Sunday, July 1, 2018

When the going gets crazy!

This novel long entry is more for me to sort out life and explain why I have a cold sore caused by stress and a mommy meltdown last Sunday. 

Everyone is crazy busy, right? 
Everyone feels like there are not enough hours in the day to complete the tasks needed to be done. Everyone wishes for more time to get X, Y and Z done and move on to the next thing. 
Everyone has a planner that is jam packed with events and reminders. 

If this is true for everyone, then why do I feel like I'm doing it wrong? I feel like my busy is too much. I know not everyone leads the same life, but I thought I was normal in what we did week to week. 

I know life can get crazy at times, but I try really hard to avoid the crazy.
Tyson and I are planners through and through. And we don't deviate from the plan very frequently. 
We keep ourselves very busy. There is a lot out there that we have our hands in. But because we plan and work well together, we come pretty prepared for what we need to face. 

Tyson works 10-12 hours day on the regular, Monday through Friday, and on occasion he puts in some Saturday hours. The stress of his job has been weighing him down so greatly. Never in our nearly 9 years of marriage have I seen Tyson in a constant state of stress and anxiety. 
He holds a church calling (unpaid) that takes him away from the home for most of the Sunday hours and some of his time during the week to schedule, email and contact others.  
He may find an hour of time at night to read scriptures, his current book or watch a quick show. 
If it's Monday night, he's watching The Office and folding all of our family's laundry that I have washed and dried that day. 

Besides caring for our two children and keeping the home functioning (and clean!), I'm in charge of the budget, grocery shopping (which I love), taking the kids to and from activities, teaching preschool a few times a month, baking cakes as a side hustle that brings in a bit of money, watching two additional children (for the past 3 months) which brings in a little money, flipping AirB&B rentals which also brings in some money, sporting events for my kids (most recently it's soccer and swimming,) trying to figure out how to balance my Compassionate Service Coordinator calling and the needs of church members, a weekly meet up for playgroup and separately a standing friend playdate, and managing the doctor appointments which have sky rocketed the last few months. 

I don't think these lists are more than what the average adult has to deal with. Maybe the extra side jobs of airB&B flips, cakes and child care are a bit more than normal, but to be honest, they all started by wanting to help and serve others. 

It's my personal goal to make sure I'm helping to serve someone at least once a week. Thankfully, those opportunities come pretty naturally and almost daily. We also have a family goal to make sure our Saturdays involve some type of service. Whether it be helping someone move, babysitting so a couple can go on a date, cleaning up trash on a nature trail, or going to places like the Arlington Food Assistance Center and helping people get groceries for the week, we try hard to help those around us. 

So I guess the cold sore came from a week of total crazy, after months of crazy!

 Our less than one year old dishwasher broke 
Then our microwave broke.
Then we discovered a bad leak.

First World Problems, right?

The weeks prior were filled to the brim with cake orders, end of the year school activities, sporting events, social engagements and stressful doctors appointments for Haddie and her kidneys and more! Every spare second I had was going to making cakes in-between everything else that is life.

Haddie asked me one day:
"Mom, when you are done working, and you are finished with all the cakes, can we play together." 
Totally Broken Heart
Part of me realized that my kids have DEFINITELY noticed how busy we've been lately and I was also touched she wanted to play as a family, and also crushed that my working was overwhelming her. 
Too often my girls ask for me to join in on playing with them and I tell them "I Have to get dinner started!" "I have to work on my cakes" or clean or anything! 
I have to consciously take time to play with them, which is important. 
I feel like if I'm not constantly moving, the parts start to fall apart. If dinner isn't made on time, then baths get pushed back, then bed time is late, then we have cranky kids the next day and so on and so forth....
 I know it's ok to work and my kids will be fine. But for me, it was realizing I needed to do better to give them even 10 minutes of my time in a day. 

Things last week felt like they were falling apart fast. 
I made it to church last Sunday and was so overwhelmed (there were some other issues with the Air B&B side hustle -not my fault- the others miscommunicated and owned up to it.) 
I couldn't stop the tears from flowing down my cheeks. I was doing everything to make it look like I had an itch on my cheek or nose so I could wipe away the tears with my tissue. I texted Tyson I was leaving and going home. Luckily we had two cars there and I could drive myself home. 
I cried the whole 15 minute drive home. 
Ate something, read a few pages of my book and took a nap. 
Tyson gave me a hug when he came home for he knew how crazy our life has been. 
Monday I was still in a funk but had to keep moving. I'm making it a point to get out at least once a day so me and the girls can do something different during Summer. So far, it's working great. Even when I have to force myself to leave my work at home and stay up later that night to finish it. 

I know this is just the beginning of all that life has to throw at us. Especially with my two kids (man, what would it be like with 6 kids!) who like to be involved, play sports, have fun with friends and are involved in church. 

Weekends we jam pack with family time. 
It's usually running to a sport practice, a birthday party, our Saturday service activity, eating something along the way and usually one family outing. 
We come home on Saturday's utterly exhausted and wonder how it is we fit it all in. 

Do we do it to ourselves?
 Yes, most of it is planning we do because we enjoy sporting events, supporting friends and attending birthdays, being together as a family, oh, and eating. Whether it's packing a lunch along for the ride and grabbing something to eat and go, we figure it out. 

Oh I also realized recently how important a good, comfortable, big car is our future. Cause I'm going to be in the car for hours a day!
I already am!!!!!
Our next car will have better seats, more compartments, rear A/C (the most important!) and great gas mileage because who has time to always fill up there gas tank! And will be big enough to take friends to and from whatever with us.

Maybe writing this all will help me remember how easy life was when my kids are 4 and 7. 
I wonder what it will look like in 10 years!!

I try not to talk to much about what we have going on but I think I may change that. For the sake of remembering our lives, what we usually did as a family and how we view life, I think I will put a goal to write weekly what our family did on this blog. It used to be my journal for years and I greatly miss it. 

I will still do the monthly dump of photos (maybe more?) I don't know! Still trying to figure out how to balance this blog that I love with the fast past life we live. Because who has time to sit down in front of a real computer with a keyboard and type nowadays. 

We'll see what happens.

I know you all are busy. Life happens and sometimes all at once, overwhelmingly. I know from this past week that a cold sore and a mental break down are signs for me to take it easy (somehow!)

Here's to a week full of cakes, AirB&B flipping, watching two other kids, helping Tyson work through the stress (where possible), making sure I'm spending time with the kids during this Summer time

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

February 2018

February was a fun and busy month! This crazy girl decided that she was going to start loosing her teeth like crazy! The tooth fairy forgot more than once to put money under her pillow :)

But that didn't stop Taryn from being the happiest girl on the block once she had finally decided her beyond loose tooth was ready to pull. 

Tyson loves to have his special daddy daughter dates with the girls. I had a lot of friends having babies from December to May, so there were lots of baby showers to attend! That meant Tyson had the girls over lunch on Saturday at least twice a month. It wasn't uncommon for them to come home and say, " We got firehouse subs!!" a favorite with the girls and Tyson (and me!) It's the one place we go where our girls devour every single bite. Even pizza or burgers don't stand up to firehouse subs. 

There was a cute pair of sisters in our ward, Emo & MJ Henshaw, and one Sunday we realized they were matching the same day Taryn and Haddie were matching. It was our friend Rachel Zobell who pointed it out and got a picture. Too Cute! 

I posted a little bit about this in the month of January, but seriously, Haddie and Taryn have me take pictures of their toys in the specific way they set them up all the time! I love Haddie's crossed legs in the top picture. She's looking mighty serious about her toys. 

A typical rainy day pick up at Taryn's elementary school. Umbrellas as far as the eye can see! That's Haddie in the right hand corner with her purple umbrella, dark purple jacket, "star Pants" and rainbows. 

Snacks while riding a unicorn. 
What could be better in life?

We've begun practicing Haleigh's name writing. Poor girl has a super long name but she is doing a great job at learning it. 

Sleeping Queens
Taryn and HAddie love to play this game with Tyson or me. It's an easy game for the girls to learn but it tests their math, memory and strategy skills. 

We had some schedule changes recently which means our girls wake up super early so we can help our friends and look after them at 7:15am. These early hours make for one really tired Hadleigh. She LOVES her sleep, has asked to go to bed most of her life and never hesitates to tell me she's tired. So we brought back the naps that haven't made an appearance since she was 2 years old. I was surprised at how well she does with naps back in her system. She still goes to bed at the same time which is great and now Haddie is WAY happier during the last ten minutes of our bedtime routine. No more colossal meltdowns. Totally win for everyone. 

Valentine's Day!
My mom sent this cute apron for my girls on Valentine's Day so we had the girls give it a test run so we could send pictures to Grandma. 

All dressed and ready for the love day. We did hearts, purple, pink and red as much a we could. even Tyson wore red/pink (with some dark blue mixed in =very nice looking) to work. 

Our friend Ali Essig hosted a Valentine's Day party where everyone could decorate cookies and have lunch. It was a fun turnout. There were sprinkles everywhere!

I made some yummy cheese fondue for dinner and a chocolate dessert fondue for later. It was all so delicious and I really like these types of dinners. The kids were all in for using the pokers and I loved the variety and easy of set up. 

As Part of the 100 days of school the kids in all grades dressed up as old people. It was hilarious to see some of the costumes kids came up with. Taryn thought of her costume by herself! I just helped her by taking out the lenses of an old pair of sunglasses. She looked adorable!

Notorious Nick the mob boss
or Tyson dressed up for a Murder Mystery Birthday party.

Tyson and I had so much fun going to this murder mystery party for our friend David Zobell. 
Tyson knew exactly what he wanted to wear and I was able to track down all the pieces. Mine took a little hunting at a costume store and the Goodwill, but eventually I made it happen. 

Tyson, or Notorious Nick, ended up dying in the first 20 minutes. We then had to figure out who murdered him. It was a great night spent with great people!
(Tyson became the detective after he died, so he was still able to be apart of the game)

Such a fun group of people!

Taryn turned 7 years old and wanted to celebrate with a doggy party. Tyson and I worked together to make this party a total success. The kids had a blast and Taryn was the happiest girl!

The kids came into our home and made their dog tags complete with their dog names that they went by for the rest of the party. 

We played "Best Bark"

We cleared out our basement and blew up balloons with dog actions in them. The kids would hit the balloon, trying to keep it off the ground, to the music of "Who let the Dogs out!" The last person to touch the balloon got to pop it and do the dog action. 

Opening presents 
and more games!

And lunch was pizza and veggies while watching funny dog videos before the parents came. 
I planned out all the games and activities for the party and I gave Tyson a timeline. He went through and planned out the activities (down to the songs we would play during it all) and he was our time keeper during the party. That's one of the things I love about Tyson. I usually pick out what I need done and he works it into our time frame. Love him!!!

Oh! and cake! Taryn was a lucky girl and got two cakes! One for her actual birthday and one for her party. This is the cake she requested. A dalmatian dog crouching down. 

And this is the cake that I came up with to make for her on her birthday. More spots and of course the color blue!

Look at those yummy layers of chocolate cake and chocolate frosting!

Brooke and Cody came to visit us in D.C. so they could tour some law schools. We were happy to have them out here with us but sadly they won't be coming to the area for law school :( 
That's ok! 

Taryn and Haddie were excited to explain Sleeping Queens to Cody and Brooke. 
The face above that Brooke is giving says "Are you kidding me!" because the girls were toasting both of them!

Lots of park play dates for Haddie at playgroup. 
Haddie and Olivia love to play together.

Sometimes I just have to cake cakes done while the girls are awake. So we co-create. The girls were making some Valentine's Day cards while I was finishing the final coat on a cake. 

That cake became this! A gender reveal cake for our friends. 
I'm really loving all the cakes that I've been making lately. I'll keep posting a few here because it's such a big part of my life right now. 

Here is a snap shot of some Valentine's Day creations I've been working on . 

And to send us off for the month of February, Haddie whose too cool for school :)

Sunday, June 10, 2018

January 2018 with the Smiths

The girls have really taken an interest in cooking/baking lately. I've always wanted them to learn how to cook and bake before leaving the home and I'm so glad that they are actually interested!!!!
Yes, it tests my patience to have them in the kitchen but I also love it!

Our family nights on Monday include a special treat and we rotate who's turn it is to choose. At the time this photo was taken, it was Taryn's turn to pick. She wanted brownies with chocolate chips in them. Both girls were all in with helping make them :)

And the veggies! If they help prep it, their more willing to eat it!

Caddie's favorite foods are french fries, Mac & Cheese, and donuts. 
She's a pro at making Mac & Cheese! 

I'm always happy when the winter weather warms up enough for me to go for a run outdoors. I love my pilates, yoga or HIIT training I can do in my basement, but man- getting outdoors feels SOOOO much better. 

We love our time we get with friends at our home. 
Haddie, Olivia and Coco all play so well together and this little tea party was supper cute! 

Our friends told us about this amazing Napoliation pizzeria in the area so we went with them to try it out. It was amazing and delicious!!! Our girls had been inside all day with the freezing temps and wind chill so they were bouncing around like crazy after eating. But we made it through and loved our time with the Pulvers. 

Oh and I love that we go out to a great Italian eatery and our girls order cotton candy gelato! Haha!

It's always a special occasion when we get to ride the metro into D.C. The girls think it's the best and Tyson is mighty happy that riding the metro is now a once and awhile event instead of part of his tail commute to work. Remind me that living within 10 minute walking distance of work is pure bliss. 

Love this guy!

We don't often stay out past dark so I love to catch the last of the sunsets when we actually see them. Who knew people stay out past 8pm ;)

Haddie, Jane and Taryn in Cafe Rio playing some game they made up. We love Brad and Amanda Glenn and were so sad they moved away from Arlington to go to school in Boston. Thankfully their family trips have taken them down our direction several times. Each time they are passing through, we try and meet up at Cafe Rio. We actually ran into them accidentally at Good Stuff Eatery (In May 2018) while they were moving al their stuff to Texas to start Brad's job there. They were just passing through and wanted to stop of shakes and take them to go. We totally lucked out that we were there taking my sister and her husband out to dinner as a Congratulations to them for finishing job training and moving their family to California. Now we have to plan a trip to Texas to see the Glenn's !

Taryn played basketball over the winter season and loved it. She learned lots of drills and met new kids. Her couch was so fantastic! Taryn would count in her head how many baskets she would make during practice and report to us at the end. She loves her sports! 

I'm still busy making cakes and I love it. Some months (November-February) are slow for me. I won't complain because the holidays are a crazy time and everyone is gone for vacation. March-July are super crazy busy and fun. Each cake has been so different and fun. I'm trying to better my food photography skills and working with fondant. That last thing is still scary to me. 

Or friends have been telling us all about shark tooth hunting for awhile now and it's been on our bucket list for a long time. We finally ventured out to Maryland - Flags Pong Beach, to hunt for shark teeth. Taryn, who loves sharks and studies all about them, was super excited! 

The wind was chilly and the water was probably 35 degrees. BONE CHILLING! And yes, we did put our feet in to really dig for shark teeth.

We started out super excited but we were surprised at how fast out girls grew tired of hunting. They were discouraged when they couldn't find the large magaldone 

I love catching these little moments. 

Totally in his element. Nature is Tyson's de-stresser. 

This girl is just as crazy funny as ever. 

We pulled off about 30 minutes from home because we saw signs for the "Home of Dr. Samuel Mudd" and knew we had to just go see what it was all about. It was a brief stop but we learned a bit of history on John Wilkes Booth and Dr. Mudd, so it was worth it!

LOVE seeing this sing on our way home from a day trip. 

The girls play "Family" all the time and often tend to their babies, travel to Arizona or more recently South Carolina because that's where Tyson traveled of work a few weeks back. If the girls have to go to bed, they ask for me to take a picture of what their toys look like so they won't forget in the morning. I have so many pictures like this one on my phone! :)

This is how breakfast goes in our home. Early mornings, cereal and fruit for Haddie. 
Oh, and her blanket because she is always freezing. 

Notice the kitty/cheetah ears on the girls. They get into full character when those are on their heads. 
Also, Taryn's love for dogs runs DEEP. She asks me for a dog, writes letters to the tooth fairy asking for a dog instead of money, wishes for a dog when she finds an eyelash, wishbone and dandelion puff and more. She often writes in her journals about how she is sad because she wants a dog but I won't let her have one. So therefore I am a mean mom - haha!

Our friends from way back in our Arizona days came to visit! Aaron's sister lives about 1.5 hours away so they decided to spend one day with us in D.C. We miss them but we know they are happy in Washington state. It's always fun to have friends in town and take them around D.C. & Virginia ! 

We had such a blast at our first family skate night. The girls were total champs and kept trying over and over even after falling flat on their bums. They shared the assistance bar back and forth and asked to come back for weeks later. I loved spending time as a family trying something new! 

Our 2nd go around was not as smooth. The girls were too over tired, my GoodWill roller-skates broke and we kept getting separated. But we still managed to have some fun and get through the night. Having more friends like the Williams, Plowmans and Ringgers there helped for sure! 

Taryn has lost so many teeth recently. She is looking more and more grown up. She won't let us pull out her teeth, even when they are hanging by a thread. Our friend Lindsey Williams suggested using our stomp rocket to help and Tayrn was all for it! So far, Taryn has lost her teeth via stomp rocket twice, wrestling with Haddie and twisting the tooth around completely at school after a friend said it would help the tooth come out. She is raking in the money from the tooth fairy. 

Since this picture in January, she has lost 3 more teeth !