Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Since August

I'm out of excuses.

Recap since August:

RANSOM: After studding like a maniac for 3 months, he passed the bar!! And because I am his wife and love him ever so dearly, I will go ahead and brag that he not only passed, but excelled at the bar- scoring high enough to practice in any of the 9 uniform bar states! I can't remember the last time I saw him as happy as he did the morning he got his score. Luckily for us, the results came in a couple weeks early so we weren't anxiously awaiting them, it was more of a fantastic surprise! Less than a month later, he was offered a position at an awesome financial advisement firm in Tucson. To be honest, it was hard to let go of the dream that he would get a job in the Seattle area, but once we prayed about it and knew it was a good thing for us, we have been so pleased with our choice! Ransom works early, like generally starts at 6am (which he loves!) and I love it too because he is generally home by 3! Win win. He used to suffer from headaches when he would work/be in school in the late afternoons/evenings but since starting this job, has had significantly fewer ones. In so many ways, this job has been an answer to prayers!

ME: It's always hard to describe what you do all day when you are a stay at home mom. I keep Ben alive? Surely I do more than that, right? No, I do do more than keep Ben alive. I have been online shopping like a madwoman trying to knock out Christmas gifts without ever leaving my home (did I mention Ransom drives our only car to work every day?) and I have to boast that as of last Saturday I am DONE (wrapping included)! Probably my personal best time since our marriage almost 5 years ago. Nap time is my saving grace and is the only reason my hair is ever straightened (or clean, for that matter). But I have been working a lot lately on learning how to get things done while Ben is awake. I made myself a little weekly chore chart and strive to do my chores every morning before his nap. It has made all the difference for me to have that extra time for myself rather than my house. And, it seems like it is helping Ben adjust to not getting to be held every time he wants.

Just last week I applied for a work from home coordinator position for a dog sitting company. I got the job and am slowly training for it. I am supposed to work as many as 30 hours a week which will leave little time for me and Ransom when he gets home but we figured out that in taking this job we can cut our time paying off student loans by more than HALF! And since being debt free is our #1 goal right now, we figure it is worth the sacrifice.

BEN: Chubby big Ben turned one since I last wrote! As in he is now officially a toddler! It kills me; cuts me right down to my core! He communicates now and follows you around waiting for his demand to be met :) He signs "more" "all-done" and "up please" and says "da da" "ma ma" "doggy" "a ball" "baby" and "uh oh". He successfully plays catch and peekaboo and will lift up his shirt any time you ask him where his belly button is. We laughed so hard when he started doing this that now he goes up to other kids or adults and lifts up their shirts to show off their belly buttons. Adults don't love this so much! Ransom also taught him to point to his nose when we ask where it is, but more often he points to his mouth. At least he understands it's on his face though, right? Ben's biggest vice right now is his shoving. He will go up to almost every kid he sees and shove them (usually in the face). Sometimes it is to get the toy they are playing with but sometimes there is literally no reason for it! I am totally at a loss with how to deal with it. I have tried saying "no no" and even doing time outs (sitting on my lap for a minute while I bear hug him so he can't play) but he keeps doing it. Ugh! I am totally nervous to have "that kid" in nursery come March! Any advice? Seriously, anything?

And since I never documented his birthday party, here are the pictures, compliments of Brie Lay Photography!
I think he liked his chocolate cupcake!

This was our gift to Ben. It was so fun to see him old enough to enjoy it on his own!
Don't be fooled by this picture, he had no idea how to open the wrapping paper

Our little family! I surprised Ransom by combining Ben's party with a surprise "Congrats on passing the bar" party for him and he was actually surprised!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Little Big Ben

Where did I leave off? Oh yeah, Ben was like 7 months at my last update. Oops! Here's a little catch-up...

From about 7 months on, ALL Ben wanted to do was walk. This was our fault... we should NEVER have taught him this was possible at such an early age. What started out as a fun treat became a demand. I was legitimately worried of becoming the next hunchback of Notre Dame. Luckily, at around 10 months, he has learned to cruise and crawl. This makes my life A LOT easier! When he does walk, he only wants one of my fingers which allows me to stand up straight again.

Ben spent a lot of time in our bathroom in Tucson. With the huge closet mirror doors, I could just sit him up with his toys in front of the mirror while I took a shower or got ready and he would happily stay put. Thank goodness his reflection is so captivating!

I was pretty nervous about the adjustment of moving to Washington. With the different climate, new house, additional people, etc, I thought Ben would go through an adjustment period. Nope. Happy as a clam from day one. But I am grateful to have had warm clothes on hand because that first morning was pretty crisp!

My mom got Ben a Johnny Jump Up so he could be happy without being walked around all day. He LOVED it for the first day. But then he would get too excited and keep banging his head on the doorframe. After a few good bangs he was done. I wonder what other people do to make these work safely? Suggestions?

As I mentioned before, one of the best perks to living with my parents is the proximity to the cemetery. For a while, Ben and I would take long morning walks down to visit Jonah, water his flowers, and set up a blanket to play near him. Ben loves stealing the pin wheels from his plot and eating them. I think it's as close to playing together as they can get right now and I love watching :)

We have also been visiting the Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium quite a bit. My mom has an annual pass which makes it justifiable to go if only for a couple of hours between nap times.

Harold holding Harold

Pointing at the colorful fish

We had a lot of fun a few weeks ago visiting the Sequim Olympic Game Farm with my aunt and cousins. Basically you drive your car though dirt roads with a loaf of bread and roll down your windows to feed the bison, reindeer, llamas, etc. It is a riot! Unfortunately, Ben took our girlish screams to mean the animals were scary so he spent a lot of time trying to escape!

1st time sailing. HATED the life jacket!

 Ben has been subjected to many forms of water at this point. Baths, pools, boats and lakes. He tolerates these activities, but doesn't exactly love any of them. I can tell he feels very insecure because he holds on to me for dear life. But he is slowly becoming more comfortable.

I just loved watching him try to escape

Lake Tapps Beach has a great sand pit. He likes this much better than actually getting in the lake

Hayden Lake, ID. Again, loves getting out of the water :)

Ben's real love lately is with balls. Basketballs are his favorite followed closely by rubber balls. But honestly, if you stick him on a blanket with any ball or two, he'll be happy for a while. I love that he is grown up enough to have favorite toys and his own interests.

 Other random Ben details:

At his 9 month check up, he weighed 23lbs (but is now 24), still has a 99th % head circumference, and in the 80-something % for height (see what happens when you don't write these things down right away!)

He loves to eat (big surprise, right?) Bananas, applesauce, carrots, green beans, plain yogurt, toast, oatmeal, watermelon, and cheddar cheese are his favorites, but I can usually get him to eat just about anything if I stick it in his mouth. If I just place something he's not sure about on his tray, he'll swipe it to the side and eventually feed it to Penelope. Penelope knows where to sit during mealtime.

Ben is such a distraction at church! His favorite thing is to stand up with his hands on the pew behind him and yell at the top of his lungs to see who will pay attention to him. Then he'll give all of his viewers the biggest smile and yell some more. He's gotten a lot more wiggly so we've had to get pretty creative with keeping him in one place for an hour and 15 minutes but having my parents there helps a lot.

He is sleeping 11-12 hours at night and then takes 2 hour and half naps during the day.

He drinks 4 6oz bottles a day (we stopped breastfeeding by 8 months due to supply issues)

He does not like to be left alone (except for sleeping). When I set him down to play, he almost always checks for me every few seconds to make sure I haven't tried to sneak off (hence my lack of blogging the past 4 months!). Now that he is cruising furniture, to make sure I'm still near, he'll take one hand off the furniture and swipe the air behind him to make sure I am close by. If I'm not in arm's length, he's very offended!

He is loving opening and shutting cabinets. And of course, exploring the contents within them. This makes the kitchen a bit of hazard since I have not baby proofed. I keep putting it off since I am always pretty much within an arm's length anyway :)

I finally figured out how to get this boy to cuddle! Microfiber blankets have given me up to 20 seconds of cuddling if I hold Ben on my shoulder with the blanket behind him just before bed. I loooooove this!

All and all, this baby is such a fun, happy and healthy boy. I hate how fast he has grown, but I love watching all the new things he is mastering. He is such a joy!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Back in Action

No more excuses. Time for an update.

We moved to Washington. It was such a weird experience to say goodbye to the student life and all that comes with it: friends in the same life situation as us, scheduled vacations, the ward we came to love, and believe it or not, the area we came to love like a lot. It still feels like we are just on summer break. But alas, we have to accept the fact that we are now officially grown-ups! (Although living at my parent's house doesn't exactly help with that!)

As for a little review of our life over the past 4 months:

I am SO proud of Handsome Ransom for graduating from law school. He studied so much and yet somehow made time for me whenever I asked him to help me with anything. He made law school seem easy, but let's face it, if tables were turned I would have had complete meltdowns with the burdens of tests and homework not to mention family responsibilities. He is a beast! Way to go, Ransom!!

Ransom's last day of class (I absolutely love that he allows for these pictures!)
And for a throwback, here is Ransom's 1st day of law school... you'd never know it'd been 3 years!

Graduation day!

Pretty sure this is the only family pic we got

For graduation day, my brother's family drove down from Gilbert to celebrate with us. We got a sitter because graduation was way later than Ben's bedtime (how lame!) The ceremony was honestly pretty pitiful! The "inspirational speaker" gave us an autobiography while describing how awesome her family is; never really motivating the graduates into thinking they could ever be that awesome. And then it just kind of went downhill from there... BUT the important part is that Ransom's name was called as a graduate and he walked across the stage (although refusing to wear his cap because "it's stupid and didn't fit") while we cheered!

Despite the ceremony itself being pretty lame, it was surprisingly very emotional for me. I kept thinking back to our graduation from BYU. I was 7 months pregnant with Jonah and I remember talking to my Mom about how 3 years from then, Ransom would be graduating from law school and Jonah would be 3! So as I sat there, at the long-anticipated graduation, a wave of new grief hit me. Jonah should be here. Ben should be here. We should be taking pictures as a family of 4. I felt bitter and sorry for us. And to be completely truthful, that never really went away. But, thankfully, as I thought about our journey through law school and the point we are at now, I was able to feel Jonah so close. Not only had he been there through the especially rough days at the beginning, I knew he was there at the graduation. I could feel how proud he was of us for making it. And like I have so many times before, I felt like the child as my baby taught me.


The next week, Ransom began studying for the Bar Exam. But before he could engross himself too deeply into it, we got our bags packed and headed for a 3 day road trip to Las Vegas with our really good friends, Janie and Andrew. I had never been to Vegas so my eyes were definitely opened to "the world" YIKES! But we had fun walking around the strip and seeing all the sites. Since we stayed in the Stratosphere, we got to go up to the viewing deck as much as we wanted which was such a fun perk! But the best part, by far, was going to the shows. We saw an afternoon comedy magic show (Mac King) which was pretty funny and quite amazing. I got Ransom and I on stage by raising my hand when he asked for newlyweds (hey! we still feel like newlyweds) but the best was going to the Cirque de Soleil show, Mystere. A.M.A.Z.I.N.G!!! SO expensive, which goes against every fiber of my being, but honestly worth it!

This trip was made possible by our wonderful friends Emily and Adam and my Bro and SIL for watching Ben for us. This was the first time I had left him with anyone so I was pretty worried about being able to have fun but because I know and trust them so much, I was able to relax and enjoy the time away. Thank you, thank you!!!

Soon after our trip I had to get serious about packing. Ugh, packing. Usually I actually enjoy packing because I love going through our stuff and throwing stuff out, but it's a different story when you add a mobile baby to the equation. I had to pack during nap and bed time which was not fun. But it got done by moving day and despite my best efforts to stick my heels in the mud, we left the beautiful house we had called home for the last 8 months. Saying goodbye to some of the best friends I think I'll ever come by was so hard. I know I'll never live to close to so many great friends again. We had so much fun the past 3 years and especially over the last 8 months as I was able to stay at home with Ben. But such is life, right? Ransom and his dad drove our big moving truck with the car in tow while Ben and I flew in comfort. Over the next few days we unpacked into my parents house and got settled.

As much as I miss so many good friends in AZ, it is really nice to be so close to so much family. We love being able to visit Ransom's family all the time and having my sister and nephew only a few minutes away. And of course, having the cemetery within walking distance is invaluable!

Ransom got right back on track with his Bar studies while I got to have fun with family. And let me just tell you, thank goodness for family! The bar study program is a BEAST! Ransom was waking up at 5am every morning and would study until at least 7 at night, taking only a few eating breaks. And even at night, he would try to memorize stuff while watching TV with me. The WORST 2 1/2 months ever! Poor Ransom! Thankfully, the bar was the last 2 days of July so I have my husband back. He'll find out the results by the end of September and in the meantime we wait (and go on lots of trips!).

Next up, Ben updates...

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Just Kidding!

Not that I ever officially posted about this before, but the better half of you were probably told that upon graduation we were moving back to Utah for Ransom to join a financial advisement/estate planning firm. We have wonderful friends we met in Tucson who offered Ransom a position at this firm and we were totally set to take it. As in, Ransom hadn't sent a single resume or even looked elsewhere. It seemed like exactly what Ranse had always said he wanted to do. So he studied for months to take the Series 65 (financial advisor test) and passed back in February. We signed up for him to take the Utah Bar and were looking for places for rent in Provo/Orem. But then of course, God laughed at us for trying to make our own plan (when will we ever learn to stop making plans!?) and after LOTS of prayer, rationalization, going back-and-forth and more prayer, we realized we were not supposed to move to Utah after all.

We have no idea why, but we know we are supposed to head back to Washington. There is no job awaiting us. There is no apartment awaiting us. This is quite literally an act of blind faith! But we feel good about our decision and are excited for this adventure! The Washington Bar isn't until the end of July and the results of the Bar don't come out until mid October so we have until then before Ransom can practice law anyway. So he'll take that time to send out his resume and see what he can find. It's definitely scary, but we know it'll work out. :) dump:
This kid has gotten SO mobile. Still just scooting, but somehow can get almost anywhere
Yes, huge baby! It's honestly getting hard to lift him!

Still loves to sit in the bumbo
OK, I thought he would love this! He just stared blankly at the laundry...
Love these moments!

Saturday, March 30, 2013

6 Months!

I don't know what's going on around here but suddenly my baby boy is SIX months old! What the!?

 A few days ago we went for the 6 month check-up and here are the stats for our very big boy:
Weight: 19 lbs 4 oz (95th percentile)
Height: 27 1/4" (92nd percentile)
Head: 47 3/4 cm (99th percentile)

In the past month, Ben has been teething... (two bottom teeth cut through and I can feel more on the way)

This teething ring is my best friend right now!
Two teeth and the constant drool stream!

Mastering sitting up...

And eating lots of solid foods. So far he has tried rice cereal (but didn't like it so we switched to oatmeal), green beans, squash, sweet potatoes, bananas, applesauce and carrots. Honestly, he'll eat pretty much anything as long as it's warm.

I bought a Beaba Babycook baby food maker which steams and purees all my veggies and fruits for me and I LOVE it! It's so nice to know he's getting fresh produce and it's SO much cheaper than the jars :)

He has gotten a little easier to take outside so when my parents and sister came last week, we had a lot of fun with him at the pool and zoo.

Since my mom, sister and nephew were here on his actual half-birthday we decided to have a little party complete with a half cake :) (No, I didn't let him have any of it besides a tiny taste of whipped cream... I know, such a mean mom!)

He is sleeping about 11-12 hours at night and then takes 2 and a half naps during the day. NO complaints there! Lately me leaving the room is starting to result in tears but that's ok- I like being wanted ;) All in all, he's a very happy, social baby.

Happy 6 months, sweet Ben!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Calming Down

Phew! Life is finally starting to settle down. On Dec 13th, I returned to work full-time while Ransom, who was conveniently on winter break, stayed home with Benjamin. For the few weeks leading up to this day, I had been getting increasingly anxious. Not so much about the 4 weeks where Ransom could stay at home with Ben, but for the time after that where we would have to leave him with friends. Even though I trust my friends to take care of him, I just couldn't shake the anxiety that a non-parent would be spending more awake time with our son than we would. Finally, I sat Ranse down and told him what I was feeling. Of course he had been feeling the same way. But we felt like this was our only option since money is kind of important. Yes, there are always student loans, but we had been hoping to escape those this year. After lots of discussion and advice gathering, it came down to these points:

We were finally able to feel a HUGE sense of relief after thinking and praying about these points and we knew my time was better spent at home. Hallelujah!

My supervisor and co-workers were very supportive of my decision which made it so much easier. On Jan 11th I had my last day and I seriously haven't looked back! Being at home with Ben is the best! I can't say the house is much cleaner or that the meals have gotten any better, but I am definitely happier!

Ransom has been a lot happier too now that his last semester has begun and he can get out of the house again :)

And our little man is happy, too. (Although, he's always happy...)

(I don't mean to make anyone feel guilty with this post. Our decision was made according to the needs of our family- we know other people have to do things differently!)

Thursday, December 6, 2012

May I be Excused?

How sad is it that I didn't even realize it had been like 6 weeks since my last post? Busy, much?

Highlights since my last post:

  • The Youngs (Mom, Dad and Susie) came to visit for a week to meet Ben
  • We traveled to WA for almost 2 weeks to let Ben visit the rest of our families who live there
  • Ben was blessed by Ransom with both Grandpas, Uncle Josh, and friends Mike Colby and David Lassen 
  • Ben started sleeping through the night! (but now is not so consistent in that department... I can always count on at least 5 hours between his 10pm feeding and the next but I've gotten as much as 9 out of him!)
  • 2 month appointment proved the Ben is a mammoth baby! (99th percentile for height and head and 94th percentile for weight)
And now for the picture dump!
4 weeks old and ready for our first morning walk

5 Weeks

The first smile captured (almost) on camera

Napoleon Dynamite for Halloween :)

Ben's best bud, Brooks

They play really well together (especially considering neither realizes the other exists!)

Brooks is a chunk, too!

7 Weeks

8 weeks and sporting his flannel in WA

Aviator Jacket :)

Thanksgiving watching football with Ranse

Aunt Susie 


First visit to the  cemetery
I am just loving Ben! He is a really easy and soft-tempered baby. His smiles seriously melt your heart! For whatever reason, he LOVES diaper changes. Whenever I change him he smiles and coos the whole time. (Maybe this is a survival mechanism for the 4am diaper changes?) 

It has been so wonderful to have a little one in the home. He has totally taken over and that is fine by us! 

A big relief has been that Ben has in no way replaced Jonah. Beside his presence taking more of my time to contemplate Jonah, I don't mentally mix them up or combine them like I worried I might. Ben is very different from Jonah. Their personalities and spirits are completely unique which makes it so much easier for me to see them as separate people.  Another relief has been my ability to dress Ben in all of Jonah's clothes without feeling resentment or even sadness.  Somehow I just know that Jonah loves that I dress Ben in the clothes meant for him. They have finally become just clothes instead of a symbol for an empty nursery.