to gracie jane: 3 years old

this past year you have had to grow up and become a big sister. you have handled all those changes (including two moves to new houses and everything that went with that) like a champ. it's been a busy and confusing time i think, but you just go with the flow and say ok and keep being the big helper that you've always been. you're still learning patience with your sister and how to share and not rip things out of others hands, but you are working on it and you are getting better and you are so nice, even when little sister pulls your hair. it hurts, i know!

you are so dang smart. too smart! you pick up on so much just listening to others around you, and your little mind is so quick to catch onto things. you've pretty much been talking non-stop since you were 18 months, and i don't see that changing any time soon. you're starting to understand sarcasm more, and we can joke with you and you get it and laugh and it's so fun (except sometimes dad is too serious and you just get mad because you don't know he's joking..that dad!).

you are so excited for school. you don't even start school until next fall, but you have met your teacher already and ever since, you talk about her and going to school almost daily. you have a backpack and a couple lunchboxes and you pack stuff up and 'go to school' all the time. you will be so great, i know it! i'm so excited for you and your future.

while you have a ton of personality (and some serious sass), you are so very sweet. you always want to give loves and kisses to everyone. you are the best little momma to your baby dolls (even though you don't like to name them - they're just known as 'baby' usually ;)). you feed them and burp them and swaddle them and carry them in your little mini carrier and push them in the stroller and put them to bed. and then shush everyone in sight so we don't wake up your babies.

your imagination is pretty amazing, and it only keeps getting better. you come up with things that come out of nowhere, but you're so clever! you are so obsessed with dragons with right. everyone is usually a dragon at some point during the day (many times it's lola). you are also obsessed with ghosts (that's what you want to be for halloween! a 'nice ghost') and you love to put blankets over anyone you can, and tell them to be a ghost! you think it's hilarious.

without a doubt, your favorite people are the 'kids' - aka your cousins. also 'susie' (aunt susan), and your grandmas. you ask to go to their house or for them to come over to ours daily. and they adore you and love you right back.

you are so outgoing. you have no fear when it comes to people. you'll say hi to anyone we pass, either at the park or the store or wherever we are. you will see random kids that you don't know and tell me that they're 'your friend'. you love to put on a show, whenever anyone is around. you like to have the attention and you make sure others know you're around. you have so much energy and you get so excited about all sorts of things - big or small. it's infectious.

you love the park! it's probably your favorite place to go. you cannot get enough the swings, and you always want me to push you higher in the sky like a rocketship! you sister loves to swing with you now, too. and she loves when you push her in the swing, she just laughs and laughs. you make her so happy.

you definitely have your moments - you are strong-willed and you know what you want most the time. and you will let me know! i can't be too mad though, because i know that a lot of that attitude comes from me. you have taught me more about myself in the last three years than you will ever know.

one of your favorite things to do right now is to race. race outside, race around the house, race at the park. anywhere. and your favorite part is to say, in your best announcer voice: 'on your marks, get set, go!'. but no one else can say that! only you. you have a little runners stance and everything.

you are very tenderhearted. you get worried for someone if they get hurt or are feeling sick. you have genuine concern for others and tell people they have to be careful or they need to rest. and you say 'i'm sorry' even when there's nothing for you to be sorry about. you are a sweetheart.

you have changed our world, little one, and it has been the best three years of our lives! you have taught us patience and love and happiness that we never knew before. when i think about you growing up and what you might become, i honestly have no idea where you'll go in your life. there are so many possibilities for you, sweet girl, and i know you will be happy whatever you do and wherever you go. the world is yours, gracie jane.

love, mom.


life lately, according to my iphone.

wow, middle of october? 
this year feels like it has just flown by.

here's a little recap of the last couple of months for us.

sacrament meeting is right during morning naptime - it's rough. a few weeks ago, jae walked around with lola and got her to sleep. yes, i took this during a prayer. i couldn't resist. jae caught me.

every day it's a new baby and/or animal, but gracie tucks her 'babies' into all the beds she can for their naptimes. it's pretty cute, that little momma.

this happy little sunshine insists on standing in her high chair ALL the time now. every time she eats. and it makes me crazy! and also really nervous! seriously, every minute or so she stands back up and i sit her back down, and we go through that about 50 times per meal. gracie never did this, gracie never climbed or stood or tried to get out of anything, so that little cushion with a belt that came with this seat? it got tossed long ago. probably bad idea.

grandpa george came to town a few weekends ago and met lola girl for the first time. he came to church with us and she just stared at him like this while he sang. it was pretty funny. 
(i swear i don't always take pictures during church...)

cousins! and the fall canyons! and snack breaks, of course.

and some sweet daddy snuggles :)

lola wants to do everything big sister does.

beautiful fall in utah

this beaut used to be parked in our driveway (below, where gracie is waving). since approximately 1985. (not joking). it finally got towed away a few weeks ago. don't ask, it's a loooong story. but just be happy for us that it's gone. yayayayay!!!!!!

seriously, that driveway hasn't seen daylight in 30+ years. it's a gall-darn miracle.

soaking up the sunny fall days before it's winter and we will be stuck inside for too many months.

gracie likes to be 'mom' and lola was way happier having sister to look at than mom.

lola's first peach experience. she doesn't have any teeth yet but she was pretty determined to get that peach and eat it. and so she did! and made a pretty awesome mess and quite the show for the rest of us watching. she is hilarious.

gracie often does my workouts with me, or at least wants her matching water bottle to drink from while she watches me workout ;)

high school football game! it was chilly and we only lasted til halftime but it was fun.

gracie's been working on her camera skills. i usually go through and look at all the ones she took and then delete most of them. but this one of her shoes in the grass made me happy, so i kept it.

she's as crazy as ever! she got herself dressed up in this, and then about two minutes later was throwing a fit because she got tangled in the slinky and couldn't get out of it. 

this is her new favorite hobby lately - almost daily you can find all these little people/animals lining our living room window. 'they need to see outside!'. she was very proud.

and now, here we are, days from gracie's birthday, and a month shy of lola's birthday, and then full swing into the holiday season. then anniversary. then more birthdays. the next few months are so busy, but i am so excited for them! these girls make life so full.


bear lake 2016

bear lake has always been a favorite place for me. i spent many summer days up there as a kid, staying at our neighbors cabin or going on day trips up there with my family and grandparents. it's a beautiful place, and i knew it was somewhere i wanted to go with jae and take our own little family often someday. we've gone a few times since being married, but last summer i decided it definitely needed to become a yearly trip for us.

this year, i booked a couple nights of camping at the KOA up there in garden city. it's a great spot, and although we're pretty amateur when it comes to camping, it was a good time and i'm so glad we got away for a few days.

we happened to end up being there the same week my sister and her family were there for their annual family bear lake trip (although they rent a cabin or condo rather than camp - smart! ;)). so we got to spend a beach day with them, and i know it was way better of a beach day for gracie than it would've been if it had just been jae and me playing with her. she sure does love those cousins of hers!

we got there on a sunday afternoon, and decided after we were sweating just setting up our camp, we'd go for a quick swim before dinner. so we did that and i ended up driving lola around in the car for a big to get a little nap in while jae and gracie stayed longer at the pool. we grabbed some dinner at merlin's (shakes!!!!!!) and finally got the girls in bed around 9pm. it was cool and quiet - not too many tent campers there with us, which was really nice.

monday was our big beach day. the girls were up early (no surprise!) so we went on an early morning drive and lola got some extra napping time in. then breakfast at the conestoga ranch (glamping central of bear lake!). way overpriced, but good. we headed to the north beach and spent the whole day there, building in the sand and frisbee in the lake and pb&j's and too many peanut butter m&m's. jk. you can't have too many pb m&m's. i wish i had gotten pictures of lola in the water. she loved it! so completely opposite of her sister - the second i set her down in the shallow water, she splashed and picked up sand and splashed more and tried to eat the sand (did eat the sand..). it was so fun to watch her enjoy it. we applied and re-applied sunscreen about 457 times, although jae and i still managed to get sunburned. but the girls didn't, so i guess count that as a success. then we got some quick showers and ate some mexican at cafe sabor. the food was good, but the girls were kind of done. so it wasn't the most relaxing dinner. then back to camp for bedtime.

the girls did not sleep so well the second night. lola doesn't sleep well any night, whether in a tent or her crib at home, so that wasn't really a surprise. it was pretty chilly at night too, getting down to the 40's. we'll be sure to get some better camping gear (and an air mattress please!) for the next go-round.

tuesday we ate some cereal at camp and spent most the morning packing up. we stopped by the beach on the way out and got one last run through the water and sand and packed up some whiny, sleepy girls in the car for the drive home.

it was quick but it was good.
until next year, bear lake.
(maybe glamping style..?)

in no particular order.......

gracie took this one ;)

since the first day we got there, there was a fire burning just over the mountain from us. we could see the smoke die down and build up every day, and we had ash falling around us and our campsite most the time. on the drive home, we finally could see the actual fire. kind of crazy to be so close to it!



i know this is totally random - can we talk for a minute about girls nights? girls nights after you're married and have kid(s), specifically.

why do i have such a hard time with girls nights?!?!?!

it's a question i keep asking myself. i sent that question in a text to one of my sisters the other day, and she responded very seriously and literally and told me a few reasons why it might be hard for me. and then proceeded to tell me how she feels pretty much exactly how i do on the subject, and i felt a lot better. and i remembered why she's my fav sister ;) we must be related or something.

it's so weird. i have some great girlfriends. ones i've known since i was a wee one. these girls have been through it with me - all of the ups and downs of everything from junior high 'love' to engagement break-offs to marrying the right guy to having babies. i love these girls. they know me. and i know them. and i always have a good time when i do spend time with them. yet, at this stage in my life, when we plan a girls night (dinner, a movie, just a low-key hangout at someones house, whatever it is), 9 times out of 10 i end up not going. and as silly as it sounds, i am truly trying to understand why i do this!

we plan something and it sounds fun. and i am genuinely excited about it. and i put it on my calendar in my phone and tell jae i'm having a girls night that day and it's all good. and then the day gets closer and then the day comes and then all of a sudden i am anxious about it and don't really feel like i want to go. prime example: my friends planned a little shindig the other night. i was planning to go. for weeks, it was the plan. then the day before and the day of came and i just was off all day. i was grumpy with my kids for no good reason, i was finding reasons to be annoyed at jae, i was stressing about getting this done or that done. i texted my sister the above question and we talked about it. and then i finally realized maybe it was because of being gone to the girls night that night. that was causing me stress. so i texted my friends and told them i couldn't make it. and after that, the rest of my day just kind of felt easier. i wasn't worried about stuff, i was able to be more patient with my girls, we planned something fun to do with dad when he got home from work...it was the weirdest. i am the weirdest.

there's just something about taking time away from my own little family. spending money (always a stressful, anxiety-filled subject for me, no matter what, i swear!) and spending time doing something that doesn't involve jae and/or my girls when i could be spending time with them (ie i'm not working and jae's not working) stresses me out. i don't like it. it makes me uneasy. and it's not like i'm worried about anything at home - obviously jae is more than capable of taking care of the girls and himself without me. it's not because they need me there. but i would just miss being there. or something. just writing this out makes me feel like a crazy person. i mean, of course it's not crazy to want to spend time with your family, but a few hours once every few weeks with my bffs shouldn't be so hard!?!

maybe it's because i'm a working mom and i'm already gone, missing dinner and bedtime three nights a week. maybe it's because i feel like it takes a lot of work to keep up on jae's and my relationship now that there are two little people that have taken over our life and i relish every minute we get together.

sometimes i think it would be a good thing for me to go and get out of the house and do something with girls i love that doesn't involve breastfeeding or wrestling toddlers to get them dressed or wiping snotty noses or singing abc's or daniel tiger. and honestly, it probably would be a good thing for me. like i said, when i do go to such events, i do have a good time! i enjoy the company of my friends! i almost always stay later and longer than i originally plan! we laugh and eat and have a good times together! i love these people. so again....i don't know.

all i know is i struggle with it most every time. the struggle is real! it doesn't necessarily make sense to me, and sometimes i need to just let it go and go have fun. but it is real, and i needed to just get that out.

i love you, my friends. sorry i'm weird.


gracie jane - 2.5 years

gracie was actually 2.5 in april, but saying she's 2.75 seems a little silly.

speaking of silly, gracie jane is so super silly! she is a joy and she also pushes my patience more than my patience has ever been pushed. she is such a good big sister. she's learning to be better at sharing. she wants to play with lola more and more but i have to remind her lola is still a baby and isn't quite as stable or able as she is, so she can't quite 'play' with her like she wants to all the time.

gracie is so loving. she is always giving loves to everyone, unprovoked. she especially loves to give zuberts (raspberries? what else are they called?) to everyone. she won't leave a family gathering without going around and giving everyone a hug and usually a kiss (or zubert) goodbye.

gracie is a little stinker! she is getting smarter and figuring out ways to try to get around rules or having to do things to get what she wants. she knows which parent to ask for certain things or tries asking us both if she doesn't get the answer she wants. it can be so frustrating, but honestly it's pretty hilarious too.

lola adores her big sister and most of the time, she thinks gracie is just hilarious. gracie is good about being a helper with lola, getting diapers, trying to help feed her, getting her toys, and she tries reeeally hard to be quiet during lola's nap times. not always so successful at that, but she does try ;)

gracie loves to put on a show. she loves attention from anyone and she is not scared to talk to people, stranger or not. zero stranger danger with this one! she says hi to random people at the store and sometimes proceeds to tell strangers things that strangers don't need to know about herself or me. people usually thinks she's pretty funny.

if there's one group of people gracie loves most in life, it is her cousins! or 'the kids'. she would play all day, every day with them if she could. they're all at least a few years older, and she bosses them around like it's her job in life. and they do whatever she says most the time! (which doesn't help, but ya know). they love her too. they have so much fun playing together, and she gets ridiculously excited whenever we see them.

she's becoming more and more of a little firecracker, which i probably mostly have myself to blame. i hate to admit it, but i totally give her attitude sometimes because i know she knows better, and she just feeds that attitude right back to me. she has a good little glare going, and puts me in my place at least once a day. she drives me insane, but it's hard to be too mad because i know she gets a lot of it from me. i have to remind myself she's only 2 and it's her job to be a little trouble maker.

at the end of the day, gracie jane is my sweet little mini me bff. she is so funny and so happy and such a lover. she makes me want to be a better person and a better mother every day.