Sunday, May 29, 2016

3...It's The Magic Number

I'm a little behind on posting this (shocking, right?), but Lynnaea turned 3 last week :).  And in honor of that, I made this a song title post!  You know, since I haven't done one of these in forty forevers...  Or at least it feels that way.  This song was one of our favorites back in my 1995 MTV watching days. 

So my girl is 3.  Most days, when I really sit and reflect on it, it is hard for me to believe she is the same itty-bitty baby we brought home from the hospital.  The same chubby little toddler who was always happy.  She is tall and beautiful.  Smart and funny.  Inquisitive, adventurous, bubbly and full of life.  She is part "tom-boy" and part princess.  I can see her wittiness coming out, and I love it.

She is definitely independent.  She wants things her way.  And she lets you know her opinions when they aren't.  So, we've definitely had some battles of wills.  But she is still the sweetest girl.  She has a tender heart.  Sometimes, when I lay down next to her at night and sing I am a Child of God, she offers me her other spitty (her little comfort things that were her burp rags when she was a baby).  It may seem like the silliest thing to have my heart melt over, but it's not.  Because, honestly?  That spitty rag is the best thing she has to offer, and she offers it to me.  And I hold it.  I love this girl more than words can say.  We have some hard moments.  We have some hard days.  But I love her fiercely.  And I always will.

 Happy 3, my beautiful smart girl.  You are a joy and a light to me every single day.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

The Journey East: Part 2

On Tuesday morning, we awoke in Glenwood Springs, CO, ate the continental breakfast, and got on our way. There were some really friendly people in the hotel lobby, so one of them actually held and entertained Corbin while I enjoyed a waffle. Lynnaea had a pastry in the hotel room with Grandma. As I mentioned before, my mom drove the mornings. This particular morning took us over the Rocky Mountains. To say it was beautiful is an understatement. There are many states I have decided in my 3 trips driving across the country that I couldn’t live in. I could live in Colorado – but only if it was in the mountains. Anyway, we drove through some impressive snow-covered tunnels. The thought of how much weight was above us was a little daunting, honestly. Truly amazing feats of engineering. We passed through Vail, Colorado, where there were still skiers going down the slopes and lots and lots of snow. Even the road was a bit slushy, so I felt bad my mom had to do all that driving. There was a snow-filled rest area at the summit. I would have loved to stop, but the kids were asleep. And everyone knows you don’t sleeping babes when driving across country! Plus the traffic was nasty due to the slush, so getting back on the interstate would have added un-needed stress. It sure was pretty, though.

During my mom’s stint of driving, I texted my friend April who was headed to Denver from Alabama.  And it just so happened they were going to spend the night in Colby, Kansas.  Which was right on our route – and was actually one of the towns I’d been contemplating for our stop!  So guess what we did :)  We stayed in the same hotel!  Super-duper awesome.  Of course, before the awesomeness could begin, we had to actually make it to Colby.  We went through Denver at a non-rush hour time (yay!) and then we hit Eastern Colorado.  Which is boring and flat (my apologies to anyone who loves that area, I just don’t).  We stopped in some random place either in Colorado or Kansas.  There weren’t any convenient rest areas, and it was time for the kids to get out.  Plus I needed to get gas.  I want to say the town was Deer Park or something like that.  Anyway, I asked the convenience store clerk if there was a public park nearby.  She told me there was and how to get there.  So we found it (it was a very small town) and we unloaded and put the kids out in the grass.  Just as we were sitting down to relax for a bit, the wind started blowing.  And sand and dirt were going everywhere!  So that ended that stop, much to my children’s chagrin.  We found our way back out on to the Interstate and watched the dark clouds roll in behind us (thankfully we missed their storm).  But oh my goodness.   The wind.  The wind in Kansas is like nothing I have ever seen before.  I can’t even tell you how many tumbleweeds we hit, because I lost count.  It’s a little alarming, at first, to see these big balls rolling across the road in front of you, and you have no choice but to hit them.  Thankfully, they are light and wispy and it is nothing to hit them.  But until you realize that, it’s a little scary!  We had to pull off again at a rest stop for the kids, since our lunch stop was so short-lived.  We just got to a rest area that was ahead of the storm enough that we felt we could spend 20 minutes or so there.  So we did.  I think that was the last one before we hit Kansas.  The wind, though.  The wind just did not stop.  It was unreal.  I can see why tornadoes are spawned in states like Kansas. 

We finally made it to Colby around 4 p.m.  True, we could have driven further, but then we wouldn’t have had the enjoyment of a night with friends.  Plus, we’d already planned to stay the following night with my dear friend Ladonna in Fort Leavenworth, and there was no way we could make it that far on Tuesday night, so going further would have just meant a very short day on Wednesday.  So I think opting to stop in Colby and stay in the same hotel and Greg, April, Bennett, and Eleanor was the way to go!  We got settled in our room, got showers, and waited for April and family to show up.  They got there after 6.  Turns out the weather coming from their direction was awful.  She said at one point, there was so much dust in the sky, they had a hard time seeing to drive.  And they were pulling people off the highway going in the other direction (apparently closing the Interstate in this part of the country is a common occurrence).  So I’m grateful they were able to make it!  They got settled, and we met up in the lobby and headed to dinner!  It was so nice to have friends to enjoy dinner with.  Though my Lynnaea was a bit naughty during dinner.  She was just up running around a lot and had to be reminded constantly that she needed to sit.  Of course, it didn’t help that both Lynnaea and Bennett wanted macaroni and cheese, and they had sold out of it shortly before the server put in our order.  Blah.  We visited for a while and then knew we had to call it a night when the kids got to rambunctious.  We drove back to the hotel and made plans to meet up for breakfast in the hotel the next morning.  

Wednesday morning we had a leisurely time getting ready.  Then we all headed down to eat breakfast.  And, of course, to take our group picture!  I mean, how often to you run into a dear friend in Kansas when neither of you lives there!?!  Then April and her family headed for Denver, and we headed for Fort Leavenworth.  We had extra time, since we were only going to the other side of the state, so we decided a good place to stop for lunch was Rolling Hills Zoo.  It was a totally worthwhile stop, let me just say.  The zoo also had a museum, and that had a little room for kids full of stuff to do.  It was a weekday, during the school year, so we had the place to ourselves!  It was awesome!  We saw a few animals in the zoo, and Lynnaea fed the swan.  But we didn’t see everything – or even most of it.  Even so, we were still there so long that we ended up getting to my friend Ladonna’s house around 6 that evening.  We also had to stop for a 15 minute break, because Corbin was screaming bloody murder at one point.  Bless his little heart.  Thankfully that only happened twice on this whole trip, because it was unpleasant, to say the least.  But we made it to Ladonna’s house, and she fed us and we visited.  I hadn’t seen her since 2010, when she and her family drove through Bremerton.  It was awesome to see her again.  She was one of my Young Women leaders in Panama (many moons ago), and we have managed to stay in touch all these years, which is just awesome.  I so appreciated her letting us crash at her house.  When you have two kids, both of whom are very young, it’s not always the most convenient thing.  Especially when your house isn’t baby-proofed anymore, since your own kids have grown up!  So I appreciate so much that we could stay. 

Here's Lynnaea on a metal statue at the zoo ;).  Also a picture of her looking at some very real looking robots in the museum part of the zoo.  They freaked her out.  A lot.

Thursday morning we had to say our good-byes to Ladonna.  She had to head to work (which we made her late for…).  We headed out and got to driving.  We drove around St. Louis and saw the Arch from the road.  Though I had contemplated seeing it, apparently it’s under construction, so there were extra rules – and Ladonna said there is a lot of crime in that area.  So we skipped it and just drove on.  We stopped at a Chick-Fil-A for a late lunch/early dinner.  And then we pushed on to Paducah, Kentucky.  I have to say, my kids were amazing.  We drove about 8 hours most days with only 2 or 3 stops.  They really were troopers, and I know they don’t have a clue now how much that helped me.  But I’ll be sure to tell them in the years ahead, when they will understand more.  We got settled in Paducah and took Corbin’s 10 month pictures!  Because he turned 10 months on the road ;). 

Friday morning, we ate breakfast, and packed up.  I was pretty sure we could make it to Dothan that day.  Jeremy had his doubts, but I told him I thought we could.  So we aimed for it.  I told him if we didn’t make it, we’d stop in Birmingham and stay with friends.  We crossed over the Alabama line around lunch-time, so we stopped at the awesome visitor’s center with the shuttle.  We stayed there about an hour letting the kids explore.  Corbin goes straight for sticks and rocks…  It was chilly and windy (the way Alabama should be ;)).  We got pictures, of course.  We decided not to stop in Birmingham, though it would have been nice to pop in and say hi to April’s daughter Courtney.  But the timing of things meant if we didn’t keep going, we’d hit rush hour in Montgomery, and we just didn’t want that!  Especially on a Friday.  So we kept on going.  The kids were ready for a break, so we finally stopped in Troy at a Chick-Fil –A so they could play in the play place.  And then we pulled the last leg to Dothan.  Jeremy was beyond happy to see us.  The kids were happy to see their daddy.  And we were all happy to be done with the driving!

I’m sure I missed a lot of details, but what can you do?  It’s been over a month since this journey, and memory fades.  But it was a better experience than I could have hoped for.  I’m so grateful for my mom who traveled with me.  So grateful for the blessings from Heavenly Father of safety.  So grateful the van had no problems (the day we moved out of the apartment in Washington, it didn’t want to start and stay running – which had never happened before).  And grateful for the tender mercies of being able to see loved ones along the way. 

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Corbin: 11 Months (and 1 Day)

Dear Corbin,

Another month has flown.  Well, sometimes it crawled...  But mostly it has flown. 

Speaking of crawling...  You don't really do that anymore.  You have gotten so good at walking that it is now your preferred mode of transportation!  You love how you can now travel with stuff in your hands.  And you always have something in your hands.  Because you're into everything! 

You still take bottles, but you're pretty much preferring "real" food.  And you eat a lot of it.  You are starting early in teaching me that I will need to prepare a lot of food to feed a growing boy!  You aren't especially picky, either.  You eat pretty much everything I put on your high chair tray.  Bananas are still one of your favorites, and I've recently learned that you really love strawberries too. 

You are a mama's boy, Corbin.  Sometimes it is a little frustrating, because you also know how to throw a royal fit.  You will start crying so hard that you stop breathing.  It's a little unnerving, and I'm not sure what to do about it.  This pretty much only occurs when you are mad -- not when you get hurt.  It's when I take something away (that is a no-no) or when I put you down to try to make a bottle or something similar.  Oh Corbin, I sure hope you grow out of that behavior. 

When you aren't throwing a fit, you are such a cute little stinker!  You laugh and make all sorts of noises.  You go around saying "mamamama" and "babababa" and such.  I'm sure it won't be too long before you start figuring out actual words :). 

You love being at playgrounds and around other kids.  I think it's super cute!  And you love your big sister so much.  She loves you too, but sometimes she is just annoyed by you.  You want to do anything she does and play with anything she has.  And that can be hard for her at times. 

Well, you were napping, so I was taking an opportunity to write this.  But you're awake now :).  So I will close. 

We have grown a lot in these 11 months, little man.  I can't believe you're really not a baby anymore -- you're a toddler.  I love watching you walk everywhere (and you just got shoes too!).  You sometimes waddle like a duck and I love it!  And I love you, my little man.  I love you lots and lots and lots.  And I always will.

Love Always,


Wednesday, May 4, 2016

The Journey East: Part 1

Hard to believe it's been a month since we started our crazy road trip to Alabama.  And I'm just now sitting down to try to document the trip.  I'm sure I'll have forgotten many details, which is a total bummer.  But life continues marching, and I haven't had the time.  And even now, I'm going to do this in installments. 

Also, my dad probably doesn't look at my blog much anymore, now that he sees us in real time.  So my readership has probably dwindled to zero anyway.  Blogs don't have the popularity they once had, and yet I still enjoy updating mine.  When I get around to it ;).

So we left Bremerton, WA on Saturday, April 2.  We had spent the previous two nights at Jeremy's parents' house, since we had to vacate the apartment by March 31 or pay for the full month of April.  Jeremy left early early on the 2nd as well.  He was picking up his brother and the moving van full of stuff (which had been parked at his brother's house all week) and they were getting on the road.  I was taking it a little slower, because I had a 9 month old and a 2 1/2 year old.  They don't make moving fast very easy.  So we got packed up, picked up my mom, dropped off my library book (which I had just finished that morning -- it was a great book I wanted to finish before leaving!) and got on the road. 

And we drove.  We took I-90 over the Snoqualmie Pass (which had some snow on the ground in places, but nowhere convenient to stop for the kids to play in it).  It was pretty, though.  I'd never driven over the pass when there was snow on the ground (not on the road, just on the sides).  We stopped after about 3 hours of driving.  Took a couple pictures that didn't turn out that great.  But hey, that's okay.
 This was at the first rest stop, somewhere in Washington.  And that may be the worst selfie ever.  I guess I needed a selfie-stick.  But Corbin's face just cracks me up.
 Our second stop was somewhere in Oregon.  This grass was crazy tall.  The kids were just so happy to be out of the car.  Lynnaea climbed a tree and Corbin tried to conquer the grass.

 We made it to Baker City, OR that first night, which was our goal.  I went and grabbed Subway for dinner and brought it back to the hotel.  No need putting the kids in the car again.  They were soooo happy to be out and free.  Meanwhile, Jeremy had made it to somewhere in Montana by that first day.  And they kept driving.  We, however, felt it needful to stop every night.  and believe me, with two kids...  It was needful.

Day 2 took us all the way to Provo, UT, where we got to see Brad and his family.  That was probably the hardest day of driving for me.  My mom drove in the mornings, and I drove in the afternoons.  For whatever reason (partially the lack of sleep the night before), I was really struggling the last hour of the trip.  Yuck.  But we made it.  I envied the kids ability to sleep in the car ;). 
We stayed with Brad Sunday night and most of Monday.  We took the kids to the park, played a game, watched part of The Hallelujah Trail and slept like rocks.  All of us did. 
 This was on Monday, on the way to the park.  And then Corbin doing what Corbin does best:  putting stuff in his mouth.  Love this picture of him though.
 Lynnaea loved the park and playing with her cousin Vivienne.

 On the way back to Brad's, they held hands a lot.  It was cute.
 The weather was nice in Utah while we were there.  Snow on the mountains and a beautiful view.  But Utah living is not for me.
 Me, Brad, and Corbin.  Brad's been through quite a lot this past year.  If you aren't sure of what all went on, feel free to ask.  I love him lots.  Also, I'm not pregnant in that picture.  I just look like it.  Boo.
 We managed to make it into Colorado on Day 3.  This was a cool view.  But overall, it was dry and grey and blah.
 I'm pretty sure this was in Colorado -- or right before the Colorado border.  Crescent Junction rest area (I think).  It was a pretty cool view.  We spent a while at this rest area to let the kids stretch their legs. 

Then we continued the haul into Colorado and into Glenwood Springs, where we stopped for the night.  That was our latest night driving, but since we'd left Brad's much later than originally planned, I wanted to make up for the time.  The hotel owners were really kind and hospitable.  Though it wasn't the ritziest hotel we stayed in during our journey East, it was clean and the fact that the people were so kind and helpful made all the difference.