Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Growing Up....

Over the weekend, we FINALLY got around to transitioning Shae's room to a big girl room.  I say "finally" because we actually bought the bed and all the bedding about 2 months ago with the intention of doing it for her 2nd birthday.  But, with Tom working out of town (yes, that is STILL going on..ugh), we just have not had the time.  He is only home for a few days at a time and he is so tired when he is here because of how demanding the job in CA. is that I have felt too sorry for him to push him into going to all that trouble.

But, over Thanksgiving weekend we did it!  He was home for a longer than usual stretch and we made it happen.  I'm SO glad we did....it turned out super cute :)

Her room went from this:

To this:

Kinda sad to no longer have any crib babies, but I also love the transition!  The bed turned out so great. We found it on Craigslist and as soon as I saw it, knew it was meant for her room.  The colors were almost exact to her furniture.  We were going to just do some touch up, but realized that it needed to be re painted.  So we ended up sanding and repainting the whole bed in the same colors we had painted her nightstand and dresser when we first set up the nursery.  I did not purchase anything additional for the room....just the bed and bedding(which is the full size version of her crib bedding).  We simply moved a few of the pictures around and moved the armoire to where the crib had been.  I was not thrilled with the bed having to go under the window (and not centered---totally goes against my interior design training) but because of the shape of the room and size of the bed, we had no choice.  Believe me, we tried a few different options.  I'm still loving it, though.  Now whether or no she will start sleeping there all night is yet to be determined.  It's been 3 nights so far and she is still waking.  I'm hoping with a little more time, she'll adjust and FINALLY start sleeping through the night.   One things for sure, she is growing up fast and is loving her big girl room.  And whether she sleeps all night in the bed or not, she sure does look cute in it :-)

Thursday, September 20, 2012

California Adventure Part 4: Goodbye & Meeting Evy's Tree

After 4 weeks in California, the adventure is coming to an end.  We are packing up today and starting our drive back this evening.  I cannot begin to tell you how READY I am to be in my own house again.  A month is so long to be away.  I miss my bed so much I can't stand it!  I am very excited to get back to our routine too.  There is definitely no place like home!  The only hard part is having to say goodbye to Tom :/  He will drive us home then fly back down here on Monday.  We will be going every two weeks between his visits now and I am not looking forward to that. 

Since visiting Disney almost 2 weeks ago, not much has happened for us.  We were so exhausted after that weekend, we were happy just to laze around the room for the most part.  Shae' did give us some excitement with her head injury less than an hour after returning from Disney.  If you follow me on FB you know the story.  The short version is she bumped it on the edge of the coffee table in our room and ended up with this........

Lovely, right?  Ugh....we ended up taking her to the doctor's office the next morning and had it glued.  Talk about stressful.....I had to lay on top of her on the doctors table to hold her down while they glued it.  She screamed like mad and it took all I had not to end up in tears myself.  BUT, when it was over, we made it all better with some frozen yogurt :)

Seriously, this girl!  She has had 4 MAJOR falls since we've been down here.  It's been stressing me out a bit.   She will always keep me on my toes, that's for sure!

So, besides her mishap with the table, last week was pretty uneventful.  We ventured out some and did a little shopping, hit the park, met with our sweet friends Jamie and Ayla Prado for lunch and had a lot of down time in the room.  I had originally mentioned a photo shoot in my first blog.  We were scheduled to be involved in Dainty Buttons fall photo shoot last Saturday.  We were excited for as we have never done anything like that before and I'm a big supporter of her business.  (You can visit her shop here www.daintybutton.etsy.com)   Well, she ended up with an injury last week and had to reschedule the shoot for this weekend.  Yeah, bummer we can't be a part now, but I'm sure it will turn out fabulous!

Sunday, Tom worked half a day, so we ended up going to Sunday evening service in San Jose at Bro. Shoemake's church.  Great church, sweet people.  We thoroughly enjoyed it!

This week, we enjoyed dinner with our friends, the Prado's.  Then it's been packing, packing for me.  But Tuesday, the kids and I took the day and drove to Santa Rosa to visit Amy.  Do any of you have an Evy's Tree hoodie?  Well, Amy is the owner of Evy's Tree.  We have never met before,  but I'm a big supporter of hers and we actually had tried to meet up for coffee back in May when we were in SF visiting and they were going to be in the city too,  but it ended up not working out.  Then earlier this month, Tom and I were going to drive to Santa Rosa for service one Sunday and hang out after with Amy and Brandon and the kids, but Evy broke her clavicle the night before and we had to cancel.   It ended up working out nicely, though.  Tom worked late Tuesday, so the kids and I drove over and Amy was so gracious to have us in her lovely home. The kids played and we chatted.  Jake and Evy are both just a little older than Carter and Shae', so the kids were thrilled to have playmates.  We did dinner at a great local pizza shack there, then back to the house where the kids played and we had coffee and chatted some more.  Amy, THANK YOU for opening your home to us and letting us interrupt your busy day.  We enjoyed it so much!  Here's a few pictures I snapped before leaving.  The quality is horrible, so please excuse.  It was the best I could get.

                                                    Carter and Evy

                  Carter, Evy and Shae'. (jake was already in bed)

BTW, the Evy's Tree website has some items listed at discounted prices.  While she is waiting for the manufactured line to debut early next year, go check out the items she has available now:  www.evystree.com.  I own at least 10 Evy's Tree items and I love every one of them!

That pretty much wraps up our California Adventure.  The month has really flown by.  As much as I've missed home, I'm really glad we did this.  It's something we will likely never do again, but what a great experience!  And most of all, it's been so great being with Tom this whole time.  We are going to miss him SO much!  I can only hope the next few months go by just as fast so we can resume our normal life at home together again :)

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

California Adventure Part 3: Disney--The Truth About "The Happiest Place On Earth"

We visited the happiest place on earth over the weekend.  What a trip!  We flew out of Oakland Friday morning and arrived in LA a little after lunch.  Then we rode the Disney bus 45 minutes to Aneheim to our hotel.  After checking in, we walked the mile or so to Downtown Disney.  What a cool place!  Lots of shops and restaurants, the biggest Disney store I've ever seen and an awesome Lego store!  We walked around a bit and met up with my college roomate who now lives about 40 minutes from Disney.  I haven't seen her in about 2 years and it was so fun to see her and catch up.  She had her oldest son with her, Bryson who's 5, and he and Carter hit it off instantly!  And literally.  Ha.  They spent the whole time together swapping punches and wrestling.....after all, boys will be boys! :)

                                          At the Disney Store

                                                    Bryson, Carter and Shae'

                                                    The awesome Lego Store!

                                            The Roomie :)

We had dinner together at Rainforest Cafe' and enjoyed time together walking around.  Then it was back to our room to rest up for the busy few days ahead!  And boy were they busy. 

We started Saturday morning at California Adventure.  Car Land was the destination and Carter was SO excited!  It did not disappoint.  Cars Land is amazing!  They did such an amazing job with it.   We spent a few hours there, riding the rides and looking around.   So fun.

We left there and walked around California Adventure more, checking out Bugs Land (super cute) riding a few rides and the kids got to watch the Disney Jr. stage show...that was super cute.  

After that, we headed over to Disneyland.  First person we saw was Pluto. (shae' calls him Goofy every time)  

To save time here, I won't go into every detail about our day.  What I will tell you is:  The original plan was to spend several hours at the parks, then head to our room around 2, take naps, then go back around 4 or 5 and spend the rest of the day.  However, once we started walking around, I didn't want to leave.  Shae' ended up falling asleep in the stroller and I knew Carter would be too excited to go back and sleep.  Plus it was HOT and we were walking so much, I couldn't stand the thought of walking 1 1/2 miles back to our room and then back again.  And I know how hard it is when you do get the kids asleep, to wake them up to run out the door again.  So, Tom gave in (he REALLY wanted to go back and hit the pool) and we stayed.  We ended up doing 12 hours total between the 2 parks.  After spending time at Disneyland, we headed back to Cars Land since we had fast passes for the popular radiator springs racers ride.  It was worth going back.  Cars Land at night is AMAZING!  Looks so, so cool!  And the ride was super fun.  Carter rode twice, once with me, once with Tom. 

Sunday morning, we were up early again and at the park about 30 minutes after it opened.  We spent the whole day at Disneyland.  I'm pretty sure we rode every ride there, or almost every ride.  Carter was a huge fan of the roller coasters.  He rode splash mountain twice!  Space mountain was the only one he didn't like....too scary in the dark the whole time.  Shae' was limited in what she could ride, but she got to do plenty of rides too.  She loved every one and usually clung to the bar when the ride was over and we had to drag her away.   Again, we chose to stay the whole day and not go back (once again to Tom's dismay).  Our day ended up being 13 hours that day.  We stayed for the fireworks show at the end.  And I must say, as exhausted as we were, and as much whining as we had endured, it was worth it for that one minute during the fireworks when the 4 of us stood there smiling and watching together :)

Carter's favorite was Cars Land and Splash Mountain.  Shae's was Minnie Mouse and seeing the Princess' in the parade. (she said, "Mama, I love princess") :)   My favorite was seeing the kids excitement at each new thing.  So fun.

Ok, now for the TRUTH about Disneyland........

Have you ever seen those Disney commercials where the kids are running through the park with their parents, smiling, laughing, having the time of their lives?  Well, I didn't see ONE of those kids there.  Not one!  Instead I saw fussy kids, whining kids, tantrum throwing kids (and that's just MY kids!).  HA. Seriously.  I know this post and all the pics make the trip seem like it was just fabulous, but it wasn't.  The truth is it was EXHAUSTING!  And I'm not talking about the heat or all the walking around or the 12 and 13 hours days (that sure didn't help).......I'm talking about dealing with the kids.  They were great SOME of the time.  But the lines were long and there was plenty of fussing and whining during wait times.  They were tired so there was more than one meltdown.  It was just plain exhausting!  I know what it's like to look at peoples pictures on FB or blog and think that their vacations are perfect, their kids are perfectly behaved, etc.  I just thought I'd take a moment and be real with you.  Our pictures make it look like a dream but that's not the case.  Was it worth it, yes.  Most definitely.  Although I'll probably do a few things different next time, and it will for sure be more enjoyable when they are a little older.  It's just part of having kids.   But even though there were some tense moments, we left saying, "That was fun.  We made some great memories."  That's the part I choose to remember.  And we'll have the pictures forever, and thankfully everyone is happy in all of those :)

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

California Adventure: Part 2

We have been in California for a week and a half and are finally adjusting.  I'm not gonna lie, the first few days were rough.  The kids were getting over being sick and I was trying to set a new routine in a strange place.  Add missing my bed and house into it all and yeah, it wasn't easy.  But I feel like we are getting used to it all now.  

Last week, Tom worked normal hours, even late a few days, but we managed to squeeze in some family time and the kids and I wondered around the neighborhood each day.  We have found several great parks within a few minutes of us and even a library close by that has family story time each Tuesday night and the kids absolutely loved it.  We will definitely be going back. 

We have been attending church in San Francisco at Bro. Mark Morgan's church, Abounding Grace.  The church family has been very hospitable and we have enjoyed meeting new people and had a great dinner out after Sunday's service with several from the church.  Thank you AG for being so kind to us.

Tom had Labor Day off, so we drove down to Santa Cruz for a family day.  The boardwalk and beach there are a big attraction.  It was a warm day and we enjoyed about 5 hours there.  The kids LOVED riding all the kid rides and rode most of them twice :)  Then Carter and Tom had fun jumping in the water while Shae' and I were content to bury our feet in the sand.  It was a long day (2 hour drive each way) but tons of fun and memories.

We are leaving Friday morning and flying down to Anaheim.  We will be at Disneyland/California Adventure on Saturday and Sunday, then flying back Monday.  I'm pretty sure I'm more excited than the kids :)   I'll blog about our adventure next week!  

Here are a few pics from our time here so far :)

                                           At the paint place making mugs :)


                                          Carter hard at work :)

                                          Shae' and I painting away

                                          With our finished mugs

                                                    Heading out to find a park :)

                                                   Walking to the boardwalk in Santa Cruz

                                          Having a blast on the kid rides


                                          Carter had SO much fun in the water!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

California Adventure

WARNING:  Long post ahead!

Life is full of surprises, but this year we have had more than our fair share.  One thing you must know about me (if you don't already) is that I am a very planned person.  To a fault, really.  I want to know what is going to happen every minute of every day...and I want it on the calendar months in advance.  It's a disease, I think.  I've learned to embrace it, and it makes me good at many things, but it can be a nuisance  too.  My husband never wants to surprise me with any special plans because he's afraid that it will upset something I've already planned.  I sometimes worry that I'm not a good Mommy because I'm not spontaneous enough with the kids, easily going with the flow.  I can get very upset when plans are disrupted.  It's something I'm working on. 

  Ok, so now you have more than you wanted of a description of me.  Back to where I started.......

  This year has been crazy.  I've been married to Tom for almost 10 years and in that time, he has never worked out of town that I can remember.  Starting in March of this year, he had a few weeks of working the night shift for a job they landed.  It was a crazy few weeks of him being home during the day sleeping and gone through the night working.  I did not like it at all.  Our family schedule was thrown out the window and I got a taste of single parenting.  Then in April, they landed a job in eastern WA. About a 7 hour drive.  Tom went over off and on for 2 months, and when he did he was gone from Sunday to Friday night.  He was rarely gone two weeks in a row, but it did happen a few times.  During this time, they also started a job in California.  The plan was that he would only go down every few weeks for 1-2 days to check in on the job.  Well, that worked well at first.  We had a great July of him being home and a normal schedule.   Then toward the end of July, he broke the news that he was going to have to be going down to the California job more often.  "How often?" was my question.  "Every week until the job is over." was the response.  ugh.  Major pity party on my end! :/   The job will last until the end of the year, possibly even into January.  I'm praying it's over in November.  Only time will tell.   At first, Tom would fly down to the  job on Sunday and back on Thursday nights....giving us a few days of the weekend together.   But that gets expensive fast and was really tough on him working 15 hour days and then traveling home for a few hours of family time.  So, he asked me to move to California til the job was over.  I didn't hesitate in saying, "NO".  I am a homebody, I don't like traveling for long periods of time...especially with the kids.  They need their beds, routine, etc. (so do I!) And besides, that did not fit into my plans. (remember, I've got our entire year planned out already) But after a few weeks to think it over, I did agree to coming down for an extended time.  I figured it was worth the sacrifice to be together as a family.....single parenting was getting old fast.  I actually started getting excited about our little adventure.  You see,  I've really been working on changing that whole 'planned personality' thing about myself.  Not that I don't want to be a planner, I just want to be more adventurous.  I want to be 'fun' for my kids AND my husbands sake.  I want to learn to go with the flow a little more when surprises pop up, rather than getting bent out of shape over them.  SO, this has been on my mind since the beginning of this year......and then all of these things started happening.  You think the Lord maybe heard my prayers?  Wow, what a response!  And an opportunity.   4-5 weeks is what I agreed to and that brings us to the present.  Here we are, living in California........

  We drove down over the weekend and arrived Sunday night.  Tom started back to work Monday morning, so it's been the kids and I during the day, getting settled, establishing a routine, etc.  They started preschool this week, which has given us something to do.  We've enjoyed our family time in the evenings, something we've been without for a long time it seems.  AND the best part, we got to attend church together as a family last night.  First mid week service we've been to as a family in a pretty long time.  It felt wonderful!  

So a bit about where we are staying.  We are in a town called Alameda, right across the bay from SF.   We had looked into renting a house for the time we were here, but could not find the right thing (a place furnished, that would rent for only a month)  So we actually ended up in a hotel.  It's an extended stay type of place, 1 bedroom, full kitchen, etc.  It's okay.....older furnishings and all, but livable.  You can't really afford the ritz when you are paying for a month of hotel.  yikes!  The best part about it, and the reason we chose it, is LOCATION.  It is right across the street from a shopping center:  Safeway, Trader Joe's, Panera, Walgreens, Ross, TJ Maxx, Starbucks, Jamba Juice, and a whole bunch of other stores and restaurants.  So I can walk across the street and buy groceries, etc.  And the beach is also right across the street.  It's working out well.   

I will keep updating throughout our month here.  There will be lots of pics to come and hopefully some fun stories of our 'adventure'!  We hit Disneyland next weekend, so we are all really excited about that!  We also are going to be involved in a fall photo shoot in a few weeks....more to come on that later.  I'd say things are off to a good start and I'm quickly learning to 'go with the flow' :)


Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Carter's 4!!!

My sweet baby boy turned 4 on Saturday....FOUR!  I just can't believe it!  It really does feel like yesterday that we welcomed him into this world.  I can say without hesitation that it has been the best 4 years of my life.  He has been an absolute JOY to have in our family.  And the older he gets, the more I love him.  This is such a fun age! 

 I love all of the cute things he says and wonder where in the world he gets some of it.  HA.  And I love, love, LOVE the fact that he voluntarily (and often!) tells us all how much he loves us.  He has such a tender heart (which I credit to being like his daddy).   Our favorite saying of his?  "mama (or dada), do you know what I love?"  Our reply, "What?"  His answer, "You!".  (yeah...melt, melt, melt!)

 I love how super smart he is.  Really, he amazes me with all he knows and how quickly he learns. (which is a good thing, because we will be homeschooling).  And he LOVES learning.  I hope that lasts forever!  ;)

 I love how much he loves his baby sister.  It's so sweet to hear them playing together.  Their newest game to play is a memory game he got for his birthday....they play it like 'go fish'.  It is ADORABLE to hear Carter say, "Baby Shae', do you have chuggington?" And her reply, "uh huh", and they proceed through the cards this way.  Ahhh...melts my heart! 

I could go on and on, but you get the idea.  Carter Thomas Lyman is a sweetheart and we are so blessed to have him in our family!  

We celebrated big on Saturday.  The day started with blue cinnamon rolls, his request.  He had asked for them earlier in the week when we were discussing his bday breakfast.  He had forgotten about it and was really surprised (and excited) to see them when he woke up. :)

BTW, the monkey...that's Buddy.  He was Carter's Build a Bear creation last year on his 3rd birthday and he has been Carter's sidekick every since.  He's pretty much part of the family now and we all love him :)  Getting way off track here, but sometimes I'll hear Carter talking to Buddy....it is so cute!  He will say something to Buddy, ask him a question, and then press Buddy's paw (which results in a monkey sound) as if that's Buddy answering him.  Really the cutest thing!

Back to Saturday, after breakfast, Carter got to see 2 of his presents.  One was a basketball goal from my parents and the other was his Lightening McQueen Power Wheels car from us.  He had been asking for this for weeks and was SO excited to see it in the driveway!

After lunch, we headed to The Little Gym for Carter's birthday party.  We LOVE The Little Gym!  Both kids are enrolled in classes there weekly and they love it.  The staff is amazing too :)  They did a fabulous job on the party.  All I had to do was bring the stuff and they did all the set up and clean up...it was the easiest party ever!  Not to mention they entertained 12 kids for and hour and a half.  That in itself is amazing. :)  Here are a few pics from his party.....

 His cake was amazing!  Thanks Valerie!!!

 Blowing out the candles.....

Posing with all his presents.  He got some great stuff!

We wrapped up the day with some play time at home, dinner out on the deck (the weather was amazing!) and a family bike ride around the neighborhood.  It was a fabulous, fun-filled day!

Happy Birthday to my sweet boy!  Each year you get cuter and sweeter.....I'm sad to see you getting so big. I wish you could stay this little forever, but I know you are going grow up to be an amazing person!  Mommy loves you, now and forever! xoxoxo

Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011 Review.....

Another year has gone by.  It is SO crazy how fast this year flew!  I have BIG plans for New Year's Eve (tonight).....I'm in my pj's, kids are in bed asleep, hubby is running out the door for a massage (spoiled rotten) and I plan on watching "It's A Wonderful Life".  December was so busy and by the time the kids were in bed most nights, I just didn't have the energy to stay up and watch it.  I cannot let this year end without seeing it. (it's my favorite!)  So, yeah, big plans.  ugh.  Life as a parent is so glam, right?  HA.

Anyway, I digress.  2011 review.  It was a great year in some ways, and not so great in others.  I can honestly say that it was the toughest year of my life.  For several reasons.  Mainly trying to adjust to having two kids was the toughest part for me.  Tom and I both still struggle with this at times.  Seems so pathetic...I mean, lots of people have more than one kid, right?  And they do it and make it look so easy sometimes.  Why is it still so hard for us sometimes?  Don't get me wrong...we LOVE our kids....it's just that parenting is by far the toughest job EVER!  I guess the fact that Shae' is still waking up most nights doesn't help.  I don't know why it seems so hard, I just know that it is and that I am totally exhausted the majority of the time.  I hate that feeling.   On the flip side of that, we have never known more joy that the joy our children bring us.  Really.  Isn't that amazing?  How your kids can drive you nuts one minute and then melt your heart the next?  That part I love!  My kids are great.  I love them madly and believe with all my heart 2012 will be a bit easier in this area.  Here's hoping anyway! :)

Aren't they the cutest? :)

I guess for every negative, there really is a positive.  Our family has faced some spiritual battles like we've never seen before this year.  It's been hard.  REALLY hard.  But the positive is that we've learned (and are learning) to trust God more.  Knowing that He really does hold our world in His hands and has it all under control is the best feeling.  (I love that song, have you heard it?  "You Hold My World" by Israel?  It has brought me much comfort in the last few months)  My favorite line: "I'm not afraid, my world is safe in Your hands".

So I guess, to keep from going into tons of details about the year, I can sum 2011 up by saying:  I've learned a lot.  I've grown as a person.  I'm learning more patience (thanks Carter and Shae') and I'm learning to trust in God more than ever before.  I've been blessed beyond measure this year and the good ALWAYS outweighs the bad.   I've grown closer to some friends and farther apart from others, made new friends and had the privilege of seeing some friends whom I haven't seen for years. I've learned more about myself and am thankful that God is still working on me.  I've laughed and I've cried, but looking back, I don't know that I would change much.  Even if I would like to, I refuse to live in regret.  Instead, I'll shift my focus toward 2012 and all that is in store.  I'm believing for an amazing year!  

"Let's watch the old year die, with a fond goodbye
and our hopes as high as a kite....."

Happy New Year!  Thank you to all of my family and  friends, close or even just 'FB close' (HA!) for making 2011 so wonderful!  I pray blessings for you all in 2012! xoxo