I had some cousins from my dad’s side stay with us for two nights last week because they were moving from Iowa to Oregon. Eva loved playing with their kids and we spent the afternoon up at City Creek and Temple Square. I can’t get enough of that place! We so enjoyed getting to know our cousins better and wish them the best in this next step of life!
In January, my siblings and I started talking about getting together this year. Good thing we started months in advance because it took that long to figure out the date we all could make! Somehow though, we were able to find a weekend in July that worked for all of us! I came a couple days before and stayed a couple days after everyone else was there, which I loved so I could also have one-on-one time with my parents. Honestly, I wish I could have stayed an extra week but I had stuff in Utah I needed to get back for. I just wish my parents lived in Utah. And all of my siblings. You all who have your family all close do not know how blessed you are, so don’t take it for granted!
This was the first time all of us with our spouses and families have ever been together and the first time all of us siblings have been together for five years! So, it was a long time coming and was really special! We took family pictures one evening and I teared up thinking about how long it had been and how long it may be until next time. But I’m so grateful for all of their love and friendship. Each of my siblings and sibling-in-laws are all so different but great in their own ways!
We made the trip like a Cincinnati stay-cation. We did SO much! This is all for journaling purposes, so sorry for the snooze fest, but I have to write it all down!
Thursday, we went to the pool with my parents. Finn sat so contently in my lap in the tube the whole time. It was the best. My mom and I went grocery shopping for the week to prepare for all the meals! It was quite the feat and pretty fun to plan it all out! Mary Beth’s family arrived late that night.
On Friday, TJ arrived in the afternoon and Sam and Ashley got in late that night. We had another pool day with all the cousins.
Saturday, we had a delicious goetta breakfast with everyone and then went up to a bike trail in Cincinnati. It was so much fun and I wish we could have gone longer but Finn was not having it by the end. TJ pulled Finn and Spencer in one trailer and I pulled Eva behind me. Amelia was on a bike for two with her dad and the rest of the gang were on bikes. We were like a huge parade and it was awesome. The trail was so gorgeous, right next to the Little Miami River, and covered by huge trees. We had a picnic afterwards all together and the kids played at a nearby park. In the evening, we had a birthday party for my niece Amelia at the pool with dinner, dancing, and even a piñata!
On Sunday, we had church in the morning then had my Uncle and Aunt over for lunch. It was such a hot and humid day, I remember sweating so much outside and thinking, “How are we going to take pictures in this tonight??” But we did! We all got changed and headed over to Devou Park in Covington. It was such a fun evening being there together as a family. We were all a little silly and thinking of dumb poses like jumping together (which turned out terribly, obviously) but we really just had fun together as siblings! After the kids went to bed, Sam, Ashley H, MB, TJ, and I went on a little walk in Fort Thomas which was fun talking about the old days growing up there.
Moving right along to Monday, we had planned on going to Coney Island but there was rain that morning so we went bowling instead at the Levee and was able to meet up with my dad since his office is there! Afterwards, we went to the Contemporary Arts Museum downtown. TJ and I loved it and took funny snapchats together with the artwork. We walked around the square for a bit and had a scoop of Graeter’s. Sam and his wife, TJ, and I decided we wanted to go to Kings Island that night which turned out to be the best night because the park was nearly empty. We walked on all the rides, saw a couple fun shows, and got to watch fireworks at the end of the night. Thank goodness for dramamine because those rides are no joke!
On Tuesday, we took the kids to Coney Island on another ridiculously hot and humid day but they loved it so much! We all rested up a bit afterwards and then went to the Reds Game! It was Eva’s first time at a professional Baseball game and I think first time watching Baseball, ever! But she and the rest of the girls LOVED it! It probably stemmed around the fact that they got to eat peanuts, kettle corn, soda, cotton candy, and ice-cream. Hahaha! We left the boys with a babysitter that night which was really nice to not worry about Finn and just enjoy the game! We parked at the Levee and walked across the river to get there and back, and on the way home, we turned on exercises and did them on the bridge. It was such a funny moment!
That night we finally put Eva in our room to sleep on a blowup mattress since the other nights she had slept in a bed with Amelia and they had been waking each other up at the crack of dawn. Thankfully Eva slept in the next morning because we all had gone to bed so late!
On Wednesday, it was Sam’s birthday so we had a birthday brunch and a delicious lunch made by Ashley. We also put on a talent show where TJ and I did the Mormon Rap (video of that to come haha!). Sam and Ashley left for the airport that afternoon and I’m pretty sure that afternoon we just went to the pool, it’s all blurring together!
My sister and her husband also had a wedding anniversary over the trip so they slipped away for an overnight in Clifty Falls. We took the kids downtown to the Banks where they did the carousel and played in the splash pad. Afterwards, the boys napped and TJ and I took the girls to see Finding Dory! It was nice to have a little rest since we had been in the sun so much, so the downtime was much needed. We loved getting to spend that individual time too with my nieces and just get to hang out with them! When we got back, we went to the pool again (those girls loveeeed swimming together and it was so hot, the pool was a necessity) and then watched Interstellar once the kids went to sleep.
Gosh, what day does that bring me to? Friday? TJ left and so I took him to the airport while everyone swam. We enjoyed Larosa’s pizza together and then my sister, mom, and I snuck out for an hour for a little shopping. We had my favorite mexican restaurant for dinner that night and finished up the movie together.
Saturday, the rest of the gang left which was hard to see them go and was strange to have such a quiet/empty house. My mom, the kids, and I went shopping for a bit and then we met my dad at the park for the Ward Pioneer Day picnic. I had a great talk with the missionaries and it kind of relit a fire in me that was a little dim, so thanks missionaries! We all have a ups and downs in our spiritual journey, so it made me want to stop being lazy!
Woo, this is getting long but we are almost at the end! Sunday we had church and I got to watch my sweet dad teach the primary children music. He’s such a good primary chorister! Afterwards, I met up with my friend Lelia and we just talked each other’s ears off about life, 21 Day Fix, and everything else imaginable! It was so great catching up.
On Monday, the kids and I left and had a looooong journey home. Eva fell asleep at the layover and it was so entertaining to see how she wouldn’t wake up. I’m not kidding. She was in the stroller at the gate and she needed to get out to walk to her seat. But I was like shaking her, tickling her, SHOUTING ,” EVA, YOU NEED TO WAKE UP!!!” Everyone passing by was laughing and I was laughing so hard at the situation. Finally, she got up, I folded the stroller, then she tried to get back ON the folded stroller. She and Finn slept the entire second flight, thank goodness. It was the same ordeal trying to get Eva to wake up when we landed, but when she finally was *awake* and aware in the stroller walking to baggage claim, she said, “Mom, don’t we have another flight?” I told her we already went on the second airplane and she slept through it all. She was so confused. Hilarious!
Obviously, we had a great trip. One that we will remember forever. And just to make sure we don’t forget, here’s a video of it all! Pictures will come in another post. I’m way too tired to do anymore after writing this epic-long post.
We watched Eva’s cousins for a couple days while their parents were on a trip and it was so much fun. I felt like a magical magician each night when all the kids were down and asleep by 8. It was pretty amazing… right? They played together so hard so by Tuesday night when their parents came home, they were all exhausted, including Eva. Job well done in my book. We took countless trips to the park, played bubbles outside, played board games and tea party, made bracelets, went to a play place, and of course, got on snap chat for lots of fun.
My sister Mary Beth who lives in DC visited last weekend. She hadn’t met Finn yet, so it was fun showing him to her for the first time! I missed seeing her kids since she came by herself, but it was so nice to have one-on-one time with her since we haven’t really ever had that.
On Friday, MB had a massage then we did a little shopping and had lunch out while Eva was at school and Finn was at Grandma’s. Saturday, we went to the symphony for a children’s concert, then walked around Temple Square and City Creek. Sunday we got to go to the temple dedication together, then Monday we found some Easter dresses for her at the mall while Eva was at school. I sure wish she lived closer so we could make these outings a regular thing!
One day this month I was having a really hard time with Eva. I don’t know what has been going on with her lately, she’s such a sweet girl but she has been really trying my patience. So, on this one day in particular, we had a big fight. Probably because she just wasn’t listening. JUST LISTEN AND OBEY. I swear I say this 250 times a day, and probably 500 times on this day I’m describing.
Well, in the middle of the yelling, (LISTEN AND OBEY! … I MAKE MY OWN DECISIONS … YOU ARE ONLY FOUR … back and forth, you get the picture), I just called a time out pretty much and said, “Okay, let’s both take some big deep breaths.” We turned on Curious George for a couple of minutes and sat on the couch together. While she was immersed in the show, I was overwhelmed with incompetence as a mother. I feel this way often, but this time was so intense that I just didn’t know what to do. How was *I* supposed to be responsible to raise these children? I feel so lost sometimes when raising them. I feel like I’ve got an idea on how to parent and then it backfires. I come up with one discipline system that works for like five days then she’s totally over it. How do I discipline fairly for a four-year old? What is going to work and actually teach them a lesson? Is spanking too harsh? Do time-outs do anything? HOW THE H-E-DOUBLE-HOCKEYSTICKS DO I TEACH A STRONG-WILLED FOUR YEAR OLD TO LISTEN AND OBEY? AHH!
So, that was how I’m feeling, sitting there on the couch while tuning out Curious George. My mind started wandering. Thinking of new approaches. Then I saw a picture of Christ in my room. News flash: I instantly started crying. I started thinking of our Savior and our Heavenly Father, but for the first time in my life (why is this the first time I ever considered this?) I asked myself how THEY would parent a strong-willed four year old.
I brainstormed some examples in the scriptures on our Savior’s attitude, how he dealt with others, how he handled difficult situations. At first I thought of His forgiveness towards others. Christ is our ultimate example of forgiveness. So, try and forgive Eva….? Well, most of what she was doing was just being a typical crazy four year old. I guess I could try and not take it personally? But that still doesn’t solve the problem on how to discipline and teach my child to listen.
I thought of some more examples in the scriptures. We know He was kind, understanding, compassionate, but also, there was that time when He got pretty upset with the people selling things in the temple, which they shouldn’t have been doing. So, does that mean I can lose my cool sometimes when Eva purposely disobeys rules?
Since that afternoon I asked myself those questions, thinking of the attributes of our Savior and trying to relate them to parenthood, I keep thinking about it. Honestly, every time Eva drives me up a wall I keep thinking about it. Really, I haven’t come up with a resolution. It’s something I am still pondering. I’m trying to read the scriptures and for the first time ever, read them with the perspective of a parent trying to teach her child to obey. It’s hard. And I guess I’m writing this post to ask you all what you think?
If Jesus came over to babysit (and I mean this question in the most serious way because we should always look to Him as our example), how would He discipline Eva if she would not listen and then acted crazy/hyper before bedtime? If you have an answer for that, PLEASE comment. And then tell me how you think it relates to us. I know there’s not just one way to teach our kids/discipline/etc. I also know that God loves each one of us more than we can imagine, so we should teach with love, as well. But there’s got to be some sort of example from our Savior on parenting in those difficult times. Sorry for the rambling… just trying to get my thoughts out here!
FYI-Eva is so great, and I love her dearly. Overall, she acts great… we just have our moments, as all parents do. I don’t want you all to think I’m child-shaming her!
The past week and a half we’ve had really great weather. It’s amazing how 50 degrees in October feels so cold but 50 degrees in February feels like summer. One day it reached 60 so we opened up our patio door, put on a Spring candle scent, and really enjoyed the sunshine. We’ve gone on walks, bike rides, park visits, and trips to the farm. The sunshine makes life so much better and I cannot wait for Springtime!
Eva is really into tea parties right now, so we’ve been having them every day. One day she told Ariel, “You get what you get and you don’t throw a fit.” Also, she always starts them off with a prayer.
Every week we visit the museum and we finally found a time that’s not busy-weekdays after 5! We had the place to ourselves.
One warm afternoon we went to the farm with some friends. Eva still won’t ride the pony but loves the peacocks the most. I’m in love with the goats and pigs. When we watched a cow getting milked, I asked her if she wanted to try and she responded, “I’m NEVER going to do that. EVER.” We are two peas in a pod.
Easter decor and a movie!
Last Saturday, I put up some Easter decorations, organized my sewing stuff and Eva’s crafts on an Ikea cart, and we took Eva to see Kung Fu Panda 3-which was really good!
We love having a park one minute away from our house.
Friday afternoon after school, we took Eva’s bike to the park and she rode around the pond two times, I was so impressed! Finn was content in my little front pack and we got a good little walk in.
Here are a couple more photos from my parents’ visit! We had a fabulous time with them and miss them dearly! My mom helped out so much by cooking meals, cleaning, letting me nap, and playing with Eva nonstop… Eva loved doing crafts, playdoh, playing toys, going to the park a million times, and baking with my mom! Come back, parents!
My parents came to town for Finn’s baby blessing and we had incredible (summer) weather the entire time. On Saturday the 9th, we all went to Cornbelly’s (a pumpkin patch and fall festival) in the morning before the crowd was bad. I couldn’t believe how big the place was-it was totally worth the price. Eva had a blast, and well enjoyed watching her do the games, slides, and activities. I especially liked seeing the pig races and sheep herding! What a great day!
The first week after Finn was born, my brother and his wife were in town and got to visit with us a couple of times. It was so great to see some family since my parents didn’t get to come those first few days.
The Friday evening before Labor Day, we had Eva’s cousins over to swim for the last time. It was a little chilly, especially once we got out but it was so fun to all hang out. I’m so grateful that TJ’s siblings live here and that we have kids who love playing together. Now, can MY siblings and parents move out here too???
I LOVE this photo! You should have seen them all playing and running around together. They really love each other and I’m so grateful Eva gets to be a part of it all again now that we are back in Utah… it makes it all worth it.