Wednesday, April 9, 2014

the pier.

we planned on visiting disneyland one last time before we left LA.
we figured we might as well.. we're here.
but after researching whether or not early-april is a good time to do disney, we figured out it is NOT.
on a busy-ness scale, this time of year was ranked 'insanely busy'. [thanks to spring break].
and, since we had no interest in spending loads of money to endure a day of squeezing our way through crowds of people sporting tacky disney apparel, we sadly removed disneyland from our LA bucket list.
oh well. now we have another reason to come back and visit.

we decided to make a trip to santa monica instead.
we figured it was another iconic LA place to visit.
we rode the ferris wheel on the pier. this was our view from the top:

after, we grabbed some food from pier burger and then headed up to the third street promenade.
while on the promenade, we found the perfect california souvenir to take back to canada.
we had been patiently waiting for the perfect souvenir to pop up, so that was exciting.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

the move.

i think we all know how i feel about cold weather.
if you don't, i'm not sure why you are reading this. because you clearly don't know me very well.
it doesn't really seem fair then, that i grew up in such a cold place.
i am very aware of the fact that calgary is a great city.
i spent 20 years there.. i know it's great.
it's just not where i want to be.
despite the fact that i had an amazing childhood there, and we have an unbelievable support system of family and friends there, and there are so many opportunities to succeed there, i just don't want to live there.
especially now that i have had a taste of what it is like to live in a place like california.
this past year has been amazing. so warm. so sunny. so beautiful.
and, although i do love a good tan, my reasons for loving this place aren't that shallow.
i simply want to live somewhere warm so that i can be outside with my kids.
i don't want to be a stay-at-home mom who is stuck inside most of the year. nothing good will come of that.
and i don't want my kids to be stuck inside either. that thought makes me sad.
this past year my boys and i have played outside for hours every day.
well, that's not true. there have been maybe a weeks worth of days where we stayed inside due to rain or wind.
but i would say that it a pretty good ratio of inside/outside days.
my boys are happy. and i'm happy. and that is exactly what i want as a mom.

however, the one thing that makes us question our life here is matt's work.

he loves his job - loves what he does and who he works with.
the company treats him really well, and has rewarded him for his hard work.
but his hours are super long.
he is exhausted, our boys miss him, and i am far too needy to be alone so much.
so, when a job opportunity in calgary that would allow matt to be home more arose, we started to think about it.
and we thought.
and we talked.
and we researched.
and we made lists.
and we reviewed those lists.
and we reviewed our life goals.
and we prayed.
and we prayed some more.

and, in the end, i wanted to stay here.

and matt wanted to go.

which was not ideal.

but, in time, [leaving out all the grisly details] we agreed that we both just want what was best for our family.

and, for now, it seems like calgary might be a better choice.
soo.. in about a week, we will be moving back to calgary. 
'temporarily' meaning that, when things line up so we can move back to a less depressing climate, we will.
we have written and signed a contract that says we will!
the timeline is undetermined so, in the meantime, our goal is to take advantage of all that calgary has to offer.

but even though i know this won't be forever, and i can see that we will benefit from this move, i have been sad.
really. sad.

i was so happy to hear the words of elder uchtdorf in the sunday morning session of conference.

i know my present-day challenge probably seems silly to some, and i know that there are people out there with much bigger challenges then me, but i feel like his message was just what i needed to hear.

"Everyones situation is different, and the details of each life are unique. Nevertheless, I have learned that there is something that would take away the bitterness that may come into our lives. There is one thing that we can do that will make our lives sweeter, even joyful, even glorious: We can be grateful.

..We can choose to be grateful no matter what.

This type of gratitude transcends whatever is happening around us. It surpasses disappointment, discouragement, and despair. It blooms just as beautifully in the icy landscape of winter as it does in the blessed warmth of summer.

..We sometimes think that being grateful is something we do after our problems are solved, but how terribly short-sighted that is. How much of life do we miss by waiting to see the rainbow, before thanking God that there is rain. Being grateful in times of distress does not mean that we are pleased with our circumstances. It does mean that, through the eyes of faith, we look beyond our present day challenges."

Elder Uchtdorf

talk about perfect advice for sappy old me.
the line about winter and summer was undoubtably written for me!
i truly do have so much to be grateful for, even if i'm sad.

it's unreal how well things have been working out with this move:
- the timing has been perfect. everything that we are legally bound to [lease, cell plans, etc.] end right when we leave.
- my uncle's town home in calgary became available to rent within weeks of our move up.
- matt is leaving his work on good terms. they don't want him to go, and they would love to take him back.
- his new job is something he is excited about. it pays well, requires him to work less, and won't be as stressful.
- matt gets a work truck. which means, for the first time in 4 years, our family will have 2 cars!
- we have been able to sell all of our furniture to make the move more simple, and less costly.
- my parents are willing and able to make the 50 hour round trip to help us move.
- our friends and our ward have been so sweet and supportive.
- we have the best friends and family up in calgary that we look forward to reuniting with.
- chet and holden have been happy amidst the chaos of a half-packed home.
- and heck, we got to live here. what an adventure it has been!
[plus, there are a billion other not-move-related things to be grateful for too.]

we are so blessed.
and i am happy that elder uchtdorf reminded me of that.

so here's to another new home.. and another move, dang it!

i saw that pretty greeting card at trader joe's the other day and i had to snatch one up.
perfect advice.

Friday, April 4, 2014

tour bus & tournament.

last friday, matt and i ditched our boys with our friends and headed down to hollywood for a date.
we had always heard that hollywood was a sketchy place, and that definitely proved to be true!
there were a whole lot of interesting people to watch.
we didn't spend much time right in the thick of it. we were just there to catch a tacky roofless tour bus to take us snooping around beverly hills & hollywood in search of celebrity homes.
we were a little bit embarrassed to be seen on the bus - we felt like super nerdy tourists! - but we still had fun touring around the hills.
the tour guide talked nonstop about celebrity gossip. i swear he knew everything.
matt and i don't know much about that stuff, and don't care to, but we loved getting to see all the gorgeous kazillion dollar homes.
up in those hills is a world we will neverrrr be a part of!

the next morning we headed down to UCLA for the annual 3 on 3 tournament that matt's company has.
PCL renovated the pauley pavilion (where the bruins play) a few years back, so now they get to use the court for their tournament each year.
it was such a fun morning.
it was neat to be hanging out on such a fancy court. and to have it all to ourselves!
PCL puts on the best events for their employees. we always leave feeling spoiled rotten.

i hope our boys want to play basketball when they get bigger.
i would really enjoy watching them play.
but, of course, i would love watching them succeed at whatever they are passionate about.
chet and i went on a date a couple weekends ago to see one of my young women in her school's production of 'charlie and the chocolate factory'.
i figured chet would like it because he really likes music. but he ended up loving it more then i had expected.
he sat there in the audience with me bobbing his head to all the songs.
so perhaps i will be watching him in a school play one day.
which couldn't be more opposite then me.
the worst grade i ever got - by far! - was 7th grade drama.
just thinking about that class gives me anxiety.

when i told chet we were going on a date, he instantly knew he wanted to wear a bow tie.
and then i let him pick out the rest of his outfit too.
this is what he came up with:
i loved his thought process.
bow tie - because apparently that is what you wear when you go on a date.
blue button up shirt - because button up shirts go with bow ties. and he likes blue.
brown shorts - because he hates wearing pants. and his sweat pant shorts were dirty.
church shoes - because he wanted to wear his fanciest shoes.

i couldn't have asked for a more handsome date.

and here we are attempting to take bathroom selfies during intermission:

Monday, March 24, 2014


this is my favorite picture from chet's special day.

in the end, chet's party was really great.
but it was a little sketchy in the hours leading up to it!

holden woke up with one goal in mind: wreck the day.
not really. but he was miserable.
which was exhausting.
we joked that he was mad because chet was getting a birthday party for the fourth consecutive year.. and he is yet to get any parties.
and, if that was the case, i definitely think that he is justified in feeling ripped off - it was just such a terrible time to express it.

the elevator to our third floor apartment was broken too.
it breaks a lot. always at the worst possible times. [ie. after a big costco shop.]
so that was also really exhausting. in a different way.
we had a ridiculous amount of party stuff we had to haul down [and back up] three flights of stairs. with kids.
the worst part was that matt had brought home an 8000 pound table from work that had to make the trek up and down. poor matt.

the things we do for a birthday party!

so the morning certainly wasn't as smooth as we had planned.
and, by the time we got to the park to set up for the party, chet didn't want a party anymore.
he said he wanted to go home.
which was exactly what i wanted to hear.

luckily, matt was strong and refrained from joining the rest of the family in our weeping-fest.
we were able to get the party set up in time for our guest, our friends didn't ditch out on us, and everything after that went pretty smooth.
we had a really fun time!
it wasn't as picture perfect as the ideas i had pinned on pinterest, but it never is!
and chet didn't care about that. he thought his party was the bomb.

the invites:

the hats:
i found aviator hats on a party website, but i was way too cheap to pay $7/hat.
so i found a tutorial that showed me how to sew an aviator hat, bought $7 worth of felt, and made them by myself.
they were one of my favorite parts of the party, so i am happy they worked out.

the airplane [before we painted it]:

my little helpers carefully watching the cupcakes bake:

the plan was that each kid would make a wooden plane and a paper plane to use in our 'longest flight' and 'most accurate' competitions.
but the kids had more fun just playing with the planes, rather then competing with them. and i was totally fine with that.

each kid got a wooden glider:

and made a paper plane with this stuff:

some party pics:

holden passed out about 2 seconds after we left the park.
he was covered in cake and frosting.
we estimate he ate somewhere between 2 and 6 cupcakes.

holden's words.

if only i hadn't cut moroni out, this would have been the perfect temple picture..

i have lost count of how many words holden knows.
he learns a new one every day, i swear.
it's fun to hear his vocabulary growing.

here are some of the words he knows, that i can think of on the spot..

hi. hello. bye. mommy. daddy. chet. me.
grandma. grandpa. baby.
dog. duck. fish. goat.
book. ball. bucket. bubble. splash.
truck. plane. boat. bike. 
cracker. banana. cheese. grape. water. treat. pop.
bowl. fork. yum. all gone. more.
mine. ow. uh oh. no. please.
broke. stuck. help. yucky. hot. cold.
kiss. walk. fast. up. down.

and much more..

he is always chatting.
between chet and him, i feel like our house is never quiet.

holden really likes music.
whenever music turns on, he starts bobbing his head.
and when we are driving with music on he likes to 'sing' loudly from the back seat.
he also likes to pretend to lead the music in sacrament meeting, and he thoroughly enjoys singing songs before bedtime. [it is the only part of our bedtime routine where he pays much attention!]

holden is a happy kid.
he laughs a lot.
and, if you smile at him, he always smiles back.
he thinks chet is hilarious.

other things about holden include:
he copies everything chet does.
he brings me my shoes whenever we are getting ready to leave the house. so i have little say in what shoes i wear.
he loves walking tank.
when we pull him out of bed, he tosses his binky back in his crib. he is well trained!
he likes slides and thinks swings are ok.
whenever we are having snacks he always grabs a bowl [or 6] to put his snacks in. he loves bowls.
he also loves to eat.
his favorite blanket is the one he used in the NICU.
he hits people in the face a lot. it's annoying.
he has finally learned to love nursery.
it took several months, but he did it!
he likes to climb, swim, run - anything active.
he is busy, for sure!
sitting still is a hard thing for holden to do.
but he isn't the little terror that we were worried he might grow up in to.
his curiosity just gets him into predicaments some times.
but he is a good boy. a sweet boy.
he loves to give kisses, he enjoys a good back scratch, and is so nice to cuddle with after a nap.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

we survived!

we survived our first major earthquake on monday.
go us!
the word 'survived' might be a little bit dramatic.
as far as i know, the several millions of other people affected by it also survived.
so it wasn't exactly a huge feat.
but it sure was creepy.
i gotta say, i did not like that earthquake business one bit.
i hope to never experience a really destructive one.
we just had some bottles fall off the shelves in our shower.
although, a more destructive one probably would have gotten matt out of work.
and that would have been fun.
he just had to temporarily evacuate his job site.. and then get right back to work.
crazy californians - acting as if the earth wasn't just shaking beneath us.

i thought the boys had slept through the earthquake but, when chet got out of bed a couple hours later, he spoke of the quake as if it had inconvenienced him:
"mom, our house was shaking.. and i was trying to sleep."

haha sorry about that, buddy.

the earthquake was a 4.4 on the richter scale. whatever that means.
we also felt 2 smaller aftershocks at our house later that morning.

something interesting about the earthquake was that it was on chet's birthday.
he turned FOUR that day.
and, at 6:20am california time (7:20am calgary time) - the exact time chet entered the world 4 years ago - the earthquake struck.
i think not.
i think that means we have a pretty special kid on our hands.

or... a really naughty one.

time will tell.

chet had an awesome day.
he opened presents, walked to target to spend some birthday money, went on a movie date with his dad, and had some cake at cheesecake factory.
he was a happy kid.
and by the time we got home, he was pooped.

i'd say it was a success.

happy birthday chetty!
we love you to bits.

i'm not quite ready to post all the birthday pictures. so these will have to do for now.

i made the boys some new ties for church this week, so it seemed like a good excuse to take some post-church photos.

Monday, March 17, 2014

hawaii: part 3 of 3.

our trip to hawaii seems like forever ago, and i still haven't posted all the pictures. oops.
matt had to head back home ahead of the boys and i for work [lame].
he got to stay for 7 days. the littles ones and i got to stay for 10.
these pictures are of matt's last days and the rest of our trip without him.

on the flight home, chet drew some really nice portraits of matt and i on the ipad.
they make me so happy.
although i do love chet's abstract artwork, i am really excited for him to be drawing actual things.
i am excited to see how his cute brain tries to figure out to put down on paper what he imagines in his head.

Friday, March 14, 2014

some people are really sucky.

the night before we left for hawaii we had a bunch of stuff stolen from our parking spot.
we had parked our car in the parking garage at 8:00pm the night before our flight.
at 5:30am the next morning i stopped at our car on the way home from my run and noticed that matt's bike was gone.
someone had cut through our locks and taken his fancy, new bike.
i was so upset. i rushed up to our apartment to tell matt.
we checked the parking garage for any evidence, but obviously found nothing.
so we called the police and reported our stolen bike.
unfortunately, calling the LAPD to report a stolen bike seems kinda useless - as if they don't have 8 gazillion more pressing crimes to attend to.
when we were all dressed and ready to go, we headed down to the car to drive to the airport.
and that is when we noticed that, not only was matt's bike gone, but our car had been broken into as well.
we figured out all the things that were missing and figured that our tally was at about $1000.
(bike, basketball shoes, and a bunch of other stuff - including the button that opens the gate to our complex. awesome.)
it was so frustrating.
and it was such a creepy feeling to think that someone had been through your things.

last night (3 weeks after that incident) we went to the mall to replace the very shoes that were stolen from our car.
as matt was trying shoes on, he took his phone out of his pocket and put it on the bench next to him.
i was chasing the boys around the store when matt stood up to look at his shoes in a mirror.
he turned his back from his phone for all of 10 seconds, and someone stole his phone!
oh. my. gosh.
the only reason we were even in that store in the first place was because we were robbed. and now it happens again?
matt noticed immediately that it was gone. so we told the store manager and she went to review the surveillance footage.
and, sure enough, someone had grabbed his phone. and that someone was still in the store!
the next 15 minutes were super weird.
this phone thief stayed in the store - flaunting a rather large wad of cash, and making a pile of shoes he was going to purchase.
some of the shoes were for his kids - who were in the store with him!
ugh. what a slimey guy.
long story short, security was called and one of the workers at the store confronted the guy.
the thief told the worker that his daughter was the one who had swiped the phone (even though the surveillance footage clearly showed him doing it!) and he willingly handed the phone back.
matt and i were so angry! my heart was racing.
how can someone be so dishonest?
how can you not be embarrassed when you get caught redhanded doing something so wrong?
we both had a long list of things we wanted to say to the loser, but we hoped to be more tasteful then him, so we held our tongues.
(plus, let's just say he wasn't a guy i wanted my husband to have to duke it out with!)
we just made our purchase and left the store.
and i may have thrown in a couple dirty looks along the way..

i don't get it!
i do. not. understand how someone can feel no guilt for stealing other people's property.
it's not yours!
but these people who keep stealing our stuff apparently don't feel the same way.
and that means they are really sucky people.

on a less depressing note, chet's birthday is coming up right away.
he will be 4 on the 17th!
madness, i tell you.
his party is tomorrow. it is going to be a plane party.
we have spent all week getting ready for it.
we have made aviator hats, paper airplane decorations, and a big cardboard box plane.
today is cupcake making day.
actually, it is cupcake AND cake making day.. as per the birthday boys request.
the boys are currently sitting in front of the oven, watching the cupcakes bake.
i think chet will be really disappointed when he realizes the cupcakes won't have any frosting on them when thy come out of the oven.
because frosting is all he cares about.
i should really just make a big bowl of frosting..

it has been a lot fun to get it all ready with the boys.
chet is feeling pretty darn special.. which is the whole point!

Friday, March 7, 2014

hawaii: part 2 of 3.

one of the things i was excited to try while in hawaii was paddle boarding.
sure, i would love to be some super hot surfer girl.. but that's not *ever* going to happen!
so i will settle for being a low-skilled paddle boarding girl instead.
we rented a paddle board from some shop by the beach and spent the day cruising around a quaint little bay in makaha.
i loooved it.
one of the first times matt and i went out, we floated past a sea turtle.
we were no more then 8 feet from him, and he was about 2 feet long. amazing!
he was a cute little fellow. but frustratingly evasive.
after that first unexpected encounter, he never let us near him again.
i spent all afternoon chasing him. but he was too clever.
matt came out with his snorkel gear and i tried to guide him to the turtle, based on my view from above, but that turtle would not have it.
every time matt would get close, the turtle would dive under the water and pop his head up somewhere else.
matt said there was one time he was watching from the beach and he saw the turtle pop his head up out of the water right behind my board.
as if he knew i was looking for him, but couldn't see him there.
and as if he thought he was being hilarious.
well played, mr. sea turtle. well played.

we took our boys out on the board for a ride. they thought it was pretty neat.
chet spent the rest of the trip asking when he could ride a paddle board again.
unfortunately, he never did.
but he did ride a lot of boogie boards.
by the end of the trip he had learned to enjoy laying on the board and letting the waves pull him in and out.

the afternoon that we had the paddle board, my parents took our boys back to condo for naps and left matt and i at the beach.
me + my handsome husband + a hot, sunny beach in hawaii = perfection.
my parents actually did that a few times throughout the trip.
matt and i were spoiled.
beaches are so fun with kids, but they are also really fun without kids:)

on the friday, my parents wanted to go to temple, so matt and i found something fun for our family to explore up on that side of the island.
we had my parents drop us off at waimea falls.
we did the 30 minute walk up to the top, where we got to swim in a pool at the bottom of the falls.
it felt nice to swim in fresh water, but the water was pretty chilly.
our boys were not super thrilled about getting in it. holden especially.
he was also super angry that we made him wear a life jacket.
but we made him do it. and it made for a good memory!
fun fact: the land around waimea falls has been used for filming lots of movies over the years.
most recently, it was used to film part of the hunger games.
the area is super lush and full of all sorts of plants i have never seen before.

after waimea falls, we ran across the highway to waimea bay.
we didn't swim there because the waves were insane!
 we just sat on the beach and watched all the crazy people getting destroyed in them.
it was actually very entertaining.
my parents met us at the bay with some lunch they had picked up from ted's bakery.
and from there we headed to the dole plantation.
we took the train ride around the plantation and learned all about the history of the pineapple.
and then we got some dole whip for the ride home.
holden slept through our entire trip to the plantation.

[matt and chet are right by the falls in this picture]