Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Three and free to explore

"Mama, it ok if I get vewy wet, ok?"

Ok, Niko. I suppose you're only three once, right? 

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Miriam: 4 months

Miriam is such a jolly 4 month old, guys. Seriously, she's the best. 

Some stats:

Height: 24 in (44%)

Weight: 12 lbs 3 oz (17%)

Sleeping patterns: Up until a week ago, Miriam was sleeping pretty solidly through the night. Aaand then she started waking up around 5 am again, but won't go back to sleep with her pacifier or some early morning milk. I think she might be teething? Maybe? Basically I end up deciding that any sort of weird fussiness that I can't diagnose is teething, so we'll see if this is the real deal or if Miriam has just decided she really likes crying in the wee hours of the morning.

Eating habits: Same old same old! 

New discoveries she made: Nikolai is a silly brother and is super fun to watch and laugh at! (Seriously, watching her watch him is one of my favorite things lately. Yay siblings!)

Accomplishments: ROLLING OVER! Nikolai was a strange/wonderful baby and rolled over at 2 months, so we kind of thought Miriam was behind until we realized that he was a bit unusual. Anyways, Miriam was lying on the floor the other day and got onto her side, then proceeded to scream in frustration until POOF! She rolled over! Atta baby!

Places she went: To Utah to visit Grandma and Grandpa and all our loved ones! Other than that, we walked to a few parks and to the library on occasion (good exercise!).

(Ok, if I had any photoshop skills AT ALL I would edit the photo above to make it look like Miri was either A) cannonballing into a pool of water or B) karate kicking through the air like a ninja. Anyone have skills and want to help me out with this? ;D)

Special memories: Miri and I were sitting inside one day when Nikolai, playing outside, passed by the window. Miriam saw him and immediately waved her arms excitedly before promptly bursting into adorable baby giggles at the mere sight of her older brother.

You guys, two kids is the best :) 


When in doubt, family picnic outings to see silly Swedish acrobats and karate students is always a good idea.


Also, we have the cutest baby in the world:

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Evidence that we live with a tiny crazy person

Exhibit A: Fridge magnets in the butter drawer

Why? Ask our silly 3 year old!

Grease Monkey Part 2

So, remember how I replaced our old radiator last month? And how fun that was?

Well I must have bragged about having a fun time with that too much because this week, our new radiator decided to fail (we decided we likely got a faulty one, though it's hard to know for sure), causing our car to start overheating and smoking and scary stuff like that. 

The inner ring of the top radiator opening, melted:

The hole in the side of the radiator opening:

After a scary trip to and from the parts store (in which I fervently prayed that I wouldn't ruin the engine by driving an overheated car), I got a new radiator to put in (hallelujah for 90 day warranties!), and then got up first thing the next morning and put it in.

That went super well (only took about an hour this time), so I ran inside, fed Miriam, and then headed out to return the broken radiator. 

And then the car immediately started overheating again, and I was either going to cry, or swear, or both. 

I pulled off into a parking lot and made a frantic call to my dad to ask what he thought might be wrong (during which time not one, but three men came up and asked me if everything was alright, and if they could help). His best guess was that the thermostat was broken, preventing the radiator from cooling the engine. 

After some frustrated grumbling, I drove the car home (again praying that I wasn't ruining the car by driving it while overheated) and researched how to fix the thermostat.

As luck would have it, it was both something I could replace myself (just 2 bolts to remove, and in an easily accessible place in the car to boot) AND our local automotive store had our part in stock. We emailed out to our kind fellow church members and within minutes had a ride to go get the part (I'm breezing past this part, but let me tell you, we were incredibly grateful to have a network of such kind, helpful people to rely on!). 

Once I had the part, it was only about 30 minutes of labor to get in here:

and remove this:

The new one went in easy-peasy, and the car has been properly regulating the engine temperature ever since! I'm not going to lie though, I was pretty freaked out to drive it the first couple of times, certain that it was just going to overheat again. 

I'm incredibly grateful that my dad knew what might be wrong (thanks Dad!!!) and that it was something I could fix myself, without having to take it to a mechanic. With Jesse being in school and me at home with the babes, getting our car fixed is non-trivial, financially, so it's nice to be able to pinch some pennies and do it ourselves. 

Sunday, June 14, 2015

There and back again

When we're at home in Michigan, I miss my family in an abstract, distant sort of way. I miss them, but I get busy with my life--taking care of Miri and Niko, chores, orchestra, teaching Sunday School, organizing a mom's group, reading books for book club, spending time with Jesse--and it becomes easy to forget how much I miss them. 

When we visit them again, suddenly that missing comes to the forefront--I see my family again, remember how much I love them and think "OH! I didn't realize how much I was missing you!"

So when it's time for us to part, that missing is very present in my mind. It was impossible for me to not cry as I hugged my loved ones goodbye. 

When I feel that way, sometimes I think (fleetingly) that it would be better to just never visit, so that sadness doesn't come to the forefront and I don't hurt so much.

But then, isn't that love, and life, and being human? Loving other people brings the risk of getting hurt, but without that risk we can't feel the joy that love brings. The joy of hugging my mother, laughing with my brother, teasing my father, chasing my son, curling up with my husband--these are all lost if I don't choose to love.

So it's worth it. It's worth it to feel sad when I leave those I love, because I get to love them when I'm with them. 

To my family: Thank you for bringing me so much joy. I love you and miss you!

Uncle Jack

Nikolai spent most of his time in Utah following Uncle Jack around. 

They did odd jobs around the house, including picking up after the dog. 

(Later, I think this activity prompted Nikolai to greet my dad when he arrived at home with "Hey Grandpa! Let's watch the dog poop!")

He also played with a little neighbor sometimes:

"Take a picture of me jumping!"

But mostly he hung out with his best friend:

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Ride the train

My mom had the fun idea while we were visiting to take Nikolai on the train (seeing as he's so fascinated by them!). 

He was so quiet and observant the whole time that I think he really enjoyed it.

Oh by the way, I cut my hair and created some bangs the night before:

We took the TRAX to Temple Square and walked around for a little bit.  When we saw this fountain, we had to explain to Niko that there was money in it because people throw it in to make a wish. In typical give-a-mouse-a-cookie fashion, this explanation made Nikolai want a penny to throw in as well. 

After tossing it in, he promptly stated, "I wish for a dinosaur."

Way to not be greedy, kiddo! Just one dinosaur. Is that so much for a 3 year old to ask?

Family picnic

Over the weekend, all my siblings and their significant others came up to my parents' house. It was fantastic to be together with everyone!

On Saturday, we headed up Cottonwood Canyon, hoping for a hike, only to realize that some storms were passing through. 

After waiting out the worst of it in our cars (rain and hail, oh my!) we decided to nix the hike and just have a picnic instead. 

Gosh you guys, these people are so great! Sometimes I think of how much I love my siblings now that we're all grown, and I realize that I primarily want to have more kid(s) so that Niko and Miri can have that experience when they're older. Being siblings was fun when we were kids, but it's even better now!

Also, a big shout out to our parents for doing the hard business of raising us all so that we can be friends now :)

Friday, June 12, 2015

Date hike

A week ago, Jesse and I left the kiddos with my folks and took a hike up the mountain in Centerville. It wasn't a long or complicated venture, but it was nice to get out and chat sans littles. 

Some mid-hike photos of us:

Some beautiful things we saw:

I LOVE sagebrush. That might be kind of weird, but it's just such a pretty color and it smells so nice!

I don't have any particular desire to live in Utah, but every time I visit and see the mountains, I am tempted to reconsider that decision. 

These mountains are beautiful!

Love and cousins in Logan

After a few days with my parents, we drove up to Logan to have a short visit with Jesse's sister Melissa, his brother Andy, and their families. 

It was SO awesome to see them!

We've met Melissa's daughter Norah before but she was tiny then (maybe 5 months old) so it was really fun to see her again as a tiny little person. 

Norah and Miri are 1 1/2 years apart but they seemed to hit it off alright. 

"Bebe!" says Norah.

Calvin, Jack and Nikolai hit it off like we had always hoped they would. They all played together in the pool in the afternoon--Calvin and Jack loved splashing each other and getting splashed, and Calvin and Nikolai liked spraying water in the air. 

In the morning, Calvin and Niko were thick as thieves--running off to play together and telling me to leave when I came in. 

It was so awesome to see them get along so well, and definitely made us regret that we live so far away. 

By way of parting, we headed to a park to let the kids romp while we grown-ups (Is it weird that it's weird to call myself that, even though we have two kids?!) chatted. 

Andy is hairless so when Jack discovered Jesse's beard he was intrigued! Notice how his curiosity did in no way impede Jesse and Andy from their fervent conversation:

All of Juli and Dave's grandbabies, in one place:

Sibling love:

Cousin love:

Oh yeah, here's the awesome jacket Andy and I painted when he visited us in MI:

Sweet Norah:

Looking at these pictures makes me realize, yet again, that I partially married Jesse for his awesome family. These people are fantastic and I hope we see them again soon!