Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Feeling Showered at my Sprinkle

A friend in the ward threw me a little "sprinkle" for Wiggy baby #4, but I left feeling so showered with love it was overwhelming. I showed up at her house to find the table set with some of my favorite pregnancy food this go around (seaweed, bruschetta, strawberries) and I was both elated and shocked--how did she know that these foods were my foods? "I bet you didn't know you had a blog reader in me," she said with a smile. I didn't know she read this blog, but I was so touched (and become more so every time I think of it) because how loving and thoughtful of her to know me so well and plan a party so fitting? From there it was chatting and eating, opening cute baby girl clothes and receiving freezer meals for post-delivery use (or maybe tonight when the kids and I needed food but ain't nobody got energy to cook around here!) It's moments like these when I feel so blessed to be surrounded by truly good people and feel so lucky that I've once again found home in a new town.

The picture above does not, in fact, have anything to do with the baby shower but I did not, in fact, take a single picture of the event (for shame!) After the party we met up with some NYC friends (who are relocating to Provo but currently resting their heads in San Diego) for some Shake Shack and park play action. It felt like old times and yet it felt like just yesterday, the sign that these friends are forever keepers. Can't wait to continue this friendship for many years to come.

PS--Ended the day with a little baby splurge from Nordtrom and a passionfruit bubble slush. Epic Saturday, amiright?

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Strawberry Fields, Forever

I'm a certifiable city girl, but lately it's wide open spaces that make my heart flutter. I see my kids running through green pastures and noisily playing tag amidst berry bushes and NOT having to worry about getting hit by a car or stranger danger or bugging neighbors and I'm all, this is where kids should be raised. That, and I've probably watched one too many episodes of Fixer Upper. #chipandjo #relationshipgoals #demoday #someday #thefarmhouse #mydreamhouse

James has been working some ca-a-a-razy hours lately and the majority of the time I wake up in the middle of the night for pregnant bathroom duties only to find that he's still not home yet, or that he's slipped into bed beside me at some point. It's real weird and we're just counting down the days until PATERNITY LEAVE!!! Fourth baby, first paternity leave, and we're taking every last day!

Anyway, James has been a little MIA so when we woke up on Saturday morning and he still hadn't received an assignment from a partner and we realized that baseball was cancelled we peaced out of West LA in search of space and strawberries. We found both in spades.

Underwood family farms is my dream. James was shaking his head the whole time trying to figure out what has gotten into his city slicker wife (he did, however, wager that the instant the sun went down and I saw how dark the country gets I'd be the biggest scaredy cat the world has ever known--he's right!) but geesh, everything about the views, the experience and our day was ideal and seriously had me zillowing country homes. For sure going to Underwood will become a new family tradition and I can't wait, can't wait, can't wait to go back! 

You want to know how many pictures I took? 500-thousand-million...and here they are, every last one ;)

T: Uh, hi goat. My name's Talmage. Goat: Bahhh!

She's the spitting image of the eldest but she has the smiling skills of the middle one. Bless these two for their picture taking skills/patience. 

And you question whether or not I'm serious about moving to the middle of nowhere. This picture just about does me in every time I peek at it.

37 (?) weeks and eating my pregnant body weight in blackberries, warm off the bush.

She lost her shoes (mud puddle) but found her straw-bebe hat (Mary Poppins bag).

He climbed to the tippy top of a tall tree for the perfect Hass.

We came home with 15 more carrots (and a few more spiders) than expected because of this cute kid.

And this picture goes to show that what Quinny wants, Quinny gets--when Daddy is around. She has him wrapped tightly around her pinky, that Sister Sue. Today, pony ride. Tomorrow, her own pony? It wouldn't surprise me.

Popsicles and a nap on the drive home. This day was done right!

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

This is enough.

I just took a hot shower, ate an apple with cookie butter for my 9 pm dinner and threw Les Miserables on the tube while sitting down to look at pictures and blog my brains out. I've had a little bit of writer's block of late, or maybe writer's apathy is more like it, but I just took a hot shower and that needs to be blogged about, you know what I'm saying?

Probably not. Let me explain.

Have I mentioned our apartment's water situation? We're coming up on our ten month anniversary of living in this apartment and last week I took my first hot shower. Turns out testing the water temperature that flows from your sink should definitely be on your to-do list before signing a lease agreement, but turns out that it wasn't on ours (not that we saw this place in the flesh before signing said agreement, but for future reference). For the last ten months we have had to run our water for 20 to 30 minutes in order for it to produce warm-ish water. Talmage would cry real tears about how we're in a drought and this was horrible for the environment but, you know, he would also cry real tears when we had him take an ice cold shower without running the water for an extended period of time...so let's just say it's been a lose-lose. The owners of our condo and the HOA leadership have been in a tennis match, each serving the responsibility to the other team and you know who were the ones really losing here? Me. And James. And my babies. It's been stressful.

In fact, just last week I sat down and wrote a lengthy blog post entitled, "This is it?" My main gripe was the water, but there were others. My buzzer doesn't buzz. The refrigerator barely keeps our cheese chilled and the washing machine smells musty. Sure the disgusting couch by the dumpster vacated our alley in a heated brawl between our local homeless neighbors and someone (who was that anyway?) but now there's a box spring by the dumpster. By the dumpster. You know, the one that is right under every single window in my apartment. Our homeless homies can now lie down and drink their alcohol, scream and cuss at the blank space in front of them (or sometimes me and the kids) and fight through the night over the right to sleep on that abandoned bed. I wrote about how I can easily find myself looking around at our life and living situation and thinking, "Really? This is it? This is the best we can do?"

But I pressed save on that post instead of publish, and now it almost seems silly because so much has changed around here in such a short span of time. I don't know who buckled under pressure, but the owners and the HOA finally saw eye to eye and with a little twist of a plumber's wrench (and a new pump installed to the water heater in the basement) we have perfectly hot water pouring through our nozzle within seconds of turning the knob. Don't think I didn't cry the most grateful tears when I took my first few hot showers because I definitely did. And don't think I didn't hug the plumber when I saw him a few days later because I just about kissed him! It's amazing what a hot shower can do for the soul, not to mention the stink!

It wasn't only that, although that's enough for me to sing praises, but I really think that Heavenly Father has had his hand on our life this last week, just in the silly little living condition details. You see, this place is financially the best we can do at the moment. Sure, we're making more than we've ever made but we have student loans to pay, a commitment to tithe, and West LA rent is through the roof. James found a few darling cottages that we loved and felt strongly like we should pursue, but with high sticker prices and the owner's non-interest in negotiation we were left heartsick. It's hard not to feel a little hopeless when you're paying nearly $3,000 a month in rent and can't even wash your hands with hot soapy water. But then out of no where we were the lucky recipients of hot water. And the owner decided to bite the bullet and fix our buzzer, which should be installed by the end of the week. (No more running frantically down the stairs in fear of missing a delivery! For a city dweller, this is big!) Also the dumpster mattress went the way of the dumpster couch, and a few days ago we noticed that our most belligerent homeless neighbor has given us a few days off from his middle of the night cussing sessions.

This may not seem like such a big deal to anyone else, but to me it is major. It's as if Heavenly Father is telling me, "No, I'm not going to produce the miracle of a charming new home that you asked for, but I will produce a miracle and make this has-been-sub-par apartment a comfortable place for your family to live and grow." I'm looking at this apartment transform before my eyes and the words that keep coming to my mind are, "This is enough." And it is.

This place might be small and it's all but glamorous, but it is overflowing with love and in a couple short weeks it will be the place we welcome our last Wiggy addition, swaddled in pink, home from the hospital. A warm bath, three adoring siblings and some tetras magic in her new shared room will be waiting for her. That, I know, is enough.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Mothers Day

I'm usually not a fan of having my birthday and Mother's Day on subsequent days because I like to spread the celebration out as lllooooonnnngggg as possible, but this was a weekend to remember and I loved that I was pampered and loved on the whole weekend long. Breakfast is my love language so when I woke up to brioche french toast with strawberries and buttermilk syrup I was like, yep, day made! T made me a lovely flower art piece at school, Ever made me a necklace and Quinny actually gave me lots of loving instead of demanding her Dad so my Mother's Day was fabulous! What I really wanted for Mother's Day was a picture of me and my babies in front of the temple after church, but everyone was tired and grumpy and it just didn't happen. Instead, I took these silly selfies when we were already dressed for bed, a little unruly and the lighting was awful...and I couldn't love them more. Being a mom is the hardest thing I've done and to be honest I don't always mother gracefully, but I love these babies with all my heart and consider it a great privilege to belong with them. Happy Mother's Day to all who have a mothering heart.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

My best birthday yet!

I don't know what got into me but to say I was pumped about my 31st birthday is just the understatement of the century! I love birthday's always, but something about this year felt so fresh and young and exciting and it just screamed to be celebrated, so heaven knows we celebrated.

I started by throwing myself a birthday party. I told the ladies at park day a few months ago my idea, and another friend told me her birthday was just two days before mine and asked if we could do a joint gig. IT WAS THE GREATEST! We held the party on the 6th, right smack in between our two big days, and spent hours eating Mexican food, scarfing down cake and laughing until tears were flowing. I originally thought I'd be home by ten-ish, but it was after midnight before any of us even considered leaving. I just can't explain how great it felt to be partying with friends, and Kayce and I decided we were going to make this a yearly production. Happy birthday to us indeed! (And ps, is her kitchen the dreamiest or what?)

My actual birthday was just as much of a party as the night before. I slept in until 8 am (James actually took the kids to get donuts 30 minutes away so that I could get some sleep, bless him!), had a prenatal massage, took a nap, got a haircut and eyebrow wax, read my book, had a party with the kids and Grandma Winnie (complete with 31 flavors of ice cream and a 30-ONEderful years cake) and then went on a date with James that night. If it could have been one ounce better I really, truly, whole-heartedly don't know how. I kept saying that this was my best birthday ever and I know I sounded like a broken record but I was being totally serious! Every detail was perfect and appreciated.

Weeelllll....the part when Quinny got into the boys brand new rainbow stamp pad and ate a good portion of it while the boys just sat there ignoring her, not completely appreciated. But the rest of the day was so great even I could find the humor in it!!!

Dinner with James was magical. One of my greatest pregnancy cravings has been bruschetta, I just can't get enough, so he surprised me by making reservations at the most romantic and charming Italian restaurant called Bruschetta. It was a white tablecloth, fancy outfit, dim lighting and lots of fancy wine bottles type of place (except for us, ice water only please!) The bruschetta, gah the bruschetta! It was divine!

We weren't going to order dessert because after multiple courses of delicious Italian food we were stuffed, but when the chef surprises you with a gorgeous Tiramisu and a candle to boot you blow that thing out and dig in. It was so light and creamy and the perfect finish to the perfect dinner on my perfect birthday. And where did that gorgeous long stem rose come from? Halfway through dinner a woman walked from table to table selling them and hello, happy birthday to me, I pretty much willed James to pull out his wallet and buy me one! This little scene above will definitely go down as being one of the more magical moments of my 31st year, of that I am already sure!

We walked home with full bellies, full hearts and huge smiles. Happy 31st birthday to me! This year I will welcome my fourth little baby and I couldn't be more thrilled.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Descanso Gardens--T's field trip!!!

T got his special field trip time with his Mama when we went to Descanso Gardens, a huge nature reserve in Los Angeles. What he didn't get? A personal picture with his Mama! Because if there's one thing I know, it's that Louis will always find his way into a picture attempt with my boy!

We had a great time together and boy did I get my work out hiking around that place and keeping the kids from jumping into the koi pond! I love one on one time with my babies, and I was so excited to spend the day with my T.

Our cute group of field trippers with T front and center, and Louis giving bunny ears!

Monday, May 2, 2016

Take me out to the ball game...DODGERS style!

Lesson learned: When a partner at your law firm sends out a last minute email offering front row Lexus Club tickets to a Dodgers game be the first to reply, cancel any existing plans, throw bedtime out the window, wear blue, and have THE TIME OF YOUR LIFE!!!

You know those moments in life that just seem way too good to be true? Well this was one of them. When he said front row tickets he literally meant front row, directly behind the Dodgers dugout. We had unlimited access to an endless amount of food in the Lexus Club, plus complimentary ordering of hot dogs, nachos, pretzels, treats and drinks at our seats. We bought the boys Dodgers hats at the stadium, but their most prized possession to come home were game balls--yes, BOTH boys got game balls AND got them signed by a few Dodgers players. Amazing, right?! Oh yeah, and then there was the actual game! Sure, the Dodgers lost, but it was such a fun and exciting game and we were right there for all the action.

Quinny was a champ and loved all the treats and energy, and gosh you should have seen her saying, "Go! Go! Go!" We were the last people out of that stadium and the parking lot and were home near midnight and that party girl sure was in her element. She was a dream until the very end, as were her brothers, and I know this was a once in a lifetime experience but it left me wishing that we could put it on repeat.

If you can believe it, this was the best family picture in this series of photos! It was such a funny experience because the person behind us offered to take the picture and kept snapping away, a million times over. I couldn't figure out why she was taking so many until I saw them all later. Poor lady was trying her darndest to get a good picture for me, but here we are!!!

Proof that we were literally the last ones to leave this place (besides the people cleaning the field). It was just way too fun and we wanted to drink in every last second. Plus, we had the special opportunity to meet the players outside their locker room and you know we couldn't squander something that special!

Take me out to the ball game any night if it's going to be this amazing!