Friday, October 31, 2014

Visit to NC and Halloween Fun!

Last week, I got to visit Jocelyn and Co. in North Carolina. It was so fun! Ezra and I both loved seeing the girls and Jocelyn and Jason. And the awesome thing is that Jocelyn writes a post on her own blog each week, so she compiled our photos from the week wrote the best, most detailed post about our visit. And you should totally read it! It covers everything and I don't want to be redundant. I really have nothing to add, except that she and Jason were the best hosts and fed me ice cream every night, that both Ellie and Zelda are the cutest girls ever and I miss them so much already, that their backyard is a beautiful forest, and that wow, I had no idea there were so many trees in the east! I was not expecting Raleigh to be a forest.

Here are some of the pics I forgot to give to her since they were taken on my phone:
Cute baby cousins playing on the iPad together.

And here are some others that I just thought were cute:
Ezra did not like the tall grass. Although the path was pretty clear, Ezra would stop walking if any tall grass went up to his thigh or above. He would try to move it before walking again. Of course, it just kept bouncing back, which meant I had to carry him on our little walk.
I just love this pic of Jocelyn's little family! 
I found some leaves changing colors!
Ezra being silly. To me it looks like he's doing some sort of pagan ritual.
Coming out of the woods back to their backyard. This picture alone makes me want to live in NC.
Zelda with a leaf.
All the babies and Jocelyn in one picture!
For some reason, Ezra loved being in the pack 'n' play at Jocelyn's house. He never wanted to get out. That brought lots of attention from the cousins. 
Ezra got his own seat on the way home! No one sat next to us, so we were suuuper lucky. I was super lucky. What a blessing. And he was just too cute.

Other than that, we've mostly just been getting ready for Halloween, trying to help Ezra get better (he is still sick!), and playing. Here are the pics:

Instead of buying pumpkins this year, we did milk carton ghosts. It was free, really fun, and really easy. It's defnitely something we'll do in the future. I'm not saying we're swearing off pumpkins forever, but I loved that it was just as fun and festive as punpkin carving but that it was free and there was no clean up. And I loved the finished product! 
 Another of my free crafts: A Halloween banner, made from construction paper, glue, a string, and little clothespins, all that I already had. (A special thanks to my friend Star, who gave me the ideas for at least half of my monster and helped me design their little faces.)
Still free, of course: a little pumpkin made with beads and wire. 
We gave Ezra some Halloween stickers so he could make his own milk jug. He loved the idea, but most of the stickers were found... the following morning. In the diaperbag. Hmm.

Two things Ezra has loved lately are his monkey and his Daddy.


Ezra has always loved his monkey. When he was only a few months old, he would lie next to Monkey in his crib and smile at him and touch his eyes and mouth. Now, he carries him around all day, every day. He can't go anywhere without him. He even cried when Monkey had to go through the scanner at the airport.

Lately, Monkey has had a bit of a rough time. When Ezra was so sick that he was throwing up every night, Monkey went through the wash every morning for about a week. Monkey's arms started coming off, but while we were at Jocelyn's house, she was kind enough to sew them back on. Then, when we were home, Monkey went through the wash again. We didn't notice until we were on our way to church that the stitches holding Monkey's head to his body were coming loose. At church, the situation became more and more precarious. Monkey was looking more and more like Nearly-Headless Nick. But there was nothing we could do, so we came home, and put Ezra down for his nap, naturally, with Monkey. When Ezra started making his sweet baby talk in the bedroom and I knew he was awake, I peeked into the bedroom.

He was standing there with his little Monkey's head in his hands, kissing it. 

Hehe. It was so cute. Of course, he cried like I was the devil when I took Monkey's head and Monkey's body to sew the back together. Tanner had to hold him back from me so I could finish. Anyways, that's Ezra and his monkey. Monkey makes it into just about every picture now.


And then of course, there's Daddy. He has also always loved his Daddy. But he's taken lately to climbing on his face, which always makes me laugh. 

And of course, there is always time for cuddles with Daddy.

We walked to the beach one morning a few days ago. It is getting so beautiful here, especially in the mornings when it is cool enough to walk. Ezra had a lot of fun chasing seagulls and climbing into the storage part of his stroller. But it tired him out and he fell asleep in the stroller on the way home, face on his food tray, like always.

And lastly, a game and then goodbye. We love you!
Can you find me?
Love you! Happy Halloween!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Past Two Weeks

I'm on schedule!!! (I told you it would happen eventually!)

Ezra has been sick for two weeks straight--according to the doctor, he's actually on his second virus since he's been sick, but he should be getting better pretty soon. It's been hard, because for a while there, he was waking up in the middle of the night and wasn't going back to sleep, and on top of that, he wasn't taking naps during the day. We were all becoming very sleep deprived. But I guess if we had to pick any month to turn our family into zombies, October was a good month to do it. Just getting into the Halloween spirit!

Thankfully, Ezra's still been his same old happy self. He's just so sweet and big I can't believe it. He's still a baby but his limbs are so long and he does so many things. A few new things he's done in the past couple weeks are giving me and Tanner kisses on the mouth and saying, "mmmmm..uah!" when he does it, lining his bath toys up on the bathtub, and playing a lot more with his stuffed animals. Oh, and howling along with Tanner "Aoooooh!" when he reads the part in his book Papa, Papa about howling at the moon. He is still as cute as ever. Here are his pictures:

Sleeping with monkeys is a must. 
We're learning on naming his bath toys. We say, "Where is your octopus?" and he'll point to the frog. Definitely a work in progress.
Loves his lion hat.
Always hiding in the closet... so much to get into! 
Sorry for all the "sleeping with stuffed animals" pictures, but.... they melt me.
Watching Baby Einstein
Cuddles and reading--two of his favorite things
Last one, I swear! (for this post at least.)

Tanner has also been super sweet these past couple of weeks. He has been hit hard with midterms last week and this week, but he always takes time to help and play with Ezra and to give me the attention I need. Two things he did that make me swoon:

Made me breakfast in bed on a Saturday morning after a long night with Ezra
Watched Ezra while I went on a walk on the beach to see the sunrise
Gosh, I love my husband! (I hope he doesn't get too embarrassed by all this PDA. But he's too great. I can't help it.)

And me? Aside from taking care of a sick baby, I've just been doing the usual: couponing, cleaning, grocery shopping. Selling my body for science. I haven't written anything on the blog about this, just because there never seems to be enough time or room, but Tanner and I get paid to be in dermatology studies. They're totally legit. And they pay big money. This time, we got Botox. Well, not quite Botox, but something similar, right in between the eyebrows. We laughed the whole way home--getting Botox was something we never imagined ourselves doing. And getting paid to do it on top of that! Don't worry, we can still show emotion. We just can't knit our eyebrows. And when we raise them, they don't go up in the middle, which actually does look pretty hilarious. But I am looking forward to our checks, come January... ;) (Tanner wants me to add that we look like Spock.)

Speaking of doing things only really poor people do, I've recently added some cool apps on my phone I'm excited about. I do silly little things, like scan receipts and listen to music, and I earn things like Redbox codes, Amazon gift cards, and money. I am planning on posting about what I think are some awesome apps in a couple of days because I think everyone should know about them--especially if they are living on a tight budget like we are.
I got all this for $1.25. Yep, I am awesome.
Also, I've been reading some of Tolstoy's short stories and don't know why I haven't read more of his work in the past. I loved Anna Karenina when I read it a couple years ago. I think that sometimes I get scared of reading the classics--I feel that in some way, I wouldn't understand them. But then I read them and I just can't believe how relatable they are. Every time I actually read a classic, I wonder why I ever read anything else. Tolstoy is a genius at capturing human emotion and thought, and I have been captivated as I read. I hope that one day I'll be able to write as well as him. (I know that's a really big goal. But I believe all things are possible.)

Lastly, Ezra and I are excited about going to North Carolina to visit my sister Jocelyn and her family as soon as Ezra gets better (hopefully tomorrow!). (We have been waiting day by day to give my mom the go ahead to book the flights. She works for JetBlue so she gets a few bonus passes for family each year.) So the next post will be really cute because there will be three cute babies in it. Until next time! Love you!

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Big Catch Up

Long time, no post! So sorry! But I'll cut the apologies short since they begin every post.

Here's what we've been up to these last six weeks:

First of all, Tanner's family came to visit--and it was so much fun! It was the best to spend a week with them doing everything fun around Miami. Ezra loved seeing them (especially Grandpa), and they loved seeing him (especially Thomas). Here are some of the places we visited:

The Everglades

Thomas gets huge uncle bonus points for running around in a parking lot and spinning Ezra in circles.
This photo gets huge bonus points for the lightening in the background.
And Grandpa gets huge bonus points because he's just such a nice grandpa.
Yay for our 20 minute trip to the Everglades in the middle of a lightening storm.

The Keys

This truck looked like it had been on the bottom of the ocean for a few years. Yep, cool.
We went snorkeling at Bahia Honda. There wasn't any coral, but there were about a million (or more, maybe multiple millions more) small fish that you could guide by moving your hands through their midst. 
Ezra, of course, had the best time. He loves the beach. He loves the sand, the water, and at this beach, the seagrass. He played in it for hours.
A dark but nice picture of my good-lookin' husband.
Some sunscreen didn't get rubbed in. As soon as sand gets in the suncreen on his face, I never know what to do! My kiddo doesn't need a facial scrub or anything, so I just stop touching it, and he ends up spending the day as a sandy, sunblocky, little mess.
Side profile of my squishy little baby.
And this one's for Grandma Harlan--I know how much you love those little curls.
On our way home, we ate at a BBQ restaurant called Sonny's we'd seen advertised on a billboard. And I will tell you, that is the best BBQ I have had in a long time. It is definitely on my checklist of places to go now every time we go down to the Keys. Mmmm!

The Fruit and Spice Park

Every time I have ever gone to the Fruit and Spice Park, I have always wanted to eat at the Mango Cafe. Dream fulfilled.
Everyone had a great time on the tram tour. Just in case you were wondering, Ezra does has some kind of random fruit in his mouth in this picture. No idea now what it was.
Excited to learn about fruit and spices!
Our guide told us that you could hear the water inside the baobab tree. We're still not sure...

The Deering Estate

If only Ezra were smiling....


Thomas also gets bonus uncle points for his muscles. His big, big muscles.
Kaylene feels very at home in front of big, European styled mansions. I love this picture because she just looks like she belongs.
Ezra is learning how to hold hands and walk down stairs. He relies on those hands a LOT, because with pretty much each step he swings forward in an arc and Daddy has to catch him.
Andrew, the hero of the day, decided to strip and take a quick dip in the mansion pool when no one official was looking. Wait, should I be posting this?

And last of all, The Breakfast Bar at the Hotel

Ezra's favorite spot
Again, aside from all the fun things we did (and interesting Russian food we ate), it was just a great trip and a fun visit from the Coleman family and we cannot wait until they visit again. 

After they left, Tanner and I were still in a pretty adventurous mood, so before school got too intense, we went to the Miami Museam of Science. It was a fun little place to visit. They were working on a big new exhibit while we were there so they gave us tickets to go back when it opens this month. I can't wait.

The Science Museum

Thermal imaging--family photo. Ezra seems to be the hottest in the family.
Who doesn't love the fish?
I will never get over my two handsomes.
Who knows what he's doing here.... I just love that kissable little face.
Daddy decided to put Ezra in the tornado simulator machine. I don't think you're supposed to put small children, or anyone, in the little slot behind the glass, but Ezra thought it was fantastic.
Ezra's favorite part of the museum was this room with a light up floor with music that got louder and brighter the more you danced. Tanner and I jumped around holding him and he loved it. When we came home, all he wanted to do was dance and jump. Here are his attempts at jumping. 

And the last photographable thing we've done these past few weeks was actually last Saturday--we went to Shark Valley National Park in the Everglades to celebrate Tanner's birthday. We are so glad we did it! It was definitely different than the birthday hikes we used to do up Nebo, but it was good to get out in nature.

Shark Valley Birthday Walk

There is a 15-mile paved loop around the park. It pretty much all looks like this. After somewhere between an hour and two of walking (and sweating) we decided to turn back. We are not wimps. It was just too hot.
Ezra is only happy here because we had just discovered that he likes those little orange crackers with peanut butter in them. I had packed a pack each for me and Tanner, and Ezra ate both of them. 
Coolest part about our trip? Tanner got about two feet away from this red shouldered hawk and got to take this amazing picture. Seriously, go google "red shouldered hawk," and you will see nothing even close to this awesome pic. My husband is a natural.
And last but not least, the moment you've all been waiting for:

What Ezra's Been Up To:

Ezra has been so BUSY these past few weeks. He has always been busy, but lately he has just learned so much and been up to so much that I am hard pressed to keep up with him. Our apartment is almost never clean (although he tries his best to help take out the trash, sweep and mop, and even do the laundry). Ezra just likes to take everything out of drawers, containers, cabinets, shelves, you name it, and put it in other places. I cleaned the apartment right before this blog post and before his nap, and phew, I am in heaven. Just enjoying the cleanliness and the quiet for a few more minutes. Not that he's not darling. He's always darling, as you know, and will soon see.

And more helping.
He likes to help, but he places to go.
People to see.
He loves to read.
Sometimes when I'm working on something at the table, I notice an eerie quiet around the corner, and I come around to see he is in his chair from Grandma and Grandpa Smith, reading. Or drinking out of a sippy cup. Or just looking out of the window and contemplating. Ever since he went to nursery and found out chairs were cool, he has loved that chair and is always climbing into it.
Building. Ezra is a great little tower builder. And everytime he puts one block on top of another he looks at me to say, "Good job!" It is really cute and keeps me on top of things.
He likes to build towers out of the things he finds in the cupboards too, not limited to, but including: juice boxes, macaroni and cheese boxes, cereal boxes, popcorn, and cornbread muffin boxes. Any box will work in a pinch when you need to build a quick tower.
Well, my cute baby just woke up from his nap, and I really want to get this posted, so here are the rest of the pictures and one last video. We miss you!