Our miracle RAINBOW BABY BOY is on the way! Due 8/2018

1st IVF = BFN
2nd IVF = Baby A, born May 2015
3rd IVF = Miscarriage at 14 weeks
4th IVF = BFN
After we paid for 5th IVF, positive pregnancy w/o IVF!

Because the important moments in life just don’t fit in a status update! I started this blog when I was training for my first ½ Ironman, (70.3 miles) to record what I hoped would be growth and progress but ended up being a huge learning experience. Although fitness is one of the key ingredients to a happy life, it certainly isn't the only ingredient. My blog has evolved to document growth, progress and setbacks in other areas too. From my surprise proposal in Rome and wedding in the fall of 2013, to Mom's devastating stage IV cancer diagnosis and death 2 weeks after I found out I was pregnant. Who knows what shape it will take, but thanks for being along for the ride.

Friday, September 20, 2019

July + August Update

July was filled mostly with our international trip, which you can read about here. Right before we left, C started standing while holding on to things. By the end of August he was getting around by holding on to something such as the coffee table and then stepping sideways. We were home for less than a week before heading up to Oregon for some family time. While we were home, we visited Once Upon an Island for a mermaid makeover, got together with some friends, prepared for C's first birthday and did a lot of unpacking, laundry and then more packing.

The kids and I flew, while my hubby drove the 15+ hours with our three dogs. Things were a bit hectic with a dozen people under one roof for the week that we overlapped, but that's part of what family time is about.

Our days were filled with hikes, meal prep, baths and carrots for pony, gator rides and time on the lake and in the wading pool. I did my best to run or walk 3 miles every day and adopted an all vegan diet just for one week with my sister in law, who is now a legit vegan after decades as a vegetarian.

But it wasn't the tranquil place it usually is for any of us, and it may be the last time we're all up there together. One thing is for sure; we will forever have a different reaction when we hear gunfire, which is commonplace up there.

As I was flying into SF for a short layover and plane transfer, my husband texted me that his brother had been shot. Immediately, I had a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach. He texted back that he was "alright" but because he was with him and driving to the hospital, information was sparse and delayed. I was left wondering where and by whom for quite awhile. In that time, I came up with different scenarios, none of which were accurate. My first thought was that it must've been an accident; that they did it while shooting for target practice. Then, I wondered if maybe they went to town, and someone robbed a store and he was caught in the crossfire. I never expected the truth: That he was on their property, close to the house,when a stray bullet hit him in the stomach. We learned that the riffle shot had already traveled almost a mile, and as a result, stopped just short of piercing his abdominal wall.

Wait, bullets can travel a mile?! Yes.

And then came an unthinkable thought: The same height where he was hit would have been the same height as the heads of the older children. Their property previously seemed so removed and secluded; safe. They are on 83 acres and back up to BLM wilderness. But about a mile away, there is a shooting range, and people who use it who don't know what they're doing, apparently.

The impact that this family event has had on each of us is different, and ripples out with those closest having the greatest impact. But it really says something when even a gun owner such as myself reconsiders her position. Because of this, I wanted to share something that my brother-in-law sent to the family:
Thinking Solutions. I don't want to get on a high horse here, but with so many guns in circulation right now and with the range and power of these guns tending to increase over time, I have been a bit shocked how little most Americans (on both sides of the debate) know about guns. I'm not going to resolve this in an email and there are no easy, quick solutions that will please everyone. But let me suggest two resources to further educate yourself:
  • First, there's the Pew Research Center on gun policy and this article is a great place to begin. I also think they're pretty balanced and data-based.
  • Second, there's Everytown for Gun Safety. Admittedly, they are an advocacy organization and have a point of view. And I know all of you won't agree with them (And that's OK!). Still, it's a great place to learn, check your thinking and take some action if you so choose. (And if you don't, or even if what you find there upsets you--That's fine!) Alright, getting off the horse now and returning to our normal programming...
My Mom was always looking for the positive, even (especially?) in the negative. I thank God every day that she passed on this outlook to me. She would say that what happened was a blessing in disguise. Prior to this, hearing the gun shots was so commonplace that we never reacted. Now, we go inside and bring the kids. So, this horrible event could play a major role in preventing something much, much worse. In effect, he may have literally taken a bullet for (instead of) the kids.

Bad, unfair, serious things happen to all of us, at some point, unfortunately. If they haven't yet, they will, and that is something that no amount of money or preparation can prevent or control. What we can control is what we do with it; how we let it shape us. Do we let the fear impact our life in a negative way and control us? Or do we try to find beauty for ashes?

Although I would not choose to go through it again, one of the most impactful events in my life was being told I had melanoma. I went to surgery, had scans and an appointment with my oncologist while living with that fear and dread for over a month...only to be told it was a mix-up. While I sometimes think that I would sign up for living forever if it were an option, it is only when we face our mortality and consider the finiteness of our life that it truly begins to hold meaning. I believe that I am a better parent, kinder counselor, more loving spouse and have more faith in God because of this experience. Things that were a big deal to me before my misdiagnosis just roll off, like water on a duck's back. It also helped shed light on who would be there for me if I really had cancer, and who would not. Hopefully in time, this experience can be viewed in a similar way. 

After our time in Oregon, we squeezed the last few drops out of summer by camping for three nights at Shaver Lake with our good family friends. A was so excited to play with her friends and have her first camping experience. So was I. Baby C loved waking up and looking out the window of our tent trailer that we rented. "Oooooh" he would say.
Those of you who know my husband know that he does not like camping. And those of you who know him also know that it takes a whole lot of convincing and coercing to get him to do something that he doesn't want to do. But he also has a strong sense of tradition and is more sentimental than anyone I know. As a child, he went with his family to Shaver Lake and so it was an easy sell. It was a great opportunity for A to bond with her friends who are in higher grades at her new school, and for us to get the scoop on what we needed to know from their Mom who is a teacher there. When asked if she preferred our five star hotel in Austria with a view of the Salzach or camping, she enthusiastically answered "Camping!"

We drove home on Thursday and that Saturday was C's first birthday party, so I didn't have too much time to prepare. I had coordinated a lot while up in Oregon, and put together some of it right before we left. His theme was "Time Flies" and because I couldn't find any entertainment along those lines, I went with a magician.

Well, I did call about having a zip line installed behind our house, but the $5,500 price tag was a bit beyond our budget!
The magician was awesome! Although C is too young to know what was going on, the entertainment was perfect for the older friends, who sat mesmerized for close to an hour. He's based in LA and you can find out more about him here. 
Can you guess who my husband is?

It was a smaller crowd than our usual parties because many people were already back to school, or still finishing their summer vacations. This provided a good opportunity for us to visit a bit more with those who were there.

That Monday, I was back to work, while the kids and hubby had an extra week before they started. We were all a bit apprehensive about getting up early and on time with two different locations to drop the kids off at. It was surprisingly smooth. A few weeks in, and A has wanted to go every day. She will sometimes ask "How many days until we have a break?" like she did on the Tuesday morning of her very first week.

At a year old, C started daycare for the very first time, at the same place A used to go to. He didn't cry at drop off for the first two days, then clung to me like a koala bear and cried for about 5 days, which was tough. It's so hard to leave your kids when they are crying and want you, but my guilt was assuaged remembering that my mom was a stay at home mom who still chose to put me in pre-school because I wanted to go, and to prepare me for kindergarten. After those 5 days, he didn't mind going at all, often leaning to get down and play as I passed him off to the worker.

My husband and I alternate days of dropping off and picking up. So far, we haven't forgotten either child, although I did show up at daycare the other day only to learn that he had already picked big man up, and I mis-read his text.

I'm loving being back to work; wearing clothes that aren't just for working out and having uninterrupted conversations with adults. I have a new boss, who is amazing with a super-positive attitude, which sets the tone for the day. I miss the kids like crazy, of course, but I am so fortunate to have a career that I love!

I know that this is going to be an amazing year, with so much growth and change in store! 

He is such a sweet soul.

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Becoming Unbusy

There are so many options of things we could be doing, but I’ve been opting out of all of it. No to the weekly obligations after school. No to practices and games. No to feeling overwhelmed and stressed. I say no and I say it often. #becomingunbusy *Great post on embracing simplicityHave you heard about the Becoming Unbusy movement? It's a real thing. I guess that my husband is advanced and a bit of a trendsetter, because he's been all about not being busy long before it was "a thing." He's not anti-social and he's great with people; funny and witty in mixed company. It's just that he doesn't feel the need to constantly be doing stuff to be entertained. When we were dating, one of our most memorable dates was "camping" in the living room of my apartment.

When we were anticipating the arrival of our first child in 2015, we both dreaded the time when we would inevitably become busy. It was as if we would have no control or say because around us, it just seemed to "happen" to people once they became parents. 

But I remember my friend Delia, a type-A lawyer and ultra-runner who had a "policy" in her home of "only" one activity or sport per child at a time. And that gave me hope.
"Really?!" I inquired, a bit in disbelief. 
"Yes! For example, it's girl scouts or soccer; piano or track. The kids get to pick, but it's only one."

At the time I remember wondering if they wouldn't feel as if they were missing out. Now, a few years later, I realize that being over-committed is missing out. At least in our family. If you thrive and get energized with a full social calendar, there is nothing wrong with that. But if you commit to doing something and then instantly regret it (or worse) begin to dread it, it's time to say no.

"Don't double book us." My husband would often say and now, I get it. I love being at our home, together. "Mommy, I'm bored" is amazing to hear every once in awhile because that's when she gets into some really creative (read: messy) play.

I haven't started saying no to events, parties or activities because I don't want to do them. Rather, I just don't want to do too many of them. A few weekends ago, I tripple-stacked our outings, with the best of intentions. I said yes to one thing, and then another and then to a side-business and before I knew it we had plans from 8:30am-7pm with a few hours in between that we couldn't really enjoy.


It doesn't mean that I'm not going to buy tickets to plays (we have two in the works), go to Disney on Ice, keep my side hustle or go to birthday parties. But it does mean that once I commit to something, I'm not going to add on to that day, even if it does sound really fun. It will make what we do more enjoyable, and people will know when I say I'll be there I won't flake out last minute. 

Almost nothing feels better than going into the weekend with a clear calendar. If you feel that way too, make it happen! We're not alone in wanting to be alone with our family. Remember, it's a whole movement! 

UPDATE: The day after this posting I noticed I only had one thing planned for the entire weekend. So what did I do? Make plans to go to the pumpkin patch, of course! Hey, we're all a work in progress.

Check out this posting on Embracing Simplicity in a Culture of Excess:

Choosing a slower pace and more margin in our schedule
As we’re getting ready for back to school, it’s becoming readily apparent that schedules are getting busier. There are so many options of things we could be doing, but I’ve been opting out of all of it.
No to the weekly obligations after school.
No to practices and games.
No to feeling overwhelmed and stressed.
I say no and I say it often.
It’s counter-cultural to have a lot of margin in your schedule. Try to find a time to meet up with a friend and you’ll quickly notice how busy people are. Different families have varying comfort levels with amounts of activities. We are more comfortable with very few.
Margin allows us more rest but also the option of being available if we want. I’m able to help-out a friend last minute or we can have a spontaneous family picnic at the park. A less busy schedule gives us more flexibility and freedom.
Have a tough time saying no? Check out this guide.

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Our Summer Travels: Helsinki, Tallinn and Salzburg

If you are considering an international trip with your children, do it! While practically unheard of in the states, traveling to different countries with your kids in tow is the norm all throughout Europe. Back in 2016 when our little A was 14 months old, we almost cancelled our trip because nearly everyone we spoke to thought we were nuts. Two years and two international trips later, I was much more relaxed and excited before we left, even though we now have two children. 

Baby C turned 11 months and started standing the day before we left. As I was finishing up packing, I heard one note on the piano, and was surprised to find him standing there, holding onto the keys before slowly falling to his bum-bum. He sprouted his fourth tooth while we were gone, and we made the transition from formula to whole milk. He was a dream, time-change and all. They both were, really, although A did have her usual few meltdowns over things that can be important to toddlers, such as who pushes the stroller, Mommy or Daddy. All was forgiven on our last day when she was an angel through a late night, front row Mozart concert that took place by candlelight in a restaurant that has been in operation since the year 803; arguably the world's oldest. In fact, she now has some credit in the bank due to pulling this off.
I don't have the best memory, and dream of our children one day retracing some of our vacation steps, maybe with children of their own. The fun filled days of any vacation easily become a blur and so I try to write a little update at the end of the day, no matter how tired I am. Then I use these little synopses when I create a photo album later on. Travel logs can be quite pedestrian at times, and mine is no exception. But my account of our travels and memories is something that I leave for my children; something that can't be burned in a fire, or lost in a bad economy. Of all the things I wish I still had of my Mom's, her words and personal memories are at the top of the list. And so, here are mine.
We flew business class, and were fortunate to have an empty seat next to us that was given to Baby C. While we may have received some nervous glances from those around us, it was a night flight and both children were fast asleep by 10pm. They slept  9-10 hours, until breakfast was served.
Pedestrian area? Not quite.
Day 1- We arrived in Helsinki and checked into our hotel. Then, we walked for pizza close by. The pizza place was in a courtyard, which seemed like a purely pedestrian area. But I learned in Budapest that this is not always the case! Unlike the states, a random car would pull up when you least expected it. We sat and people-watched for a bit, then headed back to the hotel. We all went to bed at 10pm but the kids were up from 1:30 a.m. until 4:30 a.m. which was tough. Thankfully, we all slept until 2pm the next day! 
Day 2- We are in LOVE with Helsinki!!!! We came here sort of on a whim, because LAX opened up a direct route. The population of the whole country is 5 million, which is HALF that of LA County alone. It definitely has a much smaller feel compared to other European capitals, and a whole lot less tourists. We found it to be super walkable, clean, and safe with beautiful views. I was already so happy that we brought our double stroller! Today, we slept until 2pm local time and headed out until 9pm. A and I went on the skywheel, which has amazing views of the land and sea. Nervous at first, I used it as an opportunity to talk to her about finding courage, and after a few rotations, she felt comfortable enough to switch sides for a different view. We checked out some beautiful, old churches and explored a cemetery/playground. Then we came back to the hotel to try out the sauna before getting ready to go out to a very late dinner at 11pm. It was still light out!
Day 3- We all slept from 1:30am-2pm! I couldn't believe it was that late, and that we had slept so well again. We packed our bathing suits and walked down to the Allas sea pools for swimming! Because it was a bit overcast, we had the place almost to ourselves. There was a large shallow pool for kids, a deeper pool with lanes for swimming and "dipping" and a grimy-looking pool filled with seawater. After spending some time swimming with A, my hubby watched the kids while I spent 25 min in a 130 degree sauna. Then, I jumped in the 50 degree sea pool. It was so cold that it took my breath away several times, as I quickly swam to the ladder. 
Have a stroller you love? Bring it! 
The kids were able to nap whenever they wanted,
 on our longer days when we didn't return to the hotel for nap.

Day 4- When we asked our concierge about walking to the zoo, one woman said “it can’t be done” and a different woman said “no one has ever done it.” Because the Helsinki zoo is on an island, we thought that she literally meant that it could not be done. But looking at the map, it seemed accessible by a bridge, and not too far away; 4-5 miles at most. We walked it and it was amazing! We had biking/walking trails all the way and amazing views of the harbor. We ran into a local couple and walked with them the majority of the way and learned a lot and had a lot of laughs. Many of my sauna questions were answered; yes, you go in naked with the parents of someone you're dating, but usually only same gender if alone. Because the zoo is on an island, there were amazing views around every turn. It was 11 miles round trip! Kids were great and napped in stroller on way back. 
Day 5- Today was a much more low-key day. We happened upon St. John’s Lutheran Church, which is the largest stone church in Finland, seating 2,600 people. It's done in a beautiful Neogothic style, with gargoyles posted as guards all around. There was a playground on the side that we spent some time in. As most churches have, there was an area to light a candle. I dropped in a Euro, and explained that we would light one for her Nana. She thought I meant someone else, and very reverently started to pray to her friend Mak:  

After that, we did a little strolling and shopping, and then went back to the room for nap-time, where everyone napped except me. That evening we went for Italian food again. Charles moves up and down in his high-chair when we sing baby shark; it's our new favorite way to pass the time while we're waiting for our food to arrive. 

Day 6- Our last full day in Helsinki. We walked about 8 miles round trip to the Redi mall to try and find some non-touristy souvenirs. The kids had fun at little play areas in the mall and even in a kid's clothing store. But throughout almost all of our time at the mall, A was focused on a hand-sewn fairy house that she wanted. We wanted her to look around and make sure that was they toy she wanted, but she wanted it now and made it very clear by repeating and whining "I want it nooooowwww." We tried redirecting her, to no avail. It reached a point where we realized that giving her the toy would reinforce the poor behavior. But it was so darn cute and unique, and I really wanted it for her! We were leaving for Estonia the next day, and it was the one souvenir she picked out from Finland. So to compromise, we told her she was not getting it today, and I left to "go to the bathroom" and went back to get it for a different, future day. The sweet woman working there understood, as she had heard her pleading in the store. "I'll wrap it in yellow, for a day when she's feeling more sunny." It would have been so much easier to just give it to her, because when we went from telling her she could pick it out if she was sure she liked it best, to telling her we were not getting it, her behavior escalated with actual crying. But once she realized we were serious, she relented and we were able to enjoy a late lunch overlooking the river. It would have been easier in the short term to give it to her right then, but much more difficult in the long run, because we would have just taught her that if she just keeps at it long enough, we give in. We would have been reinforcing her behavior. Other than some clothes that were on sale for the kids, we didn't find anything at the mall to buy. On the way back, we purchased some matching wool capes for A and I that we had our eyes on, and a wooden tractor for Chompers. I ran into a pack of Irish wolf hounds and had to stop for a picture with them. 

Day 7
- My husband told me that we were taking a boat to Tallinn, the capital of Estonia. I'm not sure exactly what I was picturing, but it was so much nicer than I was expect ing, and massive! It had 9 floors, a kids’ play room, a dance floor complete with live band, multiple shops and restaurants and my husband even sprung the 30 Euros for us to have our own room!! Even though it was only a 2 hour ride, father and son were able to nap, while A and I explored the different floors. 

It was a short cab ride to our hotel and I quickly realized that this city was unlike any other. walking around old town Tallinn was like stepping into a fairytale, complete with a medieval wall around the city and a Rapunzel tower. Our hotel was way beyond what I was expecting, and beyond what A was expecting because she asked if we could stay there again sometime, in the same room. Hotel rooms in all over Europe are much smaller than what we're used to in the states. I didn't realize that my husband booked suites for us, sort of necessary with needing space for the two children.

My husband loved the traditional Estonian food, which is mostly a lot of meat, and we did too! In the habit of ordering Italian food for the kids, I ordered a cheese pizza at one place, only to have her eat more of the crispy pork shank than we were expecting. We all went to bed excited to explore more tomorrow!

Day 8 - A and I had breakfast at the hotel while the boys slept before we all headed out to walk around Old Town. We explored a little open-air market with live music near the Gothic Town Hall that was built in the 13th century. A practiced hammering a nail, using a saw and asked Daddy to "Tell me about the bad guys" at least 25 times. She is very intrigued by the walls surrounding Old Town that kept them out, and wants to know where they are now. A restaurant with a wolf in the window and a pirate ship caught her eye, so we ate there for lunch. Although we ordered a margarita pizza, she didn't care for it and ate more of the fried pork shank! Later, we found some amazing views overlooking the city, and had dinner at a quiet place by the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral. She had a blast feeding a sea gull some of her left-overs, with Dad's encouragement, and belly laughed when the bird swooped down to get it. C is now able to get himself up onto A's low couch/bed with no assistance and is pulling to stand even more. 

Day 9 - We spent the day wandering around Old Town and found a medieval festival that happens four days a year, and has been running for the past 20 years. A was so excited to watch the "bad guys" fight, and we kept seeing the men in armor walking around the city, which intrigued her. We had our hair braided and both kids took a turn riding a wooden horse to joust. After that, A and I went on a horse-drawn carriage ride. We had been planning to go on a tour in a rickshaw, and weren’t sure the carriage ride would be worth the extra euros. But it definitely was, because everyone looked at her and waved and smiled on the 20 min ride through town. She waved for quite awhile, but then said her wrist was tired. I told her that princesses have to get used to waving and showed her how the queen just rotates her wrist to conserve energy. I thought of Mom and hoped she was smiling down. 

A and I climbed the 115 steps to the top of the Town Hall belfry for some amazing views while C slept and Daddy relaxed with a beer. The steps at the top were narrow and steep; each went well above her knees! as we neared the top. She decided she definitely would not like to live in Rapunzel’s tower.
After descending, we walked around some antique shops while the kids slept, had the meat-feast for two at the same traditional restaurant and stopped off at a park on the way home.

Early flight tomorrow so it is just after 9pm and we’re all in bed! Excited to see Salzburg tomorrow!

Day 10 - Up early to fly to Salzburg! By far my favorite city on this trip!!! Our hotel is smack dab in the middle of everything, right on the green Salzach river (limestone), just below the Hohensalzburg Fortress. It is right by St Peter’s monastery/cemetery and the Salzburg Cathedral...where the same font that Mozart was baptized in still remains! There’s something incredible and unexpected around each corner! C and A were incredible today!! We set our alarm for 4:15am and woke them up when we’ve been sleeping every day until after 9! We had prepped A the night before, so groggy though she was, she got right up and got going. We had a 2 hour flight to Vienna and then an hour to Salzburg and C fell asleep just after takeoff both times! In spite of the fact they made me take him out of his cozy carrier. He fussed for about 3 seconds, then was back asleep. We had a little rain today, which was nice, but beautiful sunny skies later in the day. Probably just under 70, which is nice walking weather!

Day 11 - A and I and I took a class at a cooking school this morning. We made apple strudel and an egg white soufflé called Salzburger Nockerl. She did so well! After class, we stopped by a playground on the river and experienced just how much more fun European playgrounds are!! Things like merry-go-rounds and seesaws that are hard to find in the states are basic staples here.

Day 12 - Today may have been the best day! We woke up early (7am) to grab a quick breakfast at the hotel before the short walk to our bus to Berchtesgarten and Eagle’s Nest. My husband was dreading the organized tour but it wasn’t too bad! We didn’t have to stick with the group, but because we were a part of them, we didn’t need to wait in line for any tickets. The panoramic views were unreal!

After Eagle’s Nest, we stopped for lunch in Bertchesgaden. Again, we would have liked more time! A and I bought coordinating Dirndls, and C even got a traditional outfit; his first pair of lederhosen. Autumn had a blast in a street fountain on the walk back to our hotel. "Mommy - I can run through the water?" she inquired, full of joy, and I couldn't say no. I try not to say no, unless I have a good reason. And "Your clothes will get wet" wasn't a good one. A slept on the bus ride home, so while father and son napped for a few hours, we went to Mozart’s birth house and museum. His family lived on a third floor apartment. We split a treat and had a lock engraved with our last name and the year to leave on the bridge.

Once N and C were up, we walked to her favorite playground with the merry-go-round and seesaw. Then we walked a bit further down the river to a brewery at a monastery founded in 1621!!! The Biergarten was unlike anything I’ve experienced! Food was good- a lot of different choices that seemed to be independently run.

We walked along the river around 930pm as the sun was setting for a beautiful view! Hoping to do less tomorrow, but it was an unforgettable day.

Day 13 - Today we started with our big (included) breakfast at the hotel and then wandered around for souvenirs. Went back to the cathedral to make sure I noticed which font Mozart was baptized in. It contains holy water still and we blessed ourselves. While everyone napped I ran 4 miles along the Salzach and found a bigger playground that we’re going to go to tomorrow. After nap, we took the funicular up to the fortress- built in 1621 and one of the largest preserved castles in Europe. We had dinner up there with panoramic views. I seem to have caught A’s cold and am a bit achy.

Day 14 - What an incredible last night in Salzburg!!! We attended the best Mozart music performance while being served a candlelit dinner in the Baroque Hall of the St. Peter monastery!! Oldest restaurant in Salzburg and I think Europe! I enjoyed it so much more than I ever expected!
By visiting our performance you will be taken back to Mozart’s time. Enjoy an evening likely to have taken place in 1790 - in the Baroque Hall lit by candles, having a dinner based on historical recipes, listening to a concert with musicians in authentic costumes and the music of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.“
The Baroque Hall St. Peter - let the majestic ambience enchant you The Mozart Dinner Concert takes place in the unique and historic atmosphere of St. Peter Stiftskulinarium. The Baroque Hall - with its stucco and frescoes - is a magnificent showpiece. St. Peter is part of the famous Benedictine monastery and is located in the oldest part of Salzburg. The Baroque Hall is one of the last concert halls in Salzburg where real candle light is still permitted. St. Peter Stiftskulinarium itself is the oldest restaurant in Europe first mentioned in 803. Even the Mozart family ate dinner here. In October 1783, Mozart´s sister "Nannerl" wrote in her diary: “Papa and Henry had lunch at St. Peter... made music ... rained heavily“. Composer Michael Haydn lived and performed music in the "Haydn Room". Our musicians often like to spend their breaks here while dinner is served to our guests in the Baroque Hall
My husband still loves to surprise me, so we were front and center - the only people in attendance with their own private table. All others had 8 chairs, but our table just had 4 and we were served different food. It was much fancier than I was expecting. And the food! It was amazing, although I do now feel slightly guilty knowing I had veal.
Although the dinner when until 9:45pm, both kids were amazing! We were prepared to take either of them out to the courtyard if they fussed, but they were transfixed:

Some prepping and bribing may have taken place with A beforehand, who now gets to watch as many movies on the plane ride home as she wants. It also helped that she had a fun morning exploring a large park without limitations and was able to run around and explore to her heart’s content. The park even had a little stream.

Toward the end, the female singer tapped and smiled at A as she walked up to the stage three separate times, eliciting a huge smile. A woman stopped me in the bathroom to tell me how well behaved they were, and an elderly British couple stopped us as we were leaving, saying they were the most well-behaved kids they had ever seen, and that they just couldn’t believe it. It is so nice that we can expose them to this! We never dreamed that we would be able to take them to something of this caliber at their ages!

Wearing his first pair of lederhosen. 
Again, don't be afraid to travel with your kids! We loved it so much that we've already booked next summer: Krakow and Croatia. I'm looking forward to a lifetime of travel with them.

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

June Update


We flew home from Oregon on June 1st; just the kids and I, and hit the ground running. That same day, we went to her cousin's first birthday party, followed by an outdoor movie that evening in our neighborhood greenbelt.

The next day, we had more cousin time at their beach hotel pool in the morning, and went to the Baker Street Bash instead of going home to nap. It was the first time that she went off without an adult. She was with two older kids that are the children of C's godmother and more like family than friends, but it was still a definite sign that she's growing up. 

She was sitting with Michael watching the talent show and the Cupid Shuffle came on. Apparently, dancing to this song is hard to resist. I was so surprised to see her not only get up and start dancing to a song she had never heard, but also join a lot of kids up on stage! 

A is a bit cautious and reserved, but it never gets in the way of her fun! I never would have gone up on stage at her age because I was so shy. But she felt comfortable, which speaks volumes about how comfortable she feels there and with Mak and Michael.

While we were in Oregon, my husband started taking our puppies out our back gate and letting them off-leash once they got to the stream. He's training them to come when called, in case there is another dog or mountain biker. They listen most of the time, and are eager to please. Once we were home, we joined in and now regularly go in the murky, mucky water too. As the pups are getting more adept at navigating the slippery rocks, and so is Baby A. Since she was little, I've been a firm believer in letting her get messy and explore. You know, the amazing adventures of our childhood and pretty much every generation before us that are now discouraged and almost frowned upon.
Children need to be able to get outside with unstructured time to explore. Physical and emotional problems arise when they aren't allowed to and/or are too tightly restricted and controlled. Check out this article: THE UNSAFE CHILD: Less Outdoor Play is Causing More harm Than Good. I am a firm believer that the more freedoms we allow our children, the more likely they are to listen and obey when we want/need them to- not the other way around, as some would fear. If a child is constantly told they cannot do something, it is a natural reaction to try and test those boundaries. Baby A knows that I am a "yes Mommy" and that if I do say no, there is a pretty good reason. Because of this, she is more well-behaved, not less. It is the children who are greatly restricted and constantly told no who do their very best to do the opposite of what they know to be their parent's desired behavior. Or, they have so many limits that they just tune them out. Because I seek to please A, she seeks to please us.  She has never thrown anything down our staircase, for example, in part because I've never told her that she shouldn't.
Baby C continues to be such an easy-going, charming little guy! He's starting to show affection by leaning his head forward to touch ours, or by grabbing our hair and smashing his face up against his. He loves the tall giraffe in his nursery, and giggles when I bring him close to it. He's a fast army crawler and toward the end of the month was starting to crawl on all fours, and pull himself up on furniture. He loves throwing any ball back and forth, and often shakes a bit with excitement after he throws it while letting out a little grunt. It is just so darn cute, so I do it with him daily.

Toward the end of the month, A started walking more with us without the stroller. She now regularly does 1.5-2 miles out our back trails without any "I'm tired" complaints. My goal is to take advantage of the small patch of wilderness we have right out our back gate more and more as the kids get older. For our upcoming international trip, I bought The Nature Principal: Reconnecting with Life in a Virtual Age. My goal is to still get out there with the kids daily in the fall, and eventually get mountain bikes for us all to ride.

For the last week in June, A went to VBS with her cousin MC. Although "I don't know" was usually her response to me asking what she learned, she did randomly say "I love God so much!" as we were getting ready to leave. In preparation for his first international trip, Baby C had his first haircut. For about a week after, I was adjusting to how much he looked like a boy instead of a baby.

We had two movies outside on my hubby's new projector and screen that he got for Father's Day: Shrek 2 and Toy Story 1. We're hoping to make this a summer tradition.

We met our neighbors at Angel Stadium for the kids' first baseball game. A was more into it that I expected, and even clapped every time either team scored a point. The end of the month found me trying to prepare and order things for Baby C's first birthday which is just over a month away, and packing for our trip to Helsinki! Before we flew internationally with Baby A when she was 14 months, I was really nervous and second guessing our decision until the night before. But since we have that under our belt and C is such an easy baby, I'm way more excited than I was last time.

Things I don't want to forget about this month:
  • Finishing a hot 3 mile run and laying down in the toy room. A brought me a kid's cup filled to the brim with ice cold water, completely unprompted.