Sunday, September 3, 2017

Year THREE!!

I can't believe that we are starting our 3rd year of optometry school! It seems like it was just yesterday that we were starting our 1st year and felt so naive and overwhelmed. Some of the fun new changes are that Jake is less busy. He has less classes and spends some of that time time in the clinic instead. We get to see him more, and it has been amazing having some time back with him - especially Saturdays and nights!

Jake's white coat ceremony in May - (when he technically started 3rd year).

Before his new semester began this past week, he had a week-long break and we loved having more time with him where he did not feel the pressure to study.

Trip to the temple!

Mommy would never do something this cool!

Floating the Comal River - the kids were a little crazy at first!

Then they settled down. Maylee fell asleep for the last half of the ride. 

Marshall had a blast. There were three 'chutes' in the river at the beginning, and he kept asking to go down more 'slides' when we were done with them. We will definitely be doing this again!
Malaquite Becah on Padre Island National Seashore. So quiet and peaceful. Definitely worth the extra $10 to come here and avoid the partying and drinking. 

So much sand. So much fun!

This little girl loved the water. When she see's water, she says 'bubbles'! She kept running into the water. We had to chase her over and over.

I don't know if Marshall liked building sand castles, or destroying them more, but he had a blast!

A few days ago. Jake had to turn in his worksheet for externships. During his forth year he will have three externships - one per semester. One of them will be in-house at the school clinics, but the other two have the potential to be anywhere. On his worksheet, he was able to pick his top 10, and he picked all 9 that were in San Antoino, and so he had to pick one just outside San Antonio. They assign externships in order of class rank. We knew that Jake was not up there in the ranking, so we were already a bit stressed and hoped that he would be able to get some of his choices so he could stay inside the city for at least two semesters. The student affairs counselor sent Jake an email that evening that told Jake what his class rank was. It was lower than what we were guessing, and I admit I began to panic. I began wondering what the chances were he would get any externships inside San Antonio. It's hard to move our whole family temporarily from place to place, and so we know that there is a real possibility that if he were to get an externship outside of San Antonio that we would be separated for a time.

I was letting the fear and worry bite at me all night. I could not get over the real stress that we may be separated for two semesters, and not just one. I prepared myself for one, but not for two. I prayed to my Heavenly Father, asking him to give me peace, and He did. The power of prayer is amazing. It was comforting to know that my worries and concerns were important to Him. I also know that he will be able to help us in the transition to externships, whatever ends up happening. I keep getting this overwhelming feeling that everything will work out. While I wish I knew, 'right now' what our situation is going to be like next year, the Lord is helping me to ease that concern, and I know he will continue to do so.    

Here's to more fun, more stress, more faith, more growth, and BOARDS. 😳

Friday, May 26, 2017

Miss Maylee is One!

I cannot believe that I am already celebrating this one year old! I am not sure how our family survived without this beautiful girl. Her six tooth smile is infectious, and her cheeks are devoured constantly. She is such a content and happy baby. She goes with the flow most of the time, and just enjoys whatever situation she is in.

I love watching her grow in her communication skills. She loves to say 'uh-oh' and uses it in the right context. She also waves and says 'hi' constantly. It's the best and never gets old. She also will point to things and say 'dis'. Sometimes she tries to copy words that we say, but a lot of the sounds just sound the same. She also tries to communicate by giving me things. For example, she will give me her shoes if she wants to go outside. Or she will give me a book if she wants me to read to her. She also
loves to give me things just to look at, and then she wants me to give them back to her.

She is a natural born girl. She will hug and smile at dolls or stuffed animals or give them a pat on the back. She likes to cuddle when she is tired or upset. She loves to dance. She will bounce, shake her head back and forth, and also shakes her arms whenever she hears music.

Maylee is a problem solver. It's so interesting looking at the differences between Marshall and Maylee. While Marshall was a lot more cautious and dependent, Maylee is fearless and independent. She likes to figure things out herself. For example, she can maneuver her walker anywhere she pleases. Marshall, on the other hand, would cry whenever he crashed into the wall and expect me to help him. When Maylee crashes, she pulls it backwards, turns, and starts walking again.

She is obsessed with food. This is one of the only times of day that we get an angry girl. We literally cannot feed her fast enough.She loves to manuouver herself around the legs of the table multiple times. She likes to throw balls and knock down the block towers that Marshall or I build for her. She like pulling things out of containers, and then putting them back in. She gets so excited whenever it is bath time. Splashing in the water is one of her favorite things. She enjoys trying to walk to me and can take up to nine or so steps at a time by herself.

She is interested in other babies and people, yet very cautious. She usually just needs a minute to warm up to them and likes her own little bubble at first. Oh and she likes mom around. If I leave her in the room with someone she is unfamiliar with, a tantrum will ensue.

Maylee, thank you so much for choosing me to be your mom! You have blessed our family in numerous ways. You are always turning my frowns and frustrations into smiles and relief. I can't wait to see how you develop this next year. But please don't grow up too fast!

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Mister Marsh is THREE!

Three years ago I became a mom to one of the most wonderful boys. He had cheeks galore and I am blessed that I still get to love on them!

Marshall definitely has a slow to warm up personality, but if you have patience and don't give up on him, then he will love and adore you. He loves tickles, and loves to give hugs and kisses. If you have an 'owie', you can count on Marshall to kiss it better for you. While he is shy and may not show it, he truly cares about others. He loves to laugh and giggle with his friends, and will always watch out the window saying 'bye friends, see ya' when they leave. He is also starting to ask to play with friends, so that's been fun! Marshall especially loves his little sister, Maylee. He will ask for her if she is asleep, or if he wants her to do an activity with him. He likes to rub her head and say, 'soft, soft, soft'.

Marshall's language development has required a lot of patience, but I am happy to say that he is getting it! His language has exploded the past couple of months, and you can often see the wheels turning in his head. He loves to narrate any movie that he watches by telling me what he sees. He also loves to narrate his books. He still talks in his own made up language a lot, but uses it more as a filler. So you'll hear made up words and real words combined when he talks. He has been starting to sing a bit, and when he switches to a different song he will make the sound of a radio tuning. He is also learning how to problem solve. One of my favorites recently was when he saw a scratch mark on the wall. He pointed to the wall and said, 'oh no! . . . hammer!'. Then he went into the coat closet and got Jake's tool box so he could hammer the wall and fix it.

He is obsessed with trucks and cars. He also loves to paint and play with play dough. However, one of his most favorite things to do is play in the dirt outside. The pool is becoming a new favorite too! He knows how to watch movies or play games on our phones. Some of his favorites right now are Monsters Inc., Peanuts, and Daniel Tiger. A new favorite activity for him is dancing. He is always asking to dance, so it's been fun for us to get up and get moving a bit! He also loves to climb on the bed and pretend to sleep so he can say, 'wake up!'. We often get a big blanket out so we can build a fort, and he is obsessed with that.

I have changed in a lot of ways since I have become a mom. I look back on these crazy fast three years and realize that Marshall has helped me in tremendous ways. He has helped me to understand myself as we both have similar personalities. He has helped me to appreciate my own mother and for the patience it took her to raise me. He has helped me to adjust my priorities so I am more focused on loving others and not just getting things done. He has helped me to enjoy life and to laugh more. He has helped me to understand the love that my Heavenly parents have for me. He has been my buddy since day one, and continues to be. We definitely do have our trying moments, but the good always outweighs the bad with this kid. Thanks for blessing me three years ago, and for continuing to bless me! I love you!

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Anniversary, Potty Training, Studying, and Trials

This past Thursday, I thought it would be a good idea to start potty training Marshall. He was showing a lot of the signs, and so I was encouraged to give a go at it. I decided to take the 'naked' approach, since I have heard a lot of success stories with that. That morning he did have a few accidents, but he also went on the potty several times. I was really encouraged and impressed. Then something happened. I made him lunch and he just started whining. He would not eat and would not tell me what was wrong. I checked his head and he felt warm. He had a fever! I did not think my efforts to start potty training would end in a sick boy. Needless to say, I stopped potty training to give him some comfort.

This same day was also our five year anniversary of marriage.  Jake had a test that day so he was busy studying. Then that night he had school dinner that I let him attend because my dinner tasted awful, and ended up in the trash! When he got home, all we had time for was to exchange gifts, and then he was off to study for his next test. Maybe I was cursed for starting potty training on this day, but in the famous words of Alexander, it was a 'terrible, horrible, no good, very bad, day'.

The next day, Jake and I were planning on going out to a nice restaurant to celebrate our anniversary.  However, Marshall still had a fever and was cranky. I knew that our date night was not going to happen. I told our babysitter that we were going to have to postpone for another night. Sadly, we did not get to hang out with each other at home because Jake had a big test he needed to study for. In fact, Jake's been studying all weekend, and it's been hard. It's always hard when he is studying, which is most every day of our lives, but this weekend has just felt harder.

I had to stay home from church today because Marshall was still not feeling well. It gave me plenty of time to watch church related videos. I watched an interview between a few ladies and they were talking about trials. One of them quoted something from Orson F. Whitney, that really hit home for me.
"No pain that we suffer, no trial that we experience is wasted. It ministers to our education, to the development of such qualities as patience, faith, fortitude, and humility. All that we suffer and all that we endure, especially when we endure it patiently, builds up our characters, purifies our hearts, expands our souls, and makes us more tender and charitable, more worthy to be called the children of God . . . and it is through sorrow and suffering, toil and tribulation, that we gain the education that we come here to acquire and which will make us more like our Father and Mother in Heaven."

When I heard this, I was reminded why I am meant to have trials and tribulations. This is what I signed up for! This is the Lord's plan and it is such a wonderful plan. We are meant to have trials so that we can grow and become our best possible selves. We would not feel a need for improvement and growth if we did not have trials. Sometimes in the midst of trials it is hard to remember this. I know my trials are for a wise purpose.

I am also so blessed! All I have to do is look at my family and our current situation, and I realize how lucky I am to have the opportunities that I do have. There is a lot of scary stuff going on in the world right now. So many people have it so much worse than I do. So with that in mind, I am going to continue on, strive to serve, and try to be my best self. I know that things will work out.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

My Social Media Cleanse

I'll admit that I am a pretty insecure person. Or at least I have insecure days. A week ago I had one of those days. There were many triggers that led to this, but overall it came from my tendency to compare myself to other people. I love my social media, but sometimes I look at it the wrong way. I tend to look at another person's life and think that they are perfect. This makes me feel inadequate, and diminishes my self-worth. I end up comparing my weaknesses to their strengths. What a horrible comparison that is! However, my mind and emotions get tricked into thinking their lives are better than mine.

I knew that social media was making me an emotional nut-case. Not only for the fact of how insecure it made me feel, but also because I had a constant need to 'check' my phone endlessly. I found I was not enjoying my life as much as I was enjoying other peoples lives. I was not being 'there' for my kids. I would snap at them more if they needed my attention. I did not like the person I was when I was constantly 'checking' my phone.

This self-diminishing day led me to make some changes. I made a goal to sign out of Instagram and Facebook and only check them morning and night. The rest of the day I could focus on my own life, and not the lives of those I follow. I have replaced my constant checking with being more present with my family, friends, and an inspirational eBook. What a difference this had made since I started this social media cleanse a week ago! I am hopeful, encouraged, and happy. I can honestly say that I love my life, despite the daily challenges that I face.

We all have our weaknesses and challenges! Social media only shows us little snippets of most people's lives. Often times, people only post the positive, because that's what they want to celebrate and remember. It does not mean that their lives are not filled with trials. I love social media for this reason. It gives us a chance to celebrate and mourn with those we love. We are so lucky that we have a support system of individuals who mostly strive to lift up and not put down. There are many times that I have been encouraged by something someone posts, which then helps me get through a challenge that I may be having. I will never delete my social media accounts for this reason.

We need to all be there to support each other and lift each other up. Our life here on earth is not a competition, unlike what Satan tells us. We need to be happy for others, and not jealous of them. We need to rejoice in each others victories. Life is hard, so let's help each other through it.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Valentines Day Letters

** I started writing these before valentines day, but never finished. It's cool to see the growth that these kiddos have had in just a few short weeks. Seeing them progress in their development is amazing!**

Miss Maylee Baby Honey,

Mommy loves you so much! I love the way you breathe and get so excited when you start crawling somewhere. I love how you crawl to me just to sit on my lap or to have me hold you. I love your sweet little two teeth grin and giggle. I love the way you laugh and follow your big brother around. I love your excitement to eat leaves and get dirty when outside. I love the way you stick your right fist in your mouth when mommy feeds you baby food. I love the way you pat on your food tray when you want more. I love the way you shake your legs with excitement when mommy or daddy hold you to chase Marshall. I love the alone time I get with you when your brother takes his naps. I love your sweet chunky cheeks and petite figure. I love the way you yank your bows off your head. I love your sweet little raspy voice when you talk. I love when you say 'dada'. I love the excitement you have when you pull yourself up to something because watching you learn is an amazing thing.


Mister Marsh,

Mommy loves you so much! I love how you always say 'hi' and 'bye', even if it's right after that person left the room so they don't hear you. I love the way you shake with excitement over the simplest things. I love how cautious, yet willing you are. While you are afraid of many things, you grab my hand so I can help you conquer your fears. I love conquering your fears together, and I love when you start to do things on your own. While your speech delay can be hard at times, it makes it that much more fun when you learn new words, which I love! I love how you will always come sit on my lap or give me a hug and say 'hug' when I am sitting on the ground. I love the way you say 'outside' and how excited you get when you get to go out. I love your fascination with closing doors, and throwing things away. Even if it's things that are not meant to be thrown away. I love how you let your sister play with you, and ask about her when she is napping. I love when you two laugh together. I love the way you give kisses, but it's not in the way that you would expect. You bring your cheek up to mine, daddy's, or Maylee's lips and expect us to kiss your cheeks. I love the way you like to read books and point and say the things that you see. I love your fascination with birthday cakes, even though mommy never makes cakes. I love the way you pretend to eat food in books. I love how excited you are to see milk at the grocery store and demand me to get it every time. I love to hear you count, even if it's just to two most of the time. Your little voice is to die for.