Monday, September 29, 2014

August

August started  off with a bang.  Tate's first day of Kindergarten was August 1st.  He was excited.  A little nervous, but mostly excited.  Which made it much easier for me to watch him walk into that big school for the whole day.  Tate's elementary school here changed to year round this year so they have 9 weeks on and then 3 weeks off.  His kindergarten schedule is all day Mondays and Wednesdays and then Fridays just for the morning.  It has been so weird having him gone for lunch two days a week.  Finn and I are pretty lonely without him around but he always has a great time and is so happy when I pick him up.  That helps a lot.  Here's our big boy on his first day of Kindergarten.
Glenn went in late to work that morning so he could walk with us to school.  Tate loved that.  
And so did Finn.  Hard not to get emotional watching these three handsome guys walking to school together.  
This is the only picture I got of his teacher, Mrs. Watkins.  She is incredible.  So patient and loving and just perfect for Tate. I love the way she greets every kiddo as they arrive each morning.  She gets down on her knees and talks to each one for a bit to make sure they know she cares and is happy they came. 
Glenn went to work after we dropped Tate off and Finn and I went to the science museum to distract ourselves from how much we missed Tate.  Just the two of us.
It was weird and also lovely to have just one little boy to pay attention to.  I sure love my little Finn.  He has phases where he really likes to test how far he can push me, but when he's being nice, he's such a fun, happy, darling little boy.
By August we started getting more serious about moving to Saudi Arabia.  We couldn't tell people until we cleared some of our contingencies so it was really hard to continue living our lives and not say anything about the only thing we were thinking about all day!  Especially for Glenn, who had to go to work every day at a job he really wanted to be done with.  On August 7th we flew down to Houston for one night.  We spent Friday going through Aramco's orientation and getting medical tests done.  Just a blood test for me.  A little more in depth for Glenn...I'll leave it at that.  It was an encouraging and overwhelming day.  I left feeling like I had so much information but that it would take a few days to process what it would mean for me and how I would do in that situation.  The woman conducting our orientation had lived in Saudi for 25 years.  Grew up there and raised her family.  She had very very few negatives about the experience...but I guess that is her job.  So one of the first things I did when we got back was email my cousin, Katelyn to get her take.  We chatted on the phone a few days later and it was nice to hear the straight forward realities from her.  Granted, my living situation will be different than hers was in Saudi, but the realities of the culture and the adjustment are things I needed to hear.  
The next week we celebrated Glenn's birthday.  He and I spent the weekend downtown.  He wanted some new shoes and he wanted to test drive cars so that's how we spent most of our weekend.  It was fun to drive new cars and think about how different our every day will be with two more little people with us everywhere we go.  Even if we were staying here we'd need at to trade in at least one of our cars as neither of them will be able to fit our whole family come February.
We spent one beautiful August Saturday at Broomfield Bay with the Cluffs.  It was great to catch up with them and we LOVE the Bay.  It's the perfect size for our kids right now and they had so much fun swimming and playing there all morning.  And we loved the chance to catch up with the Cluffs, as always.



Every day that Tate's in school Finn and I walk just around the corner to go pick him up.  Finn rides his new little bike and wears his cool matching bike helmet.  He thinks he is super cool.  And he is correct.
Auntie Mallo came home from work one day and wanted to make oreo cake balls with the boys.  They had so much fun making a mess.  Especially Finn.  She is the best Auntie.  So fun and attentive.  She actually enjoys really playing with the boys and they love her because she loves them so so much.
I loved how funny Finny looked with oreo smashed all over his teeth.
August brought another doctor's appointment and ultrasound.  Turns out I get to see these little ones every month because an ultrasound is the only reliable way to make sure they get each baby's heartbeat.

At my 12 week appointment they did a blood test.  The blood test where they check for all sorts of genetic and other defects.  Apparently they also are able to determine gender now with the same blood test which was really surprising considering there are two babies gender to see from just my blood, but they said they could do it so we said we'd like to know.  A week later we got a phone call and they said all of the babies tests looks great, no problems that they could see.  And they told us that we are having two baby girls.  Two. Baby. Girls.  I was really surprised.  I'm so used to parenting boys and all the particular craziness that entails but girls are an entirely different story.  I went out on the porch and called Glenn and he could not have been more excited.  Then I went back inside and told my sisters and mom and thought about these two little girlies all day.  Apparently Glenn was doing the same thing.  He got off work early, went to Janie and Jack, and bought a HUGE bag full of baby girl clothes for our little girls.  And man, did he do a good job.  He came home and watched me unwrap everything and hold up each dress and shirt and tiny shoe and was just glowing with excitement and pride.  He is going to be an absolutely amazing daddy to these girls.  Well of course he is.  That's just what he does.  I'm glad these little ladies will have him as their daddy.  And I'm glad they'll have each other.  One girl could be kinda lonely with two big brothers but these girls will, hopefully, be great friends.
Also that week, we heard that we had received medical clearance and were just waiting for our visas.  At that point we decided we needed to start telling ward members because we knew that once our visas came in, it would be a matter of weeks before we'd be leaving.  We got mixed reactions.  Some people were very supportive and excited for our family's adventure.  Some think that we are crazy and were kind of in our faces about how we're making an incredibly stupid and unsafe decision.  It was frustrating and hurt my feelings a little bit to have people be unkind and judgmental about something that we have done a significant amount of research about in order to feel good about.  I just feel like this is what we're supposed to do.  That doesn't make it easy or comfortable.  In fact, it's still a really hard thing to do and to commit to every day.  But we are supposed to go.  And while I know it will be far from perfect, I also know that there are blessings that come from being where you are supposed to be and doing what you're asked to do.  Some days I am on the verge of tears all day thinking about the magnitude of this move and overwhelmed by the changes it will entail for us.  Part of that, I'm sure, has to do with the fact that I am extra pregnant and just one change like, selling a car or selling our house or moving my boy to a new school would be plenty.  But we are doing it all at once in a very big way.  Some days it's really overwhelming.  Most days, however, I am able to remember that this is an amazing adventure.  An adventure that very few families get the opportunity to have.  And the experiences we'll have will bind us together and make us stronger as a family.  Most days we are really excited and determined to make the most of this adventure.
The worst part of August, by far, was that Mallory left.  She moved out to NYC to go to school.  It was so wonderful having her here all summer.  She is the kindest Auntie and so helpful and thoughtful.  I'm so glad we got to live together again, even if the circumstances were not ideal.  I wish I had not been so sick the whole time.  I wish we could have made more yummy new recipes together and played more, but alas, it was not to be.  But at least I got to be around here and honestly, just being around her is pretty wonderful.  We miss her around here.  A lot.  But I'm glad she's having fun so far in NYC and loving her new life there.
My dad came into town one weekend in August and we decided it was a good night to hit up a Rockies game.  
 The boys loved eating ball park food, especially the popcorn.  And they were so super cute during the National Anthem.  It was a really fun night and the cheap tickets made it really easy to leave when the kiddos got tired.
The last weekend in August we went up to Estes Park to go camping with the Wilsons.  We had to leave Friday evening and had to be back for meetings and YW visits on Sunday so we only had one night of camping but it was so great.  The boys were in heaven setting up the tent, sleeping in sleeping bags, throwing sticks in the fire, roasting mallos, and playing with Sydney and Maddie.  It was exhausting but SO fun to see the boys just blissfully happy.  

 
Unfortunately our camera was on the fritz that weekend and we were able to get very few pictures of the trip.  We woke up, had breakfast, and then packed up our stuff.  Then we drove into the park with the Wilson family and the Lewis family from our ward and found a great hike up to a few lakes.  It was beautiful and the boys did so great.  Finn was a little slower but he didn't complain much.  Both of them tromped up the trail and back down with hardly a complaint at all...until it started to hail really hard right at the end.  That was really not great.  Luckily, we were only a little ways from the trailhead and a big pavilion to huddle under.  We ran down the rest of the way throw the huge pelting hail and then a minute or so after we had shelter, it stopped.
I somehow forgot to pack my nausea medicine.  I remembered everything else...but that one thing somehow slipped the list.  I was pretty sick all day so instead of sticking around for hot dogs over the fire, we drove home, did some laundry, and got the kiddos in bed early.  I'd forgotten how much work it is to go camping.  Tons of packing and prep and work to set up and take down and then air out and wash everything.  But it was absolutely worth it, even just for a night because the boys had so much fun.
So there it is.  Our busy, fun August.  Now we're nearly caught up!

Saturday, September 27, 2014

July

July began with a very busy week, especially for Glenn.  He set up games with 10 international lacrosse teams who were in town for the world games of lacrosse to play his BYU alumni team.  He had a blast and was gone for several days playing up in the mountains and at high school fields in Parker.  On Friday the 4th they played France and Spain at Copper Mountain.  It was a about a 2 hour drive away and I had intended to brave it with the boys but wimped out the day of.  I was feeling pretty sick, which was the theme of the summer, and didn't want to tough a drive in the mountains and wrestling the boys during the game and then a late drive home.  So instead, my sisters and I found a Star Wars symphony concert at Fiddler's Green, about 25 minutes away.  We bought cheap tickets to sit on the lawn, picked up dinner, and camped out while listening to some amazing patriotic music and a bunch of great John Williams music as well.  It was a great night and the boys had so much fun.  Not evident in their faces in this picture, but true, nonetheless.  
Saturday Glenn's team played Germany in the morning, then that evening they played England in Parker and the boys and I went to watch with Auntie Mallo and Kenzie. They fought hard but and ended up losing by two.  The boys had a great time playing on the bleachers and occasionally watching the game and cheering for Dad.

On Monday morning they played the Netherlands at the University of Colorado in Boulder, then Austria, Belgium and Turkey in the afternoon down in Parker.  The game against Turkey was a really big deal.  Turkey is the only Muslim country represented in world lacrosse and Glenn had been building a relationship with their coach for months.  One of the kids he coached on his youth lacrosse team even did his Eagle Project collecting donations of equipment for them to take back with them so they could continue to build the game in Turkey.  It was a very cool experience.  In addition, that night we had a little dinner after the sun went down with the Turkish team and our BYU alumni team to break their Ramadan fast for the day.  A very cool melding of religions and cultures.
We all ended up with some Turkey lacrosse shirts.  The boys were very enthusiastic in their cheering for Daddy.

It was a beautiful night for lacrosse.
Here are the men.  The Turkish team and the BYU alum team together after their game.

On Tuesday, their last day of games, they played the Swedish and Italian teams.  Mallory was ticked that she had to work that night.  She really wanted to meet some of their players! The BYU alum team did really well against all of the international teams.  They won 7 of their games, lost 2 and tied 1.  Not bad for a bunch of grown men, many of whom haven't played regularly for years.
On July 12th we flew out to New Hampshire for our annual visit to Glenn's homeland.  It was a great visit.  Amy and Gregor were kind enough to let us crash with them again even though they had had her family there to stay the previous 2 weeks and some of them were still there when we arrived. They are incredibly kind hosts.  It was a very sick trip for me.  I had just got on some new nausea meds and they were helping take the edge off at the beginning and by the end of the week I wasn't throwing up constantly, which was amazing, but I still felt really nauseous most of the time.  Everyone was very patient and understanding of my limitations.  I was ticked that I was such an invalid on vacation!
The first day we were there Finn found this bike in their garage and rode it every day for hours the rest of our time there.  It was amazing how quickly he took to the riding a little bike.  And how happy it made him.

One time we were riding down the hill by their house and he crashed pretty good and I started walking over to him but he immediately hopped up and said, "Don't touch me, Mom!  I'm fine!  I just wanna ride my bike!"  He knew that any momma coddling would just mean more time before he gets back on his bike.  Such a tough little kid.
Finn's other favorite past time was throwing a basketball through this hoop tied to the play ground in their back yard.  He got pretty good at it by the end of the week.

One day we went for a hike up a mountain near Lake Winnipesaukee.  It was our boys first big hike and they did pretty well all things considered.  It was pretty steep at parts and the boys needed to be distracted or carried occasionally.  Tate was not wearing ideal hiking shoes and ended up with nasty blisters on both of his heels.  Poor boy.

Here we are at the top.  Needham Makechnies (minus B), Andover Makechnies, and Denver Makechnies.
The Denver Makechnies.  So happy to have made it to the top.
The next day we hit up the Montshire museum. It's a great children's museum that we visited with them last year.  The boys had so much fun with so many things to touch and play with.

Finn was in love with the penny ramp.  He probably stood there for half an hour launching pennies watching them roll around and around.
Tate liked it as well and would stop by in between his other explorations.


Like the smoke maker.

Or the tornado maker.  Pretty cool.
We spent a lot of time at Highland Lake.  Sometimes Glenn took the boys and let me have a rest.  Sometimes we all went.  The water was beautiful and the boys were in heaven.  Tate wanted to swim around and look for fish with his goggles on.  And occasionally be thrown in the air by Glenn or Uncle Gregor.

Finn preferred to just stand in the water up to his waist or chest and have people pick up rocks for him to throw.  Simple pleasures.  It was bliss and the boys were so happy and worn out every day.  I loved being able to just tell the boys they could play outside and they would be outside for hours.  Riding bikes, talking to the chickens or collecting their eggs, shooting the basketball, climbing trees, playing on the swingset, and just exploring and being outside.
One morning we decided to head to the ocean.  The water was WAY too cold for me, but those Andover Makechnies are much braver and soon they were all body surfing and having a great time.
The boys and I ventured in up to our waists once in a while but they soon got too cold and were just as happy digging in the sand and looking for creatures and shells.


There were so many bugs to check out!
Tate was a little more cautious about how much sand he got on himself, knowing that the ocean was the only option to wash off.  Finn, not so much.
On one of our last days we explored Boston all together.  B and Jill were on a little getaway/business trip to NYC so we got to have the Needham Makechnie kids and we had a great time walking all over the city, getting some yummy food, and finding fun parks to explore.



We walked by the Boston Aquarium but didn't need to go in.  It was pretty pricey but they had this tank with seals out front and we got to watch them for a while.

That night I took the younger kiddos home and the older kiddos went to a Red Sox Game with the adults.  One of these years we'll brave bringing our boys again, but we're just not quite there yet.  Our last night we stayed at Brendaen and Jill's.  They were such sweet hosts.  We put the kids to bed and watched a movie.  Then our last day we helped with some chores around the house and yard and then took the kiddos swimming at this amazing pond near their house where they have a membership.  It was, once again, a great trip.  We lamented coming home to our teensy yard with no pets or chickens and no cousins to play with.  Booooring.  
Also in July, Tate went to a superhero camp put on by one of the Beehives in our ward YW, Lauren Favero.  She is incredible and they had such an amazing time.  He came home each time talking about all the games the played and obstacle courses, and super creative crafts and snacks.  I wish we could do it again next summer!
We received some big news in July, both on July 10th, actually.  I had my 8 week check up and we brought the boys to the appointment because we wanted them to see our baby and be able to tell them that they were going to have a little sibling!  It took less than 5 seconds into the ultrasound and our tech said, "Well, there's baby number 1....and there's baby number 2!"  I started crying.  Glenn was so thrilled and immediately started pointing to the ultrasound and telling the boys to look at our babies.  That we are going to have TWO babies in our family.  Tate was stoked and kept telling people all the way out of the doctor's office, "My mom is having twins!"  Finn kept pointing to pictures of babies on the walls of the office and saying, "That baby is in mommy's tummy.  And that baby is in mommy's tummy..."  It was a lot to swallow but we also feel incredibly blessed to not only be pregnant but to have two little babies on their way.  I felt relieved that my feeling way more sick and tired than my usual pregnancies is for a legitimate reason and not just because I'm a huge wimp this time!
My OB is fantastic.  She has a set of twins too and she started telling me in her calm, no big deal voice, titles of books I needed to read and things I needed to buy and how much fun and work having twins is.  We walked out of the office and as soon as we got outside Finn stopped with a panicked look on his face and said, "Wait!  We forgot the babies!"  He thought we were bringing home two babies right now.  We had to explain that our babies will come home in the winter, after Christmas.  So I am due with twins on February 12th 2015.  Insanity.
Glenn decided to take the rest of the day off of work and we took the boys to the Original Pancake House for breakfast/lunch to celebrate.  While we were eating Glenn received an email with a job offer from Saudi Aramco.  Holy Smokes.  So much to deal with for one day.  Glenn had been talking to them since last August and finally, after a lot of research, I told him it would be okay if he applied.  Then he got an interview and I thought, "Sure.  If we get an offer and it doesn't feel right we can always just say no."  And so he flew to Calgary for an interview in April and then on July 10th we got an offer and had to tell them our decision within a week.  We prayed a lot, went to the temple, spoke to some members and non-members living there, and finally decided that we would accept the offer...thinking, "if it's not right we can say no at any time."  But it just kept feeling right.  It's a crazy idea, moving to the Middle East.  But even while riding the waves of panic and, "Who the crap does this while pregnant with twins!", we have this underlying feeling of calm.  Like for whatever reason this move, while it has no right to, just makes sense for our family.  There are a lot of pros and a lot of bizarre cons.  The biggest pros for us are the it's a great opportunity for Glenn's career.  He'll be working for the largest oil company in the world and he's really excited about the work he'll be doing.  We'll be living on a company compound which is basically like a little city with wonderful schools, Glenn's work, a commissary, hospital, pools, parks, bowling alley, movie theatre, little cafes and restaurants, gyms and pretty much all the basic necessities and a large branch which we've heard wonderful things about.  Glenn's work schedule will be dreamy.  He'll work from 7 to 4 every day and will come home for lunch too.  We're also really excited about the opportunities to travel.  Glenn gets a lot of vacation days and we'll be just a few hours from so many incredible places.  Glenn and I can't swing a trip to Europe on our own from here, but living there, we'll be able to take our whole family.  We'll be able to show our kids Europe and a whole slew of other incredible places.  The cons are kind of bizarre and will take a LOT of patience and adjusting.  Mostly on my part perhaps, since school and work will be a lot the same, but stay-at-home mothering will be drastically different.  But I think we're up for it.  The next phase of the process is passing a few contingencies.  Background checks, Tate's acceptance to school there, Medical screenings, and getting our visas in time for us to move before it gets too late in my pregnancy.  More to come on that in the next post!  All in all, a very busy and exciting July.