I have two words to describe this week: cold & snow. Everything was cancelled: school, church and anything school or church related. We really only got 4-5 inches but with the amount of traffic around here, that can and does cause some major havoc.
So, lets start with the snow.
Here’s our street:
getting ready to go out:
*Quick note: I took A LOT of videos this week. I was trying to capture funny things, every-day things, cool things, etc that I want to always remember and I probably over did it. But most of them are very short. Just so you know that I recognize that I have a problem. 🙂
Oakley’s first snow angel:
Tuesday was the first day of snow. We went out twice that day and both times I couldn’t get over how blue the sky was. I don’t know if it was the lack of clouds, the whiteness of the snow, or my lack of outside exposure over the weekend, but it was literally unbelievable. And there were bald eagles everywhere. We counted six in the sky at the same time. It was one of those moments that I hope my memory never fails me. Watch this video and you’ll get a glimpse of the sky and the eagles, although the camera (especially on my phone) does it no justice.
I hope you can take a minute to notice the awesomeness that is Oakley’s snow suit. It makes me laugh so much. Like every time I look at her. When we’re getting ready to go out, she says: “Mom, I’m going to look so awesome!” My infectious joy with putting her in it has spread into her little psyche. I always laugh and I tell her it’s because she just looks too awesome. It’s almost like she’s wearing a fat suit because she looks 5x bigger in it. And she waddles when she walks. But it sure does the job!
On Saturday Dave and I had a date planned but that date quickly turned into a fiasco when we foolishly decided to drive in a blizzard only to find out that our planned activity was cancelled. So instead of finding something else to do we decided we’d better pick up the kids before the roads got any worse.
A good decision made a little too late. Our friends who were babysitting the kids happen to live at the bottom of a huge hill. After picking up the kids and attempting to get back up the hill several times, I thought we might have to spend the night at their house. And I secretly promised myself that our next car purchase would involve 4-wheel drive.
Well on our second to last attempt, we had a small collision with another car, who was also trying to get up the hill. It was really scary; one of those slow motion moments you always hear people talking about. Thankfully no one was hurt. Our car suffered only minor damages to one of the headlights and the other guy’s car came away unscathed. That was definitely a tender mercy. While Dave was outside exchanging insurance information, I looked over to one of the houses nearby to see some guy, who was out shoveling, taking pictures of us with his phone. I’m sure it was the most exciting thing he’d seen all day. I wish I had taken a picture back! When we set out again, I said many silent little prayers of gratitude and pleaded for heavenly help to get us up the hill. We did and I don’t know if I’ve ever been more relieved than I was when we drove into our very own garage. Never again will we go on a date in the snow. Lesson learned.
Saturday night that snow turned to ice and we woke Sunday morning to a thick sheet of ice on everything. Needless to say, we didn’t go to church that day.
And now for the cold. There was some of this (Thursday):
And a bit of this (Friday):
Record cold temps, according to the news people. And these happen to be the days I decided to go on my first post-surgery runs. But I honestly didn’t care how cold it was, I was ready to GO. And it felt good in a very painful sort of way.
Because it was so cold, we spend a lot of time inside.
Oakley really likes to take videos and pictures with my phone. It can really get out of hand. Most the time I find that she has filmed the floor, her foot, her knee, or the back of someone’s head. But sometimes she gets some good stuff.
Here’s a super short one of my pestering Peter with the camera:
She can also work-it in front of the camera, too. Even without music:
I am so grateful for story time! We are regulars. It’s the one place we go consistently every single week.
Oakley is the perfect age. Peter is the perfect age for wrecking havoc on the library. And I am the perfect age for chasing him around for half an hour replacing all the books he rips off the shelves. It’s a fun time. The turnout this week was really low thanks to school being cancelled. Normally it is packed.
Speaking of books, I finished book #2 this week. It pains me to say that I was very sadly disappointed. I don’t want to go into all the details of why I didn’t like it because maybe someone out there did. I think my expectations were too high? Anyhow, now I can mark it off my list and gladly return it to the library.
Thursday was a really wierd day. Oakley slept in til 8:15. When has this ever happened? Like never. So, that was the first wierd thing. When she finally did wake up she was acting strange and lethargic and kept wanting to lay down. I kept checking her temp and asking her if she needed to throw up, but she never showed any symptoms of being sick.
So around 9:30 I was getting Peter dressed and she totally zonked out on the guest bed. And slept for TWO HOURS!
Which is even more impressive when you consider that we hosted Music Makers that day, which means that all these little peanuts were running around our house. And not quietly, mind you. Oakley is in this pic because she woke up just in time for snacks. She seemed to be feeling fine at this point and I figured she was done with being sick or feeling tired or whatever it was.
….. until we get to the commissary that afternoon and I turn around to find her asleep in her carseat! What is going on with this girl? She never did get sick. And this sleepiness only lasted a day. A friend suggested a growth spurt….. and before she mentioned that I had thought that Oakley did look taller….. weird. I’ll probably never know.
bugging hugging her brother:
On Friday we had nothing else to do so we went to the hospital to torture Peter. I mean…. get his vaccinations. He made some friends in the waiting area, like he does everywhere he goes. He sure is good at fooling people into thinking he’s a real sweet, friendly little guy.
The only cool thing about going to the hospital is that Dave works there and sometimes he can meet up with us. If he hadn’t have been there, I wouldn’t have been documenting this torture session. I would have been the one pinning the poor kid. Oakley insisted on sitting on the table with Peter.
so, so sad.
Something funny about Peter is that he does not like to be comforted. He gets over things really quick but initially he’s just angry and the last thing he wants is a shoulder to cry on. His most common outlet is pulling, or rather ripping, books off of bookshelves. It cracks me up. Sometimes I just want to hold him and cuddle with him and comfort him when he gets hurt. But that’s not his cup of tea. So much for a mama’s boy! He is definitely not that.
The kids love seeing Dave:
Dave gets a gold star for making dinner on Sunday. This is actually the omelet I made for breakfast……. but later that day Dave made this rice/bean/chicken casserole that was really yummy. Even Oakley ate some.
Funny quotes/notes from the week and more videos:
I slept in almost every day this week. And I took naps. And I changed less stinky diapers and wet underwear. And had a few intelligent adult conversations. And I didn’t unload the dishwasher, do the laundry, or clean a single thing…. yet my house is clean, my clothes are folded, and all my dishes are put away. It was magical. Enjoyable. Fantastic.
It was my mom.
And now she’s gone and I’m facing the fact that I have to start cleaning again. And getting off my lazy butt to get Peter out of his crib in the morning. He’s always so happy to see me (italics=sarcasm). It’s been an adjustment. Saying goodbye is hard.
I miss you, Mom! We miss you. (that is not sarcasm)
It was so awesome to have my mom here for Valentine’s Day. Mostly because I love to spend every day with her, but also because it is bliss going on a date and not having to worry about what your hired teenage babysitter is going to do to your kids, i.e. sit them in front of the TV for 3 hours, feed them a ridiculously large amount of raisins resulting in days of diarrhea, neglecting to take them to the bathroom before bed… you know, all those babysitting hazards. It happens and we survive, but needless to say, Grandma babysitting reduces a lot of stress. Maybe someday we’ll live hear a Grandma or two….. maybe.
Now more about that date. Dave and I are terrible planners. “Reservations” isn’t really a word in our vocabulary. So Dave scrambled to find something for us to do just a couple hours before we were supposed to go. But it turned out to be tons of fun! First we went to a theater that was showing the Oscar-nominated animated short films. Some of them were really good. Others were really bad. We both agreed that we like the funny ones the most.
Afterwards we went to Barnes and Noble, drank hot chocolate and tried to look high brow
or stalker-ish in my case
And then we went on a scavenger hunt. The categories included (in Oscar-inspired fashion)(this was Dave’s idea, of course): best cover, best title, best author name, best title to describe each family member, most acurate likeness of us, most likely to be a movie, most romantic, etc.
We didn’t end up getting through a lot of the categories because we kept getting distracted by books. Imagine that. The employees had to come tell us the store was closing in 10 minutes like twice.
Anyway, here’s what we came up with:
Best book to describe Oakley and Peter:
Best title to describe Oakley:
Best author name:
Best title to describe Peter:
Best cover (I actually ended up buying this journal because it made me laugh so much):
Unfortunately, we didn’t get to the romance section to find the most acurate likeness of us. So, this will for sure be a repeat date. I can’t wait!
Valentine’s Day was fun too. We surprised Dave with a heart attack at the bottom of the stairs and breakfast in bed.
Oakley helped me make some special Valentine’s treats. They were fun, easy and cute. But very messy.
Dave had a few surprises of his own…..
Earlier in the day Mom went out on a walk and on her way collected sticks and rocks and poky balls (not sure exactly what they’re called but that’s what we call them) to make a “heart tree” with the kids while we were out on our date. She is so creative. I love that about her.
And to make the day even more awesome, Aunt Lesly came down for dinner! In fact, she brought dinner. Complete with spiralized zucchini. It was delicious. The kids love Aunt Lesly. Especially when she comes with raspberries. 🙂
So, that was Valentine’s Day. Now for the rest of the week.
We took Grandma to the trampoline park on Tuesday. I wanted to jump soooo bad, but restrained myself (for the most part. Give me a break. How can you walk on a trampoline and not jump?). Nonetheless, it was a really fun time.
We had dinner with the Katie, John Isaac and “baby Kaleb”. They are so fun to be with.
Oakley requested to “say goodnight” to Grandma every night. In other words, can you lay with me and tell me stories and tickle my back until I fall asleep? But it usually turned out that Grandma fell asleep before Oakley did. That girl can outlast any adult in this house.
an empty laundry basket calls Oakley’s name.
Beans in a swimming pool. The beans were my idea, the swimming pool, Dave’s. It’s a GREAT winter boredom buster if you’re looking for one.
And fort building
Sometimes Oakley and Peter seem to really like each other:
Wasn’t as warm this week as it was last week, but we got outside some.
Oakley got a very special surprise in the mail from her Grandma Shaha. Nancy made one of these poodle skirts for all her granddaughters as a tribute to her mom, Great Grandma Williams, who made one for her when she was little, which she wore to bits. Oakley loves hers. And it looks especially good when she twirls in it. Thank you Nancy!
Music Makers. Peter’s got to be in the middle of everything.
Drawing with Grandma. I wish I had inherited an inkling of Mom’s artistic talent.
On Friday, we met up with Aunt Lesly at the Baltimore Aquarium. Oakley LOVED it. She was so excited about everything. All Peter wanted to do was go up and down the escalators.
We had lunch in a room with a beautiful sunny view of Inner Harbor.
Aside from the escalators, Peter was super into the scuba divers who were in the tanks feeding the sea creatures. It was so funny. When they’d swim away, he’d turn around and put his hands up like “where’d they go?” He could care less about the shark that just swam by. Silly kid.
Have you every seen a sea turtle? They are HUGE! I was so surprised. This one was missing one of his front fins.
mornings with Grandma.
This is my new favorite picture. I put it as the wallpaper on my phone I love it so much. And that’s really sayin somethin.
Stink-eye bubs. This look shoots lasers. My mom told me that once you’ve seen this look from Peter, you don’t forget it. It’s even better with a blue chin. photo cred to Dave.
On Sunday, as part of my lesson, I had my class listen to “I Lived in Heaven” and draw what it made them think of. One of my students was so very kind to let me keep his drawing and I saved it because it makes me laugh. I love the depiction of the Holy Ghost. And the mustache.
I teach 14 and 15-year-olds, by the way. 🙂
The time came to say goodbye to Grandma and it was hard. But we made it through the tears with chocolate covered rice crispies and conversation hearts.
On Sunday evening our friend Riley came over for a semi-sleepover. (meaning she got picked up in the middle of the night).
After I took this video, the kids started running around the house chasing Dave. He would hide and jump our from around a corner and scare them. One time he did it and Riley turned around to run away and ran smack into Oakley who was right behind her. Oakley literally bounced off of Riley and both walked away with impressive goose eggs. I so wish I had still been filming. Anyway, Oakley was balling and Riley was walking around like nothing happened. So Dr. Dave got them some ice and they looked so funny standing next to each other, holding the bags to their heads. When Dave got the camera out and said “smile!” Oakley immediately stopped crying, smiled, and then went back to crying right after the picture was taken. It was the funniest thing ever. Oh and Peter was still running around the house like “C’mon guys! Why’d ya stop?”
When we left them to their own devices in Oakley’s room, I was hoping Riley would maybe, possibly teach Oakley how to read or something. It was so funny to sit downstairs and listen to them talking and reading books to each other. When I went up, I found them arguing over the letters in the alphabet. Maybe one or two more sleepovers with Riley and Oakley will be ready for Kindergarten. 🙂
They finally zonked out around 10. And Riley left around 11.
Our favorite Monday morning activity is to watch the garbage man take our trash. That’s about as exciting as it got today.
Oh and winter storm “Octavia” is headed our way. It started this afternoon and is supposed to continue all night. I guess I’m glad mother nature can finally get this out of her system but I really do hate snow. So I hope it melts like tomorrow, preferably.
Post-surgery note: I did try to take it really easy this week (again, thank you mom!), hoping to speed up the recovery process. But really since about day three or four I’ve felt really good and the last couple days I feel back to normal. But I haven’t run or exercised at all since the surgery, so getting back in the habit is going to be a painful process…. and difficult with 8 inches of snow on the ground. But I am so grateful to be feeling so good 10 days out, physically and emotionally. Love from family and friends helped with that. Laparoscopic is the way to go!
This was a week for the books. Prepare for an epically long post.
Mosiah 3:19 says: “For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father.”
This scripture popped into my head as I lay on an operating table last Friday afternoon, about to go under general anesthesia to remove an Ectopic pregnancy. I memorized it months ago but that phrase at the end about being “willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him” has often crossed my mind when things get tough, but it was especially pertinent as I wondered why this was happening to me and how on earth I was going to get through it.
So, remember that pain that I mentioned last week? Well it actually went away and for about 5 days I thought I was in the clear. But what I didn’t mention last week was that I was pregnant. And my repeated trips to the lab during the week indicated that I was still pregnant, despite all the irregular bleeding. But I went through the week trying to think positive thoughts, with a faint glimmer of hope that it would somehow turn into a viable pregnancy. But a late-night ultrasound Thursday night revealed that there was still nothing in the uterus, which wasn’t good. So Friday morning I got a call from an OB staff member at Ft Belvoir Community Hospital telling me that I needed to come to the hospital NOW for surgery. It was a crazy shock, to say the least. Dave had worked all that night and was suddenly faced with staying up all day with the kids while I went to the hospital, and a recovery period for me that would put a huge burden on him. I am never thrilled to go to the hospital but this time I was especially dreading it. My heart was heavy as I drove away from our house. I felt very alone at that moment.
But throughout the pre-op process (lots of paperwork, lots of questions, and lots of reminders of all that could go wrong), I begin to feel a calm assurance that everything was going to be okay. Thoughts (like Mosiah 3:19) came to my mind that helped me gain a better perspective and trust that everything was in the Lord’s hands.
The procedure went well. I don’t remember a thing. Waking up from that anesthesia was the BEST feeling- and then they took all those heated blankets off and that dreamy, drousy feeling was replaced by nausea. The next couple days I experienced (and continue to experience) a few of the lovely side effects that accompany abdominal surgery. But today what I feel is an immense gratitude for modern medicine that probably saved my life, a supportive family who buoys me up, and a loving Heavenly Father who knows me and how to help me grow.
So that was by far the most significant event in our week. But here’s the good stuff:
Peter. He sticks out his tongue a lot. Pretty much for almost every activity that requires concentration, which is every activity for him. It’s funny because his Grandpa Shaha does the same thing.
It was a nice week weather-wise. Behold the highs:
happy to be out, not happy to go back in.
Friday- 37° (the best day of any to be in the hospital, I suppose)
Sunday- 75° (!!!!)
Needless to say, we spent some good quality time outside. It was nice. And we saw some AWESOME sunsets on the Potomac.
And…. back to the homestead. This is not as gross as it looks, although still gross. Tuesday morning, someone squirmed their way into the refrigerator and pulled out a tupperware of leftover soup. And this is what I found when I felt the need to investigate.
And no question in my mind as to the culprit. Look at that trail! It’s actually kind of funny (now) because when I found him with his hand in the goop, he looked totally disgusted. I wish I had a picture of that face.
Oakley is always putting her friends down for naps. This day it was Patches’ turn.
And when all her friends are tucked in and cozy, this is what she does when she’s bored. I really love it. Like a lot.
Peter has the BEST belly laugh. I kind of want to eat him when he does it:
I was a really lousy reader last year, so this year I made a goal to read 12 books, or one per month. First up was Flyboys. This was a good book; very eye-opening and very hard to read at times. But I like history and I liked this book, even though it’s hard to know the cruelties of war sometimes.
One of the pros of going to the hospital so much this week was getting to see our favorite doctor. The kids love that, especially Peter.
And I’ve been trying for weeks to catch the excitement of Dave’s homecoming every day on video and I think I finally got it. Best part of our day.
Our friends the Laxes came over for lunch on Thursday. They are so awesome and Oakley is SO sweet with “baby Kaleb.” She loves that kid to death. I have rarely seen her so sweet to and so giddy about another human being.
Our Iowa/Vietnamese friend Truc sent Oakley this outfit for Vietnamese New Year (Feb 19). She looks so stinkin cute in it and what a cool thing to have.
“Bye guys. I’m going to work”
So THIS is what I was looking forward to Friday night. And these pictures are for the doctor who LAUGHED at me when I said I wanted to postpone my surgery because I didn’t want to miss the Iowa wrestling meet. It does seem pathetic now, but at the time I was really angry at her insensitivity. But we did end up going. Dave picked me up in my half-awake, light-headed, slightly nauseas state from the hospital and we drove straight to the University of Maryland to see the Hawkeyes scorch the Terapins 33-3. It honestly saved my sanity. I miss college sports SO MUCH!
See that guy with his hands on his hips? That’s the strength and conditioning coach for Iowa and a friend from our time there. He’s really cool. We made a weak attempt at saying hi, but…. it was weak. I wish now we had louder voices or something.
On Saturday, we bopped around post and found this Valentine’s display at the PX. Oakley’s always game for a picture and I seriously almost burst out of my stitches (literally) laughing at these pictures later that night.
Oh and my mom dropped everything and flew out to help me with the kids for a week. How lucky am I?! She has already lightened my burden so much. Thanks Dad and Gabe, for letting her come.
Grandma always brings fun surprises.
And as soon as she found out about the surgery, my Aunt Lesly ditched her job and drove down from Annapolis, MD to help with kids. She is such a fun person to be around and always brings lots of kicks and giggles to our house. 🙂
Now that’s what I’m talking about when I say how grateful I am for a supportive family. The amount of love shown the last couple days is crazy go nuts! Thank you for all the calls, texts and e-mails. It is so nice to know that someone is thinking of you.
For Family Home Evening tonight, we spent most of the time pushing the kids around in this box we got at Costco. I love when they find joy in such simple things. Because it’s fun… and doesn’t cost any money. Priceless. I could be on an American Express commercial.
And lastly, poor Dave. The transition from nights to days is always hard for him but throw in all the craziness of the weekend and here you have a very very tired man. Sleep deprivation is real. But I’m so grateful for him and the rock that he is.
January 27-February 2
A few things I’m especially grateful for this week: 1.Dave 2.a warm house 3.lollipops 4.socks 5.Dave 6.our car 7.the Book of Mormon 8.Dave
I wasn’t feeling super hot for a couple days. A trip to the hospital Friday night gave us no answers so I came home feeling crappy, confused and frustrated. More on that later, possibly. But that’s why I’m grateful for Dave x 3. He’s like superman, saving one sick person at a time. This week that sick person was me!
Here’s our week:
I found these unlicensed drivers at the commissary. Reckless driving to the max!
baking. we did lots of baking last week. Oakley is my ever-faithful helper.
It was dang cold this week, too. And it snowed. Oh joy.
This was Peter’s first time in his snow suit. It was a nightmare getting him into it. I didn’t know if we were going to make it out the door alive.
If it were up to me, I’d stay inside, read a book, and drink hot chocolate- not a big fan of cold, wet, white stuff. But Oakley begs and begs and begs to go out when it snows, starting at about 6:30 am or whenever she wakes up. I don’t know why, because we’re out for 20 minutes before she begs to go back in.
Lunch and play date with friends. MUCH better than freezing in the snow.
I was putting Oakley’s socks on one morning and she complained that her little toe hurt. So, I took her sock off to discover that her pinky toenail was hanging on by a thread! It came off shortly thereafter (with a little help from yours truly). Is that weird? Does this mean her shoes are too tight? Too big? I have lost many a toenail, but not at this age. But that means I also know that it’ll grow back. So, not worried.
Fun in Peter’s crib and more camera experimentation. Notice the Peter-stepping-on-Oakley’s-face picture and the Peter-pulling-Oakley’s-hair video. That’s normal. And it goes both ways.
Something Oakley’s been working on is getting dressed by herself. She gets frustrated really easily so this has been a long and painful process. Independence seems to manifest itself in her slower than most, but we’re getting there.
Peter has… uh…. 9 teeth? I think? Anyway, I’ve started trying to brush his teeth but he won’t let me. He insists on holding and chewing on the toothbrush himself. And if you know Peter, you know that he almost always gets his way. This kid has got the lungs and temper of a banshee.
Which….. is why I keep a secret supply of dum dums. It’s crazy the magical effect these things have on children. You would NEVER know he had been screaming for 10 minutes straight- at the top of his lungs- just before this picture, would you?
Peter agrees with me in that real men wear hair bows:
wear sparkly shoes:
and read princess books.
We went swimming as a family on Saturday. This photo sequence of Oakley cracks me up:
Watch out pool honeys! Look at this physique:
More baking. This time with two helpers.
eagerly awaiting the chocolaty goodness.
Oakley was showing us the “potty dance” which she, by the way, has perfected.
A well-deserved salad after a long fast.
“Mom, this is what girls do when they wear dresses”
On Groundhog Day we went to this trampoline park called “Flight” that we’ve been wanting to check out since like forever. It was so much fun! Imagine a big warehouse filled with trampolines and really loud music that makes you want to jump. a lot. Oakley had a blast. We will definitely be going back.
Later that day Oakley and Dave went out to fly the kite. It was really windy and the kite got stuck in a tree, but Dave rescued it. Thankfully, the Penguin kite will live to see another day.
More baking. I promise I don’t take pictures every time I bake. It must be this whole blogging thing.
Oakley’s baking face:
The result: Groundhog Day cupcakes. Totally copied from my friend Laura. Thanks Laura! Imitation is the highest form of flattery, right?
Quotes from the week and a few more videos: