Thursday, December 24, 2015

Christmas Eve

We rewatched the movie The Nativity Story, and wow it is so touching and powerful. It feels a little slow in the beginning, but I think it is a necessary build up of all the evil in the world and of the story surrounding Christ's birth. It captures all the things that Mary and Joseph felt, and shows the desperation of their last moments before finally finding shelter at the stable. The birth meant so much more to me now that I've had my own children. I held them so tightly as we watched. It is an amazing cinematic moment. We had already sung Christmas hymns, got teary singing Silent Night, and read Luke 2, but this really topped off my night and made me so grateful for the Savior descending to a dark world and sacrificing everything. I also felt the sacrifice of his parents, and of others who came before Him. I'm so thankful I live in a safe, comfortable place. I am feeling very blessed and very thankful in my warm home on this Christmas Eve. We also had a special gift that we gave the kids tonight and I'm excited to post about it here soon.

On a lighter note, I can't wait for the children to wake up on Christmas morning- the best fun all year!

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Magic babies

Last night I made hamburgers on the stove. They turned out really yummy. The kids actually ate it. Afterward I turned on some jazzy Christmas music and made Raimo slow dance with me in the family room. The children were tugging at our legs and whining at us to dance with them. So eventually we split and I slow danced with Rose and Raimo danced with Finn. The kids were so happy. The lights of the Christmas free lit up their faces in our dark house. We switched around partners. At one point, Rose was dancing on top of my feet and she looked up at me with such happy eyes and her beautiful smile, and I wanted to bottle it up. It makes everything worth it.

When we do things all together, Rose often declares,"I have my WHOLE family!" She loves the wholeness of having all of us together and it's always so sweet and such a good reminder that we are complete together. If she gets to go on a date with mommy or daddy, she is always really concerned that Finn doesn't get to come. And she loves when all four of us are holding hands while we're walking. Children are amazing glue in families 💗 I love mine so much. Babies are magic.

Friday, November 20, 2015

A Dream is A Wish Your Heart Makes

I had the chance to spend some time with a group of women from church last night. We met at a restaraunt and most of us stayed two hours chatting and getting to know each other better. Whenever girls nights come around, I often think how much easier and more relaxing it would be to stay home and crawl into bed to watch tv after a busy day with small kids. But I'm always glad when I make the effort and just go. I need those female relationships more now, as a wife and mother. I like hearing other women's experiences and thoughts, and I enjoy how we bounce ideas off each other and sometimes just take a moment to complain about a few things and get it out of our systems. Last night I stayed about 30 minutes longer to chat with a couple of women that I am getting to know better. They are driven and ambitious LDS women, and I identify with them a lot. One of them recently applied for law school. One of them is an aspiring screenwriter and is busy trying to make connections and edit a large manuscript. We talked about some of our lofty goals and what steps we are taking and what plans we are making to make those dreams a reality. As stay at home moms, we all feel the weight of the responsibility and duty to our children and I always try to make that my priority. But beyond the scope of our daily tasks and sometimes monotonous chores, there are inside each of us a strong, talented individual woman, who is capable of doing great things alongside the great work of mothering. I feel lucky to live in a time when mothers, particularly in my church community, are carving out space in their lives to do ambitious things, like writing books, starting their own companies, continuing their education, being artists, using their God-given talents, and a myriad of other things, right alongside living their lives as righteous mothers and wives. 

I was particularly grateful to have that short conversation with friends because it made me feel a little more empowered in making brave and bold choices about what I do with my life. It made me recall something I wrote to myself in my journal around 3 years ago a little while after becoming a mom. At that time I had been feeling that my life was forever changed and even stunted a little by motherhood, though I loved my daughter with all my soul and wanted nothing more than to be with her and care for her always. It seemed that my brain was being fried by all the sleepless nights and I felt like I would never do anything FOR myself or BY MYSELF ever again. And I came across an inspirational article, which I've mentioned before on my blog, that suggested to write your big dreams on a piece of paper and sign it. It was kind of eye-opening for me to even acknowledge my wildest dreams to myself, let alone write them down. 

Over the last year or so I think I started letting self-doubt take over, and I started to think some of those dreams were completely out of reach and that I was not allowed to think of anything beyond the care of my children. The naysayers in my own head and in the traditions of our home-and-family-church became a little overwhelming. But last night I allowed myself to think about some things that make me me, as an individual and human, and it was so much fun. I have varied interests and talents and goals and I hope to make some of those dreams come alive again along with all of the great work and challenge of raising a family. 

I loved the advice Elder Oaks gave at a recent Q&A at a night for women in my stake. One mother stood (the same one who just applied for law school) and spoke of her confusion regarding pursuing her aspirations and work as a pianist and musician while maintaining a nurturing and involved environment for her 4 children. His answer was wonderful! He referenced his very talented and hard-working violinist granddaughter, Jenny Oaks Baker, who has an album and is busy performing and doing her spiritual and family duties as well. He basically said to prayerfully follow your own instincts, and that the balance would be different for different people. I appreciated that a lot. So while I may not always feel like there are a lot of options out there for women who are moms, I hope to make some new pathways, whether it be in graduate programs, artistic pursuits, charity work, part-time career work, writing, or whatever I feel like doing. It means a lot to me, as a thinker and independent soul. I have to keep dreaming! 

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Halloween 2015

Raimo was in charge of getting the kids dressed for the truck-or-treat because I had to teach my piano classes till 6:30.

Our ward trunk-or-treat was on Tuesday. We had chili as usual, and I actually made some chili to contribute this year. It was a fun night.

On Friday Rose had her Halloween parade at preschool. It was darling.

We spent Halloween day at the beach because it was 80 degrees outside! Then we had nap and dinner and got ready for our night on the town!
Raimo wasn't really able to open his mouth much because he had just had a root canal with a bone graft (!?) on Thursday. He had a root canal on the same tooth right before Halloween 4 years ago :

See how his face is not smiling? haha
Only this year the non smiling made sense

Halloween is so much more fun with kids!

I loved dressing up as a family! I always hated the pressure of Halloween and costumes, so I'm glad we just went for it this year. Rose was really excited that her whole family was a bat family. She was the most glamorous little batgirl!
I love this so much

We met up with the Tanners and trick-or-treated down Coast Highway in Encinitas. All the shops were handing out candy and there was a big display of intricate Jack-o-lanterns at the end.

Batman Ben and batgirl
I love this little profile

This was the queen of Halloween, and she granted each of us a wish

Gotham is safe

Then we had some Baked Bear afterward. More sugar!

Dance Photos

These photos finally came in from June. They are to die for.
 Rose was the littlest ballerina.
 She was doing her own thing in most of the pictures. Like this one....

SO cute!

Thursday, October 29, 2015

A beautiful thought

"Real, personal sacrifice never was placing an animal on the altar. Instead, it is a willingness to put the animal in us upon the altar and letting it be consumed."
Neal A. Maxwell

Sunday, October 25, 2015

A little catch-up

So we'll start with Labor Day weekend- we went to St George to have an impromptu family get-together. There are so many cousins and it's so much fun!
It was super hot and we spent a lot of time in the pool, getting drinks, cookies, and dinner. I love cousin time like this:

The girls painted nails and the boys  rode bikes 
Then Rose did some tricks, and all the other girls wanted in on the action

Girl outing to Sally's Beauty!!!

It was quick and fun. 

So on the first day of September we had a little back-to-school dinner. I made little hats for everyone and we had fruit and pasta and started our new theme for the school year

Rose was all about it. We used our Finnish glasses and had to do a "cheer" as Rose calls it (aka clink glasses and say "cheers")

Finn was not all about the hat

This was last years' theme.

Here is the new one

And the next day was Rose's first day of preschool! She has been looking forward to it for a very long time! She was all set and ready to go.

Raimo asked her what she wants to be when she grows up, and she said, "A ballerina." And then she added "A big ballerina mom, just like mom." I was the most adorable thing ever. And then she struck this pose. Passe!

Hanging with Charlotte after orientation

Rose has continued to enjoy school for the past two months, and is learning things like using key words for good manners (please and thank you, etc). She is also getting good at coloring in the lines. No scribble scrabble. She has done a lot of wonderful artwork! I know they are working on letters a bit as well and talking about the seasons and primary and secondary colors. What fun!

As I continued taking her to school that week and the next, I really wanted to take pictures of her every day! It was just fun to get her dressed up, and she looked so cute with her backpack! We took a lot of second, third, and forth day of school pictures.

Another big event was that weekend. I got it into my head a few weeks before to throw a surprise party for my parents' 25th anniversary, so I had been working a lot on that project. I bought a bunch of decorations and made a slideshow with the help of Monica, and sent out an evite to a bunch of my parents' close friends.

It was fun having it at night. We got to have some nice lighting. We had a dessert table and music. I also got video clips of a bunch of their family and friends that live far away and it was really fun having them "come" to the party too in that way.

My parents were totally surprised. We sent them out to dinner with their friends the Whiteheads, and of course my mom tried to get them to go to a movie afterward. I called the Whiteheads, pretending to be their daughter-in-law needing them to come get the kids in an emergency... and so they brought my parents home and .... SURPRISE! It was fun.

New jewelry

A beautiful sunset by La Costa
An escapee

One of our last beach days

Baking with Rose

A little evening walk on the beach

Cleaned out the closet. Took all night!

Showing her Barbie watch, that actually used to be mine, that actually has no battery

We had a little fun one Saturday and had a picnic at Mission Bay

From there, we went to Seaworld.

The Orcas were really active that day- we stood and watched them make a baby.

It was fun, but blazing hot. We actually left in the middle of the Dolphin show and just went home. It was too HOT.

Fun with friends

The kids always get to rough house with Raimo

And a few sleeping pics

Another important event was the daddy-daughter camp out! I was really excited the ward decided to do this! I just think it's really sweet. The guys loaded up and took off on Friday night. Rose and Savannah were so excited. Raimo told me that when they arrived, Rose looked out and said, "But I'm gonna get dusty!"
Thumbs up!

Setting up the tent

Having fun with flashlights

Best friends!

These pics are from later that week. It was still blazing hot. We tried out Holiday Park by the Village. It is nice because it has nice old trees and it's more shady.

I love this tree

The hot weather continued! Ahhh! Finn woke up from his nap one day and fell back asleep in my arms! It was dreamy, and we snuggled

Here's another hot day where we had to get out of the house. We walked up to this lookout point that I hadn't been to over Ponto beach. It was too hot, naturally, so we didn't stay long.

And last but not least, Rose had her first field trip to Nate's Butt Farm... err... Bates' Nut Farm.

My little pumpkins. We did this last year too! Look how little they were!

I looked at that picture from last year and felt so sad and missed them from that time, but then I look at this picture and at how they are becoming friends, and that is so much fun.

Second cousins

Rose was super excited to ride a pony! Her first time! She has become so brave over this summer

"Tractor!" ~Finn

I spy

And there you have it folks- a recap of September