P52 | Week 4: Survival

Jan 31, 2016

So this week, the theme is Silhouette Survival. It was suppose to be Silhouette and I was really excited to experiment with silhouettes since they are not something I photograph normally, and Arizona is known for some pretty spectacular sunsets. But things got a little crazy this week, and by crazy, I mean we were all bedridden with the flu. And not what I always thought was the flu- you know, 24-48  hours, throw up a few times, drink cherry 7 up and feel better soon. Nope, this was the actual Influenza. Coughing, sore throat, raging headache, achy body, fever, chills, unable to get out of bed for days Influenza. It rocked our world. I started to feel a little under the weather last Thursday but was still functioning. By Sunday, I was in bed and not moving, with Sunshine by my side. Over the course of the week it hit everyone, though I seemed to take it the hardest. 

So instead of silhouettes, this week I am focusing on survival. In order to survive, I could not even think about taking photos. The one time I did feel up to getting out my camera, I snapped two photos. As I was stressing on Friday, thinking about how I still hadn't gotten a picture for my project and how I was a failure only three weeks in, I decided to do what I'd been doing all week- just survive. I'd use one of the two photos I had taken and it would perfectly represent our life this past week, which really is the entire point of this project anyway.

This past week, we took lots of naps. We took lots of bubble baths. We drank lots of orange juice and wiped lots of noses. There was lots of cuddling, lots of movie watching and we survived. And slowly, but surely, we are starting to feel better. High fives for everyone. We made it through Influenza 2016!

P52 | Week 3: Perspective

Jan 24, 2016

Confession- this week's theme was really hard for me! I think I was trying to make it harder than it needed to be, but at one point, I considered cheating and coming up with a new theme. It's my project, right? I can do whatever I want to do! Ü Then, Shark Bait learned how to sit up without support and I thought to myself, wow, he has a whole new perspective of the world now! Wait... perspective!? Perfect! 

Shark Bait seems to really be loving this new take on life. He will happily sit and play for extended periods of time, usually until he gets tired and falls over. Then he happily plays on the floor. I just can't believe that a week ago he could barely sit with assistance and now he can not only sit without support but can bend his head back and stare up at me without falling over. This is pretty much how life goes these days. Every time I turn around, he is doing something new to impress me. 

August Odds & Ends

Jan 22, 2016

August was a busy month for us. Between Bruce's birthday, our 10th anniversary, the girls starting school and my trip to Hawaii, there wasn't much time for anything else. Yet I have an entire post's worth of odds and ends photos... most of which are just Shark Bait sleeping. I literally have 6 weeks worth of sleepy photos as I took a picture of him at bedtime each night to send to my mum, from the time he was born until she finally got to come meeting him when he was six weeks old.  So prepare yourself for a sleepy photo overload Ü 

See, told you! Lots of sleepy photos. And those are just my favourites. I have many, many more sleepy photos that didn't even make the cut. 

Don't worry... I also took pictures of him awake. 

And in his new baby carrier...

As you can tell, Shark Bait is very unloved and neglected. Ü

Man Cub started telling me he didn't need naps anymore... obviously that is not true. He couldn't even finish his cookie before falling asleep in the car. I sure do love this sweet boy. 

I did a few product shots for a friend's soap business and I have to say- photographing inanimate objects can be kind of fun! It is most definitely easier than chasing toddlers or trying to coax real smiles out of teenagers! 

We had a really great rainy day towards the end of the month. The kiddos made the most of it and convinced Bruce to run around the backyard with them until they were all soaked through. Normally, I would join them in the puddle jumping fun, but with a six week old baby to care for, I decided I was better off hanging out on the porch and snapping some pictures. 

As August came to a close, my sister in law invited us to go to the zoo with her and my nephew, Ace. It was a warm, beautiful day. The wee ones loved the chance to hang out with their cousin and see their favourite animals. Beebs and Ace are only 9 months apart and they are such great friends. Ace recently told his mom that "Beebs said we are cousins, but we're not cousins. We are best friends." I hope they stay close forever! 

August was busy, but it was such a great month. Now, on to September! 

P52 | Week 2: Evening

Jan 17, 2016

This week's P52 theme is Evening. In our home, evening is synonymous with the word chaos, but I really did not want to photograph my messy kitchen counter as I attempt to get dinner prepared while helping two little girls with homework. Or Man Cub's attempt to pull out every toy and movie possible while I am busy in the kitchen. Evenings are difficult. I am beyond excited to have my girls home and have the entire family together for a few precious hours, but honestly, those precious hours are taken over by homework and nightly reading that must be done for school and I feel like our precious family time is stolen from us. 

But Thursday night, as I was stressed over getting dinner on the table and making sure everyone's homework was finished and in their backpacks, ready to be turned in the following day, I walked into the living room and found this. Beebs was doing a reading program on the iPad to get her required 20 minutes of reading and she had taken Shark Bait with her. They were snuggling on the couch and she was telling him all about the book she was reading and showing him the pictures. It was the sweetest thing and it warmed my heart. 

I still find it frustrating that I can't spend our after school hours relaxing with my wee ones, but I am glad they have each other. Scenes like this one make chaotic evenings a little bit easier to get through. 

Shark Bait | Six Months Old

Jan 14, 2016

Yesterday was a bit of an emotional day for me... my baby boy turned six months old. One half year. It's gone far too fast. Luckily, it was a really busy day so I didn't have much time to dwell on how sad I am that he is growing up so fast. Part of the busyness of our day was attending Shark Bait's 6 month well visit. His growth has slowed a bit- he dropped from the 33rd percentile for weight to the 18th. The doctor isn't overly concerned, but hopefully we can get his weight back up a little before his 9 month visit. 

In other news, Shark Bait is still the happiest baby I know. On Tuesday he took two cat naps all day- he slept for 10 minutes in my arms Tuesday morning and about 15 minutes in the afternoon when we picked up the girls from school. Despite his lack of sleep, he was still the happiest, most smiley boy I've ever met. He has gotten so chatty lately which is lots of fun and we are slowly starting baby led weaning. He had his first bites of mandarin oranges last week and he is a fan. 

Shark Bait Says "Aloha"

Jan 12, 2016

Time to play catch up! Let's rewind to August. Shark Bait was five weeks old and it hardly seemed fair that the three oldest kiddos went to Hawaii and Shark Bait missed out, so we decided to correct that problem!

Ok- not exactly how things happened, but in August, Shark Bait and I did in fact make the trek to Hawaii. It was the second half of my 30th birthday present from Bruce. He brought my best friend KJ here to spend my birthday with me, then sent me to KJ for her 30th birthday. When this gift was originally planned, KJ was living in the Pacific Northwest, but 2 weeks after Shark Bait's birth, she left the mainland for Hawaii so her husband can attend pharmacy school on the Big Island. When this new adventure began to unfold for KJ and her family, I kind of figured the second half of my birthday gift would be a no go. I love being wrong in situations like this!

On August 19th, which just happened to be KJ's 10th wedding anniversary, Shark Bait and I set out early in the morning to begin a day of travel. Our first flight was 6 hours, from Phoenix to O'ahu. I tend to be a nervous traveler anyway, but adding a 5 week old baby to the mix made me even more nervous. Luckily, my worrying was in vain. Shark Bait is my super calm baby and flying for 6 hours didn't change that one bit. He slept for all but 30 minutes of the first flight. And the 30 minutes he was awake consisted of him staring at his mama and nursing. After a short layover in O'ahu, we boarded our second plane, headed for Hilo. That flight was only about 45 minutes and once again, Shark Bait slept the entire time. Travel success!

We arrived mid afternoon Hawaii time and KJ and her boys picked us up from the airport. After driving through Panda Express because I was starving, we decided to start my Hawaii stay by stopping to see Rainbow Falls. My first Hawaiian waterfall. It was so so beautiful.

We then drove to KJ's beautiful new home. It sits at the front of 27 acres of rainforest. This made for some crazy mosquitos but oh. my. goodness. It is gorgeous. Her house is adorable and has so much character. (Haha! I hate that word- so overused on my favourite HGTV shows, but it's true. Her house rocks) We spent the afternoon hanging out and catching up on all that had happened in the four weeks since we had seen each other last. We also ran to the church for about an hour that evening so KJ could attend her first Relief Society activity with her new ward.

The mauka view from KJ's house

Thursday our Hawaiian adventure officially began. The morning started with getting KJ's boys through their homeschool work before packing up and heading to the Kapoho Sea Pools. They were amazing. Situated amongst large lava rocks, these giant tide pools house beautiful coral and fish and it was just incredible. The downside is that there was no sandy beach for Shark Bait to lay on, but the mom-gyver in me pulled through and I rigged a fancy little lounging spot for him. Then Sean stayed with the kiddos and KJ and I headed out to snorkel. I loved snorkeling in O'ahu and this was right on par. Beautiful fish, amazing coral, warm salt water and black lava beach. I wish I could put into words just how incredible it was.

This is the photo that pops up on my phone anytime KJ calls. She needs to call me more often! It makes me so happy every time I see it! 
Our drive home was a slow one, only because we stopped about a dozen times along the way to "ooh and aah" over the incredible scenery. We snapped a picture in front of a papaya grove, we stopped to pick and eat strawberry guava (one of my new favourite fruits) and we enjoyed a sprinkle of rain that created a beautiful Hawaiian rainbow. Our final stop before heading home was at a shave ice shop so I could introduce KJ and her boys to one of my favourite Hawaiian treats. The shave ice were gigantic. We probably could have (and should have!) all shared one. They were amazingly delicious and I am still kicking myself for only eating one the whole time I was there.

Eventually, we arrived back at KJs place and I sent her and Sean out on a date to celebrate their 10th anniversary while I stayed with the boys. The younger two went to bed and I taught the older boys to play Sushi Go- a Wayne family favourite. I also binged on some of my favourite Hawaiian treats- Sweet Maui Onion potato chips and Pass-O-Guava drink. Obviously, healthy eating was a top priority while I was there! Ü

Thursday was a jam packed day of fun, but we somehow managed to fit even more into Friday. We started the day by driving across the island to Kona. KJ and I were able to go do some work in the Kona Temple and Shark Bait got to touch his first temple, in Hawaii of all places.

After the temple, KJ bought malasadas from a road side stand. Now, I'd heard of malasadas before we went to O'ahu in March so I made sure to try one there... it was not good. I definitely did not get what the hype was all about. But these malasadas, made fresh at the road side stand... they were AMAZING. I get it now. And I wish we'd bought more. Like I said- healthy eating.

We chowed down on our malasadas as we headed to South Point. Kind of self explanatory, but it is the southern most point of the United States and it was super, super windy. Sean jumped off 30 foot cliffs into the sea below, while I stayed as far away from the edge as I possibly could.

Next on our "to see" list- Papakolea Beach, also known Mahana Beach or Green Sands. Just getting to this beach was quite the adventure. It took us 45 minutes to drive 3 miles due to the extreme terrain. It felt a lot like riding Indiana Jones at Disneyland. Once there, we then had to hike down a rather steep cliff with natural stone steps. But the effort was worth it. Once we had done our part, we were able to enjoy the wonder of one of just a handful of green sand beaches in the world, made up of the mineral olivine. They ask you not to take the sand home due to it being a very small beach containing a finite amount of this amazing sand. Despite having a collection of sand at home from the various beaches I have visited, I honoured the request. But, when we arrived home, we found that KJ's 3 year old had accidentally brought home a good amount of sand in the pockets of his shorts from rolling around on the beach. KJ was kind enough to let me keep the sand to add to my collection.

Luckily, the 45 minute drive was filled with more amazing Hawaiian scenery

After Green Sand, we headed to Punalu'u, a black sand beach known for it's abundance of sea turtles. We got there just as the sun was setting which made for a beautiful view but not great pictures.

We had planned on Punalu'u being our last stop of the day, but as we drove by the volcano Kilauea. We figured we might as well stop. We'd seen pretty much every other natural wonder of the island already! It was super cool to see the lava and steam against the black night sky. As we headed home from our day of amazing sights, I couldn't help but feel blessed to have seen so many of God's masterpieces in one day.

Saturday was the big day I had flown in for- KJ's 30th birthday! It was insanely hot, but we spent the morning at the Hilo Farmer's Market where I bought KJ her first spam musubi. It wasn't quite as good as the one I had when we were on O'ahu but it was still tasty. You know, for being made with spam. Ü KJ and I also split an amazing Pad Thai from a food truck near the farmer's market and I did all my souvenir shopping, picking up some adorable dresses for the girls and Shark Bait's first Hawaiian outfit. (Man Cub's souvenir was a tiki man that I bought later in the day. He LOVES it. It sits on the shelf in his room and he calls it his tiki monster)

I bought my brother and Shark Bait matching Hawaiian attire Ü

After the market, we went to Coconut Island followed by another black sand beach in Hilo called Richardson's Beach. It was crowded but we still had a blast. KJ and I got to snorkel some more which I loved. It wasn't nearly as stunning as the sea pools from earlier in the trip, but we still saw some beautiful fish and had a lot of fun.

We wore the kids out, then dropped KJ's boys and husband off at home before heading out for KJ's birthday dinner. We found a great little sushi restaurant and ate an insane amount of food while Shark Bait slept on the bench beside me. We finished off the meal with mochi ice cream which I had heard a lot about but never tried during our March trip. I can't say I was overly impressed, but at least now I can say I've had it.

Sunday was my last full day on the island. We started the day with church which was a fun experience! Several weeks earlier, KJ had been asked to speak in church on the 23rd, which was the week I would be there. Well, the week before I arrived, they told her that they were switching her talk to the 30th. Well, we arrived at church and I just happened to glance at the program and found KJ's name there as the concluding speaker. I told her I had some bad news and we immediately went into work mode. The topic was "Seeking Our Ancestors", a topic near and dear to KJ's heart. And luckily, she had pondered the topic already, just hadn't written it all down. We threw together some bullet points and gathered some quotes and scriptures and she rocked it. I was seriously proud as I sat in the audience and listened to her speak. No one had any idea she had pulled it together at the last minute and multiple people from the ward wanted to talk to her about the things she had said afterwards.

Other than KJ rocking her talk last minute, my favourite part of church was when I was given a beautiful lei in Relief Society. It is made of paper flower cut outs and beads and I was able to carefully bring it back home with me. It makes me smile every time I see it! They definitely made me feel welcome in the ward, even if I am a haole. Ü

We both rocked our {frizzy} curls the whole time I was there. The humidity basically gave us no other option.
Sunday afternoon I snapped a few family pics for KJ then Sean cooked chicken and dumplings for dinner and I made KJ a birthday cake. Nothing fancy, just a Texas sheet cake, but it was incredible. It seriously tasted amazing. I also got to try all sorts of fun things like a white pineapple and apple bananas and Sean found me a huge fresh coconut to drink. Definitely one of the best Sunday dinners I've ever had!

Monday morning we dropped Sean off for his first day of pharmacy school and then headed to the airport. It was raining cats and dogs and all the flights were delayed. I was a nervous wreck. By some miracle, I was able to get onto an earlier flight to O'ahu which happened to leave at the same time as my original flight was suppose to, so I didn't miss my connection back to the mainland. Shark Bait was a dream on the flights home. He slept peacefully for most of the travels and when he wasn't sleeping, he was grinning at me.

We arrived back in Phoenix around 10pm and got home around 11:30- just in time for me to snap Shark Bait's 6 week picture. We were mostly happy to be home. Ü I was glad to see Bruce and the other wee ones but sad to have left paradise and my best friend behind. It was a little hard to sleep on Monday night without the chorus of mynah birds, coqui frogs and the pitter patter of rain to put me to sleep, but somehow I managed. It truly was a magnificent way to celebrate both my and KJ's 30th birthdays. It's going to be hard to top this year when we turn 40!

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