December 16, 2013

The Real Reason

I have found myself getting a little distracted this season, much like in years past. I get caught up in the hustle and bustle of gift buying and the magic of Santa Clause, Christmas parties and treats, decorating, etc. None of these are bad things, but they are not the true reason for this season. With little ones, I am realizing just how much I have been focusing on the commercial side of Christmas, however. And I don't like it.

This morning, I started humming the tune of one of my favorite Christmas songs and was hit particularly hard when I got to the last verse of the song.

"Truly He taught us to love one another
His law is love and His gospel is peace.
Chains shall he break, for the slave is our brother
And in His name all oppression shall cease.
Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we,
Let all within us praise His holy name"

I couldn't even finish humming the song because I got so emotional thinking of these powerful words (thanks in part to those awesome pregnancy hormones!) Of all the gifts we could be given this Christmas, the greatest gift we could have ever asked for has already been given to us. Christ came to earth for the express purpose of saving our souls and giving to us what no one else could possibly give us, eternal life. All he asks in return is that we love and serve Him and others. A small request in comparison to what has been given to us.

So I'm going to try to be better at serving and loving others this season and throughout the new year. I guess you could say this is me being proactive and making a New Years resolution, or just wanting to change my commercialized view of this beautiful season, or perhaps express a little more gratitude to my Father in Heaven for sending his Son to this earth for us.

I'm wishing everyone profound love and joy this season and hope we can all remember to serve and love a little more now and throughout the remainder of the year.


October 30, 2013

Thoughts on 26

I was told once that if I was in my comfort zone, I needed to get out of it. I'm here to say that I am completely out of my comfort zone right now.

When Dallin and I discussed the possibility of us moving to California, I remember having this overwhelming feeling of peace about the decision, a knowledge that this was where we needed to be. I also had this powerful knowledge that this would be a place where I would be required to stretch, grow, be forced out of my comfort zone. I didn't know what all that growth would entail, and that scared me, but I knew this was the place I needed to be.

Two weeks after we moved here, I started to recognize the early signs of pregnancy. I was tired, hungry all the time but constantly nauseous, etc. I really wanted to ignore the signs and pretend like they were all a happy coincidence, but I knew better. I took a test, it came out positive and so being the rational person I am, took another just to be absolutely sure. I really didn't need to take another test. I knew.  I started laughing after I saw the tests, sitting there side by side on the bathroom counter. I figured laughing was a much better alternative to crying. This wasn't in the cards. We were not planning on this. Claire was still adjusting to having Declan in her life and to a big move. Declan was only 7.5 months old. We were just starting a new job with a new income and living in an apartment that was way too expensive (like all housing in California.) We had a huge student loan looming in the distance that we needed to start chipping away at. This baby didn't fit into our plans at all. 

Immediate guilt set in as I thought of all the women in this world who would be crying tears of joy at this news, including some among my own family and here I was fighting back tears with laughter. I sat there and asked, "why? Why didn't this come to someone so much more deserving than I? Why not to these amazing women whom I am related to that are so much better than me?  Why me?" Yes, I had the audacity to think, "why me?" stupid, selfish girl that I am.

Now, I've come to terms with this baby coming into our lives and rocking our world. I am excited. I am scared. I am overwhelmed. I am grateful. I don't know the struggles I will face in the coming months and year, but I know that 26 is not going to be comfortable, and I'm ok with that. I need to grow. I need to be stretched. I need to be tested. I don't really want to, because change is never comfortable and it's usually always a little scary, but it helps us become the person we never knew we could be. And I am so excited to see how this little person helps our family grow. What gender will they be? What personality traits will they have? Will they have curly hair or straight? Blue eyes or brown or green? Short or tall? Chubby or spindly? Will they look like a Calaway/Kent or a Henry/Mathews? I can't wait to find out.

So, 26 isn't turning out the way I imagined it would. It's turning out much, much better.

Mom's 26th Birthday October 30, 2013

October 22, 2013

Visiting P-Town!

At the end of September, Dallin was going to be away for a week doing some training with Oracle in Boston, so I decided that sounded like a great time to go home to Pasco and visit family! We stayed for 10 days, but it felt more like 5. It just went by way too fast! We miss everyone and Claire is constantly asking when we get to go to Grandma's house again. The kids did amazing on the airplane rides to Pasco (we went San Francisco-Seattle-Pasco) and did pretty good on the way back down as well (Pasco-Portland-San Francisco), except for a little screaming from Declan on the Portland to San Fransisco flight. He was so sick of his carseat, so I finally just let him get out and play in it while we were in the air. We can't wait for Thanksgiving when we get to see the Calaway family and we can't wait til Christmas when we get to see the Henry and Calaway families!

And now, the picture dump.

Waiting to board our plane. We left at 7:05 am from San Francisco. So early, but both kids slept for the entire first flight, so it was worth it!

On the plane to Pasco from Seattle (she insisted we buckle her kitty in to the seat next to her)

Also on the plane ride from Seattle to Pasco.

I didn't bring any fleece footie pajamas for either of the kids (it got cold at night! I wasn't expecting that!) and these were the only ones my mom had that fit Declan. We decided he would make a really cute little girl!
I got to go to the temple while I was home and it was a much needed blessing. I've missed this temple, but I have really missed just going to the temple. It had been far too long!
We celebrated Claire's birthday while we were visiting, even though her actual birthday was the day after we got back home to San Mateo. My mom and I made her a Tinkerbell cake and she loved it!

I cannot believe she is 3. Where did the last 3 years go???

Here she is in all her glory. I was quite proud (even though my mom did most of the work) :)
This poor little guy has had it rough lately. Claire has been kind of mean to him and I feel like I am the referee. That red mark on his cheek is where she scratched him. It was hard enough that it drew blood, but this was about 15 minutes after it happened.

My wonderful in-laws were kind enough to drive from Ellensburg to the Tri-Cities the Sunday before we left and we got to celebrate Claire's birthday with them as well! She got so spoiled this trip with the amount of times her birthday was celebrated! And thank you Bryce and Andrea for letting us invade your home for a few hours!!


These two are only 3 months apart. They both decided that Grandpa Calaway's ice cream was what they wanted, so they both just stood next to him and he fed them as much ice cream as they could handle! It was pretty cute.
The last day we were in town, my awesome cousin, Heather, was able to fit me and Claire in for hair cuts. This was Claire's first big girl hair cut and she thought it was pretty awesome.

The end of vacations stink...
The Columbia and Snake rivers from the air! I love that place.
We found Grandma and Grandpa Henry's house from the sky!

Crystal Springs Reservoir from the air! Almost home.

Here he is, playing in his car seat. He loved being free!

October 16, 2013

The announcement I technically already made

I already announced on Instagram and Facebook, but I think this little, neglected blog of mine deserves an announcement as well.

Baby #3 is making their grand debut around March 31, 2014.

We are thrilled, terrified, overwhelmed, ecstatic and about every other emotion associated with a pregnancy that wasn't really anticipated!

We WILL be finding out the gender of this one, so stay tuned for that exciting announcement!

Answers to commonly asked questions!

*Declan and this one will only be 15 months apart (if he/she shows up on their due date)
*I am just a little over 16 weeks along

September 11, 2013

Counting Blessings Instead of Sheep.

Since we had no idea where we were going to be living down here in CA, we put our forwarding address as my parents and they have been sending all of our mail on to us. A few weeks ago, I got a big envelope of mail and it included our August edition of the Ensign magazine. Now, I am not faithful at all with reading the Ensign, but as I got it in the mail, I felt like it needed reading, so I opened it up one day as I was eating my lunch and started reading the First Presidency message by President Eyring entitled, "Recognize, Remember, and Give Thanks". After reading it, I (ashamedly) kind of forgot about it and went about my day. But the last few weeks have been so filled with blessings, I felt I had to share my experiences. For those of you who haven't had a chance to read it, please, take 5 minutes and do. It is such an awesome talk! I linked it up in the title of the talk above, so just click on it and you'll be on your merry way to reading it.

I've kind of had a hard time with being a mother lately. My faults and flaws seem magnified and there are moments where I am sure I'm just not cutting it. "I'm ruining my kids", I think as another episode of Little Einsteins plays in the background. "Why did I decide this is what I wanted to do with my life?", I think as Claire throws yet another tantrum and hits Declan. I was having a particularly bad day a couple weeks ago. There had been tantrums and crying and whining and hitting and I was near my wits end. When Dallin came home from work, he asked if he could go to the gym. That was the last thing I wanted him to do, but I knew he had been under quite a bit of pressure at work and needed some "me" time, so I said yes. As he left, I decided a pity party was in order and I thought about how hard my day had been. Then I kicked myself in the bum, said, "BUCK UP, BUTTERCUP!" and opened my Mormon Channel app on my phone. The first two videos to catch my eye were about having children and the joy and blessings they bring into our lives. I was reminded, quite powerfully, of the blessing these two little spirits are in my life. They fill our home with joy and laughter, with love and hope. As I sat watching these two videos, my heart burst with gratitude for a loving Heavenly Father who knows my needs so personally and who can give comfort in the way I needed it most. I needed that reminder more than anyone else could have known, but my Father in Heaven knows me perfectly, and so sent that important message of peace to my heart. I cried and cried and hugged my children close and gave thanks for my sweet blessings. It was just one of the MANY tender mercies I have received lately.

Our ward here in California is amazing. AMAZING I tell you. The first week we were here, I can't even tell you how many people approached us and asked if we were new, where we were from, what brought us to the area, did we need anything? Dallin and I felt so welcomed and overwhelmed by the obvious love this ward has for its existing and new members alike. The last two weeks, we have met new, amazing friends, been invited to 2 families homes for dinner and have been treated so well, I feel like we've been here for years, instead of (almost) 2 short months. I am an outgoing person by nature, but I am not the best at going forward and introducing myself or reaching out to others when I am in an unfamiliar place. I feel like, once again, my Heavenly Father knew just what I would need to help me adjust to living in this new and different city.

As I sit back and think on my life the last few months, I could tell you about the hardships and trials I have had to face, but I think the more important things to acknowledge are the blessings I have received instead. Bing Crosby had it figured out when he sang, "When I am worried and I can't sleep, I count my blessings instead of sheep. Then I fall asleep, counting my blessings." So tonight, it'll be my blessings I'm counting instead of my worries and cares.

August 15, 2013

San Francisco Zoo

Last Saturday we went to the San Francisco Zoo with my cousin Jeannie, her husband Lee and their son, daughter-in-law and grandbaby. It was such a fun day! The weather was typical San Francisco weather for this time of year (foggy and hovering around 60 degrees with the occasional sunshine breaking through) and we all got sunburned! With the weather the way it was, I didn't even think to put sunscreen on me or the kids. Declan was covered the entire time, so he managed to dodge that proverbial bullet, but Claire got some nice pink on her nose and cheeks. Amazingly, this is her first sunburn ever. Thankfully it wasn't that bad!

Claire was in heaven practically the entire day. She loved all the animals, but went berserk when she saw the train that goes around a portion of the zoo. She is in love with trains and could hardly stand the fact that she had to wait in line to get on it. In fact, we almost had a meltdown as we almost made it on the train, but were stopped at the last minute. Thankfully, there were a few spots left and we made it on, otherwise we would have had the worlds greatest freakout, toddler style. She loved the train ride and wanted to go on another one as soon as we got off, but unfortunately, we only had enough free passes for one ride. I think her all time favorite animals were the monkeys (mo-kees) as she couldn't stop talking about them after we left! We bought a season pass, so we will definitely be going back again soon!

Thanks Jeannie, Lee, Grayson, Bree and Avery for sharing the day with us! It was a blast!

I had NO idea that anteaters were as big as they are! This thing was massive!

I wish I had a video of her jumping up and down as she saw the train coming, it was so cute! She and cousin Jeannie became best buds at the zoo!

They had a "kids zoo" where there were goats and donkeys, horses, geese, ducks, llamas, meerkats, prairie dogs, owls and a bunch of other things I can't remember right now. Claire loved the goats and I even got some food that they ate out of my hand. It felt so funny!

They had signs like these all over that you could take your picture underneath. Claire was a hair short though.

This little guy did not want to be stuck in his carseat, so as soon as we unbuckled him, he rolled over and stuck his head out. Silly kid!

Flamingos are so cool. They are a lot more orange than pink though, which kind of surprised me.

The baby Giraffe!

These poor kangaroos looked bored out of their minds!

Koala bear! She was tiny! I seriously wanted to take her home with us, she was so cute. Then I saw her massive claws and decided against it.

Lemurs. They are so loud! They would get in fights and you could hear it on the opposite side of the zoo! They were all like a bunch of brothers teasing and annoying each other. It was rather comical to watch. I also had "Move it, Move it" running through my head whenever I looked at them.

This guy was GORGEOUS. I don't know that the picture does him justice!

Penguins are also extremely loud. In case you were wondering.

Mama and baby tiger!