Saturday, December 3, 2016


Was this November the longest month in history...or just me? Maybe it's because we pronounced it as "no-spend November" Or, rather, No-spend-until-black-friday November. Due to us purchasing tickets to go back to the states, we were trying to be extra frugal this month. That makes for a looooong month, as does cold, sunless weather! Anyways, without further ado....

 A miraculous moment where Lyla allowed Jane to kiss her without letting our a defiant scream!
 My favorite picture. Lyla just watching and observing her big sister.
 3.2 seconds after pulling out the Christmas stuff. It all happened in the blink of an eye, Lyla made an instant grab for my favorite, most breakable ornament and without so much as a second thought, threw it to the ground. Shattered. And starting out the Christmas season with a bang.
 The best capture of Lyla's reaction to the lighted Christmas Tree.
 We went to see the Harlem Globetrotters as a family. We thought Jane would be really into it. The only thing she was really into was the snacks that we brought. She was SO not entertained. Lyla though ^^ as you can see, was mesmerized!

 We had our troop Thanksgiving dinner- ad it was a success. I have a lot of great volunteers to help me this year so it was the least stressful event to that I've put on!
 Lyla is BEYOND obsessed with reading books. Jane didn't start to really love books until she was a little older. I cannot even explain how grateful I am that both my girls LOVE to be read to; especially in the winter time- it is my saving grace. All three of us are content on the couch with a stack of books for hours. But Lyla also neverrrr misses an opportunity to get her dad to read to her. :)
Cheating because this was the last day of October, but we had the Bakers for Halloween, and here is the infamous candy dump and sort. A time for children to squeal with glee and parents to scout out which pieces of candy they will sneak once the kids are in bed. ;)
 This was an awesome day- Jeff and I got to go to the temple together! It has been a few months that this temple has been open so it was overdue! It had been awhile since we've gone together. It was such a good boost!
 This sunrise one morning. Literally our back yard. Wow.
 This was maybe my most triumphant moment of the month right here. Both girls sitting down being reverent, ready for family prayer. An hour preceding this, there was wailing and screaming and looks of pure defiance sketched on to each of my daughters' faces. We sat down to read scriptures and figured it would be a struggle, but we ended up being able to teach something to Jane that she really and truly grasped. You could see her countenance changing as she decided to start making better, happier choices- like being obedient. Before we knew it, she was cleaning up her toys with a smile and willingly kneeling down to say prayers. Sometimes family scripture and prayer time is a totally fiasco, but it's times like these that make that daily habit totally worth it!
 back tracking to the beginning of november when I got to watch these kiddos for a few days while their parents were on a little trip. we had so much fun! on this day, all the girls wanted me to give them matching hair-dos.
 Here is the fort they made one night, they were all suuuuper stressed that Lyla kept trying to mess it up.
 I tried to come up with as many activities as possible to keep them busy. I wanted to frost sugar cookies and intended to make them myself but I ended up resorting to buying the pre-made kind. SO gross that even the kids didn't want to eat them ;) So it was a win-win. They had fun decorating and it didn't even end on with a sugar high because those cookies were GROSS.

Lyla girl has had A HARD WEEK. It started with a 24 hour bug which made her throw up everything that went into her body. Poor baby. She was weak and had no energy for a few days after as I tried desperately to replenish her with nutrients. But as she was trying to recover, she got knocked back down with the popping of FOUR molars and 2 teeth all at the same time. Girly has been MISERABLE. The only time she isn't crying is when I'm holding her. It gets difficult and frustrating but I do love that I can be the greatest source of comfort for her. 

OK so I know it's been foreverrrr since I've blogged so this was a sloppy and boring-to-most catch up post. Do forgive me. December is my favorite month of the year and I'm excited to document it!

Saturday, November 5, 2016

CASTLE HUNTING and changing leaves!

 These first pictures were taken last sunday before church. Proudly reppin' their seamstress, texan Grandma Andersen. Getting the girls to sit still and smile is, well, a very funny joke. But I captured the actual event, and their cuteness, rather than their distractedness and disobedience, shines through! The end finale, featuring a grumpy girl, and an even grumpier dad. There's a reason I restrain myself to not pull my camera out every day.

It's dawned on me in the past week that I have two toddlers. The light bulb went off in a moment where both of them were throwing scarily similar tantrums. But holy cow, do I enjoy them! I don't know if there are many people who can say they LOVE their job, every day, but I can say it with certainty. This has been my favorite stage of motherhood! Having 2 girls to love, care for, and teach fulfills me in a way that nothing else could. Especially since the oldest has made a habit of reminding me daily that I'm "her best friend" and the "best mom EVAA". She is obviously biased and very forgiving ;) And don't get me started on Lyla who is at the age where EVERYTHING is cute.

There is about 2 week period in the fall that is pure, colorful perfection- and we tried our best to capitalize on that. If you blink too fast, it's gone and the leaves are dead; but I sure kept my eyes peeled and camera ready for those 2 weeks as we drove around Germany and the Czech Republic. We went to Karlovy Vary, Prague, and Karlstejn castle. And after these adventures, I have a few tips:

 #1 Castle Hunting is most enjoyable and breathtaking in the fall time. A castle settled into a valley of rolling hills, overlooking small villages, and nestled in between so many trees that are beautifully shifting from one season to the next.

#2 The horse carriage ride up was a little expensive and anti-climactic; but not as anti-climactic as it was for Jane coming upon the castle and realizing, with horror, that there are no actual princesses living in this castle. The ultimate let down.

#3 Your husband is a lot less likely to grope and complain and resist (with all his stubborn might) taking family pictures if you come up with the idea to take them with our OWN camera on the iconic Charles Bridge in Prague.

(Well, at least for my husband it worked like a charm since Prague has about as big a place in his heart as I do ;) Thanks to my dad for patiently snapping our camera until we finally had one where my hair wasn't in my face, Lyla was looking, and Jane's face wasn't EXTREMELY contorted into a creepy, forced, fake smile)

#3 Ask a stranger with a dog to stand behind the camera; this is the best way to ensure your children will be looking in the correct general direction.

I have to mention the picture above where Jeff is carrying Lyla in the backpack and Jane on his shoulders; with a SMILE on his face! I could tell he was getting tired this day, although he was still grinning and bearing it like the trooper he is. I offered to take a turn carrying Lyla in the backpack full of a child and everything else we need for a day out and about. (an offer that was long overdue, might I add!) After about 20 minutes I was huffing and puffing, and humbled flat right there and then. I've never even been grateful for him hauling that monster around until I, almost literally, took a few steps in his shoes. I think it's crucial in marriage to try to see things from your spouses' point of view. (ie instead of getting frustrated that he sometimes wants to stop and take breaks, strap that back pack on myself and see how it goes!) It took me awhile to learn that, and I obviously still am, but it's a humbling, gratitude building experience every time. I think I can do a lot better carrying his load, whether it be the physical back pack load, or any other one that is stacked on his shoulders.

Another thing about that picture (wow, am I still really rambling about one picture? YES) that I want to remember is how sweet Jane and Lyla were being. It was as if they were reunited from a long separation (which in reality was only a day of traveling, strapped onto separate backs) and so happy and giggly to be near each other again. I love that they love each other, and the moments where I catch them giggling and enjoying each other are the ones that I live for!

I can't wait to frame one of those picture of my family on our wall. It perfectly depicts this time in our life: spontaneous, adventurous, happy, yet imperfect!


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