Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Miracle #1

This month our Bishop gave our ward the challenge to read the Book of Mormon in 85 days. The past few times there have been Book or Mormon challenges, I've had good intentions, but never did anything about them. This time (same as all the other times) the Bishop promised us miracles in our lives in accomplishing this goal. It hit me this time that if there was ever a time in my life that I needed some miracles, it was right now!! I won't list off all the reasons why! :) Anyway, I had faith that regardless of what the miracles or blessings would be, my life could only improve and be happier if I accepted and accomplished this challenge. So it's been almost a week and a half and I've been keeping up to the schedule and last night, I realized that I've already witnessed my first miracle!! And it is HUGE. Huge. I've blogged many times about how bad of a sleeper Jacey is. Whether it's him being in our bed all night, or parts of the night. Or whether he's having periods of insomnia when he's WIDE AWAKE for 2-3 hours a night. Ever since just after Jaclyn was born, he has been a thorn in my side as far as sleeping goes (literally, he's glued to me in our bed) and especially now that I'm getting more pregnant and my back and hips are failing on me, getting good sleep is crucial. I can't even recall all the things we've tried to get him to sleep in his own bed. But there have been many!!! And sometimes we've been successful for a couple of nights here or there, but it always reverted back. And even the success we had, was minimal and recquired a lot of work. For example, he would go back to his bed, but after fighting us on it, then cry about it forever and we'd have to sit in his room for an hour, stuff like that. But this week, when I explained to him about the pain in my body and how sleeping alone was so important for me to be healthy and not hurt, he just got it. It clicked. It's been 4 days now, and he hasn't even woken up at night. I can't even remember a time when he hasn't woken up at night once. Even when he slept with us, he always woke up at least once. But he's been sleeping straight through and not sneaking into our bed once!! And in the mornings, he calls out to me to ask if it's morning and if he can get out of bed! I can't even believe that this is happening to us!!! I've been waiting for this day since he was about 17 months old!! And he's four now! Actually, the first night, he did wake up once. Jeffrey went into his room and Jacey was the one that told Jeffrey that he couldn't go to mommy's bed because her back hurt. And then he went back to sleep. That was when I knew he got it. He's never been rational about staying in his own bed at night before!!! Now I know many people will say that he's just old enough now to get it, or all this time and work has paid off, but I KNOW that this is a miracle!!! I know Jacey. And he is stubborn!! He doesn't just give in if it's something he really wants. And sleeping with me has always been what he wants the most! So the fact that he so easily gave it up and we haven't had to fight him on it, I know it's a miracle!! And I credit it directly to my obedience of the Bishop's BOM challenge. :) I'm happy!! If this was the only miracle that came out of reading the BOM in 85 days, I'd be so happy!! But the Bishop said miracles, and now I wonder what else is in store for me! :)

Looking back over the years through pictures...

I will admit, I loved snuggling him in bed and I will miss that sometimes. But I now cherish my own space. And I am WELL aware that I created my own problem by allowing him in my bed in the first place. :) I learned this lesson the hard way!
The end of an era.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Hawaii/Christmas 2010

I should have done what lots of you do and blog as you're on vacation, or at least document things as you go so that when it's time to make a big post about it, you don't have to try to think back and remember everything. But I'm not that organized so we'll have to see what I can come up with! So this year for Christmas, Jeffrey's parents gave all of their children a 2 week vacation to Hawaii to stay at their condo in Ko'Olina, Oahu. Within a certain time frame, we could choose whichever 2 weeks worked for us, but we all wanted to overlap and be there together for Christmas. Jeffrey and I decided to go earlier than the rest of the family and we left on Dec 10. We had 5 days alone before Kevin and Cyndi came out and a few more days with Kandice and Brady after that before the rest of the gang got there. When we first planned this, I was a little sad that we would be alone for the first week, but I am now very grateful that we did that! We had a lot of fun with just our kids and it was nice to be able to do our own thing and not worry about making plans with 10 other people. Cause we all know that can sometimes get chaotic! We had great weather pretty much the whole time! Only 3 rainy days. Two of which fell on sundays which was AWESOME!! And one on a monday. But even some rain in Hawaii isn't bad. It was still warm and we were able to drive around and see some of the island and not feel bad that we were missing out on a beach day. Our kids were sooo well behaved on the flights both there and back and they were GREAT in Hawaii. I kept imagining myself chasing them around the entire time and basically getting no time to relax. But they were really good about sticking around, and not going too far into the ocean. It was really fun to see Jacey and Jaclyn play together, they are truly best friends. They made some good memories! We were lucky enough to have a great pool to lounge around at and a very quiet beach to go to. And neither one was better than the other. So if one was a little busy for our liking, we'd just walk to the other and were just as happy! Jaclyn loved the sand and was constantly burying her legs in it. And they both loved the waves pushing them around at the shore. Because of the rocks around the lagoon, the waves were pretty much nil, but to a 25 lb girl and a 35 lb boy, they still were enough to push them a bit. I love that both of my kids love water and aren't afraid to swim around on their own (with lifejackets and water wings of course). They were basically in heaven the whole time we were there and have asked several times since we've been back if we can go back to the condo in Hawaii!

While we were out there we were able to celebrate Jacey's 4th birthday!! He was so excited to be able to do that in Hawaii!! It was pretty low key. We were still the only ones out there at that point. He opened his presents in the morning, then we spent the day swimming at the pool, and we ended the evening with personal size chocolate lava cakes! I'm so glad he's too little to realize his mom bailed on making a cool cake! :)

One day we decided to head to Honolulu and try to find some places to do some souvenir shopping. We had no clue where we were going and were lucky to stumble into a little strip mall type place that backs onto a port for cruise ships. The prices weren't too bad and we got the kids each a Hawaiin outfit and some puca shell necklaces and Jaclyn got some cute flower clips for her hair. If we had waited till everyone got there, we would have gone to a much better place for souvenirs where they apparantly got more stuff for much cheaper! Oh well...live and learn. :)

When Kevin, Cyndi, Kandice and Brady got there, we walked over to the Mariott time shares and we (as in Jeffrey, Jacey, Jaclyn and me) experienced our first SHAVED ICE. Mmmmm..... honestly it was the best thing I'd ever tasted!! So light and fluffy and delightful. And it was topped with condensed milk...mmmmm. I'm making myself crave one right now! Now that I'm home I wish that I went over there more often to get them. Oh well...another live and learn experience. Haha!

The day we were waiting for Melinda, Heather and children to arrive, we walked around the Ala Moana mall in Honolulu. The kids saw Santa there...which was kind of weird. A big polynesian Santa. My kids were too shy to even look at him though, so I'm pretty sure they didn't even notice. That mall is pretty cool, most of it is outdoors. It was amazing to be able to be outside so much of the time and be HOT! It definitely made it NOT feel like Christmas though. But it was really fun and a great break from the freezing cold Calgary that we live in. The next day was slightly rainy so we started to drive to the North Shore to see some of the beaches up there. We first stopped at the Dole Plantation and had some yummy pineapple ice cream. After that, we only made it as far as Turtle Beach, where we saw 4 or 5 turtles surfing the waves. It was really cool! Jeffrey got some pics, but it's hard to see what it was like in person. After we stopped there, it started to get really hot, so we decided to go back to the condo and enjoy the sun where the kids could swim (the North shore does not have kid friendly beaches..too many gigantic waves). On wednesday of that week, Kevin chartered us a private boat to go do some whale watching and snorkelling! It was AMAZING!!! We saw 5 humpback whales throughout the tour, all of which were amazingly close to our boat!! And tons of dolphins. And there was even a big sea turtle swimming with the group while we snorkelled. I actually wasn't in the water with the turtle, I was on the boat with my kids waiting for my turn, but to be honest, I wouldn't have liked that anyway, I'm too much of a pansy. Even snorkelling with the fish freak me out. I don't really like sea life, it's kind of a fear I have. Seaweed scares me too. :) But when it was my turn to snorkel, after I got used to the breathing again (seriously makes me feel panicky and claustrophobic) I really enjoyed looking at all the colored fish. It was pretty cool! I didn't think my kids would want to get in, but they both did and Jacey even put on a mask so that he could peek in the water. It was really fun! We got to see the big "Black Pearl" from the Pirates of the Carribean movie, it was sitting in the same marina that our boat was in. We got to drive right past it and see all the detail on it. It is a beautiful boat and SOO big!! It's called something different in the next movie though, something about Queen Anne's Revenge. Actually, I think that is the name of it. Anyway, kind of fun. Like seeing a celebrity. :)

Christmas Eve was kind of surreal. We spent it on the beach, building sand castles, turning the girls into sand mermaids, swimming. We tried to end our beach activities early that day so that we could have a nice dinner and watch some Christmas stuff. We watched the Andrea Bocelli (there you go Katie) Christmas Concert on DVD and also the Nativity movie (you know the one, like 5 minutes long). And those helped it feel a little bit like Christmas, but other than that, it was a normal day! We did have a small tree up and some lights on the balcony, but it just doesn't feel like Christmas when you are wearing your bathing suit 90% of the day. Christmas Day felt even less like Christmas. We had all decided to do our own Christmases with our kids either before or after Hawaii (we chose to do ours after) so there was no present opening that morning. Weird. We spent that day at the pool (it was our last pool day) :( and then had a HUGE traditional Christmas dinner with the Seidels down by the pool. The dinner was Christmassy, but eating outside by the pool vetoed any Christmas feeling the turkey and potatoes brought. We were so excited that Angie Takahashi and her husband Mike and kids came to hang out with us that day. They were able to spend some time at the pool and then eat with us. The kids became friends quickly and later we had them watching movies together in some of the rooms while we played some fun games out on the balcony. It was great and I was glad they were able to come spend time with us!!

The next day was our last day, and after church and packing up all our stuff, we headed to Pearl Harbour. It was great to be able to go there and see the place where such a historic thing happened. It was sad to read all of the names of the people who had passed away there, and sad even to see the names of the people who survived it. It would have been very hard to overcome those events. We were able to go down into a submarine and see where some of them lived for months on end. It was unbelievably squishy and again...very claustrophobic. The cots were all smushed together, 3 on top of each other. And definitely not built for a man...really short. The kitchens were puny and the eating area was small too. And every opening into another area, was a small hole that you had to step up to, to go through. Unbelievable what those men went through just in living in those conditions, to fight for their country. And that's not even thinking about the actual fighting that they did! We walked through a museum there and saw lots of things from their time. I love nostalgic things like that, they have a special feeling about them.

So any time we weren't doing any of the specific things I talked about, we either were at the pool all day or at the beach. I discovered that I absolutely love playing in the sand! I'm totally a sun worshipper, but with kids it's just not possible to lay in the sun all day. So when they wanted me to play with them, either in the water or sand, I discovered that it was just as good as sun bathing. And in fact, more fun!! I seriously loved organizing sand castles and giving all the kids different jobs, either bringing more water, more sand, rocks, whatever it was while I was heading up the main sand castle area. :) I remember as a kid it was always soo much more exciting when an adult participated in whatever it was that we were doing as kids. And I'm glad I was able to do that for my kids and neices and nephews. I'm also glad that Jeffrey loves the water as much as he does! I can only stand being in it for so long and then I get cold. I'm constantly in and out as I get hot and cold. But if the kids wanted to play in the water for a long time, Jeffrey was their man! It was perfect! I manned the beach, Jeffrey manned the water. (Is that how you use that term?) We are the perfect beach team! :)

Sadly, that brings us to the end of our trip. It was a very bittersweet feeling. It was the perfect amount of time to have been in Hawaii, but coming home to the cold did not sound appealing! I'm really glad we had our Christmas to look forward to, because I think it would have been harder for me to leave otherwise. Our kids did great on the flight home again! I had a terrible flight, didn't sleep at all..and it was overnight..and when I got off, my feet and ankles were the size of an elephant's!!) The kids were really reluctant to leave though. They fully understood what leaving Hawaii and going home to Calgary meant. And they were not happy about it! Again, having Christmas to look forward to really helped. When we got home on the 27th, that was our Christmas Eve. We spent the first part of it sleeping to catch up for the lack of it while flying. And actually, I'm completely drawing a blank as to what we did the rest of the day. I was definitely jet lagged! That evening the kids opened their Christmas jammies and we watched that new Owl movie and had some goodies and hot chocolate. The kids fell asleep REALLY easily about 9ish and I got to work on the presents and stockings. And can I just say, that it was the most fun, satisfying, happy Christmas Eve I've ever had!!! I LOVED wrapping all the gifts and getting the stockings ready. I've never done my own kids' stockings before (good ol' Nana Palmer has always done that) and I absolutely loved it! They were no where NEAR as amazing as past years, but my kids have been too little to remember and so there was no disappointment the next morning. Christmas morning was sooo fun with just our family. This was our first year doing that as well, and I had more fun than ever!! Jeffrey and I didn't get any presents this year. We must have been naughty or something! :) But it didn't even matter. It was just so fun to watch the kids open theirs. Jaclyn got a purple princess dress and accessories and not only is she in love with purple, but dresses as well! So it was the perfect combo! Her body was literally shaking with excitement as I helped her dress up in it. It was the cutest thing I've ever seen!! She wears it every day and loves it just as much!!! Jacey's favorite gift was his Iron Man "heart". It connects to whatever T-shirt he's wearing and when you push it, it makes various Iron Man noises and he runs around pretending to blast things to pieces with the guns in his hands. He wore it for 48 hours straight! It was pretty adorable! With Grandma and Grandpa Draper's Christmas money, he was able to buy a mask to go with it. Now he's really in heaven!!! :) So Christmas was a complete success and the perfect ending to our trip!! New Year's was a lot of fun too. We had a games' night with WAY too much good food with my siblings, Gannon and some of the Stehmeiers at the Palmer Home. Our kids were not good to us that night, they only let us get 2.5 hours of sleep before they woke up at 6am and decided they wanted to get up for the day!!! My wonderful and amazing husband got up with them and let me sleep in to my heart's content. He's so good about doing that on pretty much ALL of his days off. I love him for it!!

I know this is a lot of writing and most of you won't read it, but I wanted to document it for ME. So it's okay if you just look at the pictures. Although I will say, I'm a reader and I never skip people's written portions. So maybe that will guilt you into reading mine. :) Haha, just kidding. It truly doesn't matter! But just to sum things up, we had a fabulous December and Christmas/New Year's! I don't necessarily want to do another tropical Christmas again, but I"m pretty sure I would never turn down a free trip! :) We were excited to welcome home Michael, Melinda, Heather and their kids today. They were definitely sad to leave, but we are excited to have them back! Kevin and Cyndi are still there for another week, enjoying the peace and quiet that's for sure!! Okay, anyway, now I'm just blabbing. I hope no one is still reading! :) Hope you all had fabulous holidays!!! Now on to the depressing part of winter..blah!!!!

Okay, I decided to post this now and do separate posts for my pictures. Just because it will be wayyy too long if I do them together! And I posted way more pics on facebook, cause blogger takes way too long to load them. FYI. :)

Pics from Hawaii and Christmas

The first of many sand castles.

Practicing their floating skills.

She stood on this rock for about 10 minutes.

Getting buried, Jaclyn pretending she's dead.


This is such a Claire pose, I love it!!!

These boys love each other!

Kissy face!!

Such a cute pose!

Our first sunday there, exploring the grounds.

He looks like some sort of swimming super hero!

Matching outfits!

First shaved ice!

Making a face...as usual.

I LOVE this picture. She's getting ready to chuck
something into the water!! Look at her stance!

They loved their head rest pillows. I actually bought the frog for me to use, since they didn't have any adult ones left. But of course, Jaclyn claimed it for herself.

Christmas Day dinner with Angie.

Our Christmas Eve at home.

All ready to go for Christmas morning!!

So excited about her outfit!

Learning up a storm with his new map!