Monday, June 29, 2015

Seattle Trip

We recently returned from our week-long vacation to visit my sister, Michelle, and her family near Seattle, Washington. Boy oh boy, was it a fun trip! This was Evie's first time to meet her Uncle Bryce and her cousins Connor, Jefferson, and Peter. We mostly stayed home and did things that were relatively close in order to help Evie keep a consistent nap schedule during our trip. We left on June 17 for Seattle and headed back to Arkansas on June 24. Here's a travel recap and pictures from the trip for you!

Wednesday, June 17: We had a late flight (8:45 pm from Tulsa) that ended up being delayed an hour and a half... luckily airports have WiFi, so we watched some Netflix to kill the time! Despite being delayed, we were really blessed that day. We stopped in Denver, but stayed on the same plane to continue to Seattle. If we would have had a connection to make, we would have been staying the night in Denver because by the time we got there, no other connections were being made. So basically everyone on our flight to Denver ended up staying there. I felt badly for them but grateful that we were able to stay on the plane and continue on to Seattle. We arrived around 1:30 am local time I think? Michelle picked us up at the airport and got in some Evie snuggles before our 35ish minute ride back to her place where we chatted with Bryce for a bit before heading to bed.

Thursday, June 18: Peter had been sick on Wednesday, so we took things easy on Thursday. Also, we were all dead tired from being up so late. Anyone who knows me knows that I like going to bed early. And, well, getting to bed at 2:30 am local time (so 4:30 am on my body clock), is not early. The boys all got to meet Evie when we woke up for the day. It was fun getting to see their first interactions! The older boys (Connor and Jefferson) had learned previously how to correctly hold a baby. Only, Evie is a little bit bigger than that now and does not really like to be held like a newborn/tiny baby. So we had to show them more of how she liked to be held so she could still look around and not squirm in their arms the entire time. Jefferson was definitely the most interested in her and was always asking if he could hold her. Also, when she was napping he would say "Aunt Marissa, is it time to wake up Evie yet?" He absolutely loved and adored her and it was oh so precious.

Friday, June 19: We went to the zoo! For Christmas 2014 they bought family passes to their zoo (and they got them on sale and were able to get this awesome deal where they get 3 guest passes every time they go!), so we took advantage of that to have a fun day out without having to drive too far with all of the kiddos. We were able to see some incredible animals! They have an aquarium section where we were able to see stingrays (and pet them!), jellyfish (several varieties), sharks, various fishes. The boys (minus Peter, since you had to be at least three to do this) rode a camel, and all three boys were able to feed the budgies. Peter even did a great job of holding the feeding stick still enough to feed some! They had clouded leopard cubs (only 6 weeks old and so dang cute) that we were able to see briefly, and we also saw tigers, elephants, meerkats, and penguins!

Saturday, June 20: Jefferson had a t-ball game that morning (lots of fun!) and he got in three great hits. Graham took Peter to play on the nearby playground during the game. After they came back Graham headed to the restroom and Peter started to run after him going "No, Uncle Graham! Wait for me!!" thinking that Graham was headed back to the playground. That night we went to Bryce's parents' house for his sister's birthday party. She had lots of her friends over and there was tons of great food and fun! We got a volleyball game started and it quickly filled in with people (who were probably all wanting to play but nervous about being the ones to start).

Sunday, June 21 (Father's Day): Graham and Bryce both slept in, and Michelle and I made cinnamon rolls for a special Father's Day breakfast. I visited Primary (our church organization for children ages 3-11) with Michelle to watch her do music time with the children (check out her music ideas at!). Right after church we headed to Gary and ReNel's again for dinner. Graham was very happy--steak was on the menu for dinner! We also had corn on the cob, fruit salad, and a vast assortment of desserts. We loved the opportunity to spend time there for two days of our trip. Bryce's parents always make us feel welcome and they are incredibly wonderful people!

Monday, June 22: We had another relaxing day at home (since we had been on the go for the past couple of days and Evie had to catch naps whenever she could--often in the car). Bryce left for a work trip so I helped with breakfast clean up and insured that Connor and Jefferson were prepared for swim lessons when Michelle returned (which they were! woohoo!).

During Evie's afternoon nap (when Peter was also napping), the rest of us played Settlers of Catan. Last year when we visited we played this game just about every day (I think I only played once or twice though, because I often opted to nap instead of play. Can you blame me? Remember, I was 17ish weeks pregnant at the time), so we had to play at least once on this trip! Because there were so many of us playing (me, Graham, Michelle, Connor, and Jefferson) it took a lonnnngggg time to finish the game. Graham came out with the win. Which, as he reminded me, is consistent with last year as he won most often during those games ;) That night for FHE we watched a video about the martyrdom of Joseph Smith in honor of the anniversary of the martyrdom (June 27), and then watched Big Hero 6. Graham and I had not seen it before, but now I get "Immortals" stuck in my head all of the time.

Tuesday, June 23: Michelle made "Seymour" pancakes for breakfast (which were exceptionally healthy and tasty when topped with peanut butter and real maple syrup), and Graham and I took the opportunity to visit the temple since it was so close. We are normally 4 hours away from a temple, so we couldn't pass up a visit when it was only 35 minutes away! (You can learn more about temples here if you are curious.) We had a great afternoon there, and walked around the temple grounds a bit afterwards to enjoy its beauty even more.

Later in the afternoon, we all went outside and had a mini water balloon fight, ate popsicles, and played in the water.


That night, after putting Evie to bed, we headed out for a date night. Graham really wanted some seafood (because how can you be that close to the ocean and not crave seafood??) so he did some research and found a place that looked promising. It was about 40 minutes from Michelle's house and you could see Puget Sound from the restaurant. It was called Wally's Chowder House and Broiler and man oh man, was it good. We split a bowl of clam chowder and the combo platter which had clam strips, cod, prawns, halibut, and scallops--all fried of course. SO GOOD. We had thought about getting dessert afterward, but we were far too full.

Before bed, Michelle, Graham, and I finished the puzzle! I think I failed to mention it earlier in the post. Michelle bought a 1500 piece puzzle at Goodwill for us to work on while we were visiting, and she was thinking that when Mom and Camille came up a few days later to visit that they could work on finishing it during their visit. Graham worked hardcore on it several different times. One night I went to bed and he stayed up until 2 am working on it! Connor also put in a lot of hard work on it. Jefferson even found a match or two! Peter did an incredible job of not destroying it, which I think is quite notable as well ;)

Sadly, one piece missing. The risk you run with a Goodwill puzzle!

Wednesday, June 24: Our last day :( Graham went to swim lessons and helped with Peter (Michelle had him enrolled in a "mom and tot" class), but I stayed home because I had been taking a nap while Evie was sleeping and wasn't ready to go even though she woke up just before they had to leave. Right when they got back from swim lessons, Graham went for a run (they have a gorgeous gravel trail close to their house, and Graham went running several times. I went once with him and did two miles). We had a quick lunch, got everything packed up, and headed off for the airport.

Our flights went well, and Evie did really great on them once again. She napped some on both of them. I started reading Visitors by Orson Scott Card (such a great series! It's a mix of sci-fi and fantasy and I love it!) and also played some random games on the iPad. Our second flight was delayed, but it did give us the opportunity to have time to get something to eat before continuing on. When we got on the plane, there were two open seats in the very front row, so we took them! After getting to Tulsa and gathering our things, we headed home on our last leg of the journey. I had brought my pillow and left it in the car, so I was able to sleep on the ride home (as was Evie--she conked out before we were out of the airport parking lot).

Thursday, June 25 (First day back home): Evie and I slept in, but Graham had to be at work at 6:45 am! He had the next day off though, so he was able to sleep eventually. I did lots of laundry, unpacked everything, went grocery shopping, sorted through the mail, and lots of other random things. I was pleasantly surprised by how much I was actually able to accomplish. I attribute it all to how beautifully Evie slept (on our drive back from the airport I told Graham: "Tomorrow I think all I will be able to do is shower and a load of laundry because I'm so tired.") She took two long naps (after sleeping in) so I was able to get lots done. And she was a champ during our grocery shopping trip. Only spit up once ;) and even then, it was only a little bit.

It's good to be back home, but we already miss the Smart family. Our time there seemed to go by too quickly, but it was tons of fun to see the boys and have them get to meet Evie before she was any bigger. Graham and I are about to head to the pool with Evie (when she wakes up from her nap). It should *hopefully* be lots of fun! (Not sure how she'll react to that much water...)

From Marissa, with love.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Finding Motivation to Exercise

So as I have been transitioning into being a full-time Mom (I mean, I was home all the time with Evie before I graduated, but I had other commitments and assignments to work on for school in my "free time"), I've realized that it can be really hard to find the motivation to do things! Whether it is finding the motivation to exercise, to get dressed each day, or to go outside for a walk with the baby; I've discovered that my attitude needs a major overhaul! As this post is focusing on the motivation to exercise, it is applicable to anyone with that desire, not just other stay at home moms! **And once again, pictures are included without rhyme or reason :) **

I'll give you a little bit of insight into what my current attitude is like. My daily thoughts typically are interspersed with these throughout the day:
-- Do I really need to change out of my pj's?
-- I took a shower yesterday, that's good enough, right?
-- Hmm, I can wait another day or two (or five) before I really need to sweep/vacuum again.
-- Oh, I should probably exercise...but she'll probably wake up from her nap soon and I won't have time to shower, so I shouldn't mess with it.
-- I should put more effort into the clothes I wear.
-- Oh shoot! I need to plan what we are going to have for dinner.

Any of you other full-time parents have these problems? I know you probably do, because I'm not naive enough to believe that I could be the only one ;) Especially when it comes to exercise, I feel like it's easy to have good intentions, but nowhere near as easy to carry them out. Oh, I'll start working out next week. I'm just feeling really tired today. I'll do better tomorrow. The list of excuses could go on and on (and on and on and on). I finished school just over a month ago. That was when I kept telling myself that I would get on top of things and figure everything out. Get into a good daily routine. But I didn't really have a plan. I had lots of ideas floating around thanks to Pinterest (check out my account here, and feel free to follow if you want), but I wasn't doing anything with them.

We went out blueberry picking while my Mom was visiting

But then a few things happened. First of all, I decided that I really did want to get into a routine for my day. I decided to act. This was spurred on by Graham starting his new job at the hospital. For those of you who don't know what that schedule is like, I'll clue you in. Graham works (on average) 3 days a week. Each day is a 12-hour shift. That is a LOT of time to fill in with just me and the babe. So I knew that I wanted to have a good flow to my day when he was working (when he is home it gets thrown off, but that's okay).

This is what I started doing:
-wake up, feed baby (approximately 7am)
-eat breakfast
-play with baby, put her down for nap
-workout and shower
-baby wakes up, feed again and play
-put back down for another nap (around 12pm)
-eat lunch, clean/laundry/chores around the apartment
-baby wakes up, feed again and play
-put down for last nap
-relax: read, computer time, etc.
-baby wakes up, feed again and play
-make dinner while keeping baby as happy as possible
-Graham home (around 7:45pm), get dinner on the table
-eat dinner, clean up (while Graham does Evie's bath)
-put baby down for the night
-catch up with Graham, get ready for bed
-SLEEP (around 10pm)

Now. When I type it all out, it seems like quite a bit, but basically it's split into Evie's awake and sleep times. I try to do most everything I need to do (with the exception of dinner preparation) while she is sleeping. That way I can have fun with her and play while she is awake. By dedicating that time during her first nap to immediately workout and shower, I know that two things will happen each day. 1) I will workout and 2) I will shower. Duh. But if you'll remember back to the beginning of the post, those are two things that I find I need motivation to do. Whether it's because I feel like I don't have the time or I need to do something else, I know that if I don't exercise/shower during her first nap of the day, it won't happen. Working out and showering first thing is also motivation for me to get out of my pj's. If I don't exercise and shower, I don't need to change clothes, right? Hah. *More on motivation for getting dressed in a future post*

Those pursed lips! 

I think that Graham being at work is what gave me that push I needed to start exercising again as part of my daily routine. (Because if you'll remember back to previous posts, since the beginning of this year I have gone off and on with exercising. And by "off and on" I mean I'll run one day and then go two weeks before doing something again, heh.)

Further motivation came in the form of a phone call I had with my sister. I was telling her about how I've been trying to exercise during Evie's first nap each day and she asked what I was doing. Then she said "okay, Miss Public Health major, tell me..." and I can't remember exactly what she said after that, but she was essentially asking for my advice on how to find the motivation to workout! HAH! If only she knew... ;) Which, she will now because she is a great support and always reads my blog. Love you! But that little comment was what I needed to hear from her. I needed to be reminded that I know how to help motivate people into making healthier choices (whether dealing with exercise or eating especially). I know how what questions to ask, what signals to look for, what will be beneficial for them to try. So why should I be having that problem? Upon that realization, I decided that I would indeed keep up with exercising and I set a goal for myself. I'm going on week two now, and I am on target to hit my goal once again.

Right now my goal is to exercise 4x per week. Now, that might seem like a little, or a lot, depending on your personal fitness level. For me, it was a good starting point. Because I tend to do better with keeping a schedule when Graham is at work, I set my goal as being four per week so that I can do three on days that he works, and then just one when he is at home. Evie isn't sleeping through the night yet, so that also gives me two days (other than Sunday because we have 9am church) that I can go back to bed/nap while she takes her first nap if I am feeling really tired. Having those "free days" helps keep me motivated on the days that I do exercise, and it keeps me from getting down on myself if I miss a day. If I set my goal to be 6x per week right from the start, I would most likely feel guilty when I missed a day in order to catch a quick nap, which would make me feel bad for not making my goal, and if I can't make my goal why should I be trying at all?

Do any of you feel this way when you set fitness goals? The key is to start simple and do what is best for YOU at the time. If you've never exercised, then starting with four days each week might be three days too many! You might start with taking a short walk every other day, doing Zumba once a week, or doing ab exercises twice a week. Whatever works best for you! If you need help finding motivation to exercise or just don't know where to start, I would be happy to talk with you and help! I have my Bachelor's degree in Public Health (a little more about that in this post), and would love to put it to use by helping my friends and family!

**This post was written entirely during my "computer time" during nap #3 today! I'm surprised at how quickly I was able to formulate this idea and get my thoughts down. It's obviously been on my mind quite a bit!**

One of my absolute favorites that my Mom was able to capture

From Marissa, with love.