Monday, July 31, 2017

July 2017

I can't believe July is already over!  We looked forward to July for so long and loved every second of it!  Here's to hoping my pictures will do the fun we had some justice!

We began the Fourth of July weekend in Oakley visiting Logan's sister's cabin and hanging out at Smith and Morehouse Lake.  I remember visiting at this same time last year and Austin had a nasty ear infection with a pretty high fever so I'm happy we were all well this time around!  We all loved hanging out by the water and making tinfoil dinners around the campfire.  It's so fun doing these things with our kids that we've done for so long.  We couldn't have asked for a better start to our holiday weekend!
Ever since we moved a couple months ago Austin has done really well in our new ward.  I'm sure some of that is because he's getting older but he also loves having my mom and dad at church every week too.  Add to that the fact that he gets to carry his own back in with his snacks and toys and he's a fairly happy camper!  Naturally we do still have our moments but they're coming less frequent :) 
Victoria still wasn't going to church at the beginning of the month (we wanted to wait until she got her shots at two months) but I still loved dressing her up on Sundays :)
It has been blazing hot this month so we've spent as much time as possible in or around water.  Most days it was even too hot to be outside if we weren't actually swimming so we spent a lot of time on the patio where it was shaded.
Just like everyone else, I absolutely love the 4th of July and I have to admit that coordinating outfits is probably a big factor in that!  We went to the parade with Logan's family and ate breakfast over at his parents' house afterward.  Austin had a pretty good time at the parade and liked watching the floats and especially the fire trucks as they came by.  We ate a yummy breakfast and then the kids and some of the adults had a water fight for quite awhile.  Austin loved the water slide but his absolute favorite thing was the water balloons.  He is obsessed with those water balloons that fill up all at once on the hose!

We split our day up with naps for the kids (and us!) back at home and then we went with my family over to our dear friends' house for a swimming party and delicious BBQ dinner.  My mom went to high school with Deb so our families have been close since we were all born so they feel just like family to us.  We can go awhile without seeing them and it feels like no time passed.  We sure are grateful for the Neff family!
On the 6th Victoria received transfusion number three in clinic and she was definitely the star of the show!  They don't see little babies as often so all of the nurses wanted to take turns holding her :) The transfusion went really well and, as always, I was amazed by how pink she was when she finished!
Victoria was being adamant about me holding her while she slept one evening so it was impossible to get anything done but as soon as I laid her in the basket of warm laundry she zonked right out!  There was no way I could move her just to fold the clothes so I let her have her peace.
On July 7th Victoria had her follow-up appointment with Cardiology to make sure her heart looked/sounded okay and it all went very well!  They didn't do another echo but the EKG looked perfect.  When the doctors listened for her murmur they said it is there but extremely small.  In their estimation, the VSD is probably 99% closed and will never be a problem.  They want to follow up one more time on her birthday but that should be it!  Thank goodness!
Logan and I have a few friends with a Madsen bike so we've always wanted one. We've never wanted to spend over $2,000 for it but when we found a basically new used one for sale online we jumped on it!  The woman selling it said she had only used it a few times (and we could tell!) but that her kids were too heavy for her to pull up all the hills near her house.  We saved about $800 so we felt like it was a great deal!  We were worried Austin wouldn't love it because he hates getting pulled in bike trailers but he has loved it since the get-go!  We're even able to strap Victoria's car seat in and ride around as a family.  We have loved it so far!
Yes, I follow behind on roller blades :)
On the 10th of this month Victoria turned two months old!  It's amazing how much babies change each month, especially the first few months.  I can't believe how much healthier Victoria looks this month compared to last!  When I compared her one month and two month pictures I couldn't believe how pale and sick she was that first month.  Poor baby :( At her two month well-check our pediatrician thought she looked perfect and was very pleased with her growth.  She's low on the charts but she has a great trend upward!  She weighed 9lb 4oz (8%) and was 21.9 in long (20%) and her head was in the 50th percentile.  She hated her shots but calmed down pretty fast when I picked her up.  Austin never fevered with his shots but she did so I stayed on top of the Tylenol and Motrin and she was just fine the next day.  Sissy had started smiling a bit before she turned two months old and we love seeing her face light up every time we look at her!
Austin was way overdue for a haircut earlier this month and with family pictures coming up we had to get it taken care of.  Every time we go to Cookie Cutters he gets more and more behaved and this time was no exception!  He doesn't love the trimmers but was much more tolerant of them than he ever has been.  Sitting in a car, eating a sucker, and watching Daniel Tiger with the promise of a balloon at the end did the trick!
As each day passes Austin becomes more and more darling with Victoria and is such a good brother to her.  Almost every time he sees her he says: "Awwww!" and gives her the biggest kisses.  Melt my heart!
One of Austin's favorite things to do when we ride the Madsen is to stop by my parents' and get some sort of treat.  We're going to be sad when we have to put the bike away for the winter!

And on this bike ride Austin spotted our neighbors' cat and was dying to get out and see it!
Austin hates when Victoria cries during tummy time so he will often lay by her and try to maker her happy :)
On the 15th we began our favorite week of the year in Newport Beach with my family!  My parents rent several condos right by Crystal Cove and we spend the week eating way too much food, hanging out at the pool and beach, and of course visiting Disneyland!  I'll let the pictures do most of the talking for this fabulous trip!
We tried Cafe Rio breakfast for the first time at the airport.  It was pretty tasty but didn't taste much different because the flavor from the pork is so strong.
Austin was OBSESSED with these!
Watching planes take off with Mimi
Little sis was such a good girl on the flight!
A cruel reminder as we got off the plane that we wouldn't be visiting Harry Potter world :(
Our first swim at the resort as we waited for our rooms to be cleaned!
Keeping Austin entertained while we waited for our turn to take pictures.
Quick walk around the Newport Temple grounds after church.  So pretty!
We stayed in the same condo as Lil and Liam and Austin loved waking up to them every day!
Austin would love the beach one day and hate it the next. 
Sissy hangin with Uncle Paul :)
My nephew, Will, is going to be the best dad one day!  He is only 13 and is amazing with babies.  We often call him the baby whisperer because he can always calm them down.  He saw Victoria's pouty face and said: "Oh man, I could never say no to that face!"
Both kids slept really well at Disneyland--thank goodness!
Liam and Austin are both their daddy's twins :)
Logan has a picture of himself by this same door around this age so he wanted one of Austin there too.
Bubbles were a must during all the rides he couldn't go on.
Toon Town was definitely Austin's favorite!
Austin is freaking out in this picture because he spotted Goofy and he was TERRIFIED of the characters!  I've never seen him so scared of anything before.  We went to a character breakfast that morning but I don't have a single picture because Austin refused to go anywhere near them.  Maybe next year!
Most of the kids!  This is the best we could get...
So happy to be home and freshly bathed after a long, hot day at the park!
Finally time for our GNO!  This may be my favorite part of the whole trip!
The place we ate dinner at was so neat!
And delicious!  Lobster tacos for the win!
The view from our condos is the best!
And on this beach day all Austin wanted to do was sit on the chairs.
And this was what sissy did most of the time while we played.
I love that my nieces and nephews are getting old enough to play in the waves now!  They're definitely braver than me!
Nathan and Klara are only 10 days apart and are the best of buds and Austin wanted in on their cuddling up!
Guys night out!  These boys are amazing!
Taking a walk on the pier!
Most of us!
We love this little shopping area in Laguna!
Roasting mallows on our last night :(
New cars for the plane ride home!  Until next year!
The great thing about the timing of our trip this year is that we got home the Saturday before the 24th so we had a long weekend to unpack and get settled before getting back into our routine.  There's a couple in our ward that does a Dutch oven breakfast every 24th of July and they're absolute wizards at it so we stopped by there first thing.  We didn't do much during the afternoon but later that evening we went to Logan's parents' house and had dinner and another water fight for all the kids.  It was a lot of fun hanging out with family and feeling like our vacation still hadn't ended!
Even though we've moved, Austin and his friend, Beck, are still great buds and have the best time together!  We don't get to see him nearly as often as we'd like but anytime we do it's like no time passed!  Leslie and I took the kids swimming last week and they loved making mischief together.
I'm obsessed with Smith's Clicklist so we don't go inside the grocery store a whole lot but when we do Austin loves when we can get the Taxi cart!  I love it too because it makes the whole shopping experience a bit more bearable.  
My dear friend, Christie, has been living way too far away for the past three years so we absolutely love when they come visit!  She and Luke were in town last week for a wedding and we got to spend a few hours with them watching our boys play and catching up on everything we could think of.  It's crazy to see how much these boys have grown since they were together last!  Luke may look way bigger but he's actually a few months younger than Austin.  You can give his parents credit for his growth ;) Christie is due with a baby girl in just a few months and I know our girls will be the best of friends too!  
Austin still loves being outside as much as possible and is really into his bike right now.  He recently discovered the little compartment that he can put things in so we collected rocks for ages one evening recently.  
Victoria is doing great and working hard on holding her head up!
Last Saturday we grabbed dinner and took it to Murray park and we all had a great time!  Austin loved the playground and Victoria was super content laying on the blanket and enjoying being outside.
This is the look Victoria gives us most of the time...haha.
Another thing Austin still loves is going to Trader Joe's so he can run around with the mini cart.  It gets a bit chaotic managing his enthusiasm but seeing how happy he is makes it worth it!
Waiting to check out is the worst
To cap off our montht we went for a quick swim at Murray Park and Austin had such a blast!  When we were on our walk on Saturday he saw the pool and wanted to go swimming so bad so we promised we would come back soon and I'm so glad we did!  He saw how big the slide was and was a bit reluctant to go but we talked him into it and he was obsessed after that and spent the rest of the night going down the slide over and over.  He giggled the whole way down and was so sad when we had to leave.
Killin time during the 10 min. pool check.
Sissy enjoyed the pool too :)
That just about does it for our month!  It's hard to believe we're already into August--basically the last month of true summer!  We have a lot of fun things planned so I'm sure it will be great!  Here's a quick update on some odds and ends:

Just over two years ago I submitted an application to an organization called Ohana Oasis that sends couples who have lost a child to Kauai for an all expenses paid retreat.  Our friends who had been on one of the first ever retreats told us about it and we've been waiting ever since for a chance to go.  While we were in Newport I received an e-mail that it was finally our turn!  We were invited to attend in December and we were so excited!  My parents immediately offered to come stay with our kids but my only hesitation about going was having to stop nursing Victoria at only 7 months old.  I decided pretty quickly that I didn't want us to miss this opportunity so I'll pump a couple times while we're gone and cross my fingers that she'll pick it back up when we get home.  If not, I'll definitely have a frozen stash to hold her over for a few months.  We are so grateful for this opportunity and can't wait to connect with the three other couples that will be on this trip!

Logan is enjoying working with family and loves working less than five minutes from home.  I love that too!  It's so nice having him around so much more now that he's not in school.  I couldn't be more thrilled to have that phase of our lives in the past!

My days are exciting and crazy at home with Austin and Victoria but I wouldn't change them for anything!  I have such good kids and feel so blessed to be their mama!  I'm starting to accept the fact that I can't always do everything as well as I could when we didn't have kids so sometimes the house isn't always tidy or we aren't always doing super fun things away from home but even if we're playing with toys in a messy house we're all just thrilled to be together! I haven't had any motivation since Victoria was born to start eating healthy and getting myself back into shape but when we got invited to go to Hawaii that did the trick!  I've been to a nutritionist enough in the past to know what he'll tell me to do so I'm just doing it on my own this time and so far the first week went really well.  When I started I had exactly 19 weeks before our trip so I'm doing a super slow/thorough program so I can be sure to keep the weight off long-term and create long-term habits.  I'm excited to finally get my body feeling and looking better!

I know it's cliche but Austin really does seem to change and grow every single day.  He's becoming such a big boy and is getting to the point where we can really talk with him and have mini conversations.  He's such a good big brother and is already super protective of his sissy.  He goes down really well at 8 o'clock but is still waking up bright and early at 6am so I'm starting to accept that as his new normal.  His favorite show is still Daniel Tiger and he is obsessed with cheese as much as ever!  Shredded cheese is his favorite but he rarely gets it because I can't stand cleaning it up.  He's wild but so fun and we love him to death!

Victoria is getting a bit more opinionated the older she gets but she's still a super good baby and it's hard to remember our lives without her!  She'll go about eight hours in between feedings at night and we just moved her into her crib in Austin's room because she was rolling around too much in her little bassinet.  I was worried she would wake him up at night but so far she hasn't and the transition has been really smooth!  From a Hematology standpoint Victoria is doing really well!  We had her hematocrit checked when we got home from California and it was only 25.9 (hemoglobin of 9.0) but her retic (the level that tells us if she's trying to make red blood cells) was fantastic at 2.4.  I figured they would want to check her level again at the end of that week but they said not to come back for two weeks!  The doctors are confident that because her retic is so high she's well on her way to fixing this problem and not needing any more transfusions.  We've been watching her closely for signs of anemia but so far she looks good!  Fingers crossed she's all finished with transfusions!  We sure are proud of her!

Happy August from our family to yours!