Friday, November 25, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving from PR

Thanksgiving has become my favorite holiday (yes, passing up even Christmas, Halloween, and Independence Day) due largely to the fact that my family celebrates the crap out of it. We do Thanksgiving right. It's a week-long celebration filled with way too much family time and obscene amounts of good food. And the best part of all is that we get to sit around and talk and talk for hours. We play games. Get into fights. Watch too many movies. And it's always the best time I've ever had. I could go on and on about how much I love my family and how cool I think we are. But I'll spare you. Just this once. Needless to say, I have been a little depressed that I am the only one out of my 10 siblings that wasn't partying in Utah over Thanksgiving break this week. I thought about skipping Thanksgiving all together and going to a remote island with my boys. Basically pretending that the holiday just didn't happen for anyone this year. But Casey didn't have enough time off from practice to make any trip really worth it. And to tell the truth, I was sad at the thought of skipping my now favorite holiday. So we stayed and we ate and we partied.

And you know what? We had a great time. We started the holiday off celebrating with friends from church. We gathered at the church building in the afternoon and began our long day of feasting. We had two tables filled with all of the traditional food that Thanksgiving time makes me crave plus way too much pie and egg nog! I love our ward here in Puerto Rico. It's a small ward made up of people from all different walks of life. Smaller wards give you the opportunity to get to know more people on a more intimate level and offer more opportunities to serve. I've already taught a Relief Society lesson and spoken in sacrament. And I was in charge of the Thanksgiving party. It was a hit. Cash started off his first meal with whipped cream and three rolls and ended it with pie and two cupcakes. Within an hour of eating he had run himself ragged and was ready for a nap. After all three of my boys took naps to recover from turkey comas, it was time for round 2 of our Puerto Rican Thanksgiving.

We gathered at Beba's house with our Puerto Rican family. I showed them how to make green bean casserole (my favorite Thanksgiving side dish). And I watched them make all sorts of traditional dishes with their own spin on them. Cash actually mixed in some turkey for dinner with his cupcakes this time. And Guy had a bowl full of his first sweet potatoes (double layered with marshmallows, lucky baby). We finished off the dinner with turkey cupcakes and a hilarious game of Guesstures. I'm not sure if Casey and I are just terrible at that game or if it's the fact that they are yelling out guesses in Spanish and we have no idea what they are saying, but then someone standing by us will tell us if they got the right answer. It's makes it hard to feed off what they are saying and turn them in the right direction if it all sounds like they are shouting gibberish at you. Either way, we were the weak links of our teams, but it was so funny to watch and listen. We love the Morales and Rodriguez families that have adopted us. They love our boys like their own and always make us feel at home here in PR.


I'm grateful that there is an English speaking ward that we can attend and that we've quickly made good friends in that ward. I'm grateful to have a family to be with on holidays when we are so far away from our own families. I'm grateful that they love us and our sons as much as we love them. I'm grateful to be in tropical weather this holiday season. And I'm grateful to be with Casey, Cash, and Guy on a new adventure in our life together.

Casey said he was showing off his mustache in this picture. He grew it out for Movember. Sexy beast.
Baby Guy' First Thanksgiving
P.S. I'm grateful for all of my family and friends who read this too. hugs and kisses.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

It's already been half a year?

Our baby Guy is six months old. Where did the past six months go? It feels like a blur of newborn snuggling, kissing, loving, crying, sleepless nights, milestones, diapers, more diapers, more snuggling, complete infatuation, love, endless smiles, and exhaustion. And what do I have to show for it? A beautiful, yummy, sweet, smiley, cooing six-month old. I guess that's a pretty good deal. We feel so blessed to have Guy in our little family. I am completely obsessed with him. I smother him in kisses whenever I get the chance. I just love this stage. He smiles whenever I look at him. I remember when Cash used to do that. It melts my heart. Casey calls Guy the silent laugher. When he smiles, his whole face lights up and it looks like he is miming a laugh. We only get a few giggles out of him, but his smile is the best thing in the whole world and he gifts us with it all day long. 

All Mom’s probably feel this way, but I could stare at my babies all day long. Whenever I change Guy's diaper he looks up at me and starts cooing and grabs my face to bring it closer. It’s like the best thing ever. I always wondered if a second baby would get as much attention as our firstborn did. The answer is yes. I feel like I understand how fast it goes now, so I soak up all his babyness as often as I can. All I have to do is look at Cash and it instantly makes me want to snuggle Guy closer. Cash doesn’t want me holding him close unless he’s super tired or sick. And once upon a time he was my baby. Luckily I have my little baby Guy to hold close and I'm not letting go. I asked my Mom one time why she had so many kids. (I’m the youngest of 11.) She responded, “As soon as my babies grew up, I would miss having one, so I had another. I love babies.” I totally understand how she felt. My love affair with my babies starts from day one. The newborn stage comes with a lot of changes, healing, and exhaustion, but holding a perfect tiny baby on your chest while they sleep is the closest thing to heaven that I can imagine. Then when they start sleeping more at night, staying awake during the day, recognizing you, smiling at you, and reaching for you, it’s bliss. When my little baby smiles at me just because I’m his Mother, it feels like everything I always thought Motherhood would be.

So I guess all it takes for me to forget the past is six months. Remember how I have bad pregnancies and I always say that every pregnancy is my last? Well just today Casey said to me (like he always does), “Good job Mom. You sure do make cute babies. Let’s have another one.” And for once, I replied, “Okay. Let’s do it.” Here I am. Completely in love with my husband and two boys. So happy that I can hardly stand myself. And I’m ready to do it all over again so that I can expand our little family that I love so much. Gone are the terrible memories of nausea, back pain, labor pain, labor issues (and all that implies), healing from birth, breast infections, etc. All that remains is joy and love for this perfect little angel that makes me feel complete. How could I not do this again? It is more than worth all of the pain. I’m not saying we are going to start trying to get pregnant any time soon. I’m just saying that my mind is now open to the idea. I’m with my Mom on this one. As soon as my little baby isn't my little baby anymore, I guess I’ll have to start over with another one.

Back to Guy. Here are some things he is doing at six months.
  • scooting
  • goes up on all fours and rocks
  • sitting up with a little help
  • eats rice cereal, pear sauce, apple sauce, and bananas
  • puts his own binky in (one of my favorite milestones!)
  • sleeping through the night from 7pm to 7am (a little blessing to Mom and Dad)
  • smiling smiling smiling
  • cooing (and it’s just the most adorable thing I’ve ever heard)
  • torturing his brother whenever he can get his hands on him (The other day I made Cash a sandwich and put it on his mat on the floor for him to eat. I put Guy in the bumbo on the floor farther away so he wouldn’t bug Cash while I ran downstairs to the kitchen. Within a few minutes Cash started screaming, “No, no, MINE, Nooooo!” I ran back upstairs and Guy had flopped himself out of the bumbo and scooted his away across the floor to Cash’s plate. He had one half of Cash’s sandwich in his grasp and he was gnawing on it as fast as he could while Cash ran to the corner to scream and escape his wrath. What a bully. I told Cash to calm down and just move his plate away next time Guy comes after him, but I’m not sure he could pay attention. He kept eyeing that sneaky Guy. I was just mostly impressed with how quickly Guy made it all happen.)

Our baby Guy is growing up and our little Cash is getting so big. Casey always says the next thing we know, they'll be going on their missions. Realistically, I know that day is far away and when it's close I'll probably be shouting for joy. But right now it makes me heartsick for the day I'll have to say goodbye to them. For now, I'll just keep changing their diapers and appreciating these special times I have with them. I feel so blessed to know that I'll always be their Mother. 

Happy 6th Month Guy Smiley!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

El Morro Fort

One of my favorite places in Puerto Rico is Old San Juan. It might be one of my favorite places I've ever been. I think it's the familiarity I feel with the European roots of this old city. On the northwestern-most point of Old San Juan is the Fort San Felipe del Morro, or El Morro to locals, named in honor of King Philip II of Spain. It was designed in the 16th century to guard the entrance to the San Juan Bay and defend Old San Juan from seaborne enemies. I have been here many times and each time I learn something new and then take a bunch of pictures to make the memory last forever.

My favorite thing about El Morro is the vast green esplanade in front of the fort. There are always people enjoying the esplanade with picnics, kites, tours, field trips, or most recently karate classes. Our goal for this trip was to fly the Buzz Lightyear kite that we bought for Cash. The parking that day was especially busy, so Cash and I jumped out of the car to get started while Casey and Guy found a parking spot. I couldn’t take a picture without letting go of the kite and risking Cash letting go of the strings, so I don’t have pictures of our first kite flying adventure. It’s just as well because Cash lasted about 10 minutes before he got bored and wanted to go inside the “tassle” (castle). Cash and I explored the whole fort while waiting for Casey and Guy to find parking. Cash loved the cannons, cannon balls, and the waves crashing up against the outer fort wall.

Once Casey and Guy joined us, Cash was cranky and hot, but that didn't slow us down. I was on a mission to get some pictures whether he wanted to cooperate or not. As always, Guy was a happy camper and just along for the ride.

I really wanted to get a family picture but I was not in the mood to ask anyone to take one for us, so we attempted to get our own. Not very successful, but definitely memorable.

A commercial was being filmed while we were there, so we couldn't get great shots of the whole fort. You know what that means? We get to visit El Morro again and take more pictures. Heaven for me. Torture for Cash and Casey. It's all for the memories boys.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Sharing is Caring

Guy has been sleeping in our room since he was born. After we moved to Puerto Rico, I started feeling like there was no time like the present to move him into Cash's room and get them accustomed to sleeping together. The first step was getting him to sleep through the 4am feeding. That took a while because most nights I was too tired to deal with the process. Eventually I got him sleeping through the night until 6am. Cash usually wakes up at 7am, so I thought that was close enough. We bit the bullet and put them both to sleep in Cash's room one night. The next week was a blur of sleepless nights and the boys taking turns waking up and crying.

After that first week, it started working out okay. We are now at the point where they will both sleep until 7am, most nights. Oh blessed day! I love having our room back. I love having them share a room. And I love the things that are happening because of this transition. One morning I checked on them and found Cash reading books on his bed while Guy was just playing in his crib. My favorite was when I heard Guy crying one morning and I went in to get him only to find Cash in the crib with Guy. Not sure I want to know how he manage to get himself into the crib, but I loved that he wanted to be in there with baby Guy. Guy wasn't loving it probably because Cash landed on him on his way in. But that's what brothers are for right?

El Churry

Casey and I love watching the show Man vs. Food with Adam Richman on the Travel Channel. We were watching it last year when Adam visited Puerto Rico and ate at the famous food truck, El Churry. I made a mental note to eat there when we came back here. I had totally forgotten about it until our friends wanted to meet us there for dinner one night. And it did not disappoint. The bread was soft, the meat was savory (and well cooked, I have chewy/rubbery meat texture issues and this meat was good), and the mayoketchup (PR version of fry sauce) was the perfect addition to it all. We also added bacon, cheese, and potato sticks (mini french fries) to the sandwich just to take it up a notch. It was greasy goodness. We will definitely be going there again.

The family we went with are the Butlers. We met them in our ward here in PR and we have so much fun hanging out with them. They are living here while Jake is in dental school. Their son Carson is 3 and their little girl Mia is 4 months. And we just figured out the other day that Heather and I are distant cousins! My Dad would be so proud. We even pulled out the genealogy books and tracked down our common heritage. My Great-Uncle on my Mom's side is married to her Great-Aunt on her Dad's side. Such a small world. I love finding out about about my genealogy. I wish my Dad was still alive because he would have gotten a kick out of me finding a cousin in PR.

Mexican cousins

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Love for Cash

I feel like I've been blogging about Guy a lot lately. I don't want to leave my little Cashman out. He is such a funny little boy. He is still the king of making faces. All about testing limits. Loves movies, balls, bubbles, play-doh, cars, books, arcade games, guns, swords, and pretend fighting. Loves playing volleyball with Dad. Refuses to catch a ball, but can put his arms out in a platform and pass. He is getting better at swimming and would spend all day long in the pool if it were up to him. Obsessed with animals of all kinds. Always runs in the opposite direction of Casey and I. He's a big boy who shares a room with his little brother. He usually ignores Guy, but every once in a while he smothers him with attention. He recently decided that it was okay to shower. He used to scream unless it was a bath, but now he thinks it's fun. His favorite foods are cucumbers, cheese, chips, cereal, pasta, edamame, apples, protein shakes, french fries, and chicken nuggets. He would choose cucumbers over all of those all day long. He eats at least an entire English cucumber every day. He's all about my turn. Whenever he wants something he always says, "my turn." And more than anything, he loves to dance. When he hears a beat, he's just gotta groove! And the thing he loves more than anything in the world (besides his Daddy) is his green and zebra striped silky blanket that Aunt Renee made for him. He is most often seen pictured with it, takes it everywhere he goes, and can't go to sleep without it.

Here are some funny things that he says:

"moomie" (movie)
"beentet" (his silky blanket)
"coo-cutters" (cucumbers)
"tayntoo" (thank you)
"bob bob" (Spongebob square pants)
"pat pat pat" (Little Einsteins)
"no wanteee or wanteee" (I don't want it or I do want it)
"holdeee" (hold me)
"oh oh oh, okay" (when we are trying to tell him something and he's acknowledging us while nodding his head.)
"mommy" (means Mommy or Daddy. Used to only call us both Daddy, but switched to only calling us both Mommy now. I like that better.)

Me: Cash how old are you?
Cash: Two!!! (and holds up his fingers while trying to make the peace sign.)
Me: What's your name?
Cash: Two!!! (still trying to make only two fingers stand up)
(He always answers "Two!" when I ask him his name. Refuses to say Cash. When he does say Cash, he calls himself "Dash".)

When he does something good or is excited about something. He looks at us and says, "Up high!" Then wants a high five. Makes us laugh so hard every time.

We love our Cashman.