Baby GIRL!

There are a dozen or so milestone moments in your lifetime that are completely surreal. They elicit so many overwhelming emotions competing for the spotlight, there truly are no words to describe them.

Getting a long awaited positive pregnancy test and learning gender of EACH of my babies was incredible.

Discovering our baby is a GIRL yesterday added to these once-in-a-lifetime, total Cloud 9 moments.

We waited an extra couple of hours to do a gender reveal. I’m too antsy…I never could handle the wait with my other two pregnancies! Even though I love my friends and a party, I loved having just my little family gathered (with my photog friend Chelsea). I didn’t think of entertaining, food, or anything else. We were totally undistracted and absorbed the moment!

(Brian had previously joked that he only makes boys because of his Mountain Dew and fried chicken intake, and I was totally THRILLED with the three boy family I’d half anticipated…but me closing my eyes as I opened the box suggests that deep down, a girl tipped my hope’s scales.)

Don’t ask how much I’ve already spent on her wardrobe! We CANNOT wait for February.

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It’s Really Happening! New Baby in February!

After lots of prayers and a bumpy year of hoping for a baby, we absolutely could not be more over the moon to welcome a new addition to our family in late February!!

We are THRILLED and are eagerly awaiting this baby’s arrival!

(I am also eagerly awaiting the day I am no longer sick, although I’m always relieved by my new close friendship with the bathroom because it’s a sign that things are progressing. 🙂 )

Now that I’m 14 weeks and past the scary first trimester, and the baby has a strong heartbeat, I am ecstatic to share this pregnancy! It makes it real!

(It has to be said: I am also getting myself in check for the inevitable, “Ohhh, what if it’s a boy? Would you be so sad?” “You must be dying for a girl.” “Are you going to keep trying if it’s a boy?” Am I just hormonal, or would those comments make you legitimately angry?

Do you know how badly we want a baby? Do you know how much we (and any mothers) are continually keeping this baby’s good health and safe delivery in our prayers?

Did you know I’ll punch your face?

Gender is secondary, and although a girl would be so, so fun, I sure adore my boys! I am truly just grateful to tears that I’m pregnant!)

My boys have opinions, though!

Gus says he already has a baby. “No thanks, I already have this Roscoe Bear one.” Gus is usually hoping for a brother, sometimes a sister.
Roscoe is hoping for a kitty.

Gus also thinks we’re having three babies: one in my tummy, two on my chest. “Wow, all those babies are getting bigger now!” Hahaha

And me? I’ve been super not fun, and even though I’m on nausea medication, I’m sick almost every. every. every. evening. (It’s kind of reassuring, though!) I loathe my favorite foods, with a special hatred for tomatoes, avocados, and meat in general. I’ve never been a big soda drinker, but now I drink Coke everyday, and I prefer the species of Coke I used to “Eww,” Diet Coke. The only things I enjoy eating are Coke, cucumbers, celery…lobster. Talk about high maintenance!

We are giddy to share our news with you and cannot wait to have a brand new baby in our home again!

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Nothing Gold Can Stay

I can feel change approaching. Preschool is starting…and it’s just preschool. I know. Still, with my boys being back to back in school, I know this year kicks off a new life of schedules and time apart. (Time apart means less control of my kids’ environments, exposing my babies to outside influences, and…missing them!)

Cue flipping through baby pictures at night.

That’s where I’ve been this week. The impending threat of real-life scheduling has sent me into a panicked fun overdrive. I’ve completely worn us all out with daily excursions to multiple pools (slides! fountains! beach entries! hotels!), parks, Chuck E Cheese, trampoline parks, indoor play areas, and car washes.

(Car wash + Pop cookies/popcorn is how we do.)

This is all because my knee jerk emotion to change is sadness, but when I think about it…I don’t know if I should be completely sad about the “babies at home” chapter closing. In fact, when I really think back to the past few years, I think of the most tender, precious, quiet moments of my life mixed with some growing pains. They were a couple years of loneliness (happy loneliness, but loneliness nonetheless) as life at home with young, not-yet-talking children feels a little secluded. There were long nights, and anxiety as I learned how to care for sick babies, squinting at infant Tylenol directions at 3 AM. There were long days that were a mixture of laughter, love, walks, play dates with friends, and total bliss watching “firsts”, but also failed naps and multiple baths, just to fill the time.

Not joking on the baths. There were a LOT of baths in the winter. What else were we going to do?

It’s been a beautiful time of life. One of my favorite Robert Frost lines pops into my head often, “Nothing gold can stay.” Even though I’m concerned about a setting sun and a new chapter of motherhood, I am certain I’m just now approaching the gold.

And though I know nothing gold can stay, I will hold on to and admire that gold for every second it lasts.

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Wedding Flashback

Today, Brian and I are celebrating (well, acknowledging) our eighth wedding anniversary. Eight! How was this favorite day of mine eight years ago?

I’ll spare you the cheese, but I married up. I am so proud to be Brian’s wife. He is just GOOD, you know? He is the most patient, kind, selfless person I know, and makes anything and everything fun. It’s impossible not to like him.

(I mean, it took ME a couple years, but when Morgan helped me figure it out, I sealed the deal real quick. That’s a different story.)

The more time that passes, the more I enjoy scrolling through wedding photos and reminiscing. “Remember that watch?” “I forgot about her short hair!” “We look SO young!”

We’re hoping to REALLY celebrate our anniversary later this week, but since it’s Sunday evening, these photos are where the party is at. I’ll always love our friend Denise for beautifully capturing such a fun day! (PS Denise, I am wearing your old shorts right now…)

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I’ll Take ANY Beach, BUT…

Disneyland had just opened when my grandparents got married, and that’s where they honeymooned. Now, they absolutely love Disneyland and sharing all things Disney with their family. I believe it could be because it’s still just the way it was when they visited in the 50s. Every time they go back, regardless of their age, it’s still romantic, magic, and youthful.

I feel that same way about a few beaches.

Beaches are all relaxing and revitalizing, right?

There are a couple of beaches that are more than that to me. They still have a little sizzle. Each time I visit these particular beaches, I’m suddenly about seventeen. Even hauling toys and kids, something about that ocean air and familiar landscape makes me feel…what is it? Carefree? Fun? No, it’s more alive than that. There is something that’s still smoldering…just barely, but it’s there. I can’t quite put my finger on it. It’s all the positive feelings of seventeen: carefree, unaware of major responsibility, living life on a whim, fun, easy. It’s that little buzz of excitement, like seeing a text from a cute new acquaintance.

Maybe it’s just de ja vu, or maybe that energy really does still linger at these beaches, fossilized in every tide pool I’d explored at seventeen.

Either way, these beaches make me FEEL. They breathe life into a tired mom.

My sister and I can’t avoid wading into the high tide, even if it just a “walk on the beach at sunset like mature people” outing. She is in high school now, so maybe these will become her beaches, too.

I think everyone has a special place like this.

I hope everyone has a special place like this.

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Every Beach Trip is Shark Week When You’ve Watched Too Much Shark Week

They say home is where your heart is, and mine is always, always at the edge of the water.

Not far in it, though, because that’s scary and seaweed-y. Too many years of Shark Week.

(I wouldn’t mind a small nibble though, just something that would promise a small scar to elevate my street cred, especially to my boys. I’m envisioning being my kids’ elementary school show and tell object, walking into a spot light in an awed room, commanding attention as I solemnly part my leg hair to show them the 2” scar from what I’m positive was a teacup Great White…)

Oh, sorry. I digress.

Don’t let me watch Air Jaws again this year.

I think I got more smile lines this week from watching my boys beam. We waded in the chilly water, but mostly just played in the sand and exchanged, “This is the BEST, right!?” looks.

My heart feels right at home smelling any salty ocean air, but there is one beach in particular that I love. It’s where I’ve watched the sun set for years and years.

Are you a sunrise or sunset person?

Me? I’m a sunset girl. I think it sounds more romantic, less morning-breath-y. I love the dramatic ending to the day, a fiery exclamation point to punctuate the last moments of daylight. I like the way the sky dissolves into blackness, slowly but unrelenting, the way black ink bleeds on paper.

But.
A sunset is hardly an ending.

A past-life me would reassure you that dusk is just when the night is beginning.

There is a tangible energy that sunsets produce. Instead of blackness, the world suddenly sparkles with a thousand lights. There is a buzz of mystery. At nightfall, the world is suddenly exciting, delicately filtered by moonlight, and forgiving of seen-in-broad-daylight blemishes. Wait, is that why I like sunset?

There is a magnificence in feeling so insignificant watching one of nature’s shows.

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My Most Sunny Days Always Leave Me Teary

There is a wonder I experience as a new mom, crossing new bridges as my oldest child does the same.

My kids are approaching the real pearl of childhood. At almost two and three, the sleepless nights are behind us. My boys are both talking and expressing their own, hilarious thoughts, and I feel that new-mom isolation no more.

I’ve been caught off guard by this new stage of life and its unexpected sprinkling of pixie dust, because my kids think EVERYTHING is magical.

From seeing a street sweeper, to a stranger’s raspy voice, to blossoming trees…it’s all entrancing. Holding a ladybug for the first time, and watching with sheer astonishment when it flies away! Listening for helicopters! Watching a puppy lap water from a bowl! Garbage day! Witnessing sprinklers turn on! Putting detergent in the washing machine! It’s new. It’s fresh. My mundane routine is suddenly dazzling and vivid. The days have more zest. I’m still tired, but my kids give me a shot of laughter hourly, and their thrill of pioneering a new world is contagious.

My children are young enough to not understand real sorrow. Heartbreak is unknown. They don’t know about the world…they only know the world I put in front of them. At ages one and three, naivety is normal. Innocence is beautiful. Heaven still feels close.

They’re also young enough to not have any real school schedule or pressing commitments. I savor the peacefulness of midmorning strolls on quiet roads, and appreciate being rich enough in time to admire every dandelion along the way. I love the slow pace, and have to remind myself often not to complicate it. The world hasn’t sped up yet. I know, I know, it will, and the sand will slip through the glass quickly and cruelly; let me just enjoy holding onto those little hands a bit longer.

And those little hands. Those teeny, sticky fingers always find me, because I am wanted. A heart soars to feel wanted! The elation of feeling truly wanted as a parent is unparalleled. I know they’ll need a mother for years, but to WANT a mother–that’s different. Even on the days I go crazy almost tripping over two extra shadows, I know my heart will break just a little the day my kids insist they can spread their wings alone.

These are the days.

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Finding Light in the Dark

Over the weekend, a past salon owner lost his child. Even though we weren’t close friends, the sadness was felt throughout the whole weekend at my salon. Like any parent, I feel deeply for this family. I can’t even handle the news in my mom-with-a-lot-of-feelings state! It’s safe to say I was a little shaken and very eager to love on my little guys a little extra. As I drove home from work both days, I thought about this tragedy in silence, because music almost seemed inappropriate.

For me, the stillness lingered today.

…but in that stillness, I noticed a lot more than I might have.

The vibrant green of new, spring leaves is stunning.

Teeny legs of a ladybug are ticklish. My boys held out both arms in awe as we caught our first ladybug. They marveled at the red. How many spots did it have? Was it friends with bees and butterflies? What about crocodiles? My youngest son screamed the shrieks of joy only a thrilled one year old and a baby velociraptor can.

My grandpa’s eyes have a never-aging twinkle in them every time he smiles.

My three year old’s face as he looked at himself incredulously in the mirror the first time he tried on new Batman jammies will make a grown man cry…and it did. Gus was stunned speechless with nothing but a huge grin and a few gasps, couldn’t stop touching the Batman logo until he needed both hands to fly. His sweet daddy’s smile was almost as big as he quietly wiped a few tears.

In these still moments, I am reminded what a beautiful life we live. Even though I have a limited understanding of the big picture, I know the Lord intends for us to be happy. Tender, perfect moments are sprinkled all along our lives’ paths, no matter where they may lead.

Right on cue from LDS General Conference today: “Even in the most difficult and darkest of times, there is goodness and light all around us.” -Elder Bragg

I can’t imagine how this cute family must feel, so I write this only as a “note to self” for future reference, and hope they can feel how many people send their love.

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A New Mom’s Letter to Her Babysitter

We don’t get date nights often enough, and I semi-blame the whole “finding a babysitter” fiasco.

Now that we are on our second child, our instructions to babysitters have become much more lax. Ultimately, we just want our kids safe and happy. A few years ago, however, my new mom hormones were TURNT UP. WAY UP. Had I written an actual note (a la my mom in 1992), it would have looked exactly like this:

Dear babysitter,

Thanks for coming over! Help yourself to any food (notice we bought the name brand graham crackers this week), and make yourself at home. My kids should be sleeping, so just hang out! Watch TV!

Except, try to avoid turning the TV volume higher than 12, because that will wake up my kids, but it’s okay if you have to because you don’t lip read as well as I’ve been forced to learn. If you would like to actually hear your show, you can just put them back to sleep after they wake up. They’ll lay down for you super easily.

All you have to do is this!

You’ll need to heat up a little milk (roughly between 4-6 oz) for my little one, for 45 seconds. He is particular. Shake the bottle. Test the temperature. He also likes his grey blankie to snuggle with, but make sure it’s not on his face. My other son can just get up and watch TV, but only one show and not for too long, and if you don’t understand what he is saying, try the Dinosaur movie, but fast forward the part where the dad dies. Along those lines, if he says something that sounds like “daddy,” it could mean daddy, Mickey, or blankie (full phonetically spelled translation guide on the side of the fridge).

But whatever! Just have fun! 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 !!!!!

Consult the attached pamphlet for numbers of my–

Pediatrician
Poison Control
My number
Restaurant’s number
Next door neighbor’s number
911’s number
Insurance agent information
Homeland Security
CPR instructions
Animal control
Living trust
Speediest SWAT responders (Don’t hesitate to call!)
Current shot records
Life insurance documentation
Last will and testament

We will be back in forty five minutes! Thanks!

–Ashton

PS Fire extinguisher is under the kitchen sink.

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HBD Brian / Sure Hope I’m Pregnant for Swimsuit Season / Those Two are Unrelated

What would President’s Day be without spending a few Jacksons? Or Franklins? Or even Washingtons?

I perused President’s Day sales online last night, and snagged a couple swimsuits. This led me to firing swimsuit-shopping-in-February inspired questions that Brian never knows how to best respond to. In order:

“Oh my gosh. I ordered swimsuits. Ugh, I feel so fat. Do I look bigger?”
“When am I going to finally take those hardcore classes I have a pass to?”Wait, have you seen my Food Network Magazine? It was just right here.”

He treated them as rhetorical questions, although I was concerned about the magazine. I found it this morning. Don’t want to misplace the special pasta edition.

Thank goodness those swimsuits en route are black.

My in-laws visited over the weekend, and even though it was Brian’s birthday, I felt like I got a break! A new MIL appreciation comes with having kids. She grocery shopped, played with my kids, and helped with laundry, all while I was working. I even slept until nine one morning!

Leila and Mark helped us celebrate with a fun dinner. Let this not be overlooked: at some point on Brian’s birthday, his festivities included doing a massive pile of laundry, and I came home to fresh, folded clothes.

That’s very telling of Brian. Laid back, practical, and nice. Really, really nice. He will quietly do ANYTHING for our family (or friends), and his selflessness is underrated.

I had no idea how right for me that twenty three year old boy was when I met him, and even though it took me two years to recognize it (and change his name from “Brian Creepy” in my phone), I can’t believe I caught him! With a lot of false advertising (like shaved legs and clean hair), and the help of Morgan and Stuart Peterson, I caught him.

Happy belated birthday, Brian. You’re our bestie.

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