Wednesday, November 27, 2013

On the Move

Oh. My. Heavens.  This little guy is just about the cutest thing in my life right now.  Actually, I take that back.  He certainly is the cutest thing.  He's been changing like crazy over the past couple of months - this phase of life is one of my favorites... learning so many new things in such a short amount of time.  And Timothy is so easy-going and happy that there is almost none of the stress that usually accompanies a baby.

Sweet Timothy... you are certainly a gift to our family.

And in the past couple of months you have become m.o.b.i.l.e.  I sort of preferred you sitting in the same place for hours on end... but this is cute too.  And, bonus, I get to collect a quarter from any of your siblings that leave out small things on the floor!  I think I'm going to get rich off of this arrangement.

It all started with the roll, of course.  You toyed around with the idea of it for a few weeks - rocking from side to side, but too scared to actually toss your head over your shoulder to give you enough momentum.  I was fine with that. 

 But, eventually, you figured it out.

 And I made you do it over, and over and over again.

Mama, you want me to do it again?!
Okay... let's see.  First, I start with my hands over here... like this.

And then... one arm goes up... woah! This is the fun part!

 And I end up like this.

See?  No big deal.

After you mastered the roll, you started planking.

I think the planking phase had something to do with these hard tile floors you're working with.  Sorry about that...

Of course, from here it was only a matter of time before you found your knees and started rocking back and forth.  And then one day you picked up your hand off the floor and that was the end of it!  Off you went after the desire of your heart.  A marker.

After I realized I'd taken all of those pictures with a fuzzy lens (ocean spray is the worst when you're trying to keep your lenses clean!) we took you back out to get you to crawl again.  This time we grabbed a giant blue Lego.  You thought about it...

... geared up for it...

... and after agonizing over it, ultimately decided it wasn't worth the effort and sat back down.

So, we went and found that red marker again.

That got you back up ... you weren't very happy about it, but boy did that little determined face show up!  With every little step I could just hear you cheering yourself on, 'I think I can, I think I can, I think I can...'

Great job, buddy.  You're the cutest little mover around.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Scrambled Thoughts IX

*Sometimes when I ask people to clean the playroom, they hide in giant beanbag covers and play the piano instead.

*Sometimes Carson can't tell the difference between his body and his shadow.

That boy is so connected to his shadow I feel like I need to make an extra plate of food for it.  I think it has something to do with the dream he has of being a robot dancer.  Really.  That's a real dream.  He watches his shadow as he jerks his limbs around in robot-fashion.  He's getting pretty good...

*Sometimes I wish I were a baby again and could get thrown up in the air and kissed and cuddled.

The laughs from TK prove how fun it is.  But then I get my face spit-up on and decide that being a baby wouldn't actually be that fun after all.

Oh, wait.  Does that actually mean that being the mom wouldn't actually be that fun?  Either way.  Spit-up is gross.

*Sometimes I give my kids heavy weights and throw them in the pool.

Now they think that the heavy weights are actual pool toys and are confused when I don't always let them tie the weights around their waists to help them walk along the bottom of the pool.  Also, I guess I'm not quite patient enough to stick with it to get a good picture.  Carson kept dropping his weight, and the other two kept needing to come up for breath.  I told them they didn't really need to breathe, but they didn't listen.  We'll try again another day.

*Sometimes I wonder why I have seven boxes of band-aids in my drawers. 

Then I remember about the magical properties of band-aids and how they can solve almost all of the world's problems.

*Sometimes Timothy fits in a little too well with the other kids.

And Mario doesn't seem to be the best option for the baby... believe me, I've tried.  He just eats the Wii remotes.

*McKenzie makes a creepy ghost.  

Creepy, huh?

*Sometimes when you make a rental car reservation, they forget to make sure a car is there for you when you need it. 

When Brian, TK and I landed in Vegas at 10:45pm (1:45am our time), we shuffled our tired bodies to the car rental place where we soon learned that there was a long line of people who had reserved cars... but there were no actual cars.  After standing in the line waiting for them to 'find' some for over an hour, we decided to cancel that reservation and pay a bit more to get a car from another company. 
"It's like that Seinfield episode where Jerry is in this same situation," Brian joked to the young man behind the counter of the alternate rental company.  "You know the one where Jerry is talking to the reservation desk and says, 'I know you know how to make a reservation.  I just don't think that you know how to keep a reservation.'"  The young man behind the counter smiled a little with confused eyebrows, glanced at Brian's face from the corner of his eye and said,
"How old are you?"
Turns out Seinfield is an older generation thing these days.

*Speaking of Brian.

This photo makes my heart feel warm every time I look at it.  Somehow the camera lens is more than invisible in this photo, it disappears for me, and I just see those tender eyes and that gentle smile looking right into my soul.  I know this look so. so. well.  It's this look I see when I'm feeling insecure or unloved by the world and the people in it.  How I ever got so lucky to have a man look at me like this is beyond me... but he loves me down to the deepest parts of my insecurities.

It's this reassuring look and the meaning behind it that give me wings to fly, "Silly Linds... you don't need to feel insecure.  I love you!  Oh.  So much."

And doesn't every girl need to hear that sometimes?!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Our Future in Sin City

Sunrise from our hotel in Vegas

"I think the thing that is most important to me..." I started.  I paused for a second to try to gather my thoughts into clear ideas.  We were discussing that word that had been circulating around our home like a vulture over road kill: future.  With a country wide open with possibilities, it has been near impossible for me to feel comfortable on any one decision regarding where to settle and raise our family.  But I knew one thing: my happiness seemed to be directly affected by natural beauty.  And the type of natural beauty I found most beautiful "... is water," I concluded.  Lakes, streams, waterfalls, oceans, rivers, clouds, thunderstorms, even the morning dew reflecting that early sunlight catches my eye and leaves me breathless at times.  And the green the water creates, leaves and grasses and vines, I knew that simply looking at these things made me happy.  "I think we should really focus on finding a place with water."

So how in the heck did I end up holding a signed contract binding us to Vegas!?

Las Vegas...
the very same one you're thinking of.
In the desert.


People have one of two reactions when I tell them I'm moving my family to Vegas... the most common one among LDS families is one of, "Oh!  I know someone who lives in Vegas and they absolutely love it there!"  The most common reaction among others is, "Oh... ... Really?"  I can see the confusion play out on their faces as they imagine our four small children setting up tents to live among the strippers and slot machines, wearing gas masks to protect their tiny lungs from the second-hand smoke.

But, I promise, we will not live on the strip (are there even houses on the strip?).  Actually, even being one of the most famous party streets in the world it is, after all, only a street.  One street in one area of a large city flanked by smaller cities, all full of neighborhoods and landscaped parks and schools and church-houses and, even, a temple.  In fact, in driving around the neighborhoods of the city the most overwhelming feeling I got was, "This looks like a fantastic place to raise a family."  Which is rather important to me at this stage in my life.

More important, turns out, than lots of water.

 Entertaining the baby on the flight - people were almost drooling over this little guy.  Fun to have such a cutie.


Our trip down there for the interview was good.  The bitterness of leaving the lush east coast was twisting like a dagger in my heart, but the promise of future and close family painted over the pain with a coat of happiness and a trace of excitement.  My parents drove down to Vegas to meet us there (drove down!  Just for a couple of days!  That's how close!) and took care of Timothy for us while the interviewing practice took Brian and me out to dinner.  

And then watched him again when we went to see our dear friends, the Wellings, at their son's baseball game.

I was blown away by the people in the practice.  For the first time in Brian's career I was looked at as a human being.  They called me Lindsay.  They asked what I thought about Vegas and what my concerns were in bringing my young family to the city.  After being 'Brian's wife' for ten years, this was a welcome change and at the end of the night I made sure to thank them for it.  Thank you for recognizing that I am a very important piece of this decision and for caring about what I think.  They were warm, friendly, ethical and generous.  Plus the topics around the dinner table stayed far away from ophthalmology... another thing I'm not used to as I've sat through many dinners completely unable to participate because I don't understand the language of eye surgery (and, frankly, don't want to hear about their gross eyeball stories, anyway *shudder*).  They were so family oriented and almost all (all?) of them have children of their own, they even organize their work hours around their families.

Brian was also quite struck with the practice itself.  Before we went we knew it was a well known practice, but when he spent a day working side-by-side with them he was most struck with the ease of conversation and camaraderie the partners had with each other (and him), with the patient/doctor relationships he witnessed, and with the ethical way they practiced their medicine.  He and I both left dinner that night feeling like it would not be possible to find a better practice, and that we would fit perfectly with them.  (We!  As in, all of us.)  And we left the city of Vegas feeling like it would be a great place to raise a family.

Even so.

It's been an emotional decision.  One with many sleepless nights and fervent prayers.  Turns out choosing a place to live forever carries a lot more pressure than choosing, say, which medical school or residency to attend. 

 1:49 and wide, wide awake

Once the decision was made I still felt scared.  I still felt like living in the desert would be hard for me... and, sometimes I still get concerned.  But the longer I think about it, the more excited I become.  I will miss this east coast deeply (so (so) deeply), but how lucky we've been to be able to have spent ten years of our lives here... and I will always be profoundly thankful for these years and these people and the experiences we've had.  Why not try something new?  And... as I stare at this ocean out my window, I can't think of anything more 'new' than the desert.

This struggle of a decision has taught me one thing, though.  I think the thing that is most important to me after all is not water.

It's family.

My kids will have a great life with plenty of options for good friends and chances to stand up for themselves.  My husband will have a great life with this practice that seems to understand the delicate balance between family life and work life.  And I will have a great life, too.  Maybe one not filled with the beauty water creates, but filled with happiness from people I love - friends, family, children, husband - being so near.

If a flower can bloom in the desert, then so can I.
 Source for picture - in my dreams could I ever take or edit a picture like this!

Bring on the lotion and chapstick!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Phone Dump II

I know, I know.  I've posted a lot of pictures of sunrises... but I can't help it!  I'm a sucker for them.  And, how interesting that they're never exactly the same.  I love this picture and kind of hope I pulled out my big camera to get this.  I'll have to look into that...  I want to be careful not to rely on my camera phone for everything!

But, my camera phone is great for these pictures below because they wouldn't exist otherwise!

*Sunsets, Brian snapping pictures of me against my will, fire alarm pulled in Winn Dixie when half of my groceries had been scanned.
*Elevator rides, more sunsets, crazy pumpkins
*Kids welcome us home from Vegas, Carson enjoying his sandwich before it's finished, more sunsets.

*Loving the short hair, Miles hiding from my camera, blue, blue ocean.
*Timothy starting to crawl, finding a little autumn, Carson relaxing after the pool.
*Miles's freckled nose, playing in a basket, and snapping pictures of me.

*Timothy exploring a pumpkin

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Joining the Smart World - Phone Dump I

It's true.  We've joined the smart phone world and we are not looking back.  Why did no one ever tell me how awesome it is to have a camera with me all. the. time?!  (Okay, so several of you actually did tell me that, but I guess it's one of those things that I just had to figure out for myself.)  Anyway - we're loving it... me for the ease of taking pictures and sharing them instantly, and Brian for about a million and seven reasons.  That man is addicted to electronics, I tell you.  And, fun for me, he's pulling McKenzie in with him.

Anyway - here are little bits of our lives from my phone's point of view.  These are all from the area around 'Daddy's apartment'.

*Daily Rain, Day Moons, and Thick Blades of Grass
*Pretty white birds, drops of dew, and Carson perfecting his lizard catching skills
*Pathways of brick, fountains, and a little autumn.

There isn't much to do at Daddy's apartment, so after we finish our school work (and sometimes before) we:

have a lot of dance parties,

and build a lot of forts.

*We go to the pool, (sometimes) sleep in, and have Carson read to us (because he's getting better and better and better with the practice (go Carson!)).  
*We smell the flowers, frown at Timothy because it makes him frown back at us, and allow for lots of nap times.
*We run, do exercise, and practice our sitting skills.

One afternoon I strapped the baby in the stroller and we went out in search of interesting things to photograph.  The only rules I gave the kids were that they had to be gentle with my phone, and that if they were asked to be in a photo from a sibling then they had to do it happily. 

Turns out that I like Carson's photography eye better than my own.  (Middle row of pictures are his.) Every time he and I took a picture of the same thing, I'd end up liking his picture better. Isn't it so fun when you discover another talent in one of your kids?  I feel like these kids are full of diamonds that are just waiting to be uncovered... and I get to be there for it all.  Being a Mother is so rewarding that way.

Friday, November 15, 2013

While Daddy's Away

"We only have 7 months left here," he said.  His tone was the same as if he'd been saying he only had 7 more hip surgeries before he could walk again.  Overwhelmed, but ever looking forward to that end goal with a We Can Do This attitude.   "We only have 7 months left here," I repeated.  Though I said it as one might say she only has 7 more days left to live.

And, that about sums up our experiences in living in Miami so far.  Brian is enclosed in crowds of entitled people, and narrow traffic lanes clogged with battered cars and hot-headed drivers, in long work hours and work-a-holic peers, in searching for parking around our building every. single. night (and sometimes in walking the blocks home after finding one), in deciphering accents and dealing with people who can say little more in his native tongue than 'no English'.  The heat of the days seep under his white coat and make him sticky with sweat as he treats numerous fungal eye infections that fester in the humidity of this environment.

And me?  I'm enclosed in sand and sun, in ocean waves and pool days, in soothing breezes and cool showers... it makes sense why we feel differently about this halfway mark approaching.

The golden lining in all of this is that Brian is learning so much more about how to treat gross-looking eyeballs.  And the kids and I are working hard to have fun even while he's away.  It's hard sometimes because he really brings an infectious energy into the home that always makes things a lot more fun.  But once in a while I can get the kids enjoying a slide as much as they enjoy their dad.

Timbo watching the older kids, wishing he could play...

You're getting close, buddy... keep working on crawling, first.

And once the fun of the playground wears off...

We can fill the daddy-void with some cold sugar cereal for dinner. 

See?  I know how to keep it fun. 
After dinner we sometimes head back out to the beach to play away the sun.  (Well, we used to be able to do that before the combination of winter and daylight savings created a 5:30 sunset... so sad to lose those after dinner sunlight hours.)

This guy is starting to love the sand.

See how much?

He also loves eating things.  All things.  Blankets included.

And then when daddy finally makes it home, we celebrate by staring at each other for the rest of the night.