Friday, May 11, 2018

Visiting with Family

My older sister, Michelle, lives in the Seattle area. She recently came to visit  came to visit at the beginning of April and I had the opportunity to take the girls down to my parents' house in central Arkansas to see her. It was so much fun getting to spend time with her and my other siblings. While we were sad Graham wasn't able to make it (working nights and a random schedule make planning trips difficult), we were glad we could make the trip.

We left on a Friday afternoon and we drove through rain the entire way. Both girls napped and I listened to podcasts (At Home With Sally Clarkson, Brave Writer, Speaking with Joy, Risen Motherhood). It was nice to have a couple of hours in the car to be able to listen!

Bedtime was a mess that night, because (as aforementioned) Evie had napped in the car. She hadn't napped one bit for the previous week straight, so that threw her off. Annnd being in a new place. Annnd the arrival of Rebecca and Camille (my younger sisters) in the midst of it all. Best quote from the night (around 9pm?) "Mommy!! Did you lock the door or are you just holding the handle?" I cracked up laughing. Because I had been holding the handle. Thankfully I learned my lesson from this travesty and remedied it for the rest of our week in town. (I put Elaina down first so that she would be asleep in the room, then went in with Evie and laid next to her while she fell asleep. I read an ebook on my phone after snuggling with her for a couple of minutes, and each night within 5 minutes of starting to read she was fast asleep.)

Saturday morning we got together with my friend April. Her little girl is between Evie and Elaina so it was fun to get together. And as always, the time goes by too fast!

Michelle came in late Saturday night, arriving at my parents' house around 10:30pm. I had been baking chocolate chip cookies to have as dessert for our Sunday dinner, so I put some of them out with milk and also had yogurt and fruit out. At the time I was in the middle of reading Sally Clarkson's book, The Lifegiving Table, and it inspired me to lay a beautiful feast out for her arrival :) Complete with a candle. I felt so very civilized ;) We stayed up far too late playing a game of Trivial Pursuit (from the version produced in if I wouldn't have been bad enough at a current version, heh). We learned an array of useful facts, including which two countries the Khyber pass goes through (Afghanistan and Pakistan, the location of the Kon-Tiki Raft (Oslo, Norway), and a myriad of others I'm sure. Someone who gets more sleep than me might be able to remember. Mom, Michelle, you guys remember any other super interesting facts we learned?

On Sunday we went to church out in the little Branch where I went when I was a kid. It was so fun! My mom went to class with Evie, so I was actually able to attend Sunday School and Relief Society (meeting for the adult women in our church). At home I serve in our children's organization (Primary) so I don't normally get to attend lessons with other adults on Sundays. Elaina was a champ even though she was so very tired. I grabbed a couple toys out of the nursery for her to play with during RS.

We did a big lunch/dinner that afternoon around 3pm. My older brothers were all able to be there (Bob and Parker live in town but Patrick and his girlfriend Allison made a long drive to come). Aunt Rita's potato salad was a huge hit (as expected). One of these days I might actually try my hand at making it...maybe.

On Monday we went to dinner with my second family, aka the Schulte family. Always love getting together with them so my girls can have some time with Grandpa Tim and Grandma Chris :) If Evie can get past her fear of Sadie (the dog), then we'll be golden. Elaina, of course, is best friends with Sadie.

More mornings at the park, more afternoons working in the garden. In between times going through the house with Michelle and helping Mom declutter :)


On that Thursday morning we packed up and headed out (after one last trip to the park to hide some painted rocks). Both girls fell asleep right away, but unfortunately neither slept very long. I'm talking, even little Elaina baby only napped for 45 minutes. Evie probably slept for about 20-30 minutes. So we stopped at a random place marked "Overlook" and stretched our legs. It was fun to spend some time running around in the grass and soaking up the sunshine before getting back into the car. The girls each had a couple of books and some snacks to eat to keep them fairly occupied. They also enjoyed tugging back and forth on a blanket. I, once again, listened to some podcasts and it was great!

We were thrilled to get home and see Graham that night. A week is a long time to be away from someone you love :)

xoxo, Marissa

 P.S. Here are some more pictures from our week :)

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Daily Life Update #8

It's been nearly a year since I've done a post strictly dedicated to this, so I thought I'd give an update into our daily happenings. Here are some links to some previous ones (#5, #6, #7)


We recently did her one-year photo shoot. My friend, Niki, was so sweet and offered to do them for free when I asked if she would be up for taking them! Elaina was a champ and did great, and the weather was beautiful that day. So all the really great looking pictures in this post were taken that day :)

We are experimenting with going down to one nap a day with this kiddo. Some days are better than others. Though, I am a little bit annoyed. (skip to the next paragraph if you don't want to read about baby poop) She always used to have a bowel movement first thing in the morning, though sometimes she wouldn't have had one and she would wake up from her morning nap with a stinky diaper. Since starting her out on one nap, she has not had hardly any bowel movements in the morning! It is so frustrating. Because sometimes she will wake up after one hour with a stinky and then is so so stinking tired by the end of the day. Hoping this sorts itself out soon....

Still loves all books. She wants to read paper books now all the time. She's gotten better about not immediately tearing them apart to eat the pages, but I have to keep a close eye on her.

Still loves to eat. Food, paper, dirt, rocks--you know, she doesn't discriminate ;)

Elaina is getting such a personality to her and we love watching it unfold as it develops. She is so sneaky and will often tease Evie. Elaina will grab Evie's Bee-Boo, hold it out so Evie knows she has it, then will turn and run/crawl away, giggling all the while. Evie loves to chase her and then be chased in return. It is so special and fun to see them interacting more and more and actually playing together! Elaina has also started voicing her displeasure when Evie takes something from her. I have no doubt that a biting phase will ensue...especially as she's teething.

Speaking of...bleh. Molars are the worst! Poor baby will wake up just screaming in the middle of the night. It's the saddest thing ever!


Full on big sister. She loves it most days. That is, except when Elaina is following her around (something she'll need to get used to!). Evie has such a sweet heart and I love getting to hear her thoughts. She is always making connections and she has a fantastic memory. She is always surprising me with details and random things that she remembers!

Evie is very close to dropping her nap. Which kills me a little bit. But I'm also excited to do more "quiet reading time" with her...where I set a timer and get to read while she peruses her own books quietly. We've done this a couple times when Elaina was still taking an afternoon nap. We can get in 15 minutes no problem!

For the past month she has insisted on being called Moana. Only she adds an "l" and says, "No, say 'Malana.'" She was sick today (3/8) so I was only corrected maybe 5 times. In her sickness she forgot for most of the day and I made the most of my time, haha. I loved getting to snuggle with her more today and read to her lots and lots. It was great :) Elaina was sad to be missing out on her playmate though and kept going over to the couch to touch her face or tug on her blanket.


Graham is working nights. He loves his coworkers and where he works, but it is rough on his body. So pretty much we never know what his schedule is going to look like and what time he goes to sleep or wakes up. This is much harder on me than him, since I thrive on plans and schedules/routines.

Pretty much all that is on Graham's mind lately is our cruise and beach trip that we have planned! Graham and I will be going on a 5-night Carnival cruise in early July. He loves to research and has been enjoying that. In September we will be going as a family to Fort Morgan, Alabama with two other families to spend a week at the beach there. So excited!!


I've been on a podcast-listening kick lately and love finding a new podcast that I can go back and start at the beginning of, listening while I do dishes/laundry or while in the car (though Evie prefers to listen to audio books or podcasts she's already familiar with). Some current ones I'm listening to: Wild+Free, Risen Motherhood, The Next Right Thing, Storyformed, Read Aloud Revival.

I'm also in the middle of a million different books. I used to be a one book at a time kind of girl. Not so much anymore. It's nice to have a couple options so I can choose whatever I'm in the mood for at the time. My favorite at the moment that I'm reading is Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think. So good. And right up my alley. Follow me on Goodreads for more of what I'm reading.

My days consist of taking care of a home and feeding/clothing two children. Warmer weather means less opportunities to easily keep them in fleece jammies all day long, but pj days are so much fun ;) I try to read my scriptures during the day, normally when I put Evie down for her nap. Elaina loves that I have something out that she knows she can't have, so of course she is immediately trying to climb all over me as I try to focus on reading. (Though this habit is getting tricky with transitioning nap schedules...It's always something!) I've also started setting reminders on my phone for things like "compliment Evie" or "pray for patience." I have these set on daily and I like using that as a means to refocus and be attentive.

Also, as I don't post on here often and my current use of Facebook is to share this blog, check a couple groups for ideas, and attend/host Usborne Books parties....if you're looking for more, request a follow on Instagram. But don't be offended if I don't approve it. Heh. I'm keeping my account followers to people I actually know and have an in-person relationship with.


My scripture for this month is Psalm 30:5. I've only memorized the second half of it. I'm undecided as to whether or not I'll memorize the first half. The second half is "therefore, weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning."

xoxo, Marissa

Monday, February 5, 2018

Elaina's First Birthday

Another baby, another year older. If only it were so simple. But it's not! My little Elaina baby is now one...I'm trying to still be in denial. It's not working out well for me. She's been taking steps since she was 10 months old and is full on walking and climbing everything in sight now. She's ready to be a big kid toddler, even if I'm not ready for her to "move on."

She has the sweetest little laugh (but is oh so stingy with it) and giggles most often when she is tired or when she's with Graham. The second she hears his voice in the evening (he works nights and typically wakes up around 5-5:30pm) she stops whatever she is doing and practically runs to the bedroom to see him, with the biggest grin on her face. She loves her special little bunny as well as baby dolls, though my favorite is when she grabs a book and brings it to me to read to her. Her favorite books are touch and feel books, though flap books and ones with pictures of babies are high on her list too. She is ever so sneaky and bolts for the bathroom (if the door is left open), bedroom (if Evie is sleeping), pantry (again with the door open), or computer wires the second she sees I am otherwise engaged. Right now she also loves climbing on the little rocking chairs Graham's grandfather made (Elaina and Papa Lacy share a birthday, and she has always loved him!). She will stand in it and rock as fast as she can. Last week Evie climbed up with her which resulted in a tumble. (Evie was fine as Elaina softened her landing.) Elaina loves playing peek-a-boo, but hasn't quite mastered the technique required. Her hands either end up on her head instead of covering her eyes, or she forgets to remove them (Evie will often come up and pry her hands off to help remedy this).

On Elaina's birthday, we tried to include a few special things. We went to visit with some friends that have a farm and that was so much fun. We always enjoy spending time with them and I can always use an excuse to go visit ;) Since her favorite food is, I planned our menu like normal. I was ambitious and made overnight cinnamon rolls to have for breakfast. We had pepperoni pinwheels for her birthday dinner. We bought her a book for her gift (one can never have too many books in my opinion) and Graham's parents got her this adorable fox bonnet. (Go check out WeeBee Bonnets, they are so cute!!)

Mmm chocolate

One of the kids made a caterpillar from the magnet tiles!

For her birthday party we kept things very low key. You might say #secondchildproblems, but mostly it's our personalities. Check out Evie's first birthday post here to see what I mean. And even with her party I ended up doing several things last minute as I thought of little touches. Looking back on her post gave me a couple simple ideas for Elaina's party too.
close ups of these later in the post :)

We hosted at Graham's parents house (like we did for Evie's first birthday party) to have more space and could invite more friends. Since Graham works nights we planned her party to be from 4-6pm and invited friends to bring food in lieu of a gift. Party? Check. Dinner? Check! I made cupcakes, chicken salad and ham/cheese sliders (plus some peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for the kids) and guests pitched in for the rest! The food spread was really quite fantastic! Cinda has these magnetic tiles that Evie and Elaina love to play with so we had those out for the kids along with some balls. Evie also heard the song "Can't Stop The Feeling" by Justin Timberlake for the first time the night before Elaina's party and she thought it would be so fun to have a dance party--so we did! We blasted the song on David and Cinda's Amazon Echo and the kids had so much fun dancing before we sang "Happy Birthday" to Elaina and dug in on the cupcakes (crazy chocolate cake with chocolate icing and The Very Hungry Caterpillar toppers)


"But I want it now!"

All cleaned up with her aunts and Grandpa

It was a fun time and we were all exhausted by the end of the night :)

At the beginning of January I had this conversation with Evie. Me: “Evie! Can you believe that next month Elaina will be one?!” Evie, frowning and looking sad: “No.” Me: “Why does that make you sad, honey?” Evie: “Because then she will not be a baby anymore.”

Truer words were never spoken. My baby is growing up. I am so sad but also loving her as she grows into her own. Here's to all the years to come!

xoxo, Marissa

Also, for any interested:
My scripture for this month is John 15:11 (thanks for the recommendation, Dixie!)
I'm currently reading a slew of books: Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle (read-aloud with Evie), Little Women, How to Raise a Wild Child (nonfiction/parenting), Change Anything (reading with Graham, nonfiction), and The Life-Giving Home (nonfiction, reading a chapter monthly that matches the current month). Check out my Goodreads if you want to see what all I have read this year. I love using the app to track my reading--so simple!