Friday, May 31, 2013


On Memorial Day we went to the coolest little zoo in the Moapa, NV. My friend Becca booked a private tour for us, and you can tell from the pictures that everyone had an awesome time. It was a really up close and personal kind of experience. I was actually really surprised and how much they let us interact with the animals. Like letting them crawl on our shoulders and heads!

 Most of the animals appeared to have the sweetest dispositions. I guess from getting handled a lot.

These little guys just curl up in your arms.

I got the biggest kick out of this area where they had camels, pigs, zebras, goats, cows, etc just all hanging out together. The kids got to feed the animals carrots, and one mom put a carrot in her mouth and then fed it to the camel. A sort of kiss. Disgusting, but I totally wanted to do it but couldn't because we ran out of carrots.

Natalie was just grinning most of the time. She carried her "purse" around for the entire tour. It's filled with treasures you can't even imagine.

This is a baby kangaroo. The look on Natalie's face tugs my heart strings every time I see it. She looks so motherly.

This is a caracal and there is a whole episode about them on Wild Kratts. Needless to say, the kids loved seeing one in real life. 

We all stopped for Slurpees on the way home. I had a sort of epiphany a few days ago when I realized how much I love creating memories through experiences like this and other things we did over the Memorial Day weekend. It's less stress, planning, and money to just hang out at home (and I LOVE that too), but I have realized that I am really happy when I am out experiencing life in this way and being with others. 

Monday, May 27, 2013

Packing It In

Time is ticking. We have 5 weeks left in Las Vegas, and one of those weeks Nate and I will be in Hawaii. We have a lot to do before we leave...both work and play. I feel like we have had to make so many big decisions in the past few months, and I am thankful that things are slowly coming together. Where should we live in DC? Which house should we rent? How much should we sell our home for? Should we move ourselves or have the Air Force do it? When is the right time to have another baby? And those are just the big ones.

One morning I got on Craigslist to continue our hunt for a house to rent. I had spent hours and hours and hours looking the past few months. It's not that there's nothing available, but it's hard to know when to say, "Okay, let's rent this one." Most homes are small and expensive. Anyway, after expanding our search to some other cities, I found what we think is going to be a great fit for us in Derwood, MD. The landlord is thrilled to have tenants after only having it posted for 3 hours, and we are thrilled to have found the place. Here's the backyard we are looking forward to: 

We go to the park almost every day after I pick up Natalie from kindergarten. It hasn't gotten TOO hot yet, so I can almost always count on a beautiful day to play outside.

 The kids didn't have school on Friday. I knew we would need to go somewhere in the morning, or I would go crazy without my normal daily routine. We decided to go to the somewhat creepy but lovable Natural History Museum. This photo was Jansen's idea.

 I'm somewhat obsessed with ancient Egypt. Natalie had to be persuaded to come through this exhibit because it kind of freaked her out.

Nate worked all night Friday and only got a couple hours of sleep. He really wanted to go hiking Saturday morning though so we drove up to Red Rock. I love him and his ability to run on little to no sleep. My morning was much better with him in it. 

After hiking we ate at a place I have been meaning to take him for a long time. It's called Viva Las Arepas, and they have authentic Venezuelan food. It's in a nasty part of town, but that was part of the fun. Nate was so excited to get a "malta," which is disgusting.

The kids had ketchup and french fries and water. All Americans.

 Saturday night we got a babysitter and went to the temple. It was just what we needed during this time of change and decision making.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

All Sorts of Things

We are in the crazy midst of selling our house. Originally we had planned on renting it. We posted it on some sites, and a realtor actually called us and asked if we were willing to sell it. Long story short, we are selling it now and couldn't be happier that we won't have to be landlords. We've been sprucing things up just a adding some pretty flowers to the backyard. 

Mother's Day was wonderful. Nate woke up with the kids (and quickly I might need to prod him or poke him in the back). I wasn't allowed out of the bedroom for awhile, and later they brought me this delicious breakfast. Everyone had a sweet note for me, and Natalie even gave me a $1 bill. (A few days later I saw her take it back when she thought I wasn't looking.)

I got a good laugh out of Natalie's changes to the week's menu.

Jansen was in the 2nd grade spelling bee. He was so calm and collected. Whenever he spelled a word it was always very clear and with confidence. Nate and I are both former spelling bee winners, so this was so fun for us to watch. Nate was even able to make it.

And he won! Later that day I had to take him to get some blood work done, and he took the trophy to the hospital because he was so proud of it. We had taken him to the doctor to talk with her about his anxiety, and she had ordered some labs just to make sure everything checked out okay. He was so good when they drew his blood. Not a complaint at all. They kept complimenting him on how brave he was being, and I couldn't help but think how funny it is that we all have such different fears. This kid can sit and have a needle stuck in his arm and have lots of blood sucked out of him. Put him in front of a window with a palm tree swaying in the wind, and it's a whole different story. 

Natalie is such a fun girl. I'm so thankful for her silly personality. Our struggle right now with her is baby talk. It makes my skin crawl.

Natalie loves to make books at home. She has broken the stapler many times pounding her book pages together, but it makes me so happy to see her creating these stories.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Sushi Night

 Before last week, I had never had sushi before. Considering I don't love fish, and I don't like shrimp, I never  felt compelled to choose sushi for a date night or dinner out. Julie came up with the idea of doing a date night together and having Nate and I try it. I will tell you this. I love these girls. I hate sushi. I didn't think there was anything yummy about it. (I just now accidentally typed sushit...not too far from the truth if you ask me.)

Nate liked it, but I don't think he will ever crave it the way so many people seem to. 

We ordered the all-you-can-eat on the menu, and there were a lot of non-sushi items that I really enjoyed. I had teriyaki chicken, edamame, curry, fried vegetables, and probably a few other things I can't remember now.

The company was excellent. All six of us were loaded in a mini van together. Doesn't get much better than that. 

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Red Rock Hike

 Last Saturday night we met up with the Ackley's (the awesome family that Nate baptized a few weeks ago) at Raising Cane's for dinner. I don't think we've eaten there since we lived in Ohio. After stuffing ourselves with chicken, fries, and Texas toast, we headed to Red Rock for a short hike.

The older I get, the more time I want to spend doing things like this. It's just good for the soul. 

We started the hike around 6, and it was a beautiful time of day to be at Red Rock.

We'd heard there were some little frogs in the area, so we focused on finding the jumpy guys.

Leave it to dad to actually catch one. 

This was one of those moments when I had to just let the kids be kids even though it made me nervous. I can be a little overly cautious at times. I figured worst case scenario is someone breaks a leg and even those heal eventually. :)

The temperature was just perfect. Good thing, because we left our waters at the car. That was frustrating. We got back to the car just as it was getting dark, and it was fun to see the desert at that time of day. 

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

The Latest

Last week we surprised Michelle and took her to get dessert at BJ's to celebrate her birthday. Well, we had planned on just dessert, but we ended up throwing some appetizers in there as well. I could talk with these girls for HOURS and never get tired of it. It was so fun.

We got the Pizookie Platter. We literally ate ourselves sick. I'm a little embarrassed to admit it, but Nate and I have been having homemade pizookies all too often lately. Put me on the couch with him, a pizookie, and Man, Woman, Wild and I'm happy as can be.  

 Nate has been working at Sunrise Hospital the past little while. We drove there and had dinner with him one night. By dinner I mean things like egg salad sandwiches, Doritos, fruit cups, and other random things from the cafeteria.

This picture won't mean much to anyone else, but I was so full of happiness when I took it. We've still been on a rough road with Jansen's anxiety/fear, but last night I got him to come outside and play basketball. He loved it, and it brought me so much joy to see a glimpse of how things were before he was really struggling and to know that it isn't going to last forever. Nate and our home teacher gave him a blessing Monday night. I won't go into all the details, but we are on the way up I think. 

It was our anniversary yesterday. Nate had to go deliver a baby, which was kind of a bummer, but I had a good night with the kids. 

A few days before our anniversary I asked Nate for some ideas about what I could do that day to show him I loved him. You know, the whole languages of love thing. Over the past 9 years we've gotten a lot better at it, but we still both need reminders about what the other person likes best on a special day. I have a bad habit of giving him what I like, and not what HE actually likes. I like things like notes, small surprises, breaks from mom duties, and treats. He likes a special dinner/dessert, notes and such to an extent, and an occasional big gift. 

I love reading the sentences Natalie writes at school. Down at the bottom is her version of the word "usual."

Friday, May 3, 2013

Cool People Weekend

Last weekend was busy and fabulous. Kami flew in Friday afternoon. That evening, as part of a "residency retreat," we had dinner with all the 3rd year Family Medicine residents (and Kami came.) It was fancy schmancy place in the Aliante Casino and our combined bill for about 6 couples was over $700. YIKES. I'd rather have In n Out. :)

Serious faces:

We took Nate's truck and joked about how Nate looked like a polygamist. 

Saturday morning Natalie had a soccer game. We heeded the call of the ice cream man and all got a cool treat. 

Saturday afternoon we attended the baptism of the Ackley's. Nate is actually their doctor, and he delivered their 3rd baby a few months ago. They asked him to baptize them. What a great thing to be a part of at the end of our time here. 

Later that day Kami and I got to have a night out. I told her she had to have the fries and shakes at Max Brenner, so we headed to Caesar's Palace. 

Sunday we attended the Ackley's ward for sacrament meeting so that Nate could participate in their confirmation. Then we had the greatest family stop by for a quick visit that afternoon after church...the Gazdiks...Bro. Gazdik was our bishop while we lived in Columbus. We just love their whole family. 

This tells you how cool they are. I asked everyone to make a silly face and totally thought no one would do it. But everyone pulled through!

Oh boy. Sunday night we spoke at a stake youth fireside on the topic of judging righteously. This fireside had been haunting me all week and took hours of preparation. We were supposed to each speak for about 25 minutes, but Nate knew that would totally stress me out. I think I did about 15 minutes, and he did the rest.

I loved walking in from the fireside to see these girls and knew that my night needed to end with ice cream. Janeen lives in Vegas, and I just adore her. I was so glad she came over for dinner and to chat and hang out. I got to spend most of Monday with Kami, and then she flew out that afternoon. :( It's always so hard to say goodbye. We had an awesome weekend though.