23 March 2015

Beach Days

We live only miles from the ocean, but it took us three weeks to make it out to the beach. Getting through the stacks and stacks of boxes along with starting a new job and a new school really turned our world upside down. Once we finally cleared enough space to park one vehicle in the garage, we decided we were overdue for a break to the sandy coast.
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Those cheeks though.
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Troy's mom came out to visit and was incredibly helpful when I came down with strep for the third time this winter. I think it's safe to say that the stress of the move and spending every waking moment putting the house in order combined with four young children and a baby who wakes up multiple times a night hasn't helped my immune system much. I don't know what I would have done without her while I was stuck in bed with a fever for a few days.
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I don't think these boys are going to have any problem becoming California boys.
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21 March 2015

Outtakes

I took Crew with me to shoot some six month photos of Finn in the giant teacup. When I lifted Finn out after the first round of shots, I turned around and saw this.
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I died laughing. The huge, scraggly haired, almost two year old in the teacup didn't have quite the same effect as the sweet little baby.
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Crew sure loves his baby brother. He is still a baby himself, but he insists on pushing Finn in the stroller and greets him every morning with a "Hiiiiiiiiiiii, baby!" in the highest pitched voice you can imagine.
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I'm glad we created a little friend for him since Blake and Nash's friendship was sealed years before he came along.

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17 March 2015

Finn | Six Months

Finn's half birthday snuck up on me.

He was four months old when we were getting ready to move, and then five months for a brief moment, and then bam. Six months.

For the first time in any of my babies' lives, I missed a month of documentation. I had good intentions to squeeze in some five month photos and an update all month long. But somewhere in between an overwhelming move to a new state filled with sickness on all accounts and twists and turns with every step of way, that fifth month just passed us by.

I'd like a do-over, please. I wish I could have spent the last month soaking up Finn's scrumptious cheeks instead of spending every waking minute unpacking and feeling like I was drowning in our new world.

But even though the last few months have been a complete whirlwind, the timing of our move ended up being such a blessing. Troy began the interview process while he was on paternity leave, immediately after Finn was born. I was terrified that the impending move would force me to miss out on the already too short newborn stage.

However, every step of the process took some time. Even though we were eager to advance through many rounds of interviews and plan our future, for one time in my life, I was grateful for each month that the process dragged out.

For the first three months of Finn's life, I wasn't even tempted to start organizing and purging our belongings to prepare for the move that was becoming more and more certain. Each day that I could put it off was another day that I could have Finn curled up tightly against me. If you know me, you know that I'd be chomping at the bit to get everything prepared in any other situation. It was such a blessing that I didn't feel any urgency to get started while I was in my newborn bliss stage.

With Finn, I have thought often of the advice that my old principal gave me during my teaching days. Shortly before I had my first baby, all of the teachers at my school threw me a little baby shower. Most of them were mothers and they went around the room and gave little tidbits of advice for motherhood. Only one word of wisdom has stuck with me all these years. Ann, my dear principal, told me that when she had her last baby, she held her longer. She rocked her more. She let herself enjoy every moment. Back then, I remember thinking, of course I'll hold and rock my baby. But I don't think I really knew what it meant to hooooooold my baby until now. To feel the pressure of time slipping away and try with all my might to grip on to each moment. Each breath. Each movement. Each smile. Each tiny noise. Each gaze into those innocent eyes.

I am so grateful that our move didn't interfere with those sacred first three months. There was one night last week where Finn fell asleep curled up against me, just like he did when he was a newborn. That almost never happens anymore. So, I threw out my long to-do list which always seems more pressing once the other boys are in bed and instead sat perfectly still on the couch for hours. I focused on Finn's tiny breaths in and out and memorized the way his eyelashes fell so perfectly on his cheeks. Goodness I love babies.

A few days later, we celebrated his half birthday by putting him in the giant teacup. This has morphed into somewhat of a family tradition (Crew and Nash).
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At six months, Finn loves to suck his thumb. He is ambidextrous. It doesn't matter which thumb it is, as long as he has access. He is completely flexible which is a direct result of me not getting my act together to put him on a schedule. I can't believe I'm even admitting to that - where did that organized, schedule-driven mom go? I'm not positive but I think she is somewhere in cuckoo land juggling three older brothers.

Because of Finn's lack of schedule, he isn't the greatest night sleeper. He wakes up several times a night to eat and so far I've been too exhausted to work through that issue. Or the issue of him probably needing to move on to the dreaded spoonfeeding stage. 

If it weren't for the lack of sleep, I'd be happy to keep him in this rolly-polly, slobbery-grin, face-lighting-up-at-everyone, happy-go-lucky stage for always. 

Happy half, little man.

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11 March 2015

Disney

What do you do when you have to wait a few days for your moving truck to arrive?

Go to Disneyland, of course.

It was Finn's first time and he was easily the best behaved.
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We snatched up our SoCal resident passes and leisurely made our way through without the pressure of having to do it all within a few days.
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Crew was a big fan of the bubbles at the parade.
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We've gone back a few times on Friday nights and the fun has continued. When we initially sat the boys down to tell them we were moving and tears streamed down their faces, one of the bargaining chips we had was living close to Disneyland. The happiest place on earth is never a bad place to be.

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10 March 2015

iPhoneography: Saying Goodbye

Our last few weeks in Utah were spent having many dates with friends we were about to leave. I only captured about half of the outings - there were so many good people to fit in.

We had a belated New Years' Eve ice skating extravaganza, complete with Waffle Love.
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We visited neighborhood friends that have celebrated birthdays and holidays and countless playdates with our boys.
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These four boys were born exactly nine months apart, like some crazy, unplanned relay. My friend Steph and I took turns being pregnant; when one baby was born another one was immediately on the way. I think it's safe to say that trend is not going to continue.
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Crew went over to play with Bella while the movers were loading the truck.
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I died laughing when her mom sent me pictures of Crew trying to sit in her Barbie chair.
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We said a tearful goodbye to the family that sat by us at church every Sunday. I could not have survived the last two years alone with four kids on the bench without this awesome family. They made my job so easy. On our first Sunday at our new church congregation, Blake said, "I don't know if I can do this without the Guevaras." I hear you, buddy. 
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When I picked Blake up on his last day of school, every one of his first grade classmates gave him a high five on the way out the door. Blake held back the tears until we were safely confined in our car, and then he sobbed. It was heartbreaking.
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His classmates each made him a card with well wishes.
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I especially liked Kate's. 
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We also had one last dinner with the bishopric Troy served with for two years, a lunch date with friends I grew up with in Michigan that now live in Utah, one last book club, a work outing with many colleagues that Troy has spent the majority of his time with over the last seven years, one last round of haircuts from my cute neighborhood friend with a salon in her home, a playdate with Blake's best friend from school, and one last typical triple date with our best friends, hopping from a Thai food joint to another restaurant for dessert.

Although it was sad to leave our home behind, it's really the people that we are going to miss most. We made wonderful friends who enriched our lives. They helped us through our worst times and our best times. We went through some tough times over the last few years, but we always looked forward to escaping with friends on weekend nights, where we would be guaranteed to laugh, no matter what.

I'll never forget swinging by the hospital last year on Valentine's Day to pick up a hobbling Troy from the ER. We were bound and determined to go out with friends that night, and not only did Troy crutch his way into a nice restaurant in sweatpants and excruciating pain, but we told our friends that baby #4 was on the way as well. Now, we can look back and see the humor in that whole crazy situation. There sure were times where we were a mess and our friends were the bright spot in our lives.

Moving carries with it the stress and fear of "starting over" in a new place. It is hard to move into an area where people have known each other for perhaps many years, and then step into it, wondering if you have anything to offer them.

It took time for us to feel settled in Utah and we know it will take time to feel like we belong in our new home as well.

If only we could skip over moving month(s) and instantly go from one life and be nicely situated in the next.

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