Monday, December 4, 2017

Elijah turned 3! 

(last month...)

I am always so far behind on all my blog posts but that's ok because they are just for me. I just want to be able to revisit as many little happy memories of my family and our life together as I possibly can.

Elijah turned 3 on the 30th of October. It seemed like we talked about it with him forever and now it's already been over a month! He's a tall skinny little rascal with the cutest tiniest little bum. I love how the features of kids are so obvious when the are little because you are staring at just like this miniature human. I can't ever imagine not having him in our home and him not having that delicious red hair.

Elijah loves to play with his sister all the time and takes on whatever interests she has at the current moment. He stepped right into that dinosaur love when he was getting older and finding his own way to play with toys, but is now adapting to Pokemon play since that is the current interest of his sister. His grandma told me that when he comes over he likes to play with her dolls which makes me laugh because I would never know that since we don't have any lying around our house. I did notice however that when I knit my little bears and bunnies that it is Elijah  who seems to gravitate to them much more than Olive does. The thing with little kids is that they can imagine whatever they want to be whatever they want, and so as we don't currently have many Pokemon toys in the house the kids just pretend their dinosaurs are Pokemon and that suits them just fine. 

Elijah is very affectionate. Both my kids are. I think I have cultivated that in them and sometimes it's a little too much but at the same time oh how I love it so. I know it won't last forever. He is always, ALWAYS touching our faces. The first thing he does in the morning when he wakes up is crawl into bed and start rubbing your face. He is always grabbing our faces in his two hands and doing this funny little grit teethed shake. He strokes my cheek and says "Awww, you're so cute." It makes me laugh because it is an obvious reflection of something I say to him about 50 times a day. He loves to snuggle and asks us to snuggle him while he watches a show or read a book. It always makes me feel good to pick him up and give him a tight squeeze. 

Elijah is a good eater. It's funny because as a baby he was pickier than Olive but he has way surpassed her in his palette at this point and will eat pretty much anything, and loves to eat salad. Both my children love seafood, which has made me a very proud parent. However, he is still a typical child because his favorite thing to eat is Macaroni and Cheese and he talks about eating it every night in his prayers. I finally got him potty trained after a big potty training failure (on my part.) I was very hard on him the first time I tried to train him because I thought it would just come so naturally since he had started to poop in the potty on his own so early. When he had accidents I came down too hard on him for them because I was frustrated that he had peed 5 seconds after I had taken him off the potty. I wasn't giving him a chance to learn. After that he really didn't want to even try no matter what incentive I offered him, and I was feeling perplexed about it until it finally dawned on me that maybe he didn't want to do it because it had made him feel bad. So I ask him if that was the reason, if he didn't want to do it because I had yelled him. He said it was. I told him I would not yell at him anymore and he agreed to do it and was pretty much completely potty trained within a few days. It was a good life lesson for me. And now I just love it when he sits his little body on that big toilet and the way he ducks his head down to watch himself go poop. It's so funny. 

Elijah is very good at going to bed and hardly ever gets up after we put him down. Occasionally he will get up once or twice, stand in the hall for a minute until we see him and then get this big grin and runs right back into his bed. It makes me smile every time. Every night I say prayers with him and sing him two songs. Both versions of "twinkle twinkle little star" and "I often go walking." I rub his head and we talk about the fun things that we should do the next day. These are the little moments I treasure. It used to be hard to get Elijah to sleep when he was a baby but just like his eating patterns he has really adapted to fit our somewhat nomadic lifestyle and sleep well on cars or planes safely tucked into my arms. 

When I picture Elijah in my head I see his little run and can hear his pitter patter coming down the hall. He loves to play a game he has entitled "mean guy" where I chase them around the house and try to grab them and put them on the couch or on the bed. He asks me to be a "mean guy" at least once a day. Lately they have adapted it into their Pokemon play and I have been dubbed "Team Rocket" which are the bad guys in Pokemon and they are any number of Pokemon but usually Pikachu and Snorlax. It can be such an exhausting and physically demanding game, especially now that Olive is so big, but the kids love it so much I can't help but oblige as often as I can. He loves the show Dinosaur Train and begs to watch it all the time. We listen to the soundtrack in the car and I love to hear him sing all the songs in the back (sometimes I'm allowed to join in sometimes I'm not.) As a family we often play Zingo or Go Fish and it's fun to have them at an age where they enjoy and can play games. Elijah has his own version to every game but it usually makes us smile and laugh the whole way through. He loves to play memory with me and often it's just a matter of searching for the match than finding it. He always shouts out each new card he gets in Go Fish or lays out all his cards, which is just hilarious, and he will often just flip his Zingo board right in the middle of a game and decide he needs to start a new one. It's fun because he doesn't take the "winning" part so seriously and of course Olive is very sensitive to winning and so it makes everything work out well. 

Elijah is an absolute joy in our family. He makes me so happy to be a mother and gives me love and affection everyday. His spirit of kindness is contagious in every way. He keeps me laughing at all the rascally things he does, like telling me to "go away" so he can do something naughty he isn't supposed to do. He makes a perfect fit to our family and I could not imagine life without him. Love you Elijah Chick Atkinson, love you more than words can say.  

Friday, October 6, 2017

A Quick Weekend in San Francisco.

Kc's parents were going out to California for the baby blessing of Kc's little brother Greg and his wife Heidi and asked if we wanted to join them. I was a little hesitant as the flight times were not ideal, but I said yes anyways and we flew out on a Friday night and came home VERY late on Sunday evening (morning.) I wasn't really sure what any of the plans were with the family so I didn't really make any plans of our own, which made things a little crazy and disjointed, but I am happy we went because it's always fun to go on adventures and for the cousins to get to spend time with one another (even at the cost of sleep deprivation.) 

When we arrived at the airport in Oakland California we had to get our car rental and drive 20 or 30 minutes to Angie's house. It was already pretty late and Kc had to turn right back around and get his brother at the same airport, poor guy. He would have gotten back to his sister's house so late that he decided to just stay at his brother's house instead. I hadn't known that this was the plan so I was a little thrown off because that meant we had to spend the whole next morning doing things without him, which Is hadn't anticipated, but we had lots of fun with just us girls. We went to a local cafe and got some yummy baked goods and ate them while the kids played with sidewalk chalk outside the shop. Then we walked down to the beach. I admit I was not prepared with beach attire as I had not anticipated good weather or sandy beaches. You'd think I would know better. Anyways I walked around the beach in my boots and the kids played in the sand and collected all sorts of things. Elijah ran down to the water. He also picked up dog poop which was the grossest thing ever and most likely why we have all been sick for the past week with some weird bug. When you have kids there is never a dull moment. The girls wanted to bring all their treasures back with them so we let them do a small haul in a grocery sack. This turned out to be a bad plan as all three girls decided they each had to have a hand on the bag as they walked up the street and it took them forever to make it just one block, but they were all giggling and smiling the whole way, so I guess it really was worth it after all. 

After our fun little morning together Kc finally joined us. I ordered and picked up some dim sum because you know when in Rome (or San Francisco.) Then Elijah and I took a much needed nap after which we headed out to watch June play soccer out by the water. I wish we could have spent more time adventuring but Kc had to head back to the airport again to get his parents and so we decided we only had time left to get ice cream. I had found out they had a Salt and Straw in San Francisco and so I was determined to visit there as my last trip there while in Oregon had been mind blowing. The line was long and the kids were tired and over anxious and for a bit I wondered if it was all worth it, but when I finally got that ice cream I remembered that it most certainly was worth it. I got the honey lavender and even as I write this I am trying to reimagine the flavor in my mouth (especially since I am not eating sugar right now, ugh.) Then we headed back to Angie's house to get our stuff and head over to spend the night at a hotel in Palo Alto near where Kc's brother lived. 

The next morning we headed to church with family and participated in the baby blessing of Emiko Atkinson. It was lovely to be there with family. We spent a very low key day together just enjoying each other's company. After everyone had left we headed to our flight. There had only been a couple flights times and somehow we had ended up with one that was supposed to leave around 940 pm, already past their bedtimes, but then it got delayed by over an hour and I was getting quite antsy as I had to work at 4 am the next morning. The kids slept through the flight and on the way home and although I only got 30 minutes of sleep before I had to go into work I was able to come home early and sleep for a bit since the kids slept in until 10 or 11. So it all worked out in the end. Despite the difficulty it can be to travel so much I keep feeling eternally grateful for the opportunities we have been given to do so with our family. 

The Rest of Summer 2017

When we returned from our long trip we came back to lots of family time and adventures. Kc's sister had come into town for a couple weeks so there were lots of fun activities planned. It was a wonderful reminder that our own back yard is full of places to explore with people that we love.

Kc's family rented a cabin right on a picturesque little stream up at Sundance. We didn't stay any nights up there because it was too hard with my work schedule, but we did spend some time exploring around the stream and it was so magical. Over the next few days we had some fun adventures up in those mountains, one of which was a zip line tour down the mountain. Sundance has built an amazing zip line down their ski mountain. You take the lift up and zip down, and it's so beautiful and exhilarating. If you live in Utah and haven't done it yet you need to try it, it's a must! 

Kc's work puts on the most amazing parties every year at Christmas and at summer time. We had so much fun at the summer party this year. They had a face painter and since there was no line Kc and I sent Olive over to get her faced painted while she waited for us to finish eating. She has had her face painted a lot and always asks for a dinosaur, and let's be honest, they usually suck haha, which doesn't matter because kids don't care but we were totally shocked when she came back with the most amazing face painting I have ever seen! We quickly sent Elijah over there and he got a little octopus. We didn't really think it through because then the kids went and played in a bunch of blow up toys that were filled with water and it all got washed off. Olive was really upset but we assured her we could wait in line again, so we did. This time I decided to join them and we all got dinosaurs. It was really fun. I don't think Olives was as good the second time, but that's ok, I was happy we all did it together. 

More adventures at Sundance. Joseph and the Technicolor Dream Coat. I LOVE seeing performances up at Sundance and I was excited to see this one because I had never seen the play before. It was really fun, an amazing show and fun to go with family. I've made it a tradition to go to their shows every summer. 

The girls dancing their hearts out at the Esplin Family Reunion. 

Last year I suggested that we go to Utah Lake and let off lanterns for Bryant on his birthday. It was a good experience so his family decided to do it again this year. We were not able to do it on his birthday due to bad weather, so we decided to wait until his sister Angie came so the family could all do it together. The lanterns didn't light or float up into the air very well so we only got a couple up there, but it was good to just be with family and be thinking about Bryant together. 

Since we were in Washington for Olive's birthday we found a good day to throw a party for her when we got home. I decided this year I would invite EVERYONE so as not to offend anyone.... I will not be doing that again. There were so many kids and all the plans I made did not go well. I was feeling so overwhelmed the whole time. Luckily my sisters were there and took care of half of it for me. I think I will be taking a break from birthday parties for a couple years. The cake on the other hand turned out great. I always feel like I have to make a creative cake because thats what my mom did growing up and a birthday just doesn't feel complete unless you have one. Olive wanted her party to be "Yoshi" themed this year and so I vacillated between a few different ideas on the cake but ended up with this one and I was happy with it. Olive added the cars and the candles. Love that little girl. Can't believe she is really 5 now!

Some pictures of things that brought me joy this summer. Attending a baby shower for one of my best friends who had TWINS! Reaping the benefits of our garden. Look at those gorgeous carrots and that glorious tomato that got canned with other glorious tomatoes to be used all year long. Those kinds of things give me all the heart eyes. 

For the solar eclipse I took the kids up to Wyoming and met up with my older sister and her family to stay at my little sister's house so we could see a total eclipse since at our house it would only have been about 90 percent. I had really debated whether or not I was going to go since I had just gotten home from a long trip and had had a busy week back and I didn't think I would be able to get another day off work. I had basically decided that I would not go since it would be too stressful, and then I had a conversation with my pathologist at work who was raving about how it was such an amazing once in a lifetime opportunity and if I had somewhere to stay I really should do it. I was still unsure if I could pull it off, but the next day (the day before the eclipse) I decided that I would go for it, that I would spend my whole morning trying to get someone to work for me and if I did I would leave shortly after. I made multiple phone calls and finally convinced someone to come in for me. As soon as he gave me the go ahead I packed up the car and the kids and headed to Wyoming. Another big reason I had been hesitant was the expectation of horrible traffic and difficulty  getting to and from the viewing locations. I had been watching news and peoples posts on social media and noticed that there didn't seem to be any traffic issues. This was also a major factor in my decision to go ahead and try to make it work. I could handle 5 hours in the car with my kids, but after our long road trip the previous month, I didn't think I could handle much more than that, especially without Kc with me. We got lucky and it was all smooth sailing. 

The solar eclipse was, as promised, amazing. A once in a lifetime opportunity. I was so happy I had made the decision to drive to see it in totality. It was also amazing to have that experience with my sister and her family. We spent the night in various rooms on floors, blow up mattresses, and tents outside. Then we woke up and headed to the mountains. As we started to approach the traffic started to increase and since the start of the eclipse was approaching we were feeling a bit anxious. We saw an open road that our brother in law had said was a short cut but was normally closed. We decided to head that way as we didn't see any other cars doing the same. We found a little brewery out there and set up camp in the parking lot. It was fun little adventure, and there weren't too many other people there. There was so much climax to the eclipse and when it finally hit totality I was so overwhelmed I wasn't really sure what to do, I just stared at it in awe. It went by so fast. I have spent a lot of time since then trying to envision it in my mind so as not to forget the awe inspiring experience. No picture I have seen comes close to doing justice to how it appears to the naked eye. I hope I get blessed to view another one some day, but if I don't I will always feel glad that I was able to see this one. 

Olive's first day of school! She was so excited. She rode her bike there, and has been riding her bike pretty much every day since. She loves it, is thriving, and has already made new friends. It's so fun to watch her in this new stage of life. 

Since I had been gone all summer I hadn't made it up to Bear lake to stay at my sister's cabin yet, which just wasn't acceptable, so I picked an open weekend and we all headed up. It was so fun. I love being there in that cute little house on that cute little property, and the kids love to spend the night and be together. We took a drive up to Bloomington lake and we decided to take the 4 wheelers since we thought it would be less bumpy. On the dusty, dirty, bumpy, noisy, blinding light ride up the canyon both my kids fell asleep. So I had to lay back and hold Elijah the whole way up. I was trying to figure out how to get his nap in... I definitely didn't think we'd get it in that way. We had a ton of fun up at the lake going off the rope swing, letting the kids play in the water and look for fish, and explore the rocks. I feel lucky that I get the opportunity to go up this place every year with my sister.

And Dad's birthday. The kids and I had planned to make this circuit cake but then Kc got home right after we started it and I realized he might have more fun and know how to decorate it better than me, so we let him come in and do it with the kids. And then Olive put dinosaurs all over it.