While I do love Orlando, I have always said, "It's just not very pretty where we live!" And my oh my how I was wrong. Just down the street we recently found one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen. It is full of tall trees, moss, a creek and streaks of sunshine all around. We walked and walked and listened to the birds sing and I thought, "Isn't it interesting that perhaps the places and people we see as not very pretty are actually probably the most beautiful?! Sometimes you just have to look a little harder and dig down deeper, But I think that if you do that, you'll find that everywhere and within everyone lies more beauty than you initially imagined."
Once some sand got into Myra's little jelly shoes she insisted on going barefoot... Initially I wanted to tell her no. But thought about how I ran around barefoot allllll the time when I was little so I just told her she might get hurt and that was her decision. She had to deal with me pulling a little sliver out of her foot later, but I don't think she regretted her choice anyways. There is something about going barefoot that makes you really experience everything just a little more. I also read somewhere that dirt contains something in it like an anti-depressant? So if it improves her moods, I'm all for it. haha
I love this picture below because it is so HER! It is hard to get her to get dressed these days if it isn't a dress she will be wearing... and then she walks around holding it up on the sides, curtseying, tilting her head to the side and telling everyone she is a princess. Princess Myra Grace.
And that princess sure likes to climb ;).
I have been trying lately to get down and play with the kids more in their environment...follow their lead. It has done something interesting inside of me.. brought a sense of magic to my life through small and simple things like eating marshmallows in a laundry basket.
Why is it that as adults we seem to loose the creativity, magic and love for the seemingly mundane things? And why is it that we feel we need to fill up every minute of everyday with activities and things to do for our children? There is something about just being home and letting their imaginations be at work. Something about laying on the floor and watching how the sun comes through the window and streams across their skin, the inexpensive household items that become spaceships and boats, digging in the mud outside or just sitting together reading stacks of books while your one year old leans in for a kiss and your three year old asks for eskimo kisses. To me, nothing can beat those moments. Not even a morning at Disney!
I woke up Wednesday and the chill from a cold front seemed to be lingering. I opened up the doors to our front porch and turned on Pandora trying to wake my tired body and limbs up... get myself going.
We did our normal breakfast routine and then headed to our porch to water our tiny sprouts. I have been feeling lately that Myra needs more time outdoors and learning through normal, daily hands on chores... So we planted some left over seeds that had been gifts for those who came to the kids birthday party. She squealed and laughed as she stuck her hands in the soil and pushed the seeds deep into the surface. I knew right then that this whole planting thing was a wonderful idea.
Then came the sprouts just a few short days later... when she saw the beautiful green leaves popping up over the surface of the rich brown soil, her eyes widened and looked at me while jumping up and down exclaiming, "IM SO EXCITED" (a popular phrase for Myra).
Her excitement for these little plants has really helped turn my thumb from brown to green, and those little sprouts keep growing and reaching for the sunlight.
After watering our plants that chilly morning we decided to plant even more seeds.
As soon as the sun warmed the air, we all got dressed and headed to the nursery.
Like Myra, I am very excited to watch these grow and see them turn into flowers, carrots and basil! Maybe someday when we have a house the two of us can't plant a large garden together complete with strawberries, cucumbers, radishes, tomatoes and more!
Myra likes to collect things... Sticks, little pieces of play doh, flower pedals... you name it. Well yesterday I went to take a picture of her looking adorable on her dresser playing and she suddenly dumped out a pile of rocks. I don't know where they came from or when she collected them but I found it adorable. I just love how the smallest, simplest things bring so much joy to children.
Early Saturday morning we packed up the car and headed to Clermont to pick some berries. As we drove out of the city and started to drive past big open fields I felt a calm and peaceful feeling deep in my heart. I mentioned to Jordan how sad it is that humans make the earth so much uglier than it is naturally... That we can't even come close to competing with God.
These big open fields full of trees and wildflowers blowing in the wind literally took my breath away. I have always thought of that expression as merely just a figure of speech. A way to describe something as very beautiful... but I literally felt my breath escape me for a moment. Perhaps it was not just the view, but also spending time with my family all together too that made me feel so much gratitude to God. For He not only created the beautiful earth but He created each of us individually and joined us together as a family. There is nothing I would rather do and nobody I would rather be with. I want to explore this world and see everything that He created from small blueberry patches in Florida to the mountains of Switzerland (although the later may take a bit longer to save up for;)) and I want to do it with these people by my side. I am a defender of motherhood. I am a defender of the family. And the older I get, the more I become a defender of our environment.
I had such a fun St Patricks day with my sweet girl! After LOOOOOTTTTS of green food all day long, I decided to end our day with a green tea party...
Ms. Mary Contrary (my name when we have tea parties together) came and turned the tea (milk) green and they shared the most delicious cookies together. The two talked about many important things... like the trees outside and what flowers to plant soon. But then.... Miss Myra Grace began to pour her own tea and as it began to reach the tip top of the cup Ms. Contrary advised her to stop pouring, but on she poured until it spilled over the brim. Ms. Contrary told me she has been working hard on her patience skills lately, so instead of fussing over it she decided to laugh and take pictures of the memory.
Every Thursday we meet up with some friends at a near by park to let the kids play and the parents chat. Well, this park has a very special friend I like to call Mr. Duck. Its easily the most beautiful duck I have ever seen- pure white all over... the strange thing about this duck is that it loves to be chased around and hit by children.
Every Thursday with out fail, this duck waddles up from the pond to the playground just begging for those children to chase it. At first I protested this behavior and told Myra, "Do not chase that duck around, let it be.... its not kind." but then I realized, if it really didn't like it wouldn't it just waddle right back down to the pond?
So now every Thursday we go Duck chasing rather than playground playing...
Today we celebrated three years with this cute girl....
She woke up and opened her first present.. which was this twirly dress.. She has been obsessed with dresses that twirl lately so I knew she would love it. I wanted most of the presents to wait till night time but let her open one more, which was this doll, Claire. I found her on latter day home about a year ago but it was way out of my budget so I nabbed her super quickly when I found her on a major sale a few months ago and saved her in my closet for the big day. Myra is in loooooove with her! She even joined us at church :).
After church and naps we went on our weekly Sunday walk around the pond then back home for dinner, more presents and cake (which was actually brownies because none of us love cake haha). I am so grateful for this girl.
Before I even had babies I wrote them letters so I like to continue doing it from time to time... I think Ill start making birthday letters on here a tradition... here it goes.
Today I woke up to your usual morning yell, "MOMMY, I'M AWAKE!!!" And while I was exhausted, I excitedly hoped out of bed and ran into your room bursting with a thrill to celebrate YOU! I swooped you up from your bed and carried you out to the living room where you smiled and ran around kicking the pink balloons that covered the floor. I held you close to my face and whispered "I love you baby girl, Happy Birthday!" and you squealed and squealed.
You are gold in my eyes. You push me and challenge me and motivate me to dig down deep and pull out all the patience I can muster up daily and I love you for that. And while you are strong willed and speak your mind, you are also sweet as peach pie. You nuzzle into me multiple times a day professing your love for me and always ending with an "I love you MOST!"
You make me laugh out loud daily and seeing you grow and blossom each day makes me feel like the luckiest mom in the world. Heavenly Father gave me YOU three years ago TODAY, and for that I am eternally grateful. I love you bugsy. Happy third birthday. Here are a few things you have said over the past few weeks that have made me smile and laugh:
Myra: "Mom! I have a good Idea"
Myra: "Christmas time!!!!"
Myra: "Mommy, look! My tummy is beepin'" (talking about her heartbeat)
Jordan: "Myra, what do daddies do?"
Myra: "Fix people"
Jordan:"What do mommies do?"
Myra: "Take pictures"
Myra: Daddy, where you goin'?"
Jordan: "To fix people"
Myra: "They sick? They eat too much sugar?"
Myra: "Mommy, I don't like your black hairs. I don't want you. Lets make a new mommy.
(and then she laughed and laughed) "Just kiddin'" (hugged me tight and said, "I give you tight huggle wuggles!"
My sweet boy turned one last Wednesday!!! I can't believe how quickly the year has gone. It literally feels like a month ago I was laying in my hospital bed with him laying on my chest as I breathed in his fresh newborn smell, took in every little detail of his face and itty bitty hands and whispered to him, "I love you more than you can imagine and promise you I will live everyday of my life protecting you!"
From the moment they laid him on my chest right after delivery we had such a special connection and it has only grown minute by minute from then.... even though he cried constantly the first four months haha.
I mean... really though.... how could you not love that face...
We spent the morning at the mall waiting for my computer to get fixed which I felt kinda guilty about so while we waited I showered him with lots of sugary treats, a pretzel and a trip to the Disney store.
After afternoon naps we headed to Disney for the rest of the day and got him his Mickey hat. It has become tradition to get them one on their first birthday and then we just watch them toddle around for a while in those ears. Talk about cuteness overload.
We then spent some time in the ticki-room and then back home for some quick cake and presents.
I think Myra ate more of it ;).
HAPPY BIRTHDAY WAXY MAXY!!!!!!! I love you forever.
We had a lot of fun on Valentines and Myra was so happy and excited the whole day!
Jord was supposed to be working till super late but he got home early and brought flowers for me and some for Myra... (I was really hoping that he would get some for her and I LOVE that he did. She was a little sad I got the pink ones though, so we switched and she was very happy about them!)
The kids and I did a small heart attack on the door for him telling him all the reasons we love him.
I surprised the kids with a new Winnie the Pooh book and Myra just LOVES it. She was so cute about opening it and said, "This is for Me? THANK YOU mommy.. its so special for me."
Then Jordan surprised me with a little date to an ice cream shop. I LOVE the Sub Zero ice cream in Utah and so he searched and found a place similar to sub zero here in Florida. I was SO excited. He is a keeper. ;) I don't need a huge grand gesture, just a "This made me think of you" or "I thought you would like this.." and it makes me feel SO loved.
I love these people of mine I get to call FAMILY!!! I think I really lucked out in the family department and it was so fun being able to shower each other with a little more love than usual.
The beginning of this year I made the same resolution I always make... to try a little harder to be really, truly happy. I have been doing super well so far this year. Brushing things off, not sweating every little thing and not letting my anxiety rule my mind... but for some reason anxiety decided to grab ahold of me and throw me to the floor.... ok, maybe not THAT dramatic, but compared to how happy I was feeling, it has felt that dramatic. Mostly just kinda a grumpy pants and so so tired. I am blaming the string of nightmares that have seemed to creep into my sleep this week... But every time I have really felt myself getting into those grumps I have tried hard to reach down, pull up my boot straps + find and think about what makes me happy- and BE HAPPY.
I think the easiest way for me to do this, pull those so called "boot straps" up, is for me to think of the things through-out the day that make me smile. And these are just a few of the things that did just that this week...
Max's fluffy hair that blows in the wind...
The plethora of bows that Myra insisted on wearing all morning a few days ago.
Days spent in the shade at the playground enjoying the perfect weather and listening to the birds make music for me.
Myra running around in undies.
Myra's thoughtfulness (she drew a picture and said it was for daddy and then asked for tape to tape it up... She kept saying, "This is going to make daddy soooooo happy!"
And a husband who does stitches on his watch to fix it, cuddles me to my hearts content and surprises me with a clean kitchen after a long day.
Sometime happiness isn't easy. Sometimes you have to dig deep down and search for it, but once you see it, you realize how much happiness was already surrounding you, you just weren't seeing it.
These people make me happy. They are my happy. I love them.
Early this morning Jordan mentioned to me that orange picking sounded fun (we've been trying to go for weeks) and within about an hour we were out the door ready to pick! You don't have to do any work trying to convince me to go to any kind of farm or do any picking.... Its like heaven for me to get out of the city.
There were SO many chickens roaming around and I kept thinking.... We will have this someday... someday we will have chickens roaming around OUR yard. The older I get the more crazy I get... or maybe its just my husband rubbing off on me... Either way, I feel the need to be very environmentally friendly and also friendly to fuzzy/furry friends. Which means on our very low budget we pay big bucks for eggs that come from "pasture raised chickens" because I feel bad when they are locked up, or cage free and killing each other. So if I just have my own, it will be simpler... and I want to be cool like the Ingalls. hahaha
Walking into the groves you could smell the strong, sweet citrus and as I walked around with Myra she looked at me and said, "IM SO HAPPY" with a giant smile on her face. A combination of the smell with the perfect weather and scenery made both of us glow.
Kumquats?? I dunno... Jord thought they were and made me bite into it... It was so not good. haha
They were VERY late for their naps because of our little adventure but it was worth it! :)
After we got home from Utah we headed straight for Disney! Myra had been begging for "tea cups" the whole trip so we wanted to get there as soon as possible.
Soon after, Jordan's car battery died and we didn't have time to get a new one for a week so he took my car and I was stuck at home for a good week... Which meant LOTS of riding the wagon over to the park. Thankfully it was AMAZING weather and all I would have wanted to do that week anyways would have been to lay on a blanket on the grass while these two played.
We also had our friend Emily over to celebrate her birthday.
For my birthday in December, Jordan surprised me with tickets to WICKED!! and we finally got to go. My friend ended up talking secretly to all of husbands in our friend group to plan this outing to Wicked, so all of them got tickets for Christmas. We had a blast. I was theatre nerding it the whole time... singing the songs to myself, feelin all the feels and also just a twing of jealousy that I wasn't the one on that stage performing. Sometimes I just miss it so much.
Myra and Isla killin me with their cuteness...
Not the best picture, but I HAD to document this. I came to the table and saw she had set her princess up like this and I thought it was so cute... only a mother... only a mother. hahaha
Lets have a closer look at that...
Max lost one of his shoes, so he has been walking around barefoot for three weeks... Don't worry, I finally bought him new shoes tonight. poor kid.
Spontaneous picnic at the park...
SPONGE CURLERS!!!! I thought she would rip them out and hate them... It was quite the opposite. She LOVED them so much that in the middle of the night when one fell out she started crying saying, "curler fell ouuuuuuut!!!! put back, put back!" hahahaha
Her bandaid obsession is still going strong...check out the legs on that girl.
These two go on a daddy daughter dates once a month... here they are ready to go. That girl LOVES her dates with him.
She reaaaaalllllly likes to give him hugs and squeezes.... he tolerates it... barely.
And for the first time she LOVED meeting a princess. She usually gets super shy/scared... She got over that quickly.
We left bright and early for our plane ride to Utah as soon as Jordan got off for Christmas break. Our plane ride ended up being SO much fun because our friends sat right across from us on the plane AND my children behaved...I walked off feeling happy instead of ready to burst into tears... Usually I make this trip on my own with the children, so having Jordan there, PLUS having it not be night time made it a completely different experience.
As soon as Myra saw it snowing outside she squealed and ran to the window saying, "I so EXCITED!!!!"
(Aunt Cassie taking her on a walk around the block with the doggies)
(Me and Amelia)
Had a quick trip to the Protein Foundry in the middle of Christmas shopping.
And then we all got the plague.... Max started barfing, then Myra and then Jord and I got it as well.... not as bad, but my goodness... it was terrible. We had Myra get out of bed to take a picture with the cousins in their matching jammies.... She threw up all over the floor just after.
She finally started to feel better and got some more play time out in the snow... unfortunately we passed the plague on to my dad and my niece which ruined all chances of getting a family photo with my family. EVERY time we come into town we get those two sick. I am very excited to just LIVE there so that the only times we see them are not just when we are sick and passing around germs.
We were able to get a picture with Jordan's family... which has been VERY difficult over the years because its hard to get all of these peoples schedules to line up....
And then we had a cozy quiet Christmas night at my parents house...
We then woke up to the MOST BEAUTIFUL white Christmas.... I wanted to cry so many times through out the day because I just felt SO grateful.
I caught these two holding hands in the car waiting for us to pack everything in... Lots of back n forth between the two families houses. These kids were such troopers about it.
One of the days we spent some times driving around Provo showing Myra the apartment we brought her home to, walked around the provo temple, and talked about our day dreams of our "someday house". It was strange feeling a deep desire to go back to the past living on Center street in Provo and then two minutes later feeling the same but for the future and desperately wanting to already be living back in Utah and FINALLY in a house. I really realized right then that the time I am living in right now will soon be a time I will wish back so why not love it, own it and stop wishing for my past and future?! This is ALWAYS something I have really struggled with and have to re-learn over and over again... living in the present. Man, its a beast for me.
We really enjoyed our time with these parents of mine.... Jordan played lots of nerdy board games with my dad while my mom and I chatted and played with the kiddos. :) They are the best and babysat for us a lot too so we could enjoy date nights and go to a fun New years party with my friends.
(Myra at the Museum of natural curiosity)
Snowshoeing was UNBELIEVABLE!!!! It seriously was so pretty, I kept telling Jordan that I felt like we were in a movie or something.
On Sunday night Jordan got an email telling him that his schedule for the week had changed and he had the week off with the exception of two night shifts... which meant we got to spend a lot of time together. I was SO excited. So on Tuesday we gathered up our stuff and headed for the park.
While we raced toward Peter Pan to make it in time for our fast pass we got stopped by ropes for the parade and they wouldn't let us pass... but Myra was LOVING it.
After Peter Pan and teacups we got ourselves an ice-cream. Im the kind of girl that likes her soft-serve on the icy side rather than creamy and Jordan had been raving about the ice cream near pooh corner after a night out with Myra, so we had to stop and get some to try.
(Check out the fuzz on maxwell's hair)
Max has just started to take his first steps on his own... I have mixed feelings about this. I am SO happy and proud of him but I super duper don't want my baby to grow up! I LOVE babies and the fact that he won't be a baby much longer has put me into mourning.
While we were at Disney we kept trying to get him to walk on his own. He was being SO funny about it! When we want him to walk and are cheering him on he won't do it... He will only do it if we aren't really paying attention. We will look over at him and realize he is standing on his own and had crossed half the room walking.... So since he took probably only one or two steps on his own at Disney, Im still gonna claim that some of his first steps were there! ;)
The day after we got home from Carolina we turned up the Carpenters Christmas radio on Pandora and started to decorate for Christmas... Which is one of my very favorite things in the whole world! There is just something about the glow and twinkle of lights on a tree and the memories that come from each ornament.
Myra is really starting to understand Christmas this year and it has been so much fun. While we were setting up the tree Myra said, "Decorate for Jesus Birthday?!?" And I wanted to cheer and scream "YES, YES my girl!!!! That is EXACTLY what this is." While she has been obsessed with Frosty, reindeer, santa and the grinch, her favorite things of all of them are the baby Jesus's we have with the different nativities. She holds them gently in her arms bouncing them saying "sh-sh-sh-sh baby Jesus" and sings them "Rock-a-bye baby" while I whisper in her ear, "Oh, Myra, you will be the BEST mommy someday!!!!" and her smile turns up with pride and her shoulders raise as her head ever so slightly tips to the side.
And, of course, we have been soaking up even more Disney than normal... because Disney at Christmastime is UHHHHHMAZING.
I had the sweetest birthday ever ( next to the birthday I got an easy-bake oven for ;)) and it was all thanks to Jordan.
I woke up to the beaters running in the Kitchen... I opened the door and saw Jordan standing there at six in the morning making me a cake. It made me want to cry... Busy as can be, but not too busy to make me a cake! We have a car in the shop so after that I drove him to the hospital and then stopped by the store on the way home with Maxwell and Myra to get some treats and things to make sugar cookies. I spoiled myself and bought two shirts as well...because its my birthday! :)
After Maxwells morning nap we headed to brunch with Emily and the most darling cafe that sits over a little Florida lake. We then headed home for some more naps and then went back to pick up Jordan.
Jordan was home for no more than thirty minutes and we were discussing what to do for the night when he said to me, "Your friends will be here in five minutes!" I did NOT believe him and said, "No they won't" and right then I heard a knock at the door.... "AHHHHH!!the house is a MESS... get out the vacuum", I told him..... but ya know..... it was a little late for that, people were already here! hahahahaha
So we enjoyed cake with some friends for awhile and then Jordan and I headed on a date to Magic Kingdom. Our sweet friends volunteered to stay and babysit for us and it made me really ponder and think about me...and how I really need to be more kind like them. I am grateful not only for that service they happily gave but also for their example.
We took the ferry boat over and rode Splash Mountain and Space Mountain then searched the shops because we weren't with kids and could.... Myra has been telling us that Santa is going to bring her a snow globe and we found a little one there that was perfect for her so we got it.
Like I mentioned before, we are with one car so I have been stuck at home with two sick kiddos. Max has been miserably sick and on top of it has a beautiful white guy coming in the top of his cute gums. So we have been snuggling SO much. Myra wasn't much of a snuggler at this age so I BASK in his snuggles.
We also wrote Santa a letter. She wants only two things for Christmas.
1. Snow Globe
2. Belly Button Book (She saw this at the store and threw about ten tantrums because I wouldn't get it for her..... I finally told her maybe Santa would bring it to her and she instantly cheered up and hasn't stopped talking about Santa bringing her a belly button book since).
done and done.
I am So excited for Christmas morning with this girl.
We had some friends in town the other day that were at Epcot so we hurried over there to see them for a few hours. We talked, walked around, ate ice cream and yummy Thanksgiving dinners at the America pavilion all while Myra got extremely spoiled by our friend Amy. I am kicking myself for not getting a picture of Myra with her because she reallllly spoiled her with love, a giant ginger bread cookie and a new stuffed Olaf. Myra left the park that night SO happy snuggling that silly snowman with a belly full of sugar...
After an early morning root canal the day before Thanksgiving, we headed up to North Carolina to spend Thanksgiving with family. We arrived late that night and then early the next morning headed for a turkey trot.
Jordan and Lizzy (sister) ran a 5K along with some of the kids while I cheered them on...late! haha Jordan failed to tell me where the keys were when he left for the race with his sister a bit earlier than me so when I went to leave I ended up searching for awhile for keys... I finally found them and headed to where the race was. I was told where to park but was super unsure of where to meet everyone. So there I was....Max in an umbrella stroller, Myra on my hip and my giant diaper bag on my other side running around Charlotte up and down hills and parking lots, sweating...stressed... lost.
I finally found them. But they had already finished the race..
(My adorable niece Elle)
The next day we went looking for a tree for their house!
When I lived in Provo with Jordan we always drove down the street to the cutest little Christmas tree lot to pick out our very own little real tree. I LOVED having a real tree and the smell of pine that it left lingering in the house well after it was gone. To save on money while in Med-school we purchased a cheap fake tree to use for a few years so I ate up this time we had to look for a real one... even if it wasn't for us. :)
(Benny boy... my nephew that is a mini Jordan)
(where we ate an AMAZING breakfast...I have been craving the eggs benedict I had there! yumm)
Then they ran again in the most adorable, quaint town called Christmas Town, USA. Every little southern home there was DECKED out in Christmas decorations as well as their little main street... You better believe I started looking at houses on Zillow there on our drive home. If I can't be in Utah....then I want to live THERE!!!! I felt like I was in a movie.
Thanksgiving dinner was delicious and we had such a fun time with family. We even got to be there while Lizzy and Jon announced to their kids that they will be moving to Utah in a few weeks because he finally got a job there. I am so excited for them.
And then we drove home on back roads and highways. Jordan and I kept commenting on the beauty all around us and the white, small town churches on hills around nearly every bend. I kept thinking to myself the whole way home, "WOW. I am just SO grateful. What a beautiful world I live in."
I love Thanksgiving!!! And I feel so refreshed after spending a week of thinking extra hard of all the things I am thankful for.