turning 2

We have a slew of family birthdays in the middle of winter and then in the middle of summer. In the winter, we have one December, soon to be four Januarys, and 2 Februarys. In the summer, we have two Junes, two Julys, and two Augusts. And then there's Ross... the April singlet. But it's okay babe, somebody's bound to have a spring baby at some point! :) We celebrated Gabe's 2nd birthday in June, but with the craziness of summer activities, we just did a small get together. My friend Hannah was living with us at the time, so she joined us along with our dear friends Devri and Ruben and their girls, Bria and Camri. My favorite birthday cake is the Rainbow Chip, so until Gabe is old enough to tell me otherwise, we always celebrate with Rainbow Chip:) And honestly, who doesn't love Rainbow Chip??? It's even fun to say! RAINBOW CHIP! Okay, anyway....

Gabe struggled to make a "2" at first, but he's got it down now.

This kid gives the BEST smooches! He has the juiciest lips and I love it when he shares kisses with me.

Blowing out the candles. He was focusing so hard, he's even gripping the counter with his toes!

Gabe and Bria are bff's. She was either telling him a secret or trying to tickle him, I don't know which.

They love sitting together and reading books. She's like a little mommy to him, and he just lets her do her thang. I love their cute toes in this picture.

Even though he's almost 2 1/2, here are some fun things that I want to remember about Gabe at this age:
- He speaks really well for his age, and I think it's because he's so observant. He's always mimicking what he hears and he's never afraid to say new words. For example, new phrases he's learned from watching The Lion King include "Oh, not Zazu!", "Slimy yet satisfying!", "Pinned ya again", "Hakuna Matata", and "A wee mawe, a wee mawe" (continued by singing).
- He sings the BYU Cougar fight song ALL DAY LONG. This boy was born to be a Cougar. He loves to throw his football, he'll tackle Daddy, and he would wear his BYU shirt every day if he could.
- When he first learned/understood that there was a baby in mommy's tummy, he refused to call him Baby Max. For months it was Peppayoni. I have absolutely no idea where he got Peppayoni from, but I'm just glad he'll now call him Max.
- Like his daddy, Gabe is a gentle giant. He loves to rough house and jump off of things he shouldn't and he tends to just shake things off when he gets hurt, but he is such a cuddle bug! He'll come up to me, raise his arms in the air, and say "Mommy, I wanna hold you." How the heck can I say no to that?! He wraps his arms around me and gives the sweetest kisses. If he thinks I have a "boo-boo," he'll kiss it and tell me I need a band-aid. He loves looking at my ever-growing belly, and he noticed my stretch marks for the first time the other day. He gasped and said "mommy, scratches!" and then kissed my belly. He absolutely melts my heart.
- And while he melts my heart, he also drives me crazy. This kid can destroy in 90 seconds what it takes me an hour to clean. My house is never clean for long, because if Gabe can mess it up, he will.
-He builds nests by stripping the couch of its pillows and blankets, and will grab just about anything else he can get his hands on and throw it in his nest. He'll then strip down to his diaper (thankfully he leaves that on), and hunker down under all the pillows and blankets and just lay there. Weirdo.
- He has no interest in potty training (grrrrr...)
- He'll stand on anything that could act as a platform and then conduct himself while he sings. Twinkle Twinkle and the Cougar Fight Song are his favorites at the moment.
- He loves holding babies. When Bria and Camri come over, he likes to hold Camri and will sing "I Love You Forever". He then kisses her head (once again, melting my heart).

I can't believe my baby is growing up so fast. I'm so glad that he's still a mama's boy and will cuddle me whenever I ask. We love Gabe so much. What a blessing it is to be his mommy...


I am not ashamed...

... although I probably should be. I have had absolutely ZERO desire to blog for the last several months (if you couldn't tell). But I have a growing son who is too cute not to share, lots of pictures of our family doings, and I have seven weeks left of this pregnancy. Time is flying too fast! And since I've never been good at scrapbooking or journaling (or blogging, for that matter), I need to post some pictures of our lives so that I can at least remember the second half of 2011:)

To start, this is from our trip to Cokeville, WY to visit my dear friend Violet. She was visiting her family over Memorial Day Weekend, so we decided to take a little road trip!

Ross was excited about the cool teepee. Gabe, not so much.

However, Gabe was VERY excited about the cool indian thingamabob in our hotel room!

I love this sweet mama.

Lemme tell ya, this place was ROCKIN.

The day we came back from Cokeville, I realized that it had been 5 weeks and decided to take a test... well, 3 tests. Ross and I were equally shocked and even more thrilled. I probably would've taken more tests had I had them.

And since my mac won't let me post more than 5 pictures at a time, on to the next post!



happy day!

So remember that pity post back in May? The one where I talked about how difficult it was for me to look at a negative pregnancy test each month? Well, 5 days after that post, I took another pregnancy test... and it was positive. COMPLETELY positive:) I was actually pretty shocked, considering that I'd seen negative results for almost a year before that. Ross walked into the bathroom right after I took the test, and he was equally shocked and VERY excited. Baby #2 is due January 28th(ish), 2012 and everything's lookin' good! I had my first OB appointment today and I was a little nervous when he couldn't find the heartbeat. I knew my uterus was tilted back a bit, but it wasn't until after I had an ultrasound that they told us the placenta is anterior, or in front. The baby is sitting low and back a bit, but the heartbeat is strong and Baby is healthy! I'm so thrilled to be growing a little one... even if the nausea has already been a doozy. My doc gave me some prescriptions to try, so I've got my fingers crossed that they help! It was horrible to be nauseous without a toddler, but now that I have a very active 2 year old, it makes the nausea even worse. But seeing my cute little Gummy Bear wiggle around today made it all worth it:) I am very grateful for a loving, compassionate, hard-working hubby, a beautiful, FUN little boy, and a healthy, growing baby. We already have names picked, now we just have to wait and see if Gabe will have a brother or sister!



oh. my. yum.

I had a hankering for chicken fajitas (which is rare, since I don't like peppers), so I decided to wing it. I didn't have a recipe, but I figured they'd be easy enough. The good news? They were super easy and DANG GOOD! Ross took pictures with his phone because he was proud of my culinary creation :)

He obviously loaded his up with cilantro, which was a personal choice. I like cilantro, but I like to taste other flavors too. So, if you're undecided about dinner or just want to add a yummy, simple recipe to your mix, here ya go:

2 large chicken breasts
1 red pepper
1 orange pepper
1 yellow pepper
1 medium onion
olive oil (enough to evenly coat chicken and veggies, about 1/4 - 1/3 cup)
1-2 T. minced garlic
fajita seasoning
fresh chopped cilantro
sour cream (opt.)

Heat oil in a large skillet and add garlic. Thaw chicken breasts if frozen, then cube and place in oil. Thinly slice the peppers (I used about 3/4 of each pepper and saved the extra for a healthy snack later on) and onion, then place with chicken once chicken is mostly cooked. Simmer until veggies are soft, then add fajita seasoning and mix well. Simmer for another 10ish minutes to allow flavors to absorb. Spoon into tortillas and serve with sour cream and cilantro, and enjoy!
This is a healthy meal full of protein, fiber, and vitamins A and C. And I love being able to use fresh ingredients! One of the many perks to summertime is the availability of fresh produce. And once our garden starts producing, I won't have to pay for produce anymore! Woot woot!

Happy eating!



not an easy subject

Okay, I'm just gonna come out and say it. I'm struggling. So many of my friends and family members are either having babies or have just had babies recently, and while I'm happy for them, it's not easy for me. Ross and I wanted our kids to be roughly 2 years apart (and before you judge, remember that I didn't have a child until I was 25), so I went off birth control last summer. It took us a few months to get pregnant with Gabe, but not this long. We've been wanting/trying to get pregnant for 11+ months now, and although I try to put on a strong face, it's really starting to wear me down. I went to my OB/GYN and they put me on Clomid for a while, but because I didn't get pregnant within a certain amount of time, they took me off of it and sent me to a fertility specialist. I scheduled an appointment for the next available date, which was a few weeks away, but when that day rolled around I just couldn't do it. I called and canceled. It would've been a $240 consultation visit, and I was terrified that I'd walk away from that visit with no answers. I know that Heavenly Father has it all worked out, but here I am, 11 months later, wondering what I'm doing wrong. Or maybe what I'm not doing right? I don't know. I just know that I'm sad. My heart wants another child, to give Gabe a sibling, to fill our lives with more chaos and joy. I'm trying to have faith. I'm trying to remember that I'm not in control. I don't know what the future brings, and maybe that's why I'm left doubting. My patriarchal blessing tells me that I was brought to this earth to "become a righteous mother in Israel." Well, I really hope Gabe won't be the only child to help me fulfill that, because heaven knows I've screwed up a lot. He's the first child... most oldest children are lucky to survive childhood as their parents figure out how to be parents. I wish I could wave a magic wand and know why we haven't been able to conceive. I wish that my faith was strong enough to keep me from doubting.

Every day that passes, I watch my sweet son and feel gratitude that he is ours. I'm grateful that I can hold him and sing with him and be his mommy. My love for him is so intense, and I just hope I'm given the opportunity to share that love again. I guess time will tell...



family update

Things happen quickly in our family, so here's a little update. We were in Virginia for most of April visiting family (Ross' entire family and my sister and her fam) and we had so much fun! It's hard not living closer to them, so when we're there, we really make the most of it. I still need to download pics, so once I do, I'll post them. Ross and I spent our anniversary and his birthday out there, which also happened to be Easter Sunday this year. It was nice to be with his family for a few celebrations, especially since Grammy was very willing to take Gabe for a couple days so Ross and I could go to the beach for our anniversary. Virginia Beach is only 2 hours away from his parent's house, so it made for a nice getaway for us. We went to the aquarium and visited the naval base just up the road from our hotel. We also made a quick stop at the HUGE outlet mall in Williamsburg, and I was glad Ross brought an extra suitcase to pack with all the stuff we acquired during our visit:) Ross wasn't able to be with us the entire time Gabe and I were there because of work... which leads me to my next update...

So, remember how Ross is an incredible tenor and graduated in Music Education? And remember how he did his student teaching at a middle school and really didn't like it? And the starting teacher salary for Utah is a whopping $26K... pretty unbelievable, eh? Well, Ross was working at Pinnacle Security to pay the bills until he could find a teaching job, but Pinnacle was really holding him back and he wasn't happy with what he was doing. He'd come home with headaches every day and he didn't love going to work. We prayed about his job situation, and while we were in the midst of the storm, we received a great offer that was the silver lining we needed. Does this logo/name look familiar?

My dad is the owner of Stratus Insurance, and he offered Ross a job doing some product marketing. Ross has had quite a bit of experience making sales and being on the phone and working with people, and he is overall just a very trustworthy person. Well, the product he's been marketing is doing really well, and he's catching on to the whole insurance thing quickly. In fact, he had 5 days to study for his insurance exam (which is very difficult and something that people usually study for for weeks or months), and he passed it on the first try! I was so proud of him when I got that phone call (since I was in VA). He likes his work environment and his coworkers, and he's really enjoying the work he's doing at Stratus. My biggest fear with Ross taking the job was that I thought he would be wasting his incredible talent in music. I know he loves singing and performing, and I didn't want him to take a job to pay the bills NOW and then regret that choice twenty years down the road. However, Ross has realized that he can work at Stratus and still be involved in music. There are auditions for the Mormon Tabernacle Choir this summer, as well as auditions for the Salt Lake Choral Artists. In fact, the SLCA has gone to several international choir competitions and come home with a handful of 1st place prizes. So basically, Ross will still be involved in music. He'll still be able to feed his desire for performance while also providing for his family, and I'm very proud of him for making the decision he did. It was not an easy one, but our prayers have definitely been answered!

And speaking of prayers being answered...

... we're moving!!! It's actually not a big deal since we're just moving upstairs, but it was a miracle for us. We're in a 2 bedroom apartment right now, and we're REALLY needing more space. Gabe's room is stuffed to the gills (largely due to his teensy closet), and our master bedroom is also a studio and an office. I despise moving, and although we looked at some houses, we realized that we're not quite to the point where we can buy yet... but we need more space! Just last week I told Ross "the only way we're moving is if one of our three neighbors moves out of their 3 bedroom apartment." Well, just last week I saw our upstairs neighbor carrying several boxes. To make a long story short, she's due in July with her 3rd child and refuses to haul 3 kids up and down the stairs. They're moving to another building in our same complex and we're moving into their apartment on June 1st! Our manager didn't even have the apartment up for availability when I called to tell her we wanted it, so we're re-signing our lease and we'll have 1450 square feet in 2 weeks! I am SO excited to have more space, MUCH bigger closets, an extra bedroom, and nobody above us:) Our prayers were heard and they've definitely been answered, and for that I am so grateful.

Now you're updated and now I'll end this painfully long post (thanks for sticking with me...). Until next time, amici!



follow your nose

As my sweet hubby could tell you, I have the nose of a bloodhound. I've always had a very sensitive sense of smell, and most of my memories have some kind of scent attached to them. We can all picture a plate of warm chocolate chip cookies and know exactly how they smell. Most of us choose our soap or body wash according to how it smells instead of if it's pretty or not. Mothers know the scent of their children. Do you remember the scent of your elementary school? Or your mom's perfume? Here are a few of my favs:
Whenever I smell this deodorant, it brings back memories of one of the happiest, most carefree times of my life. I bought it during our honeymoon to the Bahamas, and smelling it reminds me of our beach house and the sound of the waves against our dock.

If you read my post about Trieste, I talked about the Piazza Unita. Welp, this is it. Looking at this picture, I can literally smell the coffee wafting out of the cafe's and the slight hint of salt in the air as the breeze comes in from the Mediterranean. Oh, what I'd give to be there right now!

This is an Italian panatteria, or bake shop. I can't even describe the deliciousness of one of these places. It's just one of those things that should be on your bucket list... "experience a panatteria." Divine.

This may sound weird, but I smell Gabe all day long. Ever since he was a newborn, he's had the sweetest baby scent that is my favorite smell in the world. It's not the 'fresh out of the bathtub' scent, but it's just HIM. His skin and his hair and even his breath. I love it!

I don't even have to say anything about this picture. Can't you just smell it?

Heavenly Father sure knew what He was doing :)