Mason had his first rice cereal experience last week. :)
I love this kid. He cracks me up.
I couldn't get the camera to focus very well, and please excuse the nuts-o toddler. She was wanting "a bite" of what her little bro was having.
Have I mentioned how much I L-O-V-E having two kids? Don't get me wrong, we have our near-breakdown moments...but I am just loving it and still ready for #3.... (maybe if I hint enough...)
Oh, by the way, Nick gets a little surprise at the end of this video too :)
*no, we aren't pregnant*



I really love...

So I've heard alot about makeup primer this last year and thought that since I rarely wear makeup anymore, it wasn't something to pay attention to.
In April I had my first primer experience and I got hooked!
This stuff makes my skin feel like velvet. I notice now when I forget to put it on. My skin feels "rougher" (for lack of a better word. The one I use also has a mattifying effect so I'm not shiny :)
I wear it even when I don't wear makeup because I think it helps that much :)
It also extends the wear of your makeup (if you are wearing it!)....and keeps it looking "fresher" longer :)
Good stuff, I tell you.
My mom uses whatever one Costco carries, and I have heard that Sephora has some great options too.
I just use the Arbonne one because I really like their stuff....but find what works for you!
If you haven't tried a primer, you are missing out ;)



Uncle Caleb's visit

So my little brother (birth order review: me, Josh, Caleb and Jacob), Caleb, came to spend a few days with us right after Papa Ray left.
He was only here for a little less than 3 days (lame, I know) before he had to be back in DSM.
Adelyn LOVED romping around with him and hollered for him when he was gone for more than a few minutes. "PAYUB (Adelyn's version of "Caleb")!! Where are you?!"
Sunday, he got here in the late afteroon.  We just hung around and did a whole lot of nothing :)
We did donuts Monday morning...
Monday afternoon, Caleb and Nick drove to the Sequoias (I wasn't in the mood to handle a toddler and infant on a 2 hour hairpin turn car ride through the mountains). We grilled that night and just hung out.
Tuesday morning, Caleb and I took the kids to the park while Nick worked.
Then Nick took him to the airport around 1-ish.

"Where are you, Payub?"
It was really hard for me to say goodbye to my brother.
We love you, Caleb.
Thanks for coming to see us :)
Let's make it a longer visit next time! ;)



6 months ?!

This little man turned 6 months old yesterday!
Seriously....WHERE does the time go?!
This little guy is so easy going, fun loving, finger chewing, rarely fussing, sister loving, bottle despising, always smiling (except when I want to get a picture!), rolling over, jumping loving, action watching, snuggling and cuddling, did I mention smiling? One of the "easiest"  kids I have ever met.
He actually sleeps! If you don't remember, Adelyn rarely napped for more than a half hour at a time....although now she does (finally!) a 2.5 hour nap in the afternoon...
Everyone who spends time with him asks, "does he ever stop smiling?" .
No, he really doesn't. He could be in the middle of crying because I'm not feeding him fast enough....get a glimpse of Nick, Adelyn or I making a face at him, and start grinning...

We have been so blessed by this little boy and we are so in love.
Having 2 kids has been the most fun ever....and I still say we should just go ahead and shoot for # 3 ;)

do you think they're related?
Adelyn's new hairstyle has been double french braids...you obviously can't see them in these pictures, but I love her little "Heidi" look :)
Shakin' it up around here, I guess. :)

So in love, I'm telling you.
So in love.



another visitor...and fun news! :)

Grandpa Ray, aka: Papa Ray....came to see us for a few days last week :)
Adelyn LOVED having him around and I'm pretty sure he got tired of hearing "Papa!" after his first hour of being here ;)
We did some playing outside and yard work :)
Adelyn had to help, of course :)

We went out to eat his last night here. Thankfully, Adelyn did pretty good (much thanks to the itouch and Tinkerbell-- seriously, I don't think we'd ever be able to go anywhere if we didn't have that thing) ;)

Thanks for coming, Papa Ray!
We loved having you here and can't wait to see you (and Ellen) again in a few weeks! :)

**in other exciting news, our newest niece--Elsie Grace--was born early this morning @ 4:25am....7lb 1oz and 19.5 inches! Woot Woot! :) Congratulations, Alan and Steph and Nora! We love love love you!  xoxo



what we have been up to...

That's right, my baby girl is potty trained! :)
Seriously, the only way I could get her to sit on the pot for more than a few seconds was to let her watch Care Bears on the ipad.
Yes, I am that mom. It worked, so I don't care what the APA would have to say about that. ;)
Yes, that is a basket of books next to her. That is now our current method of "potty entertainment". Although, she doesn't really need it because she goes almost the second she sits down! Woot woot!
No, we did not use the 3 day boot camp method (although we did consider it....by the way, the ebook is NOT worth the $17)...I didn't have the time to be cooped in the house and Nick didn't have more than a day and a half to spare to help watch Mason. I let her pick out her potty a few weeks ago, but was waiting for a time when we didn't have company or something else going on. We started last Monday of sitting on the pot every hour until she went. We had alot of accidents the first 2 days, then it just clicked.
She wears pull ups for naps and bedtime. She wakes up dry from her naps now and goes right when we get her up....
I'm so proud of my baby! :) She gets a sticker and a skittle every time she goes.....and she gets so excited!
We have had some successful outtings....the only accident outside of the house was at the park yesterday and she had a little doodie...woops....
We are still working on #2...we have thrown away half of our underwear supply, so no success there yet....but we are getting there ;)
What else is new? We had 2 special visitors from last Wednesday until today :) More to come on those fun times.
Stay tuned...

***since posting this, I've had a few emails asking what I did to potty train Addy.  I sort of jumbled parts of the 3 day plan and advice I had from numerous moms to fit what I thought would work for our stubborn little girl ;)
A bit before we started, I let her pick out her little toilet and her underwear (I bought about 30 pairs because I knew some would be going in the garbage). I had her toilet in the bathroom for about 2 weeks before we decided it was time. She got used to it being there and even started sitting on it (with pants on) to read books and play.
Monday morning, she got up and I told her we were going to start using the big girl potty and no more diapers. She fought me all day (and still does every once in a while) about sitting on the pot. She just didn't want to do it (thank you, ipad and books). Every hour or so, we would have her sit until she went...if 20 minutes went by and she still hadn't gone, we'd let her get up.
We didn't make a big deal when she had an accident. We just reminded her each time that it wasn't okay and "no, don't potty in your panties".
The first 2 days we had quiet a few accidents. She would sit on the pot without going, and then a few minutes after she got off, she would pee her pants (grrr). Then Wednesday, it clicked and she started having less accidents.
We don't go every hour now, but after she drinks something, I give her about 30 minutes and have her go sit. If it's been a while since she's gone (like 1.5 hours), I'll have her go. And she goes when she gets up from sleeping and before she goes down for naps and bedtime.  She is getting better about telling me when she has to go too, but I still have to ask often ;)
So there ya go....that's what we did. Take it for what it's worth ;)



ramblings of making friends

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We have been in California for almost 4 months. It feels like forever.
I don't mean that in a bad way, but January feels like it was so far away! Mason isn't a newborn anymore. Adelyn's vocabulary has just exploded and she acts more and more like a child rather than a toddler everyday!  My hair has gotten a little longer. The weather is way warmer :) and sunnier. You can't see the mountains anymore because the air isn't as clear....
alot has changed since we first came out here.
Moving away from everyone and everything we know has been  a huge leap of faith for us....but we were--and still are--confident that this is where we are supposed to be for a while. 
Thankfully, Visalia is in one of the more conservative areas of CA :) and is a bit smaller than Des Moines, so we don't feel TOO out of place here :)  People still as where Iowa is and keep confusing it with Ohio :) 
The other night at small group, one of the guys was talking about how they "roll their hay" in Montana and he was just amazed and thought it was the coolest thing. Hehe....I really have only ever seen hay baled into rolls! :)
For weeks before we moved out here, I prepared myself to be uncharacteristically outgoing. I knew that if I didn't purposefully put myself out there, making friends and meeting people would be extra hard.  Nick was going to be busy with work; learning the ropes of a new job. I didn't want Adelyn taking on my homebody ways :)
My goals were to find a church and a small group, and find a MOPS group.
We landed at Gateway Church of Visalia. I did something I never do....I filled out the community card with our information, what we were interested in (children's ministry, small groups, women's ministry, etc) and stuck it in the offering thingy.
I got a phone call 2 days later from Leslie, the children's minstry director. We talked for a while and she mentioned a small group that might work for us.  After I hung up with her, I got another phone call from Cassy--a now friend--who led this small group with her husband, Mike. They met on Wed. nights at the church so we could take advantage of the nursery services because Awanas met that night too.
The rest is kinda history :)  3 couples are in that group, and they are awesome :)
It turns out that Gateway hosts a MOPS group, so I started on that next. I met 5 amazing women (including our mentory mom, Judy, from IA!). Tracey and I have recently started meeting M,W, F at the gym (at 6am!!) and taking a circuit cardio class and a cycling class. She is the sweetest and I can't wait to get to know her better :)
Our neighbors, Alex and Shawn, have been awesome. Alex has one of those personalities I am jealous of.....she can get along with anyone and everyone. :) It's been fun spending time with her....and her kids are the cutest! 
Cassy recently introduced me into working with Arbonne International.......after a few weeks of researching, talking and praying...I decided to go for it :)  It has challenged me to get out there a little more and talk with people....and I know I'm going to meet alot more ladies along the way! :)
I am so thankful for the friends we are making and the people we have met. God has been good.
We have made more non-family related trips in the last 4 months than we have since Adelyn was born 2 1/2 years ago!
Although Mason won't remember any of it and Adelyn may only remember a little bit...I love the memories we are making here and am excited to make more :)
Things are going well. I still miss our dearest family and friends in the midwest every single day. I still cry once or twice a week :) Easter and now Mother's Day are especially hard because we always spent those days with family......but now we are celebrating those days with our little family...and we will be okay :)
I'm thankful for how God has used this move to stengthen our family and our marriage. I have had to lean on Him so much when I get sad, homesick, lonely, discouraged....and He pulls through everytime :) God always has been and always will be the only constant in my lfe. I am so thankful for His grace.



Mason's stats

Mason finally had a well child visit this week :)
With Adelyn, I was pretty good about getting her in for her visits....I just kinda kept putting Mason's off. I did get him in at 6 weeks before we left for CA...but that was it ;)
Anyway....here are his stats as of yesterday. He's 5 1/2 months now!

weight: 16 lb (30 %-ile)
length: 26 1/2 inches (75 %-ile)
head: 15 %-ile

So there ya go. My growing little man!
If you're curious to compare with Adelyn, join the club.
 I keep forgetting to check her baby book and I didn't do a blog post on her for that.
She is napping right now, so I can't go look :)




I was talking to my mom this morning about the news of bin Laden's death. I was telling her about how the crowd in the stadium at the Mets game broke out into a cheer of "USA! USA! USA!" upon gradually hearing about his death.
She mentioned that part of her was happy they got him, but at the same time...
I said that at first I was glad.....but then I got this pit in my stomach....because you can't doubt where he is now....

Scripture describes hell as the following:

Matthew 13:50 “furnace of fire…weeping and gnashing of teeth”

Mark 9:48 “where their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched”
Revelation 14:10 “he will be tormented with fire and brimstone”
Revelation 14:11 “the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever and they have no rest day and night”

Revelation 20:14 “This is the second death, the lake of fire”
Revelation 20:15 “If anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire”

How scary. It just makes me sick with the thought of anyone going there.
How could I be glad about anyone going there?? Regardless of how wicked their heart is or how evil their deeds in their life were?? Christ came to save all. You, me and bin Laden. We are all sinners. We all fall short of the glory of God. I don't deserve God's grace and mercy nor Christ's sacrifice any more than you do. No one is better than another...no matter how hard you "try".
I'm still angry. Angry for the deaths he caused. Angry for the families who grieve the loss of their loved ones. Angry for his hate towards our awesome country.
Part of me is still happy he is gone. Part of me is still sick with the thought of hell. Part of me wants to respond in the way that we are called to as Christians.
My brother in law, Kyle, is a theology professor at Bethel and always does a great job putting things like this into words. He wrote a blog about not taking pleasure in the death of the wicked. Read it. It's good. :)



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