Thursday, June 9, 2016

Grin and Bear it...or Don't

I have hesitated to blog lately. Here's why: Every time I look at my blog title I am a little discouraged.  While it makes a punny blog title involving our last name, "grin and bear it" is an awfully optimistic saying, and I tend to have a more realistic (ahem-negative) view on life. What if I don't want to grin while bearing it? What if I can't?

If I have learned anything in my last 23.5 years of life, it is that life is full of opposition. Life is challenging and disappointing and one trial after another. There is no escaping the heartache and the exhaustion. I cringe when I hear the popular saying "God won't give you more than you can handle." I know of a surety that He certainly will give us all more than we can handle. And it hurts.

But that's the point. If life was easy, we wouldn't turn to Christ for help. We couldn't progress and grow if we weren't being challenged. We simply can't bear these burdens thrown at us on our own. And that is the whole point of the atonement. This blogger says it perfectly.

I'm not suggesting we might as well just wallow in self-pity. I think it's important that we are strong. It's important that we sort through the muck and find things in this unfair world that make us happy. Really soak in those fleeting moments of pure joy. Because they are out there too. And those moments are what makes this life worth living.

My point is: I am not always going to grin through my trials. I don't think that is what's expected of us. I think we are expected to do our best. And that is what I plan to do.

"For we labor diligently to write, to persuade our children, and also our brethren, to believe in Christ, and to be reconciled to God; for we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do." (2 Nephi 25:23)

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Some Thoughts on Having Two

I've had several people tell me going from one kid to two kids is the hardest transition. I can't verify that yet, but I can verify that two kids is harder. Period. Here are some conclusions I've drawn since Brady was born:

1. I am nursing, and changing diapers, and nursing nursing nursing, and changing diapers. This is how I am spending my days now. Now throw in getting the toddler fed, trying desperately to manage her newfound tantrums and attitude, and nursing some more...there is very little time for anything else.  Getting everyone bathed, and dressed (this includes myself), and out of the house even for a walk around the block is a much bigger accomplishment than I thought it ever could be.

2. Keeping up with the housework is next to impossible - but an untidy house stresses me out. So I make time! I am tired.

3. I miss having time to myself. At this point, it is hard to believe I will ever have time to read a book (I'm talking a book with no illustrations and more than five words on each page), work on any projects, or exercise ever again. I got one of those coloring books for adults that everyone is raving about these days. I got it right at the end of my pregnancy and I loved it! Now I'm afraid the pages will remain colorless forever.

4. Carly is TERRIBLY two. There is a saying that a toddler is like a blender with the lid off. Now add some extreme sass and a dash of dictator and you've a got a two year old Carly. She is very obviously feeling what it's like to share her parents with another kid and she isn't crazy about it. Fortunately she LOVES "baby budder" and only shows her darkside to Mom and Dad.

5. A handful of you know while I was pregnant with Brady, a few sad, stressful, and downright scary things appeared in my life quite suddenly. I truly feel that Heavenly Father sent me this beautiful boy to lift my spirits when no one else can. He is a blessing through and through. I love and treasure him more than I can say. He is calm and sweet and everything I need right now.

6. Despite the stress and tears having two kids brings, there are countless and fleeting moments that make it all worth it. The three of us took a walk the other day. Brady fell asleep on my chest, and Carly was holding my hand while softly singing one of her made up songs. I could only smile. In moments like that, I have never felt such a sense of fulfillment and purpose.

I've got this!!

Monday, November 16, 2015

Toddler Bed Transition

Since the news came of a second kiddo joining our family, I've been thinking about all the changes we need to make. In my mind the scariest change of all was going to be transitioning Carly into a toddler bed!  Carly has been sleeping through the night (I'm talking a 12 hour night here) since she was three months old. She RARELY cried or fought us at all when we put her down for a nap or bedtime in her crib. I didn't want to ruin a good thing!! But baby brother needs a crib, and I didn't want to postpone the bed transition until after he is born. She will be overwhelmed with enough change when that happens.

SO. I googled toddler beds. They are expensive!! Or they are cheap plastic with an obnoxious cartoon character on them - not my thing. Then I remembered the toddler bed that all my siblings and I used was built by my Great Grandpa Strasser - I loved that bed! How hard could it be to build a bed? Not to mention it would save us quite a bit of moola. And Matt was always talking about how he would like an opportunity to build something - so build a toddler bed we would!

We went to Home Depot, got all the supplies, and Matt worked his magic. The hardest part was cutting all the wood to the right size because we only had a hand saw. That took forever. Once the wood was cut, Matt assembled it all rather quickly.

Ta-duh!! I'm so proud of him. It's crazy sturdy and will hopefully be something that can be passed down in our family.  Matt finished it right before school started, so I took it upon myself to paint it. I really didn't know what I was getting myself into. You have no idea how many surfaces this thing has!! Besides that - my hips like to stop functioning when I'm pregnant whether I'm staying active or not. Crouching down to paint that bed all day was painful to say the least. But look how pretty it turned out!! Needless to say, I will leave all future paintings of this toddler bed to my posterity.

As for the Carly transition, she has spoiled us once again with her love of sleep. She practiced napping in her "big girl bed" for two days, and by the third day she was sleeping through the night!  She loves the new freedom. Now we'll just have to see what she thinks about having a roommate!

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

My Heart Belongs in Pacific City

I love the beach. Any beach. But I REALLY love the Oregon Coast. It's where my life source is. My family has been vacationing there since I was little and I always felt like there couldn't be a happier place. I still remember how it felt to return to the ocean if we hadn't been able to visit for a few years. We'd be in the car winding down that road surrounded by the color GREEN and then finally the greenery would part enough for us to briefly get a peek of that blue-gray ocean and the excitement was unreal! I'd impatiently wait for us to find our beach house and get settled enough that we could go down to the water. Then we'd run down that sand dune at full speed and I'd yell "I'M FREEEEEE!" and we'd run straight into the icy waves and it all just felt like this is what life was all about. Whew. Can you feel my love for the ocean?? I'll calm down now.

While dating Matt, I found out that he too frequented the Oregon Coast as a kid. This just added to the nostalgia of it all (were Matt and I ever on the coast at the same time as kids???) and it was an obvious choice for our honeymoon destination. It's been almost three years and this summer we got to go back! This time with our playful daughter :) It's so cool to come full circle and bring our kids to a place that Matt and I loved to go as kids.

Carly is a water baby through and through. We definitely hit a couple of cold-windy-rainy days but Carly trudged right on into those waves whether it was freezing or not (and whether anyone was there to hold her hand or not!) When she wasn't in the water, she was building (or rather knocking down) sandcastles with her little shovel. She was in heaven. Just like her momma :)

Look at that face. Pure joy.
More pictures on my Mom's blog

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Three's Company

It's been too long since my last post! We have been having a fun, busy summer.  Matt is working full-time, but he's taking a break from school which means when he comes home at the end of the day - instead of jumping right into homework - he can PLAY! Carly and I have been thoroughly enjoying our extra Matt time.

Our good friends treated themselves to a vacation and asked us to watch their 2 kiddos for the week they were gone.  Of course we accepted!  Their kids are close bookends to our Carly in age, so I knew it was going to be tough, especially with Matt at work all day.  Luckily, their trip was over the 4th of July weekend and there was plenty to do and see! We had a lot of fun and I felt like (a very very tired) Super Mom when we had successfully put all three kids to bed at the end of each day. I only had a meltdown once :)  (It involved poo in the tub...we won't get into it.)

Here are some highlights from that week - now you know who the extra kids are :)

Keeping cool during the heat wave

Making pizza!
Bedtime story
Early morning Balloon Festival

They let you get really close as they fill up the balloons!

Do you spot Steamboat??

They had Darth Vader's back to us, and once he was fully inflated they turned on his music and slowly turned him around :) It was all very ominous.

Then Yoda joined in!

Matt ran in the Freedom Run 5k

Off to the parade!

After awhile into the parade the kids were getting restless and in need of naps.  Matt and I had seen enough too so I started packing up the kids while Matt peeked down the street to see if what was next was worth staying for.  He laughed and said, "Chels, get the camera." Me: "Ugh I'm done taking pictures." Matt: "Ok, but you're going to want to see this." So I join him on the street and squeal "WHERE'S THE CAMERA?" because this is what I see:

It was all kinds of nerdy cool. We decided it couldn't get any better than that and went home. All five of us took a nap.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

STEM Fest and Temple Square

Last Friday Matt volunteered at Utah's first STEM Fest (Science Technology Engineering Mathematics...I didn't know.) and decided it was cool enough to bring Carly and I back to see it later that night.  I wasn't sure what to expect, but they had a ton of cool booths set up!  First we went in this Air Force jet simulator that played footage of flying through the sky and falling and all that. It shook us around like a roller coaster - so fun!
Matt and Carly sat in the cockpit of this tiny little plane. Carly started pushing buttons like she knew exactly what she was doing :)

Inside they had more booths set up. We only had time for a few, but here were our favorites.  I got to experience what it would be like to "walk on water" with a tub full of cornstarch and water! If I didn't keep moving, I sank pretty quickly. I'm sure there's a metaphor there...
At this booth, these guys pulled a bubble up around you with a hula hoop. I wasn't quite fast enough with the camera to catch Matt's bubble before it popped...but you can imagine. When it was my turn, their contraption broke. Thus the surprised look on the man's face behind me. Oops!

 A teeny tiny little owl, and a 3D printer! I'd never seen one before! Man does that thing move slow! Pretty incredible though.

This one was making a dinosaur skull
The next day we were up on Temple Square for a wedding luncheon and took some time to look at the gorgeous spring flowers and enjoy the warm weather. Carly loved the fountains.

She only fell in once.

And she falls in in 3...2...1...
I really am starting to love this beautiful place we live and all it has to offer!

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Carly Update

I'm back! It's a new year and it's time to start up this blog again. After Christmas break, I was so overwhelmed with all the pictures and stories I wanted to share on here. So I just didn't share anything :) Now that I've decided just to skip over Christmas break, I have the courage to post again. (Sorry, Mom. You are welcome to look at the Christmas break pictures when you come visit!)

Carly is growing up! We thought she was fun before, but she just keeps getting more awesome! She loves a good laugh and is a dancin' fool! She only says two words: "Dada" and "Hi", but she speaks CONFIDENT gibberish ALL THE TIME. She is no rush to learn this silly English language.  She also knows she is super cool. She wears her sunglasses whenever we leave the house, She waves hello and goodbye, and she high fives.

 She is brave! More brave than Mom is comfortable with... She isn't afraid of strangers, of bugs, or going down the slide all by herself! (Which resulted in a goose egg on her forehead last week)

Her hair is growing out so nicely! We love styling it in new ways and playing with it in the tub :) She's good at sitting still while I style it, but she has a hard time not reaching up and pulling it out directly afterwards ;)

"Would you guys quit it?!" She loves us...

Daddy is hands-down her favorite parent. But I'm ok with that because he just happens to be my favorite person too :)