HO HO HO...WHOA!

Monday, December 24, 2018
SURPRISE!!!

Baby 4 is coming to town (in June)!

Couldn't think of a better way to say and celebrate "Merry Christmas" to the world than to share our sweet news! I'm 15 weeks along, so the secret has been with Ryan and me for a while now, but since my belly isn't letting us stay silent anymore, and our latest ultra-sound showed the sweetest, wiggliest little baby with a beautifully beating heart, the present's officially outta the bag. ;)

We are so grateful for this baby already. He/she started tapping on mine and Ryan's hearts a bit ago, but neither of us were ready (the three-kid transition whooped us -- can't lie)! But Baby finally got on its way after staying persistent, and after Ryan had a dream of he and I holding the most precious newborn and being elated ("after you rocked labor and delivery!" he added to me πŸ˜€πŸ˜‚). You never know if/when growing your family will be difficult, so even though we're tired (are we ever not going to be tired?!), we are deeply grateful that Baby is en route. June will be the brightest month!

We shot the above photos real quick before church one Sunday with my tripod. The girls still didn't know about the baby, so all they were told here was to 1) "smile!" for that first pic, and 2) "be silly!" for the second shot, hence Olivia's mad face. Sis is soooooo not mad about this little one coming! If only she would've known then what Mama and Daddy were doing behind her... ;)

Both the first and last photos were part of our Christmas card this year, which is how we announced this pregnancy to our family and close friends. I captioned the card just like the title of this post - "HO HO HO..." on the front, and "WHOA!" on the back. No one was expecting to see a baby belly when they flipped the card, so everyone spazzed out when they did. We know because we had most of our family take a "sneak peek" of our card via FaceTime, and I handed out a handful of them personally to some of my SD girls. People's shock and joy has been such a fun aspect of this baby's coming!

"Close" is my word for this baby and our journey together so far. Baby has been gentle to me, and I've felt the strongest connection to him/her already. It's that kind of magic that keeps you going when it comes to growing your family, you know. A special something happens to you and that tiny baby inside as they grow...your two hearts fuse. Makes me so excited to have this Tiny in my arms this summer. We are all so thrilled!

XO, sweet friends. Thanks for reading! And Merry Christmas!! πŸŽ„πŸ’›

A WEEK IN HEAVEN: O'AHU, HAWAI'I!

Saturday, December 22, 2018
Dreams came true last month: we went to Hawaii.

Ryan has been working for just over one year, and we feel so lucky that we got take his first vacation and spend it on Oahu. I told Ryan when he started working in October 2017 that "I just want to go to Hawaii next fall. When we hit one year here, I want to go to Hawaii." Not sure why I decided we needed to go in Fall 2018, but the idea just seemed reaaallll nice, and when times got rough during that first year of work, I'd fall back on the idea of going to Hawaii so of course it had to really happen. ;) Thanks to my sweet man being an amazing adventurer and deal-finder, Hawaii really happened. It was everything I imagined and so much more! 

I'm de-briefing our trip here with little text and lots of pics, so scroll on through! In a very small way, welcome to Hawaii... πŸŒžπŸŒ΄πŸ πŸŒΊπŸ’š

CLAIRE IS FOUR!

Thursday, December 20, 2018
I have an extra quiet house to myself tonight and an extra small to-do list, so I'm treating myself to writing here tonight. "Finally," says my soul, and "hooooray." πŸ’›

I have three posts that I want to share before Christmas (which is in FOUR DAYS. ?!?!), starting with my dolly Claire's birthday. She turned 4-years-old one month ago, but better late than never. Her day was totally her. We had a very flexible "art party" theme, meaning that I wasn't too strict with the theme and we added a couple random things, like balloon games, squirt guns, and cupcakes (you'll see what I mean:)). But first, we've got to start with her birthday morning...

Our beautiful girl waltzed down the stairs in one of her Claire-curated outfits, complete with a sparkly birthday crown and two clips (typical). We all cheered as she rounded the banister and she went all rosy. :) Claire isn't one for too much attention, but like every other human being, she loves being loved, so the special cheering filled her up and made her beam.

OLIVIA IS SIX!

Tuesday, November 20, 2018
We're flashing back again here -- back to September when my darling Olivia turned SIX. Six! I cannot believe that my first baby is six.

We were in Utah visiting family over her birthday, and I forgot to take my big camera with us so her party was just captured on my phone, and I think that's mostly why it's taken me two months to blog about it (I do better about documenting here when I have "real" photos to share ;)). I'm finally 100% motivated to move her big day off of my phone and to here because our Claire is already turning FOUR (four!), so I've got to get Olivia's in the books!

Olivia's birthday was long anticipated. She is such a party girl, so her big day always is one with a special countdown. Like I said up there, we were in Utah for her birthday, and I knew all along that I wanted to surprise her with a big swim party at the pool near her grandparents' house -- it's a classic that Ryan and I both grew up swimming in and it's recently been renovated -- it was the perfect spot for her to party. She is our water baby, and it was a big enough place for her and her big, best cousins to run and swim wild. She had no idea that I had this up my sleeve, and when I told her about the party the night before it happened, her jaw dropped and she CHEERED. πŸ’₯πŸ˜πŸ’›

I love Olivia's enthusiasm for everything so much. One of her biggest gifts to our family is her sheer joy for everything. She feels deeply and expresses loudly and she moves people while she does. Olivia is a magnet -- people love her. I love her. My heart will always have a deep respect for Olivia and her resiliency. She has bounced back from so many first-mom mistakes on my part...she has loved me so much. She means everything to me. I have no doubt that she will be my best friend for life.

Her party lasted two hours and could have lasted four. Everyone was so happy, especially our big girl. My mama heart swelled watching her...

IT DOESN'T GET BETTER THAN THIS

Saturday, November 3, 2018
I'm a futurist, for better or worse. I've always had a tendency to look ahead at what's coming up next in life and to keep one eye focused there. Very focused there. EX, I remember sitting at my parents' kitchen table when I was close to graduating from high school and deciding, for whatever reasons (honestly can't remember why), that I was going to graduate from college in 2012. That meant I'd finish my college degree in three years.

I finished my degree in exactly three years.

I have a small list of life things that have played out after I "saw" them first, per se. Again, for whatever reasons?? I really don't know why I do that. I just chalk it up to my futurist side. My tendency there has helped me get some "life" things done, but it has come at a cost: I've often lost out at being present and being content. The virtue has a vice.

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