Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Memorial Day Weekend: Part II

Sundays have become a game changer! I've gained a new found respect for the pioneers, and my day isn't even  t h a t  hard. We take an hour bus ride to our church building and then an hour bus ride home, which makes the whole church-going experience 100 x longer than our two minute walk back in Utah. Not to mention Henry is two weeks shy of nursery and during that second hour I'd donate my right leg to speed up time -- Ahh! Can't he go early?!
We are really enjoying our ward though; everyone is so welcoming and genuinely happy that we're there. My Relief Society president is straight from heaven and I'd like to be her best friend. The ward itself is really different, with lots of different cultures and tons of investigators, so it makes for a breath of fresh air in comparison to my Utah ward. (And I  l o v e d  that ward!)
Also, spaghetti has become a born-again Sunday tradition. (Growing up my family always had spaghetti on Sundays!) We're just so starving when we get home and spaghetti is the quickest to make. We walk through the door and Jake immediately starts boiling water. I love it. Being here on the East Coast already reminds me of Germany and adding that Sunday tradition makes it feel a tiny bit more like home. So Sundays have become a game changer in both bad but also good ways.

Monday morning, Memorial Day, we got ready to head to the Central Park Zoo, Annabelle was so excited. It takes a long minute to get everyone out the door, but we did eventually get down to the bus stop and only to realize the buses weren't coming on schedule. And then we started hearing loud drums and trumpets -- we had come out just in time for Weehawken's Memorial Day parade. Hooray! It cut two hours (!!!) out of our morning, but it was a fun little parade. 
We finally caught a bus into the city and walked our way to the zoo. We passed a yummy smoothie truck on our way there, so I decided to get one. It was an $8 little cup of blended fruit. It was good, but not  t h a t  good. So if you ever pass one of those yummy-looking smoothie trucks in NYC, just keep walking ;)
We also passed a cute book market and got the kids Eric Carle's "The Very Hungry Caterpillar" (our last one got destroyed by a little boy named Henry) and a fun children's book about the sights in NYC. It's already become a bedtime favorite.
Once we arrived at the zoo we quickly realized how our great idea had been everyone else's too: It was SO busy. And while we enjoyed being outside together, the zoo itself was kind of disappointing. I was expecting "Madagascar's" lions, zebras, and hippos, but instead they had a lot of different types of birds and a snow leopard. Haha. Their main attraction saved the day though and had both Annabelle and Henry riveted: the sea lions! They were really playful and kept doing fun tricks. Henry was barking at them and Annabelle wouldn't stop calling them squirrels. Ha! I need to find them a real zoo.
We walked outta there with dippin' dots and popcorn and the sorest legs in New York City. Seriously. The bus ride home could have lasted five hours and I would've been happy.
We ended our night with a modified version of our Memorial Day pie: Strawberries with a cheesecake filled center and topped with blueberries. Oh. Em. Gee. You've gotta try it!

It was a really great weekend and today both boys napped for 4 hours straight -- it wore us all out, even the tiny babes that were carried everywhere. Haha. 
Now we're so excited all the splash pads have opened!!
Summer, let's do this!

Memorial Day Weekend: Part I

Friday afternoon before Jake got home from work for the long weekend, I started searching the internet for pretty patriotic desserts. I was craving something sugary but also pretty and found the perfect combination: A beautiful berry cheesecake pie. It was SO easy and yummy. Like, it will be this summer's dessert of choice. It's basically strawberries and blueberries on top of this whipped cream/powdered sugar/cream cheese mixture all slathered into a pie shell.  H e a v e n.
Also, Jake made the yummy pie and I just threw the berries on top. (He was a little worried I wouldn't give him any credit) ;)
The leftover blueberries inspired some homemade pancakes the next morning, and they were also incredible. Jake has a magic touch when it comes to pancakes and waffles -- he learned a hits-the-spot-every-time flour/sugar/milk concoction from an old lady on his mission, and it never fails to please. I'm actually especially impressed with how these ones turned out, because he ground his own oat flour and used almond milk instead of cow's milk and we didn't have any sugar. Haha. So here we thought they'd be his first failed batch, but they were actually my favorite. I don't know what secret ingredient he's sneaking into them, but they're divine. We topped them with blueberries and powdered sugar and they were gone in minutes. Fresh berries -- I want to eat them on everything all summer!
After breakfast we shoved all our dirty laundry into a big duffle bag and walked it to the laundromat. And while our clothes were washing we did our grocery shopping. It was a busy Saturday, and probably how most of our future Saturday's will look, but it's nice that we can all be together.
On our way home we joked about how all of my chores have now become Jake's chores too. It's absolutely impossible for me to do them by myself with no car and three kids, so grocery shopping and laundry are saved for the weekends. He says he doesn't mind it, and we're both loving how much closer it's brought us already. I definitely enjoy it more with his company and help. :)
It ended up raining for the rest of the day, so we had a quiet evening inside. And later that night we cut into our yummy berry cheesecake pie and enjoyed it together in the kitchen :)

Friday, May 23, 2014

St. George

A couple months ago the kids and I got to join Jake in St. George while he was working on a movie. The kids hadn't seen Jake in a few weeks, so this trip was extra special -- they loved seeing him in the morning and at night when we'd go swim in the hotel pool. We also got to visit him on set a few times, which was so fun. 
A lot of these pictures are from the first day we arrived and the kids were getting all their wiggles out from the four hour drive. 
Initially we were only going to stay for a few days and then I'd head back with the kids, but about 30 minutes into my drive home Jake talked me into turing around and staying with him through the weekend. I'm so glad we did, because we were able to visit St. George's children's museum and splash pad. We also got to walk around their gorgeous temple grounds and visitor's center. I got to spend special quality time with Annabelle & Henry before Sawyer arrived. Henry let me rock him to sleep most of those nights and Annabelle and I did some outlet shopping together. She's so cute when we're shopping and has a strong opinion on what is cute and what isn't. I got both kids a handful of new clothes and she specifically picked out a blue sweater with gold stars on it. I tried putting it back a few times, but she insisted it was her favorite thing! And I'm glad that I listened, 
because now it's one of my favorite things. ;)

With how much Jake travels for work, it was nice to be able to join him and all be together.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Maddy Turns 3!

Annabelle's "sister" Maddy turned three and threw a stellar party.  She's such a beautiful, sweet little girl and we're so grateful we were able to celebrate her special day with her.
To start off the festivities we met at this big trampoline warehouse where the kids went crazy! It was so awesome. Even my little Henry got brave and walked out into the middle of this big bubble jumpy thing and bounced himself. Side-note: He also went up to a random little baby girl and kissed her. On the mouth. All on his own. Uhh, you're one pal!

After the kids jumped their hearts out, we headed back to Maddy's house for cake and ice cream and presents. Sadly I only have these few pictures from the jumpy house -- I think my big pregnant self got too winded chasing Henry around and picture-taking got put on the back burner.
But the party was darling. Ashley prepared lots of yummy treats and snacks and made  t h e  yummiest cupcakes. And Maddy was so sweet opening all her presents -- her face lit up after unwrapping each gift, it was so adorable.

I'm so happy to have little Maddy in our lives -- her and Annabelle are best-friend-sister-cousins that adore each other. And I hope we can always celebrate our birthdays together.

Sawyer Anderson

One week before his due date, March 11th, I was convinced my water had broken. I'd experienced my water breaking with my first two, I was certain this was it. So I woke Jake with the great news and we called his mom to come stay with the kids. Before checking into the hospital though I wanted to walk around and really get my labor started -- I was planning on delivering naturally and didn't want to be laying in a hospital bed all day. I just wanted to arrive and push him out. Well, that didn't happen. Turns out my water hadn't broken and I was sent home. Devastated. 
Really, that day was kind of the worst. I cried. A lot. Mainly because I was so embarrassed -- we'd let a  l o t  of people know that "I was in labor!" and I was also mentally exhausted. When I thought my water had broken I started getting myself ready to be strong and pumped to deliver him naturally, but then it didn't happen. And I wanted to crawl into a hole and disappear. Wah. 
My sweet Jacob knew how much this would all affect me though and came home that night with flowers and a Nutella waffle. So I cried some more -- happy tears!

One week later around 4am I kept waking up feeling crampy and uncomfortable. I would turn onto my other side or stuff a pillow between my legs and fall back asleep. But then I'd wake up again and around 5am I decided to pay attention to what my body was telling me. I started timing my contractions and couldn't believe that they were really coming every 7 minutes. I kept retiming them thinking there's no way they're keeping a rhythm. The night before Jake and I had gotten into an argument and I was still mad at him, so I  r e a l l y  didn't want to be in labor -- I couldn't go deliver a baby when I was still upset at him and not ready to let it go. Well, those contractions weren't stopping. I got up and went to the bathroom and started to weigh my options. I finally came to the conclusion that at some point it was his right to know, so I'd  h a v e  to tell him. I waited as long as I could, and then when I did tell him I acted like it was no big deal. I'm in labor. Who cares. I'm so mature. 
We kissed and made up and headed to my doctor's appointment (I'd had one scheduled already and decided to just go there first.) Sure enough I was dilated to a five and almost completely effaced. My doctor called the hospital to let them know we were on our way. Yes! This was it -- he's coming today!

I had read a book called "The Bradley Method" in preparation of my natural birth. My contractions started getting increasingly stronger and closer together, but I was breathing through them like I'd read and practiced. Jake was heaven-sent through all of this and really helped me focus and keep my cool. Then I dilated to a nine. And wanted to  d i e !

All I really remember is being in the absolute worst pain of my life and feeling like I was going to pass out. But then I'd think: "If I pass out, who's gonna get this baby out?" I kept screaming: "Get him out of me! Is he coming out? Will he come out? Get him ooout!" And then they showed me the mirror and all the "progress" I had made: A tiny little round circle of his head. That's it!
I never looked at that mirror again; it was too discouraging. 
After a couple more pushes and punches at Jake, he came out. And that moment wasn't glory-halleluja like I'd thought and hoped it'd be. Instead I was still panting and a little out of my mind. When they tried to hand him to me, I just couldn't. Every bit of me was so weak and shaky and I didn't want to drop my sweet new babe. I should really have Jake write about Sawyer's first moments on earth, because all I can remember is pain. Haha. So sad.
Natural childbirth, I do not recommend it. :)

Now ask me about him around an hour old and I can tell you more. I remember just holding him close and smelling him. Memorizing his beautiful face and cute little mouth. He had the sweetest little cry -- like a baby lamb. He also does  t h e  best pouty lip. It is so cute. And he reminded us so much of Henry, with Annabelle's Asian eyes. He nursed right away and hasn't really stopped since.  
I have fond memories of fig newtons during my 2 am feedings. They pretty much fueled me for those first few days and will always remind me of Sawyer.

We stayed for two nights and by then were anxious to leave and get home to our other two. My nurse came in at 6am and was really sweet, but meant business -- she knew we wanted to get out of there quickly. Once all of Sawyer's tests came back looking good she sent for our discharge papers and we were gone within the hour :) 
We drove away feeling like the luckiest parents. And still do. 

We love you so much, sweet boy.