Saturday, July 9, 2011

May 2011

May Day! Here’s our cute girl, all ready for church:

One of my new favorite games to play with Devin is Skip-Bo, admittedly mostly because I can usually win since it’s more luck than anything!  Becca joins us sometimes…and sometimes Dad has to do silly things to entertain Becca long enough to finish a game:

That night, Devin and I had our first experience as parents of a sick baby – Becca had a fever and was very unhappy.  It made us a little anxious, but Devin gave her a priesthood blessing and she got better by the next day.  I’m grateful to have the power of the priesthood in our home.

I don’t know why, but I just LOVE to have Becca fall asleep in her car seat and see her little feet poking out from under the cover…and then watch them start wiggling as she wakes up:

Tummy time pictures:

Becca and I surprised Devin by visiting him at work since we discovered we missed Take Your Daughter to Work Day:

Random cute picture:

Once Becca figured out she could bounce in her jumper, she started really liking it (17 weeks):

Either she tired herself out jumping, or she got bored with me and started falling asleep in her swing later that day (I really think she was going through a growth spurt, because she also slept through the whole night - 8 pm to 7 am! – SO nice):

Devin took us both disc golfing again.  It was oh so hot, but this time I remembered the camera:

My first Mother’s Day was really nice, despite me being a little sick.  Devin and Becca made me a yummy breakfast in bed.  Devin had sent me some beautiful irises and tulips earlier in the week, and then Sunday morning I got to open a lot of Tupperware (individually wrapped for my excitement and Devin’s entertainment) plus my requested presents of an extra set of measuring cups and spoons.  What a spoiled mom I am!  At Church, I cried all through the Primary’s special musical number (even just watching them walk up to the stand set me off!) - just like the sentimental weepy sap I’ve become.   Just wait until Becca’s in Primary!  We drove to Sugar Land to spend the rest of our celebration time with Devin’s family, and got to video chat with my family later that night.  It was a nice day to think about the blessing I have to be a mom and to have Becca in my life now.  I am learning quite a bit and I hope I am growing and changing for the better.  Motherhood is hard at times (honestly, for me, quite often in these early sleep-lacking, demanding months), but also generally fun and liberally sprinkled with little moments of sweet happiness.  I have wanted to be a mother ever since I was a little girl, because of the example of my amazing mom, who remains my biggest hero.  While the “newness of being Mom” is wearing off, the reality of feeling half prepared to deal with each new growth stage and being forced to learn unselfishness has started to set in; I’m starting to accept those feelings as normal for daily life.  Through all of that, I catch ever larger glimpses of fulfillment and a growing sense that I was made to be a mother.  I am sure my budding confidence will continue to ebb and flow through each stage with Becca, and as other children (hopefully) come along, but I am very happy with my choice of profession and I’m becoming steadily more accustomed to my new way of life. 

I had a really neat experience when we came back from Sugar Land; the missionaries invited me to come with them to a discussion with a girl from Brazil.  It was so fun to speak in Portuguese again, with a Brazilian!   And I love the spirit that missionary work brings.  We had this girl over to our home for dinner and more discussions with the missionaries, and she came to church several times too in May.

We rejoiced at the end of Devin’s second semester of grad school by going out to Cici’s Pizza Buffet.  Before moving to Texas, I was not acquainted with the joy that is Cici’s, but Devin has loved Cici’s since childhood.  His tradition is to not eat the crusts and leave them all in a pile on one plate so he can see how many he’s eaten:

After Cici’s, Devin accompanied Becca and I to her 4 month appointment.  I lost what little respect I had for Becca’s pediatrician after waiting a long time and then having him walk in the door and ask how “he” (Becca) was doing.  !!!  But whatever, she only needs to see him twice more before we probably move.  I don’t know that it’s worth finding another doctor.  Anyway, at 4 months, Becca was 25 inches long and weighed 17 pounds and 3 ounces.  She survived her next round of immunizations just fine.

Because we had guests, we forgot to do our Friday video for Becca’s 18th week, until after she had gone to sleep; so here’s a snippet of her snoozing:

The next morning found us fulfilling our turn to clean the church building, and after we went to a graduation party (masters) of a fellow student and colleague of Devin’s.  So much fun wore out Dad and little Becca, so they took a nap together:

At the end of April, Devin received the calling to be Elders Quorum President, but it took until mid-May for him to get set apart.  He was a little overwhelmed at the thought of adding that to his already full plate, but excited to serve more.  He has done a really great job so far and we’ve enjoyed getting to know our ward better.

On May 18th, we left on an 8 day road trip.  I know, you’re thinking “With a 4 month old?! What crazies!!”, but it gets better – we invited Serity and Keelian (14 months) to come with us too!  A happy little squished party in our Mazda3.  It was so fun!   It was a little tiring (but what vacation with Devin planning it isn’t? I love you, Devin!), and so much fun that I’m so glad we did it.

Day One (Wednesday, May 18th) – Devin, Becca and I left in the afternoon and drove til late that night to Wichita, Kansas. 

Excited to start our journey

Becca asleep :)

Becca awake

Becca falling asleep again...just kidding, caught her mid-blink

We tried real hard to get her back to taking a bottle in preparation for this trip...but she only likes to chew on it.  Oh well...

Lotsa drool

She did really well the first day, only getting grumpy at the end

Did you know there was a Moore, Texas?

 No Mom, I had no idea.  Fascinating.

Whoda thunk?

Our book for the trip was Treasure Island

Prepping dinner

We stopped in a hotel parking lot for some sandwiches

Devin played with Becca...can someone tell me why our camera always focuses on what is farthest away?

An elderly couple passed us and said, "Oh, how cute - I remember when we used to do that!"

Chow time

Do you really have to take pictures while I'm eating?

Whatcha got, Dad? Share with me!

This car has gone places!

After a shower in the hotel

Cute nakey bum!

Day Two (Thursday, May 19th) – We got up early and drove to Omaha, Nebraska to pick up Serity and Keelian from the airport.  We arrived a little early and happened upon an interesting place to wait for their flight to get in: George Washington’s Mount Vernon Gardens – a miniature replica of Mount Vernon!  It was SO GOOD to see Serity again!  I have missed living close to my sister.  And Keelian, who has grown tons since we last saw her at Thanksgiving, is such a precocious cutie.  Introducing Becca to her aunt and cousin was a major highlight of the trip, and I’m so grateful to Serity for coming with us, and for everyone who made that possible.  After a quick dinner, we headed to the Winter Quarters Visitor’s Center.  I had been there a few times growing up, and was excited to share that experience with Devin this time.  Two of my best friends from growing up, Theresa Starr and JJ Smith (now Bennett), met us (Theresa at the Visitor’s Center while Serity was in the temple, and JJ met us in the temple when we did a session).  How neat to be with my friends again, who I haven’t seen in about ten years!  And the Winter Quarters temple is a special place too.  When we got out of the temple, it was pouring rain, so we forgot to take pictures.  JJ and her husband, Shane, were our gracious hosts that night – Theresa joined us awhile for some catching up conversations and ice cream.  Again, I forgot to take pictures, but I remembered to get one the next morning with JJ before we left. 

We pulled off into the middle of some farmer's field for lunch break

 Look at those beautiful straight rows of corn!

Enjoying being outside in the fresh air

I failed at taking a picture of the three of us...but I love Devin's smile!  And if you look at Becca's head, you can see her growing hair - there are 3 hairs at her crown that are way longer than all the rest

Devin's arms are longer than mine

Gettin' back to Mom's country roots (ha ha)

See ya, Dad! I don't want to get back in that car

Our quaint find: mini Mount Vernon

Everything was set up to scale in replica

It actually was a little on the unkempt side (see the dead leaves)...

...But lots of green growing things!

A nice chance to stretch our legs

Becca likes to suck on her baby bjorn

Yay for vacation!

I may have a smile on my face, but I was actually saying, "Hurry up, Devin!  The mosquitoes are eating me alive!"

Pretty blossoms - Baby's breath (weird name, if you ask me)


Becca, meet Keelian

Keelian, meet Becca



Keelian reciprocates

Another hug?

No thanks, I'm done

It's really not as big of a deal as you think it is; we hung out in heaven all the time

But if you insist...

Becca meets Aunt Serity

Ser's excited - looks like Becca's more into that wrapper at the moment

Winter Quarters

We debated about telling people Serity was Devin's wife too - ha ha!

Cutie pies

Hanging out together in the stroller

Actually, it was funny because they didn't like sharing the seat and kept hitting/kicking each other

Hi Mom!  Look at me wave like a big girl

It felt a little strange to be smiling in such a sacred/sad place, but what else can you do?

Love this statue

JJ, Becca and me

JJ is pregnant! Hooray!

Nice hair-do, Keely

Day Three (Friday, May 20th) – Leaving early is hard with two small girlies, but we did our best and made it to the St. Paul, Minnesota temple just in time for the sealing of Sarah Herrington and Tom Cottle (the main reason for our whole trip).  I was so glad I could be there for Sarah on her special day; she has been such a wonderful friend to me.  It was sprinkling some that day, but everything still turned out well.  After the sealing, we hung out taking pictures outside and relaxing in the mother’s lounge (Devin even fell asleep in a rocking chair!  Too bad I didn’t document that).  We attended their wedding dinner and stayed at Sarah’s sister’s (whose name is also Becca).

Packed in like sardines

Nap time

All the girls!

Beautiful blossoming trees

"I looked out the window and what did I see?"

Overcast and a little rainy

Trying to run to shelter, but Devin wanted a picture

Couldn't get Becca to look up - she only wanted to eat the flowers

The happy couple exits the temple

Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Cottle

"A wedding? I LOVE weddings!"
Crazy photographer man

I think a running toddler is so cute

Even more so if she's my adorable niece

Beautiful raindrops

Becca reaching for the blossoms

She was fascinated with them

Can I eat it, Mom?

My pretty girl

Darling Keelian

What a cute smile!

Don't eat them!

But Keely was too intrigued...

...she wanted a taste test

No, this is how you do it - you pick one...

...and then you smell it

Comparing blossoms

Becca's turn for a taste test

Sniff, sniff...aahh!

Becca appreciates nature

Devin encouraging Becca's exploration

Can you tell he loves her?

Tiny baby hands, so intent on grabbing

My little girl

Say cheese, Keely!

Oh no! Don't REALLY eat it!

Forward, ho!

Sarah and Tom

Add another temple to our list!

We love temples

Stand in holy places

Becca's going to like the temple too

Playing around

Look over here, Becca!

No, over HERE, Becca!

Keelian LOVED to play in the dirt

Wherever we went, she would find the dirt

Maybe she'll be a gardener some day

Spinning around

In the hotel courtyard during the wedding dinner

 It had recently rained and the blossom petals were falling off

Keelian was getting a little giddy with all that turning

 Discovering the trees and flowers

Ooh, look how pretty

Day Four (Saturday, May 21st) – Devin took me to The Original Pancake House for our 2nd Anniversary (really, the whole trip was kind of an anniversary present to me).  It has been a marvelous two years.  We had a great discussion during breakfast about all we have learned together, and how we have grown, and some of our good memories.  Thanks for choosing me, Devin!  I love you!  We returned to Becca and Skeet’s house and relaxed for awhile before going to Sarah and Tom’s reception.  Unfortunately, their outdoor venue had to be moved indoors, but it was well attended and had lots of great food!  Because of our small girls, we left the reception early to put them to bed.  Then Serity, Devin and I watched a movie together.

We were both really excited to try this place

Freshly squeezed orange juice

Waiting with anticipation

Do you see how BIG this is?!

First bite of heaven

Look at all this scrumptious fare - and yes, that's ice cream in that bowl

His determination to finish it all is wavering...

You can do it, hun!

So much deliciousness!  It's overwhelming!

Last bite...until we meet again - we contemplated opening our own Original Pancake House...

Best friends

Look at her pretty dress

Can you tell they're way tired of smiling by now?

But we still forced them to smile a few times more - ha ha

Cutting the cake

Are you ready for this?! Oh yeah!

Sarah's mom looks on

Yum, Tom likes the cake - each layer was a different flavor

They were very nice to each other - it was kind of disappointing

Serity brought this cute dress and some others for Becca - thanks!

Keelian got a hold of the camera...surprise, Mom!

Just trying to entertain her in the back seat

Smile for me!

Now make a funny face!

Day Five (Sunday, May 22nd) – All of Sarah’s family (including Sarah and Tom!) had a brunch that morning which we were invited to.  Then we went to their ward for Sarah’s nephew’s baby blessing.  Our plan was to leave right after Sacrament Meeting, but the tornado had other ideas.  Devin wanted to leave anyway, but it was pretty crazy weather outside and the leadership insisted we go into the basement with everyone else (who knew church buildings had basements?!).  That only delayed us an hour or so, and then we were off to Nauvoo, arriving late at night and going right to bed (after partaking of the complimentary hot chocolate and fresh cookies in the lobby!).

At the family brunch

Sarah and Becca reunite

Mom and Dad sent a present - we opened it to find matching cousin dresses for Becca and Keelian

Happy rainbow girl

We tried hard to get a cute picture of them together...

...they didn't cooperate very well...

...if it wasn't one... was the other...

...or both of them...or the camera...

Tired Becca

It's okay, Keelian, I know how you feel

And here's Becca's belated Friday video for 19 weeks old:

Trying on Aunt Karina's sunglasses

Keelian was really good in the car too, especially consider how mobile she is now

 I love the nose-wrinkle smile

Looks like she's about to toss her hair :)

Beautiful sunset when we stopped to eat dinner

Day Six (Monday, May 23rd) – This was the most wonderful day!  We woke up early, and I played with Becca and Keelian while Serity went on a run and Devin walked down to the temple to ponder.  When they returned, Devin and I went to a session together and then picked up Becca for a breakfast buffet while Keelian slept (don’t worry, I smuggled food back for Serity).  We all went to the Visitor’s Center for a bit, then Serity was off to the temple for a session and Devin and the girls and I took a wagon ride tour of Nauvoo.  Since it was Devin’s first time in Nauvoo, and we only had one day to be there (which really doesn’t do Nauvoo justice!), it was a great way to get a nice overview.  We had time for a couple home tours and then Serity caught up with us for the blacksmith’s shop (gotta get your prairie diamond ring!).  We decided the next most important thing after the temple was to visit Carthage, so we made the trip out there next.  We came back and walked around the outside of all the Smith family sites as the sun began to set before doing a little souvenir shopping and then hitting up the frozen yogurt place.  I absolutely love Nauvoo – it holds an important place in my heart and there is a very unique and special spirit there.  Spending a day there was only enough to whet my appetite, really, but it was so neat to be there with Devin and see him get excited about it. 

Mulholland Street, early in the morning

Nauvoo temple

The white of the temple against the blue sky and the green trees is so gorgeous

I love this temple

I love Nauvoo

The house of the Lord


Devin's first time to this temple

We were here the weekend before the summer season, so we pretty much had the whole town to ourselves

Joseph and Hyrum

Good men

"This is the loveliest place..."

In the shadow of the temple

Moon stone

Pretty arches

In the Visitor's Center, hanging out 

When Sharlee first met Devin (she was 4), she told him he looked like Joseph Smith

In the Women's Gardens

Sorry, Emma - all out of gold coins

An original sun stone

Passing the temple on our wagon ride tour

There in the background is where the Nauvoo Pageant takes place - I miss it!

Keelian liked looking over the edge at the wheel

Riding down Parley's Street with the temple fading in the distance

Keely was getting bored, so I let her take a picture - it's so green in Nauvoo!

Coming back towards the temple

It really stands out on the hill

Makes me happy to be here

Getting desperate to keep Becca entertained

Keelian wanted off too :)

Keelian, reading the map to tell us where to go next

Keelian is so skinny, but her seat belt makes her look fat in this picture

Walking to our next tour point

Becca took a nap on the way

Trying to keep Keelian out of the dirt again

Welcome to Carthage Jail

There is a special spirit in this place

Keelian, getting some wiggles out

The window Joseph fell through

The door to the jailer's room

The bullet hole in the door - when Hyrum got shot

Coming up the stairs

The whole crew

So neat to be together here

A replica of the well where Joseph fell

By the statue of Joseph and Hyrum

We have this statue in miniature at our home

Our little family is blessed because of their sacrifices

Joseph Smith's Mansion House

At the front gate - come on in!

The Nauvoo House

Plaque where Joseph is buried

The Prophet's tombstone

Buried next to Hyrum and Emma

Joseph's parents' tombstones

The Nauvoo House again - it was never finished

The Red Brick Store

Having fun before bedtime

Becca is only about a pound lighter than Keelian

Having a romp

Hugs/wrestling got a little crazy

Keelian learning to be gentle :)

That's Baby Becca, yes

Becca wouldn't stay still for a picture - this is the best you get

Day Seven (Tuesday, May 24th) – We traveled to St. Louis, Missouri where Devin and I went to the temple before Serity and Keelian took a flight back home.  It seemed like too short of a time to be with Serity and Keelian, but we’re grateful for what we got! We spent the rest of the day driving home to Texas…

In front of the St. Louis temple

We used to take bus trips here as Young Men/Young Women when I was growing up

Leaving the temple grounds

The temple is right next the freeway, a great spot!

Yummmm...lunch at Chipotle! 

No, I am not nursing and navigating at the same time...that would be illegal...

Hey there, foot!

Ready to be home

Day Eight (Wednesday, May 25th) - …and didn’t arrive home until the wee hours of the morning.  We drove past the wreckage of the Joplin, Missouri tornado and drove through a spectacular lightning storm and a verging-on-scary downpour.  I only drove the last leg (a couple hours) of this whole road trip, but in that short space of time, managed to run over a raccoon and a possum (it was traumatizing to me).  I count this day as part of our vacation, because Devin stayed home to recuperate with me – sleeping in and playing games and watching a movie!  It was a great vacation, with many happy memories. 

I experimented a little to see how Becca would look with a fu manchu:

Becca the book worm to be:

I know it's blurry, but I want to remember how tiny her hands are now:

Our little Becca ballerina:

For Becca’s 20th week Friday video, she livened up our traditional pizza night by dressing up and bringing some Italian music:

And here’s some more pictures of our little Luigi (Devin corrected me; I said it wrong in the video – because she’s wearing green, not red):

Kyle and Vanessa came to visit us the last Saturday in May and we had a fun time disc golfing and making homemade pizza (yes, again – we like pizza), and playing games.  They will be leaving us in a couple months for Kyle’s grad school in Boston, and we’re sad to see them go.  Vanessa took these great pictures for us.

On Memorial Day, Devin was planning to work anyway, but I convinced him (not so hard!) to stay home and play with Becca and I.  We went to the Scout’s garage sale early in the morning, and scored some good loot – mainly we were happy to find a great coffee table for ten bucks.  We previously had been using a cooler to put the laptop on, so this was a super upgrade for us!

And so passed May – we love summer!