Monday, December 31, 2012

2012, its been great.

4 hours and 2012 will officially be history. It leaves me stunned that this year has gone SO incredibly fast. But tonight I am celebrating all the wonderful things that have happened for us this year, and so excited for all the BIG things that will happen this year, like having baby #3 (I am still in shock we will have 3), moving to a new city we with call home for 2-4 years, hubby starting MEDICAL school and my little's growing up even more.

Here are all the things I am celebrating, in the typical (read: corny) Christmas/end of the year newsletter format: 
Dear family and friends,
Looking back at the past year, 2012 has proved to be one of the most momentous and exciting years we have had for our little family. It has been full of big life changes, wonderful blessings and memories.
In January, Richard took the MCAT (Medical College Admissions Test), even though he had not taken Organic Chemistry or Physics yet which comprise 2/3rds of the test, and he was only able to study for less than 2 weeks (most people study for 6-8 straight months). He was very blessed, did amazingly well and got a very high score. Richard also finished his bachelor’s degree in Psychology with minors in pre-medical classes and Marriage & Family Studies, in July. As soon as he finished we packed up our little family, leaving our home of the last 4 years, and moved back to WA. Both kids did amazing with our big move (they had never moved, so we weren’t sure how it would go), impressing us so much! Shortly after moving, all of his hard work paid off and Richard was one of the first students accepted to Pacific Northwest University of Health Science’s class of 2017, our top medical school choice, which also happened to be his first medical school interview! He will start school August 2013 and is so incredibly excited to begin the road towards his lifelong dream of being a doctor. For now, we are all enjoying the year-long break he has from school and have been so spoiled by having him around so much, with no homework!!
The week before our move from Idaho, we found out that we are expecting our third sweet baby (surprise, surprise)! I am due at the end of March 2013 and we recently learned we are having another darling, active, healthy little GIRL! She will be born a couple weeks after Liam’s third birthday, and while having 3 kids in 3 years will be challenging, we are so grateful for the timing of our sweet girl joining our family. It will be so nice to have another baby during the year-long break Richard has from school, with live-in babysitters until she is 4 months old (we are blessed to be able to live next to my family during this break)! Other than taking care of our 2 young kids as a stay-at-home mom and being pregnant, I have really enjoyed keeping up on our family blog (, photography, writing for the parenting website “The Power of Moms”, spending time with my family & friends, exercising everyday (except Sunday), and cooking (yes, it’s a huge hobby).
Liam turned 2 in February and is such an amazingly sweet little boy! He is so gracious and polite it is mind-blowing and also extremely loving, randomly telling us how much he loves us multiple times a day while giving us hugs. He is such a good talker, so mature, smart and big for his age that people mistake him for a 4 year old almost constantly. When he was 2 ½ we started the potty training process and he was trained in 2 days (he is convinced that he owns a “potty train” somewhere). He loves friends, nursery, dreaming of going to school/growing up, animals, wrestling with Daddy, drawing, reading books, eating, playing with anything he can make a toy, playing in the dirt, collecting bugs/reptiles and cuddling. Liam is totally in love with “his” Brielle and very excited for his new baby sister to be born!
Brielle turned 1 in August and is our darling little blonde-haired, blue-eyed firecracker! She is the sweetest, funniest, flirtest, most friendly, outgoing little bundle of beauty! She is such a girly girl and is always running around covered in jewelry, skirts, bows and drama! She brings so much joy into our lives, it is overwhelming! She loves being around people, playing with friends, animals, dancing, babbling (which is quickly turning into words and sentences of her own “words”), copying people, singing, playing dress-up, to be tickled, playing with Dad, squealing, any kind of music and being held/cuddled by mommy. But her most favorite thing to do is wrapping everyone around her finger with her cuteness and pretending to be a puppy.
Richard and I celebrated our 7 year anniversary (time flies!!), and had a BLAST! We went away for a 2 ½ day trip just the two of us, which were the best days of 2012! It was so much fun celebrating the best 7 years of our lives married to our best friend. It has been such an amazing blessing to have our love, adoration and friendship exponentially increase every year. This year we have also continued to go on a weekly date, enjoying the time as star-crossed lovers.
2012 has proved to be yet another amazing year, and we are so incredibly grateful for the blessings that have come to us this year. We are so grateful for our Savior and the wonderful family, friends and memories we have enjoyed this year! May you feel the love of your Savior at this Christmas season and throughout the upcoming year!
Love Richard, McKenna, Liam, Brielle and baby girl
So there is the summary of 2012 and the awesome, monumentous year it was. I am so glad it was such a great year leaving so many big memories. But I am so excited for all the big things 2013 will bring!
P.S. I have been thinking of my motto for this year, more on that later...

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry (barf) Christmas

...this is my first post from my phone, so lets see how it goes...
Every Christmas has something memorable about it.
2005: first Christmas married
2006: ...nothing too memorable...
2007: first Christmas away from my family
2008: first Christmas it snowed on Christmas day in WA
2009: first Christmas with an almost baby (I was almost 9 months pregnant with Liam)
2010: first Christmas with just our little family AND the day we found out I was pregnant with Brielle
2012: first Christmas home with my family with the kids AND the day we blessed Brielle (Christmas was on Sunday)!
2013: the year everyone (but Liam and I) in my whole family had a horrendous stomach flu. the Christmas present opening went on, more and more people got sick, diapers were filled every couple of minutes (poor brielle), moaning was heard, barf bowls on laps and the bathrooms occupied. Christmas dinner will consist of rice, bananas and Gatorade instead of ham, funeral potatoes and delicious desserts (which has been rescheduled to the first day everyone is better).
Other than everyone being sick, it was a great Christmas and the kids loved all their presents (we totally scored). And I was thoroughly spoiled by the hubby including a beautiful homemade jewelry box full of jewelry and a new 8 gig camera card (he knows me well).
Every year has to be memorable somehow and this one definitely is, just not in the "big milestone" way I was hoping... at least I get to watch from the sidelines with the assurance I already had this yuckiness and the knowledge that my son was the one who gave it to everyone...
Ho ho ho.
(Here are the few pics I took with my phone. All of Christmas morning I took pics with my big, nice DSLR which I can't upload with my phone so they will do, I guess. Even though there are so many cute pics and videos...waaaa)

Monday, October 22, 2012

Family Time

This weekend was full of fun and family time.
Some of Richards cousins and their families came to my in-laws house castle to stay for the weekend.
Most of them we hadn't seen for years, and most of the adults hadn't met the children. 
The kids had fun meeting each other too and playing.

We ate yummy food, went to one of my favorite restaurants for breakfast, debated talked tons, tried on costumes, went to the pumpkin patch, carved pumpkins, picked apples and so many more fun "fall-y" things.
Richard trying to get Brielle (aka the "pink blob") to pet a pig
the 3 boy "cousins"
Liam decided he wanted to pull the wagon full of kids ;)
took a lot of tries to get a picture of them all together!
She was SUCH a ham this weekend!
Liam sat carving the top of his pumpkin for HOURS this weekend

It was so much fun spending time with family!
The kids had fun, and the adults might have had more ;)
My only complaint?
This weekend went too dang fast.

Friday, October 19, 2012

The ferry ride epitome

Last week, we went to Seattle on a improptu family trip/a business errand for Richard. We rode the ferry over to Seattle, ran the errand Richard needed to do, went to a mall with a playground to let the kids play around, had some food, and took the ferry back home. Doesn't sound like much, but by the end, the kids were dirty (Liam had chocolate milk which was all down the front of him). Dirty, but O so happy. 

We pulled up in line in our dirty mini-van (dirt roads + rain), car full of stuff we brought for the trip, trash from the kids food, 2 happy but worn out parents, and 2 happy but dirty children. To the side of us pulled a brand-new mustang, perfectly clean, with a beautiful lady driving it. Perfectly manicured. Perfect hair. A business suit. Sitting in the car on her smartphone. Alone.

For a second, I looked down at my pregnant body, and up at my tired face and messy hair. And felt a little insecure. Liam was so excited to get out of the car and watch the water, so we scooped our giddy children out of the car and went to show them around the ferry. Instantly, when I saw their dirty, smiling faces who were so excited to see us, all my insecurities were forgotten. We had fun running around the boat, playing hide-and-seek and laughing. At the end of the ride, we came back down to our car, opened it to reveal its messiness, played with the kids a little more and buckled them up to leave. We had to wait in our car to disembark the ferry for a bit, and I kept thinking about the girl to our left.

But my thoughts changed.

I looked in the rear-view mirror to see 2 wonderful, darling children. My gorgeous children. I looked to my left and saw the smiling face of the love of my life and best friend.

And it hit me.

I was the lucky one. I was the one whose heart is full and brimming over with love for my family. I have another one coming. My car is full of stuff because we had a family adventure. My kids were dirty because they were playing so hard. My hair was messy because Liam loves to play with my hair while he gives me hugs. I was tired because the night before I talked too long with my lover before bed.

My life is so full. So wonderful.

As we pulled off the ferry, I did so with a smile.

And a prayer of gratitude in my heart that I am where I am, and with the people I am.

And I felt so lucky to have a dirty mini-van full of my kids and dear husband.

I saw the emptiness that could have been, and felt my heart swell with gratitude that my life is so full. Of love, blessings, memories, finger prints, fishy crackers, diapers and smiling faces.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The littles

We have taken a break from the internet lately. At first we didn't have control over it (we moved next door to my parents who have just moved into their new house and didn't have internet set-up). But then we decided we liked not having internet and it's distractions, restricting it only to our phones so we can still stay in contact in basic ways. It has been a very nice break from the many distractions and I have found myself playing pretend, organizing, cooking and sitting watching my babies play. 

But, it's time to update. There have been some cool milestones reached and I wanted to write about the kidlets.
Liam: He is growing up so much and so fast, it hurts sometimes to think about how fast it is going. He sleeps great at night, goes to bed early, and still refuses to take a nap during the day no matter how tired he is. He is talking up a storm, and no longer sounds like a baby talking, but a grown child. We have long talks regularly and he says the funniest things. The biggest change for him, is that he has been potty trained for the last month. Honestly, I was terrified to potty train him. I knew he was ready, but I was scared it was going to be a horrible battle. But, he is such an amazing, smart kid and he was potty trained within the first day and fully potty trained AND night trained within 3 days. We never had any problems and he hasn't had an accident in weeks. I am so proud of him and how well he did! He is totally independent in that "area" and it's so nice to only have to change 1 set of diapers, at least for the next couple months. He is so excited to go to "school" (aka preschool) next fall and can't stop talking about it. And he is so polite!! If you asked him if he wants something, he will say sweetly "no thank you. I am fine". He is stubborn, too smart for his good AND 2-years-old, so we still have "moments" if he doesn't want to do something, or wants to do something he shouldn't. But we have learned that if we just sit down and explain the situation out to him, he understands and is obedient on his own. It's so nice when you figure out how to work with your kids in the way they need!!
He is such a wonderful little boy, and my best little man buddy ever. 
sooo handsome!
Brielle: O my little princess. She is such a funny girl! Ever since she was 11 months (2 months ago), she has been walking and now constantly running like a pro. She goes so fast though that she falls down a lot and almost always has a bump or cut on her face! She has no caution and just runs full force ahead. She is cutting 4 teeth right now which will end with a grand total of 12 teeth when they come through, so her night time sleeping has been less than ideal, and most nights up hurting for an hour for two, sometimes more. That has been hard on this pregnant mommy. But even so, she has been such a champ and still her abnormally cheerful self! She is always jabbering and "talking" to us. I swear she says "thank you" and "all done" and then "yes" or "no" if we ask her a question. And she loves to wave when she sees anyone. She is so smiley, so happy and such a wonderful little girl! She has charmed anyone that meets her with her cute, flirty smile! I serve in the nursery and bring her in with me, which she loves!!  She squeals with excitment when we get close to the nursery room! She is such a people person, and always wants to be a part of what is going on (just like her mommy).  She also has adopted this little wooden basket that she carries around on her arm wherever she goes, which is so cute to watch!!
That sweet little girl brings so much happiness into our lives, it's hard to comprehend...

Baby: I am 16 1/2 weeks now and can't believe how fast this pregnancy is going! Thankfully, as soon as I enter the second trimester a couple weeks ago, my morning sickness and nausea went away! So nice. Glad to have that finished with... It has been so much fun to feel our little sweet-pea bumping around more and getting stronger with those bumps. He/she seems particularly active in the early morning, after I eat a meal and when I am going to sleep, probably because those are the only times I am still and it wakes up! Because I am on my feet constantly, all day with hardly any breaks, I am starting to get some varicose veins which were hurting pretty bad. I am all about prevention, and once I got 1 long one that was pretty painful, I got some support hose which make a WORLD of difference. I am supposed to sit down and prop my feet up as much as possible still, but with 2 little kids, we all know that isn't possible...but I do try as much as I can! It's also been hard because with Brielle not sleeping well at night and Liam not napping, I hardly sleep. With the other kids, I had to take naps in the middle of the day to survive, so it's been...interesting! But I have found that if I just stay really busy (speaking of, I need to get up...), it's fine and we just go to bed pretty much as soon as the kids go to bed. Because this is going to be my third baby in 3 years, my stomach muscles aren't the greatest, so my belly has grown really fast and I am way bigger than with the other 2 kids. Also, because I am carrying this baby so low, most maternity pants are already uncomfortable. So I ordered some maternity jeans from Motherhood Maternity that should work, but until then I am living in yoga pants and leggings!
I had my 4 month appointment, and as normal, all is well! Baby is super low (already...) but very active, blood pressure is low, weight gain is on-track and all is good! I made our appointment to find out the gender on November 1st!! I am so excited!! I can't wait to find out. I think it's a boy, because my pregnancy has been more like Liams, plus that is just my hunch. But the chinese chart says it's a girl, the babies movements are more like Brielle's and before I got pregnant I had dreams I had Liam, Brielle and a little baby girl. We'll see! Can't wait to find out!!
good-bye toes...
We also have some incredibly, exciting news that I wanted to record in our "family journal", but because this is getting so long, I will save it for it's own post.

We are so happy. 
So enjoying this "calm" time of our life and every minute we have. 
We feel so blessed and life is so wonderful.
Sleep deprived and all.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

"Just play"

A couple weeks ago, I went with Richard and the kids to tour the medical school that he wants to attend. Richard had been before, and coupled with the fact that the head admissions counselor over the school that Richard has become close with wanted to meet the family and that Richard wanted me to see the school, convinced me us to make the trip. I will say it was worth it, even though the trip down was the sickest I have ever been in this pregnancy...let's just say that I didn't keep anything down until dinner. Anyways, it was a great tour, the kids were great and I love the school!
While we were there, he introduced us to a second year medical school student who was LDS, had 3 kids and has been successful. We picked his brain on his schedule, how they are making it (the first 2 years of medical school are supposedly horrendously busy) and finally, what advice he had. His biggest piece of advice was this: "you have a year before school starts, don't worry about pre-emptively studying or studying past things you learned (which is exactly what Richard was planning on doing), just play." He explained that the first 2 years of medical school we will hardly see him, so we need to just spend this whole year building up a "reserve" and just relax before the storm.
Since then, we have taken his advice whole heartedly.
Every second we have that Richard isn't working or we aren't doing something necessary, 
we just play.
And let me tell you, I AM IN HEAVEN.
It has been a crazy past 3 years, so we have deserved this.
Busy playing legos
I LOVE this picture of Brielle :)
 Liams favorite pastime: swinging!

So like I said, we have whole heartedly taken the advice
and we are either at the park, berry picking, at the beach, feeding the ducks, playing legos/blocks etc or doing something fun,
whenever we can.
This has become our new life motto.

Monday, September 24, 2012

The fruit of our labors

I decided to take a break from a marathon laundry afternoon (have I mentioned I LOVE having a washer and dryer 2 steps from our rooms?!)  while Brielle is napping and Liam is having quiet time, and post a fun evening we had last week, cause I don't want to forget it.

Last week Richard came home from work a little early so that we could go down the street and pick the huge, ripe blackberries from the bushes that grow like weeds all over our hometown. Seriously, they are everywhere. This time of year you can pretty much stop anywhere and pick delicious blackberries! 

the kids lost interest in picking after awhile and played in the rocks.
Liam is in mid-throw in this picture. See the rock?
She looked like the cutest zombie baby ever :)
They were perfectly ripe blackberries.
Brielle and Liam would eat some berries, go play and 10 seconds later come back for more.
They love berry picking and boy, do they live in the right city!!

We picked so many yummy berries that I made my first pie of the fall season!
Even with a pie, we had to freeze about 3 more cups of berries!

I combined about 3 pie recipes and tried a new pie crust recipe,
and boy was it a huge success! 
It wasn't runny at all, and it wasn't too sweet or too tart.
 I need to make it again so I can record the exact recipe, cause we were fans.

Beautiful changing leaves,
yummy ripe berries everywhere,
weather that is starting to get cold,
apple trees full of apples...
I love fall in the Pacific Northwest!!! of course, I got only 1/4 through this post and Brielle woke up and Liam was done with quiet time. This post comes to mind...

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Sweet-pea #3

Yes, it is true. So wonderfully true.
We go from a family of 4 to a family of five at the end of March (I am due the 29th)
Even though I am 3 months (12 weeks) a long and pretty much in the 2nd trimester, I am still shocked.

I am so excited.
So ready.
And a little nervous.

This baby is our "planned surprise" (more on that below)
I am due a month after Liams 3rd birthday, which means we will have 3 kids in 3 years.
But as hard as it might be at times, I know that I can do it.
I love being a mama so much and I wouldn't have it any other way.

Plus watching how excited Liam is to have another baby, makes me all the more ecstatic
He will regularly hug me around the stomach and kiss my growing belly while saying 
"Hi my baby. I love you so much. Whats your name? My name is Liam."
He loves to talk about the fact that his baby is growing next to my tummy 
and how he is so excited to play with it when it's big enough to come out.
Talk about the cutest thing ever.

I love watching our little family grow.
Getting to know and completely adore each spirit we get to welcome into our family.
I have said it before and I will say it again. We are addicted to having babies.
I can't wait to see our 3 littles together, loving each other and playing together.
March, please come fast.

So for those of you who are interested (and for the sake of journaling), here is the story: Last year, when we had been planning for Richard to start Podiatry school this August (in 2012) right after finishing his bachelors degree, we had decided to wait a while and space Brielle and our third out 2+ years, to give us time to get settled into our new life and school. 
Then around April this year, two things happened/changed. 1. Richard decided to go to medical school instead and because of the timing of things, he wouldn't be able to start medical school for a year after he finished his bachelors degree and pre-requisites (fall 2013). And that we would be moving home to live close to my parents so Richard could work for that year. The year off school sounded like the perfect time to have another baby, so we started praying... 2. we started having some neat experiences that made us realize, it was the right time to seriously consider having another baby. 
So at the beginning of June, after just weaning Brielle, we decided to stop birth control. Soon after stopping, we did the math and realized that would mean I would be newly pregnant, sick and exhausted right as we were moving out of state and during Richards finals. With the timing of Richards classes and our move, I would have zero help from him, except 1 day to load the car. So we decided to just use the "rhythm method" as birth control until after our move. Apparently, that wasn't enough. But we were too involved with moving, Richards finals and life to think about it much. Until the first week of July when I was almost a week late getting my period. At first I didn't think about it, because I had just weaned Brielle, and I figured my body just needed some time to "get back to normal".
Then one morning, I woke up and I felt off. Super off. And it hit me. "I am pregnant". But like before, I filed it away to focus on the move, plus we weren't "trying" and we had been careful. A couple days later I took one of the kids to the doctor and mentioned my late period to him. So he sent me in for the 2 kinds of pregnancy tests to rule that out. Both came out negative. I waited a couple more days and still no period. I felt like I should go in to get another blood test done, so that pregnancy could be ruled out for the reason my period was now almost 2 weeks late. I had the test done, and when they called for the results they told me "a blood level of 2 or lower is negative. Your level is 13. Doctor wants you to come in in 48 hours to have the test done again to see if it keeps rising." I was shocked. Totally shocked. And anxiously waited the 48 hours. Richard was certain I was pregnant since with both our kids we got pregnant in the month we stopped birth control, so he said it made sense to him that would happen again. He was busting at the seams with excitement!
At this point, I was frantically packing us for our move in a week while Richard finished finals. Quite a stressful interesting time to be dealing with this. But I was SO anxious to find out. I was afraid Richard was  getting his hopes up in vain, so the morning I had the 3rd blood test taken at the doctor, I broke down and bought a pregnancy test. I didn't want to wait the day it would take to get the blood test results back. As soon as we got home, I took the test and this is what I saw: 
The second line showed up right away and my suspicions were confirmed! I was so excited! Once I saw the second line, Liam and I (who watched me take the test) did an elaborate "yay-moms-having-another-baby" dance, right there in the bathroom! I realized Richard would be home soon so we quickly made this to put on the door for him to see when he got home from school:
Needless to say, he was so excited when he walked in and I explained the sign with my positive test.

The next morning, the doctors office called and said that my levels had gone up to 50 in 48 hours, which was way higher than they wanted (a 26 was what they were hoping for at least) and that I was definitely pregnant. I was so shocked for a couple weeks. I couldn't believe it, but so excited to be pregnant again. We were going to start trying a couple weeks later once we got settled in WA anyways, so our plan just came a couple weeks early :) (hence the "planned surprise")
The timing is perfect though and I am so glad we decided to stop the birth control when we did, even though it didn't make sense at the time. We will have a 5 month old when we move to medical school and we will be living right next to my parents the entire pregnancy and the first 5 months (aka the hardest time) with my mom almost next door. It's perfect.
This entire pregnancy has been perfect. My levels always doubled faster than they should, ultrasounds have been perfect (baby is measuring a day ahead), and we were able to hear the heartbeat via. doppler the last 2 appointments! Just like it's siblings, this baby is very very active (which the doctor confirmed when she tried to find the heartbeat via doppler and "sweetpea" kept dodging her and running away!) so I have already felt the baby move!!!! That's my favorite part of pregnancy! 
Probably because of the stress of moving, the exhaustion from the kids getting up more than normal at night as they have gotten settled in etc. I have felt more sick with this pregnancy. Almost constantly nauseous and tired. But, since I am pretty much in the second trimester, I have started to feel a little better recently. 

We are SO excited to have another little sweet pea coming to our house soon
And the fact that in march,
we will have 3 peas in our pod.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

What comes with change.

Moving with 2 very young littles is not for the weak-hearted.
Especially if it means a new house and a new town, new church and new friends.
And even more so if the house you moved from was the only one your kids have lived in.
Not so fun.

Anyways, our schedule and norms of life have been completely changed and messed up.
Sleeping schedules, arrangements, eating etc. 
Not all of them have been bad though. Liam has become an excellent eater since we moved.
But one of the biggest things that has changed is that since moving, Liam has refused to take naps.
Even though he is super tired, he absolutely won't step into his room or lay on his bed until bedtime, 
no matter what I do.
One of the best things about this change though, is that he is (usually) in bed by 7pm and sleeps until about 8am, so I am not complaining.
But the poor guy is so worn out by around 2 or 3, that if we go in the car for errands there is a strong chance he will zonk out.
He has probably done that like 2 times before our move. He NEVER slept in the car in his first 2 1/2 years of life.
I tied his head down with a tie because no matter what I did, it would flop forward in
the most uncomfortable way ever.
note: I did fix his head as soon as I possibly could.
There are so many other times I should have taken a picture of other funny Liam-sleeping-in-the-car moments.
But, I have to say that looking in the rear-view mirror and watching him in the process of falling asleep is one of the cutest things ever.

So as the change occurs, a disturbance is usually present.
And usually good.
It hasn't been the easiest thing adjusting to no naps for Liam, but I have loved the extra time with him.
heres to hoping that as things settle down more and he gets more used to our new life, naps will return...
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