Thursday, December 5, 2013

And That's The Way They Do It On The Polar Express!!

Max's awesome preschool took a field trip to ride the Polar Express Train to the North Pole this week!  It exceeded ALL of our expectations!  The whole affair was run by about 300 volunteers and they did such a good job.  They thought of everything: singing the "Hot Chocolate" song from the movie, handing out hot chocolate and cookies, letting the kids wear pajamas, having a pajama parade, and reading the actual Polar Express story to the kids. 
The best part was when we finally reached the North Pole.  I didn't know how they were going to create the North Pole, but they sure created it!  The train slowed down once we arrived and chugged along the tracks for about 10 minutes so all the kids could look out the window and see the North Pole.  They decorated buildings like crazy, and had about 100 elves waving to the kids.  There was a giant Christmas tree, frosty the snowman, Rudolph, and Santa Claus in his sleigh who eventually came on the train and sat with each kid.  Santa asked them what they wanted for Christmas and gave them a silver bell, just like the one in the book. 
Max had a riot, and I was so impressed! Jake was perfect and smiled at all of the sweet Grandma Elves. It was magical to see the kids eyes light up and feel their excitement :).  Our only regret was Tim wasn't able to be there, but hopefully he can make it next year! 
Max and one of his best buddies Elliot :).  Just about to board the train!  So glad
that Jake and Mae could come too!

"Mom, this is so fun!!!!"

Our little crew :). 

Don't forget about me!!

So cute!!  This is of course the times they aren't growling, or jumping off high
surfaces, or yelling at the top of their lungs, or tackling each other, etc....what can you expect with
3 year old boys, right?!?!

Santa Claus!!! 


Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Oh what fun we've had!

Well, it is 6:00am right now and I am blogging. I'm crazy. Definitely not in the mood to work out.  Tim left in the 27 (real feel 19) degree darkness about an hour and a half ago to the hospital on his bike.  The doc has been through it these past couple of weeks.  We only have a week and a half more to go of the surgery rotation!  Hurray!  Honestly, once I mentally decided that I would have the attitude of "Tim never being home and if he was it was a bonus", I've been able to manage for the most part.  Luckily, he is working with a resident right now who lets him go at a reasonable hour.  The resident has a wife and kids to get home too as well...a life outside of the hospital.  That is a concept. I do not understand the doctors that Tim tells me about who eat, drink, breath, love, live, and worship the hospital enough to NEVER leave.  Bless all of their hearts. 
Tim will come home and we'll eat dinner if he is lucky enough to be home for it, play with the boys, help me, and then start studying or following up on patients.  He is working so hard, I don't know how he does it all!  We are usually in bed at 9:00pm and up who knows when.  The best is when I fall asleep to Max still playing in his room, hoping he makes it to his bed with his covers on.  Max has been a champ through this rotation...for the most part.  I have really tried to be more patient with him and choose my battles.  It has made a HUGE difference.  A lot of the "Max" issues we have been having lately, come to find out, are really to be blamed on ME!  It is so true that if the Mom is grumpy, impatient, tired, and depressed, then usually the whole family is.  So...I have put on my "positive thinking/attitude" cap and things have been good.  Except when they're not.  But, for the most part, it's not that bad! 
Surviving is made possible for us by our dear friends here in Cleveland, phone calls and skyping with family, library days, reading to Max till we've read the same library books 48 times, baking fall everything, eating, dance parties, the precious moments when Jake is smiling and Max is being a good buddy to him and me, the NEW SUPER WALMART (not the old one where nothing was in stalk, the 20 minutes of waiting in check out lines, and the feeling like I might be shot or mugged every time I went...yes, me and the boys were at the new one on opening day baby, and it was glorious! There may have even been tears in my eyes... I knew it would be fully stalked and clean just for that day though, and I was right. The next week when I went, I couldn't find about 4 or 5 things on my list.  BUT, I am not complaining, it is such an improvement of the old one!  Oh Cleveland...sigh...)yummy smelling candles, Costco, cuddling under out fuzzy blankets, Tim's "made-way -too-often kettle corn, Jake's little "cooing" sounds, Tim's positive attitude  BYU Football, my blessed treadmill, Christmas shopping for my family, our new Nexus 7 tablet(my laptop is ancient and ready to blow up. We found a super good deal online for the Nexus and have loved it!) and subscription to Netflix (turning nursing into a whole new experience!!), enjoying the Holidays, our warm little home in the chill of Cleveland, AND Max starting preschool! Here are some pics:
Little snuggle bugs!  We have had a tragedy with the well loved Snow Bear Max is
holding.  He is missing.  We. Have. Looked. Everywhere.  Tim and I feel so bad, we really
do.  I think he is a lost cause.  May whoever stole him (we think in the church parking lot) enjoy
the #1 thing that kept my 3 year old the happiest boy on earth.  We will miss you desperately Snow Bear!

"I was working so hard during tummy time with Daddy, that I  had had it." Zzzzzz!

No comment.

Some weeks I am more diligent than others of focusing on a letter theme.  A couple of weeks ago was
"C" week, and Max loved coloring his Crown.  He is becoming quite the little artist!

It snowed!  Well, actually a couple of times now.  The second Tim got home the first snow, Max literally pushed him out the door to make a snowman on our little
patch of back yard.  Mas and Jake so lucky to have such a good Daddy!

Walking in the beautiful cemetery with the fall leaves!  That is one cute kid we've got...

The Knight in shining armor, the Dragon, the Princess, and last but not least, King Jake.  Yes,
we look totally awesome, right?!?!  And yes, these costumes (besides Max's adorable dragon one...thanks so much Grandma Holt!) were put together about 2 hours before our ward party.  You can't tell at all though...they are so elaborate. 

Don't worry fellow citizens, I have the kingdom completely under control.

Pumpkin carving!

Tim gets to take all the credit.  I contributed by cutting the eyes and part of the mouth before I
cut off one of the teeth. 

And Tim claims he has not artistic ability...

We invited some friends over and made Haunted Houses!  I burned sugar to stick the graham crackers
together.  It was kind of messy, but worked like a charm!

This was all Max.  So cute :). 

Halloween!  It was pouring rain, pitch black, and past Max's bedtime when
Tim finally got home and took our little Dragon out for treak-or-treating.  Jake and I stayed and handed
out candy to a surprisingly big crew this year.  I think it was all due to the awesome pumpkin we carved and lit. 
Way to go Tim!

Right after waking up.  I was on a run, and Tim and Max had a photo shoot.  Max told Tim, "Dad, I just want to take a break.  Can you take a picture of me?"  I don't think
it gets much cuter than this... 

....Well maybe a little bit cuter! 

The smirk.  Watch out ladies!

There is a time and a season for these precious legs.  Jake, you sure know how to pull
them off buddy! 

Okay, I can't believe I have a preschooler!  Thanks to my dear friend who told us about this preschool!  It is
called the Cleveland Sight Center.  Half of the children are blind, and have are not.  There are only 14 kids in Max's
class to 3 teachers and then some volunteers.  The main teacher is a dream and was born to teach preschool!  Max gets to
go with two of his good friends and LOVES it!  The director worked with us on the price since we are so rich right now, which was a huge blessing!  Max goes 2 days a week from 9:30-3:00.  The preschool goes on all kinds of field trips like riding the polar express, horse back riding, and jumping gyms.  They have awesome parties for each holiday too!  This preschool keeps both Max and I very happy!  I sure miss my buddy, but have no doubt he is having the time of his life! 

First day of school! 

Tummy Time!  Jake is so advanced for a 2 1/2 month old.  Max is such a good big brother!

Tim had to go into the hospital all day on Saturday, so Max and I decided to go and get a treat.
My friend had given me a gift card to a yummy bakery close by and Max and I made a date of it!
As we were walking out, this kind lady opened the door for me and the boys and said," Wow, you are brave.  I
could barely do that with one kid!"  That made me feel good.  I guess you could call me brave, but a little crazy attempting some of the adventures me and boys go on!   It makes life interesting I guess!  I am sure lucky and blessed to be a wife and mother of such stellar boys! 

Monday, October 14, 2013

Life Begins Again

Ready or not, life has begun again. Fortunately, baby Jake is an angel.  He is so good and such a CHUNK!  I can't get enough of his adorable brown eyes, ginormous toots every time he starts feeding, fuzzy brown hair, his ability to sleep 5 or 6 hours at night, the way he smiles at his brother and daddy, (he is already a daddy's boy, which I think is precious!), the way he stretches out of his little position when I wake him up, his little squeaks and grunts, his love for music already, and did I mention what a chunk he is?!?!  We all are in love with him.  From day one his big brother has been his best bud.  It is so sweet to see my 3 year old crazy boy turn into a sweet and gentle big brother.
Speaking of that 3 year old crazy boy...he is a bit of a struggle right now.  Tim and I feel like we are CONSTANTLY getting after Max.  I knew it was going to be a hard adjustment with a newborn, but I didn't think this bad.  Max will run outside when I tell him not to, rip library and our own books over and over again, yell in our faces "NO!" a million times a day, chuck his toys across his room and our house, fight and bully his buddies during play dates, wets the bed at least 2 or 3 times a week, and makes meal time (every meal) into a way too long time-out session.  Tim and I have tried everything.  We have started focusing on the positive behavior that he shows and that has helped a little bit.  It is lucky for us to find the positive behavior, that is the problem.  Despite all of the 'fun' Max is being now, we sure love that kid.  He is a growing weed!  I can't believe how stinking tall he is getting.  He loves to read and loves to learn.  That kid could literally sit and read with me all day. Max has the cutest smile and the best blue eyes.  He is currently into DRAGONS (I capitalized it because every time he says the word dragon it is a big deal.  He throws in a growl and elevated pitch sound halfway through the word.  Love it.), monsters, Halloween, his baby brother, playing soccer and baseball, singing songs all by himself, outer space, rockets, astronauts, drawing snakes, smoothies, yogurt, Autumn time, getting stuck in our couch pillows by his daddy, helping me cook/bake, reading the scriptures before bed, walking with flashlights and checking things around the house, and doing everything his daddy does. Of course, after listing all of that adorable stuff it is hard to believe that he is a terror right now.  I guess I just need to focus on the positive.  We love our Max!
Tim is a jack of all trades right now, bless his heart.  He is working his tail off as a 3rd year med student doing hospital rotations.  That guy is up at 5am studying for those super fun tests we both love, gone by 6:30 or 7:00am, working hard trying to impress doctors and crazy patients all day, and is usually home between 5 and 7pm. (The rotations he is doing right now are the "easy" ones.  In about 2 weeks he starts the dreaded surgery rotation: gone 6 days a week at 5:00am and never home before 6.  That delightful rotation is going to last 6 weeks and ends right before Christmas.  It will sure be a very Merry Christmas! Bring. It. On.)   Right when he walks through that door all three of us run to him with our own needs, wants, venting sessions, screams, laughs, kisses, cries, spit up, poopy diapers, Max tackles, etc...  When he does not have a meeting for his calling, or is not going to help someone, he gets to stay home and is a champ to clean the kitchen and or house, play with and put Max to bed, and find a little window of time for his exhausted wife who will most likely fall asleep within 20 minutes of a show or a game...!  I can't believe how fast time is going with his schedule though.  We will be done before we know it!  I am so proud of him and don't know how he does it all :).
I am all over the place right now.  Tim's schedule has been pretty hard on me with two kids, I'm not gonna lie.  We were so spoiled the first 2 years of med school when he could come home from lunch and usually determine when he was done for the day.  BUT, life is not like that now and I can't do anything about it!  The only thing I can change is my attitude.  It is a slow process, but I am trying to be more positive.  Jake is a champ and is now sleeping from 10:00pm to about 4 or 5:00am.  Since Tim is up at 5 anyway, I usually get up with him, feed Jake, read my scriptures, exercise, and shower.  I have quickly learned that those 2 hours of "me" time in the morning are precious and I better use them.  I am trying to tell myself how much I love Max when he has worn me ragged and it is only 9:00am.  I know I am a blessed woman and wouldn't trade my two kiddos for anything in the world.  Life has it's bumpy and smooth roads, and I need to realize that.  I just need to enjoy the drive no matter what.  Or I will be a grumpy old hag way too early on in life.
Overall, the fall weather in Cleveland is beautiful, we have wonderful friends, we have the Gospel, and I have a beautiful family.  With Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas (getting to see family!!!) around the corner, how can I not be excited about life?!?!  Here are some pictures!!

Such a good big brother!!!
So my AMAZING sister Camille and her family moved to North Carolina this past summer!
They are only about an 8 1/2 hour drive from the Cleve.  After Jake was born, I was feeling pretty helpless when my
Mom went home and Tim had to start rotations.  Never fear, my awesome sister Camille
invited us to come and stay with her for however long we needed.  So last minute, all of us, including our 2 week old Jake, hoped in the car and drove to NC!   We crashed at Camille and Nate's after a LONG 10 hour car drive. Tim stayed a couple of days, and then flew back
to Cleveland to start rotations.  Me and the boys stayed
and got spoiled rotten!  I have no idea what I would
have done without Camille's help.  I got so much rest, good food,
and good company.  They saved us :). It was so fun for Max to get
to know his cousins better too :).   After a wonderful stay,
I packed the boys in the car after Jake's super early morning feed and drove
 5 hours to Charleston, West Virginia.  There I met my amazing hubby who took the
Grey Hound all night to rescue us and drove us the rest of the way home.  Tim gets
the best husband and daddy award, that is for darn sure :).

Oh, and the super cute girl in the picture is my awesome niece Abby (Camille's oldest).  She and Lilly (I feel so bad I didn't get a picture of  you Lil's...) were so much help too!  They helped tons with Jake and Max.  I was lucky enough to score the best manicure/pedicure/massage from them too.  You girls rock!
Our sweet neighbors gave our boys these shirts when Jake was born.  Brother love!
A little out of order...this is Talmage (Camille's 3rd out of 6 kiddos) helping with
Jake.  He fell right asleep in T's arms.  Such a good cousin!
While in NC, Camille introduced me to Trader Joe's.  I am hooked baby!  Max loved
it too!  Way too much fun and delicious food for my own good :).  So glad we have one only 25ish
minutes away in Cleveland!
Jake doing his first tummy time!  Way to go buddy :). 
Brother tubby!  Max loves sharing the tub with Jake.  Jake loves the water too, although
in this picture he looks a little confused...
We finally sold this piece of work.  Phew!  What a relief to get this lemon out of our
lives.  We bought this car last year thinking we got a steal of a deal  We bought it from a 90 year old woman with only 16,000 miles on it!  Much to our dismay,
the whole entire car was one big piece of rust.  We spent over $2,000 in repairs and found out
last month that there was another $2,000 of repair work to be done.  Needless to say, we needed to get rid of this car before
it left us shuffling along the streets in our bathrobes.  We were super fortunate to sell it to some used
car salesmen pretty quickly.  We were completely honest with them on all the repairs that needed to be done
and they took it.  What a blessing!
Now we just need to find a reliable car!
My awesome sister Elise sent Max this adorable Sunday shirt and I couldn't help but take
a picture!  She sent one for Jake too that he'll fit into in a couple of months :). Thanks Elise!
Pumpkin patch!  My little farmer and I went with some friends to one of my favorite things
to do in Cleveland.  Max had such a blast in the hey, on the tractors, in the tree house, and on the playground!
It was gorgeous weather that day too, and I hope we can go back one more time before the end of the season :).
Well hey! (no pun intended...)

What a cutie :).  
A few weekends ago, we went camping with our good friends and had a blast!  Tim wanted to take Max camping before life started getting crazy with rotations.  I wasn't
planning on going and was going to relax at home with Jake.  Last minute though, we all decided to go.  I was a little
nervous as to how a camping trip was going to work out with a newborn... Not to mention that I hadn't been camping in like 8 or 9 years...
The verdict: We had a great time!  Jake was an angel and Max had a blast with his little
buddies.  After putting the kiddos to bed, the adults stayed up and ate way too much good
food around the camp fire laughing our heads off.  So glad I decided to go!

Max and Jake in the tent all cozy!  Jake loves his big brother already, it is so cute to see him smile at Max :).  

Goooood morning sunshine!  I have always hated the feeling of waking up in a cold tent.
Looking all a little homely, but that is okay.  We had fun!
Huge highlight of my our month: we got to see my parents!!  They were helping on
a church history tour and took a bus down to Kirtland for one of the days.  We only live
about 35 minutes away and me and my kiddos got to spend the whole day with them!  Max was
in his glory and was a little too wild about it!  I was excited that Grandpa Holt got to meet Jake :).
We had such a good time, and it was soooo good to see them. We love you guys!!! Can't wait to see them again in less than two months!!
Grandpa Holt with our little chunk!
Tim turned 28!!!  I can't believe he is that old.  He sure robbed the cradle...!
His birthday was on a Friday, so he had to go to the hospital during the day.
To our surprise though, he got off super early and we were able to go on a walk,
eat a spare-rib dinner (his fav), pig out on cake and ice cream, and watch a movie :).   During the movie we again pigged out on some homemade kettle corn made by the one and only Whirley Pop I got him!  Highly recommend it! Tim
just wanted to stay home and be with us, and I thought that was a perfect request.  Happy Birthday Timmy,
I love you!
Max just being Max.  This picture cracks me up.  
My three handsome boys!
Well hello everyone!  I am so cute :).
Elder Ballard came to our Stake Conference this past weekend.  It was super neat to hear
an Apostle of the Lord speak to us.  Saturday morning, our stake had a walk around Historic Kirtland and a pancake breakfast.  My dear friend offered to watch Max so Tim and I could go to the adult session.  It was a special weekend!
Here I am on the Kirtland walk!  
Say cheese!
Me and my sweet little buddy :).