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Sunday, February 28, 2016

February 2016

February is probably my least favorite month of the year.  It's usually grey and snowy and by the end of the month, I often feel like winter will never end.  This February was no different, it had a lot of ugly - but thankfully - we found a lot of light and fun.

Erika and Clark came down for the weekend while I was in Texas.  The babies love having them here and were excited to take them to see the animals at the Bean Museum.

The bear makes realistic growling noises and is a little terrifying.

Even better, they all go to go swimming.  Finally, Luke and Ruby could splash as much as they wanted without making a mess in the bathroom.

It feels like he babies have been sick for most of the month.  Ruby fought a fever off and on for about a week before we finally decided that we better take them in to be checked the second week of February.  Luke ended up having the croup and asthma.  Ruby had an ear infection and her oxygen levels were so low that after doing a breathing treatment on both kids, they sent Ruby for blood work and a chest x-ray.  The poor girl, it took three tries to get her blood but the x-ray was easy.  They found some pneumonia and wanted us to really watch her breathing.  She's been back to the doctor once and her oxygen levels were better, but she continued to wheeze and cough.    

The cold and inversion has seemed especially bad this winter - for weeks we did not even see a hint of sunshine or blue skies.  Tim was lucky and escaped to the mountains for a day of skiing with Erika.  The day looked perfect.

Valentines fell on a Saturday this year and the babies and I spent the morning making Valentines cards for Daddy.  Given my limited crafting resources and abilities, I was happy that we ended up with something so sweet. 

Tim surprised me by planning a night out.  He had already made arrangements to have my parents come watch the kids so we could enjoy dinner and a movie.  Definitely my favorite kind of night with my favorite guy.

Luke learned about the joy of a candy watch.  He kept looking at his watch and saying "just five more minutes"

Time at grandpa and grandmas is always the best,

Plenty of stories,

And sometimes a little wrestling. 

As soon as the sun came out it felt like springtime even though it was only about 50 degrees.  No matter, the kids were still thrilled to go to the park.  Luke has been telling me all winter that it has been a long time since we have been to the park.For at least an afternoon he got his wish.

We moved a storage shelf upstairs to Luke's room.  He was so excited about it that before we even had a chance to move anything, he had cleaned up his room and organized his toys and games.  He was so proud of himself.  That part of his personality is so cute to me.  I love watching him figure out how to succeed on his own.  

This is so typical of me trying to get a decent picture of these two stinkers.  They were sitting in the chair reading and looked so adorable but they refused to look at me and smile.

Jami found this picture of my Grandma Eldora Childs and we have all been shocked at the resemblance to Ruby.  Even Ruby looks at the picture and says that "it's Ruby".  Glad to see that some of my genes may have made it into this little one. 

Juniper turned two!  The kids were very excited to celebrate with her...they were thrilled to help her open her gifts and blow out her candles whether she wanted the help or not. 

After six months of therapy, and babying my wrist, my range of motion was still very limited and it caused me a lot of pain.  In addition, my scan had gone keloid and was really ugly and uncomfortable - it was super sensitive and hurt to be touched.  The doctor felt like the best way to resolve all of the problems was to do a second surgery and cut out the scar and remove the hardware.  So, on February 22nd, we showed up at the surgical center for a little deja vu.  The surgery itself wasn't as bad as the first but I feel like I have taken so many steps backwards, hopefully this will be he right decision long term.  

I was pretty surprised at the amount of hardware that they removed. 

This past week has been pretty tough at our house.  In addition to healing from my surgery, we have all been hit with a serious sickness.  Luke has been completely lethargic and mostly want to stay in bed all day.  We finally took him to the doctor to discover that he has double ear infections.  

Both Tim and I felt sick all week and just kept getting worse.  We both finally gave up and went to the after hours clinic on Saturday afternoon/night where Tim was diagnosed with strep throat, and they determined that I have a super infection of sinus infection and bad eye infections with a little sore throat and earaches thrown in just for fun.  We have pretty much hibernated in our house and taken turns napping and taking care of the babies.  February has not been kind to us. 

Luckily, we did have a bright spot in our grey February when Grandpa and Grandma Whitesides came to visit for the afternoon.  They brought post Valentines surprises, read stories, danced around the kitchen, and generally made the babies happy.  

When they were ready to leave, we all went outside to say goodbye and ended up enjoying some afternoon sunshine.  The kids threw rocks and acted silly, and it reminded me that things have to get better.  

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Provo City Center Temple

Friday morning we took the kids to tour the new Provo City Center Temple.  Like so many people, I was so sad when I woke one morning to hear about the tabernacle having burned overnight.  Seeing the temple gutted, you could only think of how much history had just been destroyed.  

I have so many memories throughout my life of attending events at the tabernacle: concerts, special performances, church meetings, etc.  My favorite feature was the woodworking - the detail and the skill was so impressive.  I think the last time I was in the tabernacle before the fire was shortly after we got married when Tim, the kids and I attended stake conference.  Tim and I were remembering how hot it had been on that day - the improvement of air conditioning will be super appreciated. 

Because the building had been damaged so badly, it was expected that the remaining facade would be torn down and a new project built in it's place.  When the church announced that they would be rebuilding the tabernacle and modifying it to serve as a temple, the decision seemed perfect.  As we toured the finished temple, the woodwork was equally as beautiful as the original - as were all of the details.  Temples, in general, are always beautiful, but this one was especially striking.  I loved being there with Tim and my little ones to enjoy the spirit and teach them about the blessings of the temple.  We of course talked about getting married in the temple and Luke immediately started asking if he could get married.  I explained that he could, but that he would need to wait until he had grown and was a man. He fussed and told me that he wanted to get married now, to Ruby, because he loved her so much.. The experience felt pretty close to heaven. 

At the end of the tour they will take your picture in front of a screen of the temple.  I'm glad we decided to wait because it ended up being the only picture we got with all of us together (and looking at the camera)

The babies were so good throughout the tour, they were quiet and stayed with us and seemed to really love being there.  They must have used up all of their goodness inside because once we got out, it was nearly impossible to get them to stand still, and looking at the camera was completely out of the question.  The pictures make me laugh and remind me of how lucky I am to have these strong little personalities as my own. 

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Coba and Tulum - Mexico 2016

Today Tim mentioned that it had been a month since we had left for our Mexico trip.  It has been so cold and foggy and miserable here, that sometimes it is hard to even remember the feeling of warm sun and blue skies.  Thank goodness for pictures to help preserve the memories.

Two years ago when they were in Mexico, Tim and Erika went to Coba and loved it, so we decided that it was a must see on this trip.  Coba is an ancient Mayan site that is set between two lagoons. 
The ruins were first "discovered" in 1926, but it wasn't until the early 1980's that they were available to tourists.  Even now, only a small portion of the ruins has been cleared from the jungle, the rest is still covered and inaccessible.  The tour that we had booked provided a guide to help with our exploration.  He was very.......interesting.  The kids struggled to understand him - I could understand him better in Spanish - and he appeared to have an agenda.  The guide was obviously Mayan and his explanations for the ruins and what they told us about the Mayan people were very different than what I would call the traditional history.  Essentially he claimed that the Spanish had completely misinterpreted the sites and had incorrectly described the people as violent and uncivilized.  The guide had very specific explanations for the buildings and the symbolism and wanted to make sure we all understood the value of the Mayan civilization.  I assume that the truth of it all is probably somewhere in the middle of what he told us and the "traditional" history as we know it.  He definitely gave me something to think about.  Unfortunately, though, because he was so focused on correcting the history, we didn't get a lot of information about the actual structures and ended up mostly wandering on our own to look at everything.  We may not have understood everything that we were seeing, but we were still super impressed at everything that remained in the jungle.  

After riding through the jungle on bikes, we made it to the main attraction, The Nohoch Mul Pyramid.  It is 137 feet tall and one of the only pyramids where you are still allowed to climb to the top.  Erika and Brycen were excited to climb and I decided to join them.  I was a little nervous about falling because it is so steep and the stairs are so uneven, but I didn't want to miss out on such a cool opportunity.  We made it up the 130 stairs and the view definitely made the climb worthwhile.  We spent a lot of time wondering about how they were able to make the pyramid and the actual purposes, details that will likely always be a mystery.  

As we were getting ready to leave, we spent a little time by one of the lagoons that surround Coba. There was plenty of wildlife to keep us company, including a very large (maybe hungry?) crocodile. 

Even though Coba is quite inland, there were plenty of fresh water sources, including several cenotes - underwater caves filled with fresh water.  We had the chance to swim in one and I was amazed at how large it was.  We entered through a manhole size hole, but once inside, it was huge, and the water was cool and clean.  We didn't swim for very long, but it was another cool thing to have seen and done. 

After leaving Coba, we stayed in the same rural area and went to a restaurant for lunch.  It was buffet and open air and obviously catered to tour groups.  The food was surprisingly good, although it was all called into question when Erika cut into a piece of pineapple and it was filled with some type of little worms.  At that point we decided we were done and washed everything down with some Coke in hopes of killing off anything else that may have been lurking in the food. 

The last part of our day was spent at Tulum - hands down my favorite site to visit in Mexico.  This is another ancient Mayan site, likely the port for Coba.  Apparently it was one of the last cities built and occupied by the Mayans.  I always imagine that it was the area where all the Mayans wished they could live.  The scenery is absolutely beautiful and the beach is one of the best I have seen. After seeing the steep, jagged cliffs, it makes total sense to build a city there, it would have been very difficult for anyone to try to attack.  And did I mention the cliffs are beautiful? I have toured Tulum several times and am still in awe every time I visit.

Tim and the kids spent some time down at the beach swimming.  I was late going down and they had closed the entrance, so I had plenty of time for selfies while I was waiting.  Actually, I was quite content to have more time to wander around and enjoy the beauty.  I don't know what part of the day the kids liked best, but for me, it is always Tulum.