Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Spain Part 2.

Because we were technically in Spain for Mikes work conference, I knew that I would have time on my hands to explore on my own. I also knew that because we were only there for 5 days, I wouldn't have time to go to a different country, but I definitely wanted to get a feel for Spain outside of the big city of Barcelona. I ended up booking myself a day tour out of Barcelona to an area about 60 miles north called the Costa Brava and Girona. I was a little hesitant to go because I just felt like a loner going on this tour by myself, but I realized that I was in SPAIN and I needed to take the opportunities to go explore this amazing country. I'm so glad that I went! This day tour was hands down the highlight of my trip. Our tour guide was an Englishman that had lived in Barcelona for 9 years, doing these tours. Mark and Janell, and Pete and Diane, both retired couples in their 60's were the only other people on the tour with me. Haha! I felt like I was on a tour with my parents and my inlaws. They were all so cute and fun though, I really did enjoy having their company for the day. The Costa Brava is a Mediterranean paradise. It was hard to decide where to look because every angle of every view was breathtakingly beautiful. I kept sending pictures to Mike like, "can you even believe this????" The weather was balmy and warm, the ocean was crystal clear, and the cute little houses and shops that lined the cobblestone street that bordered the sandy beaches were unlike anything I have ever seen. I wish so badly that Mike was able to see it with me. We spent a pretty large majority of the morning meandering through this coastal town and soaking it all in. After that we went to this really cool Medieval (thats the hardest word to spell by the way) town of Pals, where we were able to walk through all of these cobblestone streets. Again, everywhere I looked I was amazed at the beauty. It's amazing to realize how old some of those structures have been around. You really understand the meaning of America being "the New World". At this point, it was probably 2 pm and I hadn't eaten since breakfast so to say I was hungry was an understatement. Also, adding fuel to the fire, I was deep in the pregnancy nausea stage and not having any food was definitely not helping. We all got back in the van and started for a town that borders France, called Girona. I was trying so hard to be talkative and friendly in the van, but I was SO SICK and I hadn't told anyone I was pregnant. The tour guide looked over at me, and realized I wasn't doing too well and asked if I was ok. I sheepishly asked if he could pull the van over and I jumped out and started puking my guts out. Not my finest moment! I got back in the van feeling like a new woman, and turned an incredibly awkward situation into a celebratory situation when I said, "I"m so sorry! I'm pregnant with my fourth baby." At that point everyone was so excited and overly nice to me. Haha, in hindsight I should have told them earlier? Once we got to Girona we got to eat an authentic Catalan meal at this really cute restaurant. Girona was an amazingly cool city. So much history! There is a huge Jewish museum there because of all the Jewish history in that area. Diane was a really devout Jew so it was really cool to go through that museum with her and talk to her more about our different beliefs. We visited a church there that has been around since the days of Charlemagne! It was such an eventful and exhausting day. I enjoyed every single moment of that day and like I said, am so glad I went. The only thing that could have made it better would have been Mike right there with me. I was so excited to see him when I got home that night. It made me excited for the day when we can be retired and just go explore the world together.

Spain Part 1.

Mike's job requires to him to a pretty large amount of traveling! Which is a bummer for a lot of different reasons. Most of the time his trips aren't very long, around 3 days, but when he travels out of the country, they are always around a week or longer. Thankfully his international trips aren't the norm, and those only happen two or three times a year! So when he told me that he had to go to Barcelona for a work conference, I was so sad, until he invited me to go with him! I figured that this kind of trip would be a once in a long time type of trip because of the ages of our kids, etc... My parents were so kind to gladly watch the kids while we went, which made me leaving them a lot easier. Just knowing that your kids are in the hands of people you completely trust gives you so much peace of mind! 
Spain was my first European experience! I really never travel anywhere, so this was such an adventure for me. Like I said, I have never been to another European country, but if you ever have the opportunity to go to Spain, GO!!! It is the perfect mix of palms and pines, beachy yet very metro. It's like a tropical dreamland that's oozing with history and modern art. The flight there was long, exactly what I expected it to be. I watched like 6 movies or something, which was actually kind of enjoyable because I feel like I never get to go to the movies that often. We had a brief layover in Amsterdam and then it was only an hour and half longer to Barcelona. Once we got there I was exhausted! I cannot sleep on planes to save my life, so I was running on fumes. We checked into our hotel and Mike and I took a two hour nap before exploring the city that night. We did a ton of walking that first night. It was fun to get a a good vibe on what Barcelona was like. It's a HUGE city with so much going on at all times. I think we got lost trying to find a place to eat like 4 different times. Haha, which made our walking excursion much longer than it needed to be, but it was still fun. The next day was Monday, and Mike didn't have to start working until Tuesday, so we had the day with each other. We decided to take a bike tour of the city, which was probably one of my favorite highlights from the trip! The weather was amazing that day, and we were on the tour with another couple from the bay area that were really nice. Our tour guide was a girl from Holland that had been living in Barcelona for the last 6 years and knew so much about Spanish and Catalonia history. I love history, so that tour was the perfect mix of history combined with exercise and sight seeing. After the bike tour we wandered around the city a little more before going back to hotel to freshen up for dinner. The amazing thing about tagging along on these business trips, is that Mikes company paid for all of our dinners, so we definitely ate like kings! Plus it was so fun to go on a date every single night for a whole week!
The next day, Mike had to be at his conference all day so it was my first day out on my own. Like I said, I haven't done a lot of travel, and definitely zero travel on my own. So it was a day of adventure and new experiences for me! Like, catching my own cab for the first time ever, and trying to communicate with locals. I went to the MNAC, National Museum of Art Catalunya. It was a really rainy day that day, so getting lost in the most beautiful Museum for a few hours was perfect. I really enjoyed that experience alone, because I could go through all the exhibits at my own pace and not worry about if Mike was bored out his mind or not. After the museum I walked around the grounds, and saw the Olympic Park, also went to McDonalds for lunch (so classy, I know), before catching a cab back to the hotel to read my book and wait for Mike. When Mike got home we went on a tour of the La Sagrada Familia. This is the most incredible work of art by the late Antonio Gaudi, Barcelonas crown jewel. This church was his life's work! It's a quirky looking building, but once I started the audio tour I was amazed by it's true meaning and beauty. People come from all over the world to see this church. It's been under construction for over 100 years!! I think it is set for completion in 2020, which would be the 100 year anniversary of Gaudi's death. I couldn't believe how free I felt the whole week!!!! I didn't have to pack diapers, strollers, baby carriers, kid snacks, or even think twice about a nap time schedule. It was almost an out of body experience. It was so out of the routine of  my normal life. Don't get me wrong, I loved it, but I couldn't help but miss my kids every time I saw a stroller pass or a toddler holding his moms hand.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Halloween 2016.

Halloween was so much fun this year! I made my life 100 times harder, and decided to make Georgia and Lanes costumes again this year. Lucky for me, we are currently still living with my mom, and she literally did Georgia's entire costume! It is the most incredible Rapunzel costume, ever! I don't think I could have pulled these costumes off without her. Actually I know I definitely would not have been able to. We had a crazy month in October because Mike and I took a trip to SPAIN  the week before Halloween! I have to write a post on Spain, maybe even 5 posts, it was incredible. Anyway, because I knew I wouldn't be able to work on the costumes the week before, it was so helpful to have my mom helping out. Leona wore a costume of Georgia's from a few years ago. It was so cute, every time someone said, "well look at you" or something like that she would just say, "I'M WITCH. I'M WITCH." She wanted to be very clear to everyone that she was dressed as a witch. It was so stinking cute. Lane was the tough guy in his Thor costume. He has the cutest little voice, I hope I never forget his voice as a little boy. He has a hard time pronouncing certain sounds, like the "L" sound and the "TH" sound. Anytime someone would ask what he was going to be he would say, "I'm going to be four!" But of course was trying to say, "THOR". It was really confusing for people, so I had to explain that he was going to be Thor, a lot. They all looked so adorable. Mike and I even got into the fun and dressed up as Batman and Alice in Wonderland. 
We took the kids trick or treating at Mikes work in the late afternoon. Digicert really went all out and decorated all of their respective "pods" with a different theme. The kids loved it, and they made out like bandits with buckets full of candy. After Digicert, we went down to the Alpine Main Street trick or treat! My parents came with us, and we got to go around to all the local little businesses in Alpine for some candy. The weather was so beautiful that day, which made walking around outside so enjoyable. Most of my Halloween memories as a kid consisted of my mom putting an entire snow ensemble over my costume, so no one even knew what I was. I'm glad our kids have enjoyed nice weather on their Halloweens. After the Alpine trick or treat, we came home to eat some chili before setting off to our old neighborhood in Lehi to meet our friends, the Olson's. It was actually kind of hard going back to our neighborhood to trick or treat. I got out of the car and immediately thought to myself, this is a mistake. But then once we got going, I found that I really enjoyed seeing my old neighbors again. Even though it gave me a huge dose of home sickness, it also made me happy to reconnect with the friends and neighbors I have been missing. 

Monday, November 14, 2016

First Day of Preschool 2016!

This fall was such a busy time for us, and I feel like it has been non stop ever since we moved! I was "after Labor Day" so much this year because not only did I have to send Georgia back to preschool, but I had to send Lane too!!!! I guess I shouldn't say I had to, but after much agonizing over the decision whether to send him or not, I decided that preschool would be the best thing for him. Lane has such a hard time being away from mom & dad, which is the sweetest thing EVER but I also felt like he was totally capable of going to school for two days a week, and I knew that once he could show himself he could do it, he would be so proud! Georgia absolutely loves school and always has. I didn't worry about her adjusting to school, because she did so well last year. Well the first day arrived and they were both so excited! Georgia said, "Mom, I am so excited I think I might die!!!" and Lane said, "I'm excited for school, also sad and nervous." Dropping my kids off on the first day just never seems to get easier. The tears are flowing as soon as we leave our house to get in the car to go to school, and they don't really stop until they walk in the door after school. But don't think  I am too weird, these emotions really only last the first week of school, and then I realize that they are thriving and loving it! And at that point, my heart feels calm and happy. Lane surprised us all by absolutely loving school from day one! He has loved it every minute since. They are both doing incredibly well at Bear Hollow and are completely well adjusted to the new routine. Leona gets to be with me every morning, and to be honest, it's actually kind of nice to have only two kids every single morning. We love Bear Hollow!!!! It has made my fears of sending my kids to preschool completely subside. Miss Molly and Mr Dave are the best of the best and my kids can't wait to wake up and go to school every single day.

Our House.

August was a TOUGH MONTH for us. Probably the toughest month to date. Mike and I made the decision to put our house up for sale the very end of July. It was a hard decision to come to, because we loved our house and location so much. Also, just refinishing all of our bathrooms made the decision that much harder. But we felt like we had so much equity in our home, and we knew that it wasn't a house we were going to want to stay in the rest of our lives, that now was the right time to sell. We ended up going the "for sale by owner" route, because we knew that our area was in hot demand and all of the houses in our neighborhood that have sold, sold within the first week. Sure enough, we immediately had a ton of interest in our sweet little abode. I can't even tell you how difficult the showing process was. My mom and dad came over to help me try and get all the junk I wasn't using out of my house, finish up looming projects, attache closet door, deep clean, paint, you name it. When you show your house, it doesn't have to just be clean, it has to be immaculate! I would scrub my house every single day, and then I was so anal about my kids playing with ANYTHING. I felt like this nazi mom, that couldn't live in my own house. It was super hard on all of us. Most of the time people want to come see your house after they are off work, so Mike would schedule these showings right around our dinnertime and bedtime. So that week was full of eating out, lots of time spent at the swimming pool, and late bedtimes. Thank heavens we only had to show our house for a week. The family that ended up buying our house came through on day 5. I kept praying and praying that the right family would walk through our house and love it. I wanted a family that would love that house as much as we did, and ideally be a great addition to our ward and neighborhood. The family that bought our house was literally the ideal family!!! I am so thrilled that they are the ones that purchased it, because deep down, I feel like they were an even better fit for that house and neighborhood than we were. 
I miss my friends and neighbors that I had in that house, but I mostly just miss our house. It has been so hard on me to not be able to drive back to that house that we loved so much for 3 years. The walls of that house hold so many of my dearest memories that I never want to forget. I feel like all of my kids baby years were spent there. The night I said goodbye to that house was one of the most emotional goodbyes I have ever had. Actually I think it was THE MOST emotional goodbye I have ever had. Mike was like, "are you going to be OK?" haha, genuinely worried about the state of my mental health. And the truth is, I'm not sure I will be OK. Just kidding, I know I will be. I realized that anywhere I am with my 4 lifelines (mike, georgia, lane and leona) automatically feels like home. We could live in a tent for heaven sakes and I would have all I need with them there. So, onward and upward as we move forward with building our new house!!!! I will have to do a full post on that, soon. For now we are living in my parents basement and just as snug as a bug. To be honest, I kind of love living here and may never want to leave. But don't worry mom, we will leave! And hopefully we'll get out of your hair sooner than later.

Alpine Days.

Every year, my home town of Alpine, UT hosts their annual Alpine City Days. It's such a nostalgic event for me because it was kind of the last hooray of summer all growing up. My cousins and I loved going to the dance as teenagers, and growing up as a kid, I just loved to go to the parade and ride my bike down to the park to check out the dunk tank and fish barrel. Alpine Days has come a long way since I was a kid, but I'm glad they still keep a lot of the old school traditions too. One of which, is none other than the Toddler Trot. A race around the block for kids ages 2-5. I actually won the Toddler Trot as a kid, which is one of my only childhood claim to fames. My family laughs at me every time I bring that up, but I still have the trophy to prove it! Anyways, I really wanted Georgia and Lane to participate this year, and they were so excited. I kind of have this tendency as a mom, to really over due my excitement about things. All we talked about for the week leading up to the Toddler Trot was the race. I even took the kids to Target so they could pick out a new "race outfit". We were all SO EXCITED. Race day came, we all woke up in a great mood, had an awesome breakfast (carb loaded) to get them ready for their moment. Haha, I'm laughing as a write this, because it sounds so over the top for a dumb little race, but that is just who I am, and I can't help it. Lane in particular was really excited. We get to the park where the race was and immediately I knew this was going to go south, fast. Lane started to cry as soon as we got out of the car, complaining that something was in his shoe and he didn't want to walk. Things went from bad to worse when he didn't want his race number pinned to his shirt. Georgia was excited this whole time, until it was time to get to the starting line. Lane refused to even let me put him down at this point, and Georgia was starting to bite her lip, trying hard not to lose it. The horn sounded and Georgia took off, Mike running with a screaming Leona right beside her. Lane was sobbing as I kept trying to put him down, and eventually just started screaming "NO!!!!!!!!!". I didn't see this, but I guess halfway down the street Georgia just fell apart from the pressure of it all and started to cry. Mike held her hand and ran with her the rest of the way. She did end up running through the finish line to get her ribbon and candy cane. The whole scenario was a total flop. Thinking of it now, has me in tears from laughing so hard. I learned from that experience to not talk everything up so much. I think that they feel like my expectation is so high, when really it's not at all -- I just wanted to make it fun for them. After the race we all went to my moms house for a huge breakfast that was both delicious and incredible. We ended the morning sweating our buns off at the parade and the kids loved it! All's well the ends well I suppose. I think our Toddler Trot days might be over, but our Alpine Days parade and carnival days are definitely not.

Leona Turns 2!!!!!!

I can't believe that my baby doll turned 2 years old on September 3rd! How did that happen?? The week was filled with a lot of mama tears and tons of "I love Leona because...." She was so excited about her birthday! Every time I would ask her, "Who has a birthday this week??" she would get the cutest smile on her face and say, "LEONAAAAA". Mike and I are constantly looking at each other and asking the other, how is she this cute? It's like everything she does (even her tantrums) are cute! I never want to forget her in the stage of life she is in right now. She is the perfect mix of sweet and spicy. She takes all of Lane and Georgia's best qualities, (also some of their worst) and blends them into her own little unique personality. She is hysterically dramatic over the littlest things. Like, THE BIGGEST faker of them all. But I kind of play into it because it's actually really cute and like I said, funny. She talks all the time and has the cutest little raspy voice. She thinks every color is pink, and loves to count to 10. She also loves to "read" picture books! She will sit down on the couch with a stack of 5 or 6 books and flip through every page as she reads to herself or me. I don't understand a lot of what she says but it's adorable to watch. She normally will try to reenact whatever the picture in the book is. So for example, if there is a picture of a child with a surprised face, she'll go... "ahhhhhhh!' I feel like she just gets it, with so many different things. She loves her binks and blanky, her blanky probably more than any of my other kids have. Once we were driving in the car to Farmington and we forgot to bring her blanky in the car with us. So around Draper, she would ask every minute, "mommy, where's banky?" or "daddy, where's bankys???" After I kid you not, 55 times of her asking, Mike finally said, "Leona, stop asking that honey, we will have to wait until we get home." So she was quiet for about 2 minutes and then looked at Lane and said, "Naney, where's banky?" Lane took a deep breath and said, "NO MORE TIMES, LEONA." Haha, Mike and I were in tears from laughing.
I took her to the Doctor yesterday and just like all of my kids, she is big and tall! 98%tile in height and 97%tile in weight! Every time I take my kids to their well checks and the doc see's how off the charts big they are, he always asks me, "How tall is their dad?". I kind of have this theory that my kids are just early bloomers and will eventually get back into the average percentiles. But then again, they may always be super tall- which would be awesome. The older kids and I woke up early on Leo's birthday and went to go get some donuts. Georgia and Lane kept going back and forth on the perfect donut for Leona, but ultimately went with a glazed. My kind of kids. She loved being woken up to the sound of the happy birthday song and a donut! Who wouldn't? We went to the Outlets that morning to check out some Labor Day sales and then came home for a nap. Our plan was to go to Midway that afternoon/evening to see Grandma and Grandpa and ride the horsey. After naps, we sang to Leo again and let her open up her presents, got in the car and went on our way. It was smooth sailing through Provo Canyon until we got to Deer Creek and hit a brick wall of traffic. That weekend was Swiss Days in Midway, and they were doing construction. We sat in the traffic for about 40 mins and moved about 2 feet when Mike and I decided it would be better to just turn around. The kids were so bummed! And I was so bummed because I really wanted Leona to be there on her birthday, but we made it work by taking all the kids to Spaghetti Factory for dinner! Our family is the biggest Spag Factory fans you'll know. It's a Kimball thing. We topped dinner off with a candle in Leo's spumoni ice cream and called it a night. We did end up going to Midway a couple days later, and that made up for everything. I love that Leo's birthday always falls around Labor Day weekend. It just gives us a reason to keep the party going!
Leona has been the biggest blessing and irreplaceable piece to our family since minute one. Her curly hair and constant laughter is the highlight of all of our days. Georgia and Lane are constantly saying, "Leona is our cutest little baby sister." It's been so much fun to see how all three of them have connected and formed their own bonds over the last two years. I'm trying to cherish every second I have with Leo (and all our kids) because if these last two years are any indication of how fast the next two are going to go, I'm in trouble!!!! Happy birthday baby doll, I love you, I love you, I LOVE YOU.