Saturday, October 28, 2017

Halloween - Twin Falls, Idaho - 2017
Superman and Batman went to Main Street to rid this city of its candy! We celebrate a little early, opting for a daytime event downtown instead of door-to-door. Then the boys get to enjoy handing out candy to other kids on Halloween night! Don't they look epic?!

First Day of School

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

First Day of School - Twin Falls, Idaho - 2017
It's the most wonderful time of the year! No, not Christmas. THE FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL!!! WOOT!!! =D

Okay, okay. I love my guys. I do! But it's been a crazy, busy summer and I'm a little...spent. Hanging out with them 24/7 does that to me. We had a great summer, but it's just time, you know?
Here's to a great year! 2nd and 4th grades -- WOW!!

First Day of School - Twin Falls, Idaho - 2017
First Day of School - Twin Falls, Idaho - 2017
These two. They crack me up!

Idaho Falls Air Show/Blue Angels

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Idaho Falls Air Show - Idaho Falls, Idaho - 2017
We drove all the way to Idaho Falls to see the Blue Angels! It was super hot (and I almost ended up with heat stroke -- seriously!), but it was totally worth these pictures and the awesome experience!

Idaho Falls Air Show - Idaho Falls, Idaho - 2017

Idaho Falls Air Show - Idaho Falls, Idaho - 2017

Idaho Falls Air Show - Idaho Falls, Idaho - 2017

Idaho Falls Air Show - Idaho Falls, Idaho - 2017

Rob's Ninth Birthday

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

NINE?!?!?! HE'S NINE?!?!?! How did that happen?! I blinked and now he's NINE!!!

Since we had a big birthday bash this past weekend, we didn't have huge plans for his actual birthday. His only request was to go to our favorite Mexican restaurant so he could get whipped cream shoved in his face. We obliged for mostly selfish/ornery reasons. The staff put a sombrero on his head, gave him fried ice cream, sang to him, and then creamed him. He was absolutely thrilled!

You can watch the video here. You'll want to hear Drew's laugh when his brother gets creamed.

The boys also had their first swimming lessons today, too! Thanks to Aunt Janice, who "sponsored" it all. They learned how to safely enter and exit the pool, how to blow air out of their nose under the water, how to float on their backs, and how to jump in. We'll be going twice a week for four weeks, which is awesome for both them and me -- it wears gives them something to do and it wears them out!

Family Get Together/Joint Birthday Party

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Since my family lives far away, we rarely get together for birthdays. So, my mama and aunt flew up from California and we had a big birthday bash for both boys! We played games, ate tons of food, and laughed lots. It was a super fun day!


Monday, July 10, 2017

Matt and the boys got to go KAYAKING this weekend! I wasn't sure if my fluffy frame would fit in a kayak (and I wasn't prepared to make a total fool out of myself, potentially), so I stayed home. Seeing how much fun they had made me more than a little jealous! Maybe I'll be brave enough to go next time. And I've been informed there WILL be a next time -- they're hooked!

Going under the Perrine Bridge, they got to see BASE jumpers!

When they made it to Pillar Falls, they stopped for a break.

Swimming in the Snake River.

All three "boys" slept so good when they got back! What a fun day!

(Photos by Matt)

4th of July

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

4th of July - Twin Falls, Idaho - 2017
It was a weird/off day, but we made the most of it. Blowing stuff up helps. We had grandiose plans of hanging out with friends, but it kind of fell apart. I'm still not sleeping well and the boys were still getting over their post-VBS colds.

We attempted to go out and do some Pokehunting, but had to head home after Matt's phone decided to start doing the Bootloop of Death. Ugh. Not long after we got home, the power went out as we were cooking dinner (finished it JUST in time). We decided to head outside when the house started getting warm (it was still 90 degrees outside) and start a few fireworks. We're never able to afford many, but thankfully the boys are easy to please and they enjoyed themselves very much. That's all that matters.

P.S. LG, you suck. This is the second phone that's done this to us! :-P

4th of July - Twin Falls, Idaho - 2017
4th of July - Twin Falls, Idaho - 2017
4th of July - Twin Falls, Idaho - 2017
4th of July - Twin Falls, Idaho - 2017

Snake River Canyon Stroll/Photowalk

Monday, July 3, 2017

Snake River Canyon Photowalk - Twin Falls, Idaho - 2017
Got to take a lovely (albeit HOT) stroll along the canyon rim this evening. Matt and the boys Pokehunted while I shutterbugged. It felt good to get out and do that again.

Snake River Canyon Photowalk - Twin Falls, Idaho - 2017
Snake River Canyon Photowalk - Twin Falls, Idaho - 2017
Snake River Canyon Photowalk - Twin Falls, Idaho - 2017
Snake River Canyon Photowalk - Twin Falls, Idaho - 2017

Our California Trip

Monday, May 22, 2017

After a really tough winter, we definitely were ready for a warm, fun vacation. So, we headed south to visit Nana in California for a week! As usual, it was quite the adventure and lots and lots of fun!

 The first stop on our trip was San Francisco. Matt wanted to explore the city more thoroughly than we had time for last time, so we ended up spending two nights there. Crazy city!

After a decent night's sleep, we headed to Pier 39 to see the Aquarium of the Bay, which was Drew's request. This was the first time the boys had ever been to a real aquarium. The touch pools and tunnels were a definite hit.

After finishing the aquarium, we ate lunch and continued down the pier. Near the end, we did the 7D Experience and rode the carousel.

When we were tired of walking, we boarded a tour bus and rode it ALL over the city -- even over the Golden Gate Bridge TWICE!

Per Rob's request, we went to Ripley's Believe it or Not! Interesting place.

The next day, we drove the seven or eight hours down to Nana's house. We were still so pooped from our San Francisco adventure, we just sat around the house the next day.

After getting all rested up, we decided to go explore Balboa Park in San Diego the next day. We barely scratched the surface and definitely want to visit this place again next time! SO BEAUTIFUL!

We stopped for lunch at a fun little Mexican restaurant in San Diego. We all really loved this city and want to explore more of it next time.

We topped off the day with a quick trip to Coronado, where we walked on the beach and saw the famous Hotel del Coronado.

The next day, we all piled into Nana's car and went to Knott's Berry Farm! Even Cousin Dana joined us. The boys got to ride pretty much any ride they wanted, so they did!

We decided to take it easy the following day, so we ate a quick lunch at In-N-Out and headed to Oceanside Beach. It's our favorite!

We decided to stay one extra day so we could spend it with Aunt Janice. We all went to La Jolla to see the seals. It was stinky and crowded, but still a neat place to visit.

The next day, we had to head home. It was a long, boring drive through Nevada and we were all pretty sad to have to say goodbye to Nana. But we had another super fun trip and can't wait for next time!

Drew is SEVEN!

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Happy 7th birthday, Drewser!!! 

Rob may be the resident pickle lover, but Drew is definitely the taco equivalent!😂 I think he likes it.

He saved up all his birthday money and bought his very own Kindle Fire. He is thrilled, to say the least.

Decoding Drew

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

When I heard that baby scream the second the doctor pulled him out, I laughed and said, "Lord, help us!" I knew then that we were in for it, but I had no idea how true that actually was. Almost seven years after the fact, I'm not laughing when I earnestly plead, "Lord...help us..."

Life with Drew has never been easy or simple. He's always appeared to be a mystery to us; a seemingly impossible puzzle to figure out. When he was an infant, he screamed for hours on end before we realized he was in pain. Even after he was diagnosed, he was still tough to care for. We kept telling ourselves, "Things will be better after he's one." But one turned into two, two to three, three to four, and so on. Now he's six going on seven, giving us the same amount of difficulty, only in a bigger, stronger body.

Now, before I go on, I have to plead with you to understand and know I adore my sons -- both of them -- with much fervor. Both have their own strengths and weaknesses, likes and dislikes. God created them to each be amazing little people. Drew, in particular, can be a goofy, sweet, and cuddly little boy. But when he isn't those things, that's when there are issues. When Drew isn't Drew. When Drew becomes someone else entirely.

When Drew becomes Anti-Drew, it isn't just bad behavior or the occasional spat with his brother we have to worry about. He completely loses himself and all control. This sometimes causes issues at school, which can include anywhere from minor meltdowns and silent protests to kicking chairs and slamming doors. He's even been threatened to be sent home early, as a last resort. Once, his teachers had to follow through and I had to come collect him, mid-day. He becomes belligerent, spiteful, and physically violent at times. He has been known to not only scream at us, but also kick, scratch, pinch, punch, and slap his brother and father. We often have to physically restrain him to keep him from hurting himself or us.

For some reason, I am off limits. We share a lot of the same life challenges and struggles; the same anxieties and personality traits -- good and bad. We are kindred spirits and share a deep connection. I'm grateful for that and try to use that connection to reach him. It's hit and miss, as I'm still trying to figure myself out at the same time. While we have had a lot of minor victories, we also have defeats. Last night was one of them.

We just recently updated our Wii to a Wii U -- a HUGE treat in our house that we badly needed after a hard, depressing January. We have greatly enjoyed introducing the boys to some of the games Matt and I used to play often and we really love to play games as a family, in general. Rob had lost the privilege of playing last night, so Drew got to play with Daddy alone. We explained to him that he would be allowed to play a couple races on Mario Kart and then it was time for bed. He agreed.

We noticed he was starting to lose his composure as soon as said races were finished, so I calmly told him, "Drew, we agreed. It's time for bed." He started to cry and walk away, controller in his hand. "Drew, time to put the controller back. If you choose to fight, you'll lose game privileges for tomorrow."


"I WILL play tomorrow," he says, squaring himself up with me. Matt and looked at each other, knowing the drill. We have found that immediately removing him from the situation and taking him to a bedroom to try and talk him down has proven successful in times past. But as soon as he saw us get up, he slammed the controller into the remote drawer and ran for his room. Matt followed him to his room and he started talking calmly to him. But Drew wasn't in the mood to talk. He wanted to rumble. He started screaming at Matt some more and ended up back in the living room, where he continued to disrespect his father. I admit, I lost my temper and took him by his ear to my bedroom at that point. I have no patience for disrespect. As soon as he sat down on our bed, he began kicking and punching Matt. Matt restrained him and we set in to wait him out, but he was in it for the long run. He continued to scream at us and kick and pinch Matt. At this point, Rob knocked on our door. We dismissed him, but he persisted. I held Drew so Matt could go to the door, discovering a highly distraught Rob on the other side. "I'm worried about Drew," he said, tears streaming down his face. He wasn't afraid of us hurting Drew, I assure you. He was afraid of Drew going too far and ending up hurting himself. Despite how Drew mistreats his brother, Rob deeply loves him.

Matt told Rob to head to bed and came back to assist me with Drew. We both laid on either side of him, holding his arms and legs as he struggled against us, yelling in our faces. Matt and just held on and told him how much we loved him. He was becoming overheated in his favorite footie pajamas, so I unzipped him and placed my hand on his chest. I could feel his heart frantically beating like a scared little bird in a cage. I begged him to take a deep breath and calm down, but he continued to fight, blankly staring at the ceiling.

Reality set in. One day he'll be bigger and stronger and we won't be able to restrain him or fend him off. Given the amount of blind rage he was expressing, we would have been dead at this point. The thought broke my heart and I lost my composure and began to cry. "You're making your mother cry," Matt softly whispered to him. Suddenly, I felt Drew's body relax. I looked up and saw two tear-filled eyes staring back at me. All I could think at that moment was, "He does care. Thank God, he cares. He doesn't want to be like this. There's hope."

We finally got our Drew back, if only for a moment, a day, or a week. The only comfort and hope we can take away from these fights is that eventually he'll come back to us, usually because he is too tired to keep fighting. I have never witnessed him give in because he felt bad for making one of us sad. Rob joined us in our bedroom again and we all hugged and loved on Drew at the same time. We had nothing but love and compassion for him at that moment.

I wish I knew how to help him better, but for now, we're striving to understand and love on this boy we all adore so dearly. God is revealing more about him to me every day, thus revealing more of myself. We are growing and healing together, and someday, hopefully, we'll both be happy, whole people. Until then, we struggle together. Please pray for us all.

Don't Stiff Your Small Business Friend

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Would you walk into a clothing store and assume you get free clothes? Would you walk into a restaurant and assume you get free food?

No, you wouldn't, right? So, why is it acceptable to assume you get free items or services from artists, crafters, or small business owners? We have bills to pay and families to care for, too. But when we ask for pay, people treat us like we're just being greedy. Someone want to explain to me how that's fair? Is our time, effort, and ability not just as valuable? Do you not realize how insulting and infuriating that double standard is?

I work my butt off, often missing out on family time and/or sleep, to make money for my family. I don't have set hours or days off; I often work until I'm done or my body gives up on me. I'm not 100% perfect in what I do or make, but I put 110% into what I am doing or making, because I know what's at stake. I learn to make whatever I can and will exhaust every (legal) effort in order to make extra money. I feel my skills are worth more than just "it's good exposure", "I'll pass your name around", or "I'm your friend/family/acquaintance". I'm a fairly giving person; I try to give when and where I can and I love to help people. But sometimes I just can't afford to. In hard times like these, the meager funds that I'm able to contribute are sometimes the difference between whether the boys get new shoes or clothes, whether we can afford that extra bit of groceries, or have money in our savings for when Matt's checks just can't cover. How greedy of me to ask for pay for my services!

Let's get in the habit of NOT assuming and realizing that doing so is massively insulting. Please. If you can't crochet a blanket, paint a beautiful painting, sew a lovely quilt, carve a rubber stamp, or take a quality photograph, don't downplay, cheat, or judge those who can for you and are doing so to make a living. Just don't be that person. Pay us what we're due or don't ask!

Our Anniversary

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

This Valentine's Day, we celebrated 14 years of marriage. If you've been following along, that's a big deal.

We didn't have a lot of cash to work with this year, but I still wanted to do something special for this man, who so graciously puts up with me day in and day out. So, I decided to get crafty, which is kind of my thing. I die cut, assembled, and embossed 14 little envelopes, which had 14 little love notes (simple messages of what I loved about him) in them. I then blew up 14 red and pink balloons (hello, light-headed) and waited for him to finally go to bed (he can be quite stubborn to remove from the couch sometimes). As soon as he went to bed, I taped the envelopes to his monitor, which is his second stop in the morning when he's getting ready for work. I then took the four-garbage-bags-full of balloons out to his truck and proceeded to fill the cab with love and orneriness, all while receiving interesting glances from the lady across the street (why are you up at midnight anyways, HUH?!). Tickled with myself, I went to bed. A few hours later, he came in to place a kiss on my forehead and tell me goodbye, just like he does every morning. He loved everything, but later admitted that he was slightly irked while driving with the balloons. Hey, he asks for these things. Ask me how I know.

When he got home, he offered to do school-pickup duty (many, much brownie points) and gave me a lovely figurine of a couple in love (can't wait to get our living room chaos under control so we can place it). After our friend/sitter picked up our boys, we got ready to go to dinner at our favorite local coffee shop. Twin Beans (if you're not familiar with them and are local, you MUST try them out) put together a fantastic Valentine's Day Dinner for a good price and we were lucky enough to snag a reservation. Our meal started with drinks (we opted for coffee...it had been a long day...I later regretted it) and an appetizer of hummus and their in-house focaccia bread. Then came a lovely pear, strawberry, and spinach salad with a poppyseed dressing. For the entree, Matt had prime rib and I had salmon, both with garlic mashed potatoes. Dessert was affogatos (espresso + ice cream = UH-MAZING). By the time we were done, I was ready to be rolled out to the car. It was a lovely meal and we thoroughly enjoyed our time together, chatting and laughing. We don't often get to go out on our actual anniversary, since everyone else has love in mind and flood every restaurant in town. So, it's always a major treat when it does happen. That's the downside of getting married on Valentine's Day and I don't recommend it.

The boys had a fun-filled day, as well. They both filled out Valentines and made mailboxes (Rob's tank was made for him last year, via Daddy, but he was sick and didn't get to use it). They then partied down at school all day, by exchanging said Valentines and eating way too much sugar (I'm so glad Matt went to pick them up). When they went with our friend during our date, they had the opportunity to watch a play rehearsal and all the inter-workings of all that entails. When they got bored with that, they ran up and down the halls with their friends like crazy people. They were quite tired when we picked them up, and our dinner went longer than we anticipated, so I requested a hooky day today. I think they really appreciated the downtime and sleeping in. I love our school situation.

So, that was our day! Nothing super fancy, but we got time together, which is always a plus. I just love hanging out with this guy.

As a side note (since this is my space to rant when and how I feel like it), I am frustrated to find a lot of shame flying around on Facebook today. It really let the air out of my balloon, so to speak. Trying not to let it bother me, but it does. If you choose not to "do gifts" with your significant other, please don't shame those who choose to do so. I'm not good with expressing my feelings, especially to those people nearest and dearest to me, so I choose to give/make gifts. Matt knows this and sees the intent behind it; I'm not trying to prove something or boast, even if I choose to post about it on social media. I'm simply sharing our day and saying, "Hey, I adore this man and this is how I told him so."  Maybe I'm taking it too personal, but I found it upsetting, nonetheless. If you feel "secure" enough in your relationship to skip those things, good for you. But my relationship definitely isn't "insecure" because we choose to give/make gifts. I don't really like the implication, there.

Rant over. Happy Valentine's Day!