sometimes you go on vacation and have a baby.

Oh, hi. I don't know what happened in May when I blogged about time in Philly and then took a 5 month hiatus from blogging. I think I became a little disenchanted with blogging (too many articles about creepy people) and, well, I meant to tell you about 5 months ago, but I was pregnant back then. So between that and the hottest summer of my life and a toddler (who was potty training at the time), I had little desire to blog. I don't know. But it's been in the back of my mind for a while, and while I don't know who's even reading...we can play a little catch up. 

May seems like another lifetime ago. How could it be 5 whole months ago and yet only 5 tiny months? Since August, each week seems like a month, I think. 

My family came to visit at the end of June, and Dave's brother and family visited at the beginning of July. At the end of July, we went to Utah to visit family. We didn't come back until Labor day because surprise! Baby Reid was born on August 6th, half an hour after our flight back to Portland left. 

That afternoon things felt a little weird (but totally not like labor) and so after checking in with my doctor's office, we decided to pop into (hahahaha) American Fork hospital around 3:00. Here's how that went: 

me: hi, we have a plane to catch in 3 hours so can you just check to make sure I'm not in labor, kthanks. 

Long story short, Reid was born at 8:35 at just over 5 pounds, 7 weeks early. Later that night he was taken up to Murray to a NICU with the level that he needed. He stayed there for one day shy of a month and was released on oxygen, which he was on until mid September.  

Sometimes I can't believe he was only in there for a month. We were told he would probably be in there for 6-7 weeks and we mentally prepared for such. Still, there was really no preparing. It was definitely the hardest thing we've done and full of so many emotions and quite a bit of stress. We were all able to stay in Utah until we were all able to go home. Dave worked part time for almost the entire time, and we spent a month juggling work, commuting, recovering from having a baby, trying to keep Sam's life as normal as possible, sleep, eating, normal things in was a mess, but it did get a bit better as time went on. There was also mourning for what we wanted and thought would happen. No matter what we did, we were leaving a kid behind, and we just felt so exhausted 

And the entire month of August went so slowly, but somehow the days marched on. The days always do, right? Each week seemed like a month, it really did. I knew at the time that in just a few months we'd be home and things would be normal and we'd look back on all of this as...I don't interesting adventure?

The whole thing is just unbelievable. A baby in the NICU is one thing, a baby in the NICU in a different state is another! It was really hard to not be home! (and yes, we've heard the stories of people who had much crazier things happen). We owe so much to family and friends who went above and beyond to help with Sam and to help us...the support we had was incredible! 

Reid will be 3 months this week. It's very weird to think we've been home for two whole months, and yet again, that it's only been two months. So yes, here we are, looking back on August as a difficult adventure but one we have safely arrived home from. 

Reid's a sweet baby and we love having him here. Life is almost at a new normal (we still have to avoid certain things until the end of the month), and overall we've adjusted well. Hopefully we will recover soon from all the stress of the past few months. 

Since May, and really even in the time we were in Utah, Sam has grown up by a hundred years and amazes me with his conversations and imagination. He's done so well with all the changes and he enjoys seeing "bayreid" sometimes, and then mostly leaves him alone (in a good way).  

Whew. I may be a little rusty (I tried to make sure it wasn't just a rambling stream of thoughts), but thanks for reading. Here's to a very quiet fall and winter! 


Gotta finish our trip! We flew in and out of Philly, so our hosts were gracious enough to allow almost a week between our stays :). We stayed with Katie and Aaron and had so much fun. Katie is one of my best friends from middle school to beyond; we were roommates in college and I really miss living close to her!

That first night we dragged them along to Good Stuff, a favorite burger place from our DC days. It seriously was like walking into the location at DC; the interior was almost exactly the same. And the burgers were just a good as we remembered. Then we had some gelato that was some of the best--grapefruit gelato is hard to beat, I think. It was the most perfect flavor!

When we came back at the end of the week, Katie and Aaron made a fantastic dinner, including making the pasta! Dave and I decided that was the best pasta we've ever had and it was fun to learn how to make it. 

Philly is a city that randomly enough, I/we have been to a number of times, more than any other major US city. So we needed to see none of the typical Philly sites. We walked to brunch, which was one of the best meals of my entire life, NO exaggeration. I had creme brulee french toast, Katie had red velvet pancakes and Dave and Aaron got the same thing--a "kitchen sink" breakfast with biscuits, gravy, veggies, eggs...yum. Seriously it was so good. We then walked down to the Mutter museum, which was one of the few choices for our day. Since it was rainy (but then actually turned out to be a nice day), we did the one activity that was indoors. It's a medical oddities museum, which was pretty fun/interesting/weird. 

Sam was sufficiently bored to death (by the end he was just laying on my shoulder, resigned to his fate) by the end, and we spent an hour or so at a park and let him run around. The sun came out and we headed back. 

We played some games and Sam fell asleep on the living room floor while we waited for our dinner reservation. We went to a Mediterranean place that had excellent pizza and pasta and another one of the BEST things--a salted caramel budino (custard-type dish) with a chocolate crust. Basically I won't be satisfied until I have somehow recreated it. I think we walked around 6 miles that day--which was good for all the food we ate!

The next morning included a walk downtown for some donuts for breakfast and bagels for the road (all delicious. Grapefruit again was a star flavor with a grapefruit brulee donut). We then finished packing up and waited to leave for the airport. 

Sam had a lot of fun with Katie, since she had dice, cards, a bear that played music and a molecule building kit. Those are some of his favorite things. We had fun playing bang and watching kimmy schmidt.

We had a mostly uneventful flight home (got to see Chicago from the air for the first time, which was cool. Also, lake michigan = huge).

We had so much fun back East and were so glad to see good friends and family. Thanks to all our hosts!

new york city!

Our next stop was manhattan! We were visiting our dear friends whom we met in DC and lived by at BYU for the year following. We haven't seen since they left for law school 4 years ago. Now they are living post-school life in NYC and it was so fun to see them again. Plus we got to meet their cute boys. Sam loved them; I think he enjoyed being in the middle. Henry was big enough to follow around, Walter was small enough that Sam still felt big :)

Our first evening we rode down to the upper west side, took a quick stroll through central park, grabbed a levain cookie (so good!) and some snacks and then headed back to their apartment. We had takeout (we felt very new york-ish) for dinner and the boys had fun playing. 

Saturday we left early to catch the ferry to Liberty Island. We spent a few hours there exploring and trying to get snatches of the audio tour (turns out 3 little boys make things go very slowly) and took a quick trip to the platform level. The views were amazing and the statue was really awe-inspiring. 

I wish we would have had the time/stamina to tour Ellis island, but we figure we'll just have to come back. We then took the subway up to the Village to eat pizza and gelato...and grab cupcakes and sandwiches for later. We took a long ride with 3 very tired boys back uptown. There is never enough time to do everything in NYC--especially when you have one day! We've been before so there wasn't much we were dying to do (Liberty Island was our big thing), but mostly I am sad we couldn't try all the food we wanted and see some other friends that live there. It's too big!

 "sam, smile!" "no."
 I don't know how any one gets a good family picture with a toddler. He seriously hates taking pictures.
 Completely the opposite from our picture attempts in CT, he sat SO sweetly on the couch with a tiny little smile for like 5 minutes. AGES, I'm telling you. It was adorable. Look at these boys. So cute!
 Their reward!
 bye wally!
thanks for having us! this is our throwback to all the group pictures in DC: Dave taking a 4 person selfie.


We got back last week from a week-long trip to the East coast! It was so fun. We split our time between family in CT and friends in NYC and Philly. We flew in and out of Philly, but our first big chunk of time was spent in CT (yes, even the same city of events like this). I swore I'd never go back (more like never thought we would need to)...but Shanna and Evan live there now, so we took a drive down a memory lane or two and it mostly looks just like I remember. They lived on the other side of town from where we did, so luckily that part of town can just remain in my memory. 

ANYWAY. We walked down to a little farm to look at animals, played with lots of toys and legos, visited the Pez factory, had lunch at a famous diner (of the diners, drive-ins and dives variety) and had a lot fun visiting. It felt almost like the good old days when we lived at Wymount together all those [three] years ago. We are definitely hoping they make their way back to the West sometime soon. 

Thanks for having us!

(giant pez man)
(oh  my gosh, sam)
(watching a video)

check check

Oh, hi! Turns out blogging is easy to ignore when you're hibernating for the winter, or something. Part of me is just less concerned with making sure everything is online, I think. And and a bigger part would rather spend my free time watching netflix. I don't really know what happened to February, but it's summed up with helicopters, play dough, valentine's cookies, valentine's and birthday lunches. 

how to save a cake

1. Pick out a cake based on your toddler's interests. I landed on a monkey because it didn't need any special fondant sculpting, etc. Just a cute little monkey cake. 

2. Bake a favorite chocolate cake and prep favorite frosting (night before).

3. Day of, when your toddler is napping, realize you have one stick left of butter (when you need 3 (yikes, that sounds terrible)), so you make a third of the frosting and try making chocolate whipped cream for the rest. 

4. Cream fails to whip, other frosting tastes weird.

5. Pause, realize that this just isn't happening. So cut of the sides of the round cake, going for a Lego look now. 

6. Wonder why you didn't do that in the first place, since your child loves legos to death.

7. White frosting does not make a cake look like a lego. Taste the cake scraps and realize that it, too, tastes weird. You can't figure out how everything ended up tasting so weird. 

8. Pause, perhaps crying a tiny bit out of frustration, and realize you're the only grownup at the party (of three adults) that likes cake. Call Blue Star donuts and order a dozen donuts. 

9. When said toddler wakes up, pick up donuts. Use toddler to accidentally charm them into throwing in an extra donut and giving you the deal of a lifetime on donuts. Seriously, I love that place. 

10. Assemble donuts into a cake. Win-win, really, because 1. everyone loves donuts 2. you just made a totally trendy cake without even trying that hard. 


11. Find a whole package of butter in the back of the fridge a week later. Honestly, my catch-phrase should be "I looked, but not that hard."

two years of sam!

I can't believe this little guy is two. I'm not sure what I can say about him that I haven't already said--he's so sweet and cute and funny and spunky and stubborn and smart and goofy and happy and chill....and oh we love him.
It's been such a fun two years. Sam's been my sidekick almost every day for the last two years, and I've [mostly] loved it. The times I haven't, well, it's my fault for taking a 1.5 old to target at 4 pm, right? There are definitely days that I'm so ready to be done for the day, but his kisses and hugs and laughing fits somehow make up for it all. Sometimes he puts his hands on his knees and just laughs; it seems so old for him, but I love it.

He's talking a lot these days, and it's so fun to hear him say new things every day. Here are some of our favorite words:

suck it (sucker)
saddy (salad)
keena (quinoa)
weego or pieces (legos)
fosser (floss)
pista (pizza)
pino (piano)
stawbee (strawberry)
see-al (cereal)
tee-bee (tv)
me-ohs (tomatos)
orng (orange)
ohgut (yogurt)
choo (train)

He loves playing with legos, cars (he calls them people now, I think because people sit inside cars?), trains and blocks, eating cereal with milk like daddy, watching the lego movie, and taking baths. He also really loves playing with dice. He will repeat little prayers with us, and after we say "for", like "we're thankful for" he says "five". He knows how to start prayers (hemmy fader) and end (chiiist amen). He loves to push the elevator buttons, jump in puddles and does not like getting his diaper changed (no bum! no bum!).

He's pretty good at self-directed play but has more and more started directing what he would like us to be doing when he is doing something.

These pictures are from his first birthday--I don't think I ever got around to sharing them. He's so much the same, but so much older!
And here are some of my favorites of baby sam! I just had to stop after the last one or this would be a very long post of pictures through the years. You might as well just look at instagram for that :) 
Happy birthday sweet Sammy! We love you! 

and the rest

We were able to see a lot of friends/family while we were in town. It's never enough to see everyone, but I'm so grateful the stars lined up and Katie and I were in town at the same time (you think it wouldn't be so hard since our houses are 2 miles away from each other, but it's been 3 years!). We also got to see friends at a fun birthday party and attend a sweet baby blessing. It's nice having so many friends that either live in or visit the place where you're from!
And aunt/roommate/friend kellie! We swapped states with her but I'm glad we saw her before she left. 
 We really nailed the matching jammies. But it was fun: we sent a pair to my sister who is on her mission in West Virginia. Plus, target. 
Sam never wanted to smile for pictures, but when the flash was on he thought it was hiliarious. So we have a million pictures of him laughing with his eyes closed. 
 Grandma and grandpa took the cousins on a secret adventure to Build-a-Bear. The big machine scared Sam, but he does love that monkey. 
 Cute cousins! And when Sam actually smiles for pictures, he looks like he's aged 3 years. ha. 
 Sam and daddy built a lego tower to the ceiling. Dave called everyone in to show us and sam karate chopped it right in the middle. It was hilarious. 
 My dad dressed like Santa at our Christmas eve family party and it was so funny. I'd never have expected it, but my sister got him to do it somehow; all for the grandkids, I guess. I mean Sam loved it, as you can tell. 
 Remember the story of the shepard who took baby Jesus for a walk? 
 Utah got a lot of snow! Grandpa took Sam out to play in it. Thrilled, as this kid is with snow. 

Whew, I think that's all the pictures I wanted to share from our trip. Sorry for the huge variance in photo quality but, oh well. But we had a lot of fun and, as always, can't wait to go back!

*Not pictured is when we attempted to get Sam's hair cut. He got his hair cut in October and cried the whole time, scared to death. This time, he took one look at Karin and started bawling. So, no hair cut for now. hah!

most of christmas break in reverse

 Lots of squishing and kissing my nephew dez. He is so cute, quite somber and very chill. Also, #jesusphotobomb

 We spent lots of time squished in my parent's car. Not a bad view of the cute cousins. Very bad for my knees ;) 
 We went sledding one morning and Dave and I had a blast. Sam, on the otherhand, did not. I mean, his face in all three pictures is like cry-smiling emoji, amirght? He just had to ride down the hill with us and I think he had a medium amount of fun once or twice. 
 Just being dragged to his doom....
 A super blurry and crappy picture of the intense minute-to-win-it games we played.  
Lots of "wee-gos" and "pieces" at great-grandpa/grandma's house. Such great childhood memories there!
He played that book for 20 minutes straight Christmas morning, and spend the rest of the time fighting Dez for his new toys. 6 month toys FTW. 
 Christmas morning. We had the kitchen set up first, but I love the trail of stocking toys to it. 
 We had a delicious Christmas Eve appetizer and pie spread. This lovely pie from, you guessed it, here.
 I worked on some peg doll nativities and then found these cute unpainted peg ornaments and ordered a set. (just sharing the credit; not making $$ ;))

Do they look like us?? It's pretty fun and they turned out fairly well for my first time...and now I want to make ALL the peg dolls! Animals! Superheros! Families! 
My Ron Swanson Christmas house is the bomb, and you know it. 
Snoozing on the flight to Utah.