz, tangles. It's the perfect length. It's a fun change. It has made my hormonal heart happy and content for now.

I'm 22 weeks today! April feels close. I need some of that nesting to kick in so we can start getting ready for Poppy in more significant ways than a hair cut.

Snowy Snapshots

Winter played a cruel joke on us dumping 6 inches of snow the night we got back from California. 
Lincoln found himself confused trying to do his favorite summer outside activities but finding the cold and snow making them difficult. 
He found the whole snow business very baffling. Especially the part where he got cold. Not a fan. 
Eli obsessively shoveled as always. Bless his instinctively hard working soul. 
I was so worried about finding Carson a preschool group being newly moved into the area. Our neighborhood quickly invited us into a joy school that has a great group of kids and Carson's loved it! He appears to love it less at our house...
than he does at other people's houses. Carson has NEVER offered me a smile this sincere for a picture but he gives them out willy nilly to any other mom who asks!
The more kids I have, the more I love Jim Gaffigan. I've read his books. I've seen his stand-up on Netflix. I've watched his TV show. He is my parenting spirit animal. I just love him. 

Through a chain reaction of destiny, I came to discover my pal Jim was scheduled to tour through Utah and I knew we HAD to go. So we did. 

Tears were flowing down my face within the first 2 minutes of Gaffigan getting on stage. It was a good night even considering Jeff made me eat sushi for dinner. 
I finally ordered all the boys their first pair of boots. Yes. Eli has never owned boots before this winter. It was time. 

Had I known how excited boots would make 3 little boys, I would have indulged their footwear fantasies much sooner. I ordered the boots on Black Friday, so our normal 2-day Amazon shipping was delayed, agonizing Eli with each additional day he had to wait to finally know what it felt like to be a boy in boots. The boots finally came and the boys were all instantly in love with their winter kicks. 
We went to Temple Square. I don't know if it was the influence of girls, or if it was the said warm kicks, but Eli was sure eager to strike a happy pose for me for the first time ever. 
I usually prefer to visit Temple Square in the spring. Or in the summer. Or in the fall. I just hate being in the cold. In the dark. With three ticking time bombs who may decide they've had it with the cold at any unexpected moment. 

But we came prepared. We triple layered everybody, had the boots, had the gloves, had the hats, had the snow pants. We were ready to face the cold. And who would have guessed...when you dress appropriately, Winter's not half bad. 

My memories of the lights at Temple Square involve me being a teenager and being too cool to wear a coat, resulting in an obviously miserable night. But with a coat, it's actually enjoyable! We may even venture out into the cold again with this new found knowledge of coats and boots. 
Carson opened his very own bakery one day. He's always been my foodie and I've always loved him for it. 
Madison and Lincoln love to sneak out to the garage to ride bikes around. I often find them on the same bike when I go out to check on them, which leaves me no choice but to snap endless pictures of them. 
We'll end with Lincoln's preferred way to wait for me to get ready. Lincoln loves to rummage through/on top of/all over the bathroom while I get ready every morning. He usually keeps out of trouble even though I can't seem to keep him out of the sink. 

My Favorite Artists

It is my favorite thing ever to find my kids drawing adorable pictures. Carson was on a robot kick one week and surprised me with this intricate cuteness. 
Then a couple days later, he surprised me with being able to spell robot sound effects. What?! Carson is so funny! He's already anxious to sound out words and spell, and he's really taken to it in the past couple of months! 
A few weeks after school started, Eli must have learned about authors and illustrators because he came home from school determined to write a book (cue my beaming heart). 
Title: The Summer Sky
First we flied kites. Then we put lotion on. Then we maked pets?

Not sure about the last line. But my favorite part of his story was the survey on the back:
"Is this story good or bad?" Eli read his story to everyone in the family and then eagerly asked them if they liked the story. Carson connivingly had Eli on the edge of his seat as he lingered with his answer, threatening to answer bad before finally giving in and answering good. Jeff and I joked that Eli's already after "likes." 

Carson drew this picture for Jeff one day. It's a football with Jeff's favorite team "Dodgers." Nevermind the clash of sports. We still loved it. 
We'll end with one more time Carson impressed me with his spelling. I love how quickly he's picking up reading! 

I Sea You Lion on the Beach

Our last full day in California began with my parents prepping for a morning meeting by watching a few Mormon Messages. This quickly gained the attention of 3 little boys who were eager to help their grandparents spiritually prepare for the day. 
My parents left for meetings while we left to hunt sea lions. 
Every day we were in Cali, it got 10 degrees colder. Our beach walk was a little chilly in the morning. 

We found them!
We smelled them!

We accepted their stench and their weird neck poses (check out the one just to the left of Eli's head). 
We requested the boys not get too close to the sea lions, which led Carson to infer they were dangerous and would attack him, so he stayed a football field length away from them at all times, but Eli and I got a pretty good view of them!
We strolled along the beach for a while.
We made it to another group of sea lions. I was trying to get a picture of Carson and told him to pose like a sea lion. This was his sea lion interpretation. 

With time to fill in the afternoon and the cool weather providing the perfect conditions, we decided to try out a hike right by my parents' house. The part I was sure my boys would love -- we'd be hiking a volcano!
Carson came up with the idea to leave "x" marks all the way up the trail, I think so we knew which way to go on our way back? He stopped every 10 feet and left his mark. 
Made it easy for Lincoln to keep track of "boys." Lincoln has always had a hard time saying Carson's name. He has reverted to calling Eli by his name, but he calls Carson "boys." 
It was a bit of a walk before we even made it to the volcano, and then once we were hiking the volcano, it was straight uphill! Selfies were taken while we caught our breath. 

Jeff kept warning me the boys would never make it all the way to the top of the volcano, but they proved him wrong and hiked with ease!
We made it to the top!
I was expecting some kind of evidence that the hill we were climbing was, in fact, a volcano at some point, but we didn't even find a hint of lava rock. I held out hope once we got to the top there would be some kind of divot where the lava once erupted from, but no sign of that either. It was a glorified hill, but the boys still thought it was cool. 
We followed Carson's markings all the way back down the "volcano" when their marking sticks turned into sniper guns somewhere along the path. 
My parents met up with us for dinner at Texas Roadhouse! 
Then it was time for us to head back to the cold. 
The cold hit us sooner than we expected. Thanksgiving traffic had been annoying on the way out, but on the way home, it was unbearable. Somewhere around Scipio, they completely closed the freeway down! For over 3 hours the freeway was at a standstill for reasons still unknown to me. 

We were stuck pretty close to a freeway exit, so we weaseled our way off the freeway, sure we'd be able to take a back road past the problem area. We weren't the first ones with this idea. All the side roads were jammed. Cell phone towers were clogged and not allowing our phones' GPS to work. We were stuck. 

The longer we just sat in a still car, the more irritated the kids began. They do awesome in the long as it's moving, and we had already spent the entire day in the car! We were practically home and making good time until the torturous traffic jam. 

As our impatience grew, so did our overconfidence in the Yukon's 4-wheel drive. Jeff dared to take us on a road that soon turned into a dirt road, that soon turned into a dirt road climbing a snowy mountain. I tried to document the conditions, but this is the best I got: 
The blurriness is due to the endless moguls we were taking the Yukon over, and the snow growing heavier with every climb of the mountain. The one oblivious person who was overly enjoying our treacherous excursion was Lincoln. He squealed in delight each time we hit a bump and then would promptly shout, "Again! Again!" until we hit another one. We probably spent 45 minutes 4-wheeling on the mountain, which ended in us realizing we weren't going to make it over the mountain, so we back-tracked off the mountain, only to glance back at the freeway and see everything was still completely at a stand still. 
We ended up going through Delta, around the back side of Utah Lake, and finally made it back to the freeway around Thanksgiving Point. Never again will we travel for Thanksgiving!

Other than the journey home, we had a lovely time in California, and we're already dreaming of when we can return. 

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Black Friday was a Zoo

I convinced myself the day after Thanksgiving would be the PERFECT day to visit the zoo seeing as everyone would be out Black Friday shopping and we'd surely avoid any kind of crowd. Twas not the case. Have I told you I hate Black Friday shopping on account of the crowds? And we were right there in 'em amongst the animals. 
It only took us 5 billion years to make it through the ticket stand, but it gave us plenty of time to get some cute pictures!
Due to my mom's recent foot surgery, my Dad had the honor of wheeling my Mom around the park all day. 
My favorite sight was when Jeff and my Dad would end up next to each other strolling their dependents through the park. 
At one point my Dad was going down a hill and joked that he was going to lose my Mom. Eli did not find this funny and spent the entire rest of the day dutifully hanging on to his Grandma's wheelchair to be Grandpa's emergency brake in the case of a runaway Grandma. 
Lincoln got front row seats to a tiger. 

If Eli wasn't carefully watching over Grandma, he was studiously perusing the map to keep us headed towards the rhinos. 
Lincoln confirmed my suspicions that he would never survive an elephant stampede. Without any direction from me, he saw a giant elephant statue and instinctively put his head under the elephant's foot. We need to work on his survivor skills. 
We stopped for a yummy lunch!
Unsure what to do with their lunch keepsake, they fashioned their bags into hats. 
And then made this face upon request of a smile: 
Eli seized the opportunity to try out the wheelchair while Grandma was up and at 'em at lunch. He was wheeling in everybody's way, but people would jump out of his path, overly apologetic. It wasn't until halfway through lunch I realized people thought he was really wheelchair bound and I decided to make him park the chair.
The only walking Carson did all day was to get off one wheeled vehicle to another.
Lincoln had to try out Grandma's wheels to see what all the hype was about. 
Linker eventually dozed off late in the afternoon. 

Eli took a break from helping Grandma to securing his floppy, sleepy brother in place after determining the rented stroller was not very compatible with napping.
We had a fun day at the zoo, ending with a double decker bus ride tour (per Carson's request. He was humorously obsessed with people driving him around the park. I wasn't kidding). 
We stopped by the San Diego temple on the way home to see it decorated for Christmas and got there just as the lights were turning on. It was such a fun day!