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.


life lately: may 2016

here's some snippets from our month of may. 99% are of the girls (ok, there's only one pic of jae and i and it's a terrible picture!), but our lives revolve around them so it makes sense, right?

a rainbow shaped line of shoes is gracie's favorite thing to be OCD about lately ;)

big girl bed!!!! this bed has been waiting for months now (i've been pushing it off and pushing it off..) and since lola hit 6 months and wasn't sleeping in her crib yet (i had a lot of anxiety about that) because gracie was still sleeping in the crib - well i finally told jae it was time and we were just going to jump right in! so we did. and she's done pretty dang good. this was her first night. she was pretty excited.

endless kisses between these sisters

she is a momma's girl and a snuggler and i cannot get enough of the sweetness

she wanted to have a picnic in the basket with her snacks and books. so she did!

gracie went to see cousin quinn in her ballet recital. i think she got a little bored with all the dancing, but loved the costumes and the flowers at the end! and dressed up in her 'twirl' skirt and pink sparkly ballet shoes for it

pantry door, painted and knobbed and installed! check.

tile floor is done!!!!! jae did amazing.

she cracks me up. insisted on the hat (which is so cute but too big so falls off constantly) and the purse, of course. she gets so mad when she can't get it on and off over her head by herself.

oh and all of that while reading some books in mom and dads closet.

i wish you could see him from the front view, but someone asked gracie 'what is dad doing?' and she looked at him like this and said, without missing a beat, 'feeding lola!'. that's exactly what it looked like, now that she mentions it! it was so so funny.

first nap in the crib. now she's in there for every nap and every sleep and it's been so great.

just a goofy gracie face. she's super into scrunching her nose lately and giving us this disgusted look.

she often asks to have some of my morning smoothie, and it always makes its way up to her nose somehow ;)

lola doesn't make very many silly faces like this! i was so glad i caught it on camera.

we had a nasty cold turned bronchiolitis run through our house a few weeks ago and the girls (and jae and i) were sad little sickies for two weeks. it was miserable.

greatest family photo you've seen, amiright?! (lola's face!)

visiting my sister susan's new house that's being built and playing peek-a-boo in their fun little windows under the stairs. perfect gracie size.

first ride in the stroller sans carseat. she did pretty good sitting up! until she fell asleep.

lots of park days and lola got to sit in the swing too! she literally just sat in the swing for 10 seconds - but it's a start! soon she'll be swinging right alongside sister. 
(and it was too bright for little baby eyes)

gracie's first dentist appointment!! they took xrays and brushed her teeth and counted them and she got to pick out a new toothbrush and two prizes. she did awesome! and no cavities! 
(score one for the parents ;))