Sunday, December 21, 2014

our first Christmas tree!

Stephen had four days off between interview trips, so we spent one of them in the mountains of Idaho cutting down our very first Christmas tree with friends after church. Chili, donuts, cookies, sledding, snowball fights, amazing company... Pretty ideal, right? Even more ideal that our sweet and gorgeous friend, Hailey, is a very talented photographer...! So the pretty pictures are courtesy of her, the other not so pretty ones, my iPhone (thanks, Hailey!)

No one could believe that it was our first tree, but the story is true! Each Christmas since we've been married we've been lucky enough to spend with family, this year included! But our travels have always taken us away from home either too long before Christmas or too long after Christmas to justify a tree. Yes, we could have gone with a fake one, but I refuse, and I didn't want Christmas in my house long after Christmas passed. So, on our fourth Christmas married, we finally have our tree, and it couldn't be more perfect! I keep the lights on far longer than they need to be and I often find myself just staring at it... It's covered in my Nana's old ornaments along with my favorite ones from childhood and Uriah's very own two. Seriously, it's perfect!

Uriah got to cut down his own tree, too, which he thought was just about the coolest thing (and oh my gosh, it was so cute!). He's still talking about saws and cutting trees and loves pointing out "Ziazah's tee" every time we open the front door.

We are so grateful to have been invited into the mountains with this group of friends. See, we're the only ones with kids in this group, and I realize we're kinda a lot to take on, our little mini hoard, but they all adore Uriah and we so appreciate their friendship and community!

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Thanksgiving in Fairbanks

Finally - Fairbanks, blogged! I'm always so anal about wanting my pictures to be in the order of their occurrence during our trip, but these are most likely not. It's been so long now I can't remember when exactly we did what, and while I could look at my phone (because that's where they all originate from - I never remember to take out my actual camera!) nap time is almost over and, well, "ain't no body got time for that!"

 ^^ On the left - In the Boise airport waiting to catch our flight to Seattle where we met Stephen and then proceeded up to Fairbanks together! One in the belly and one on the back, plus a fully stocked diaper bag made for a heavy load! But it got me through security in the fast lane and Uriah was a champ because he loves to be in his Ergo! On the right - We had a day to ourselves when Sherri had to work, so we took a family date to Barnes and Noble for coffee, books, trains and ^^ Duke, Uriah's new horse. He asked to take home the pink one with stars and sparkly hooves, so this one was a compromise ;) ^^
 ^^ On the left - A library date with cousins looking extra Alaskan in his winter hat, bear leggings and camo moccasins. Anywhere with books is a always a hit with this kid, but he loved the fish and turtle most of all :) On the right - The "beeg, beeg bear" at the UAF museum. Grandpa Wall got Uriah all sorts of excited about guns and shooting and hunting and bears and moose, so he loved all the animals on display. I don't know if I should thank Grandpa for that, or scold him... ^^
 ^^ Baby girl at 22 weeks! ^^
 ^^ Selfies of Stephen and I in the museum while Baba played chase with Uriah. You can see his little feet running away behind my head in the middle picture :) It sure was nice to spend so much time with family, all wanting to entertain Uriah, so Stephen and I could catch a few minutes here and there just the two of us ^^
 ^^ On the left - Leaving the museum, in the cold - hence the incredibly rosy cheeks! On the right - Thanksgiving with our little family of three (and a half!) It was sorta a weird trip, because everyone was sick and we were all trying to keep our kids away from each other, so we spent Thanksgiving with less people that we planned or wanted to, but it was still a great day! - the food was delicious and after dinner we set up the Christmas tree and listened to Christmas music all night :) ^^
 ^^ It may set at 3:00 pm, but it sure is pretty! ^^
 ^^ Working off that turkey dinner ;) Uriah thought this was so fun and kept bobbing his head to the beat of Stephen's peddling ^^ 
 ^^ Once Triston and Skylar were over their tummy aches, the boys were able to get in some good play time! These two are three months apart, Uriah being older, and were so fun to watch interact together! There was a lot of stealing toys and whining and maybe a little hitting, but there were a few sweet moments like this one, too :) ^^
 ^^ Uriah and his uncles (one honorary) I am so happy that my boy gets to grow up with such Godly examples of men, husbands and fathers. These men love our son so much and for that we are truly grateful! I loved watching them be uncles to Uriah and watching him take to them in turn ^^
 ^^ We were able to get in some girl time one morning while Stephen and Jon stayed at home with the boys. We chit chatted over coffee and went shopping at a local Christmas bazaar. It's pretty great that my sister-in-law and mother-in-law are also my friends! ^^
 ^^ All four Wall boys! Because of sickness, they were all together only once, and it was sadly after Stephen had left town for an interview, but gosh, aren't they cute?! I can't believe there are four under the age of three! This little girl of our is sure going to be outnumbered! ^^
^^ Little monkeys jumping on the bed! I can't get over how much these two look alike! Especially since people say Skylar looks like Steph and Uriah looks like me... I'll take it, though! Cuties!^^
 ^^ On the left - Uriah playing the guitar, one of his favorite things to do! On the right - Uriah really took to Uncle Jon, or as he calls him, "Non!" This is him giving Jon a back rub :) ^^
 ^^ A sister date! We convinced the grandparents to stay home with the three boys (which wasn't hard!) and Stephanie and I sat by the fire at Barnes and Noble sipping on coffee and swapping stories before going dress shopping! ...for her. Stephanie is competing in the Mrs. Alaska United States pageant and she wanted a second opinion on dress styles and colors. So fun, right?! The fact that she looks amazing in a paper bag made narrowing down dresses pretty hard, though ;) ^^ 
 ^^ The three musketeers! I can't wait to watch their relationships grow over the years! Though seeing them always make me wish we lived closer! ^^
^^ On the left - Their hug goodbye. Sweetest, ever! Skylar's face says it all! On the right - My view from Fairbanks to Seattle. Stephen left Fairbanks early for an interview, leaving me to fly home with Uriah solo. I was honestly worried sick about that (almost) 4 hour flight to Seattle, but I told him it was nap time and he fell asleep as we took off and was happy to watch a movie and read books the hour and half of the flight he was actually awake for. Thank you, Jesus! ;) ^^

And that's it! ...I think. I'm sure I'm forgetting something and I always leave wishing I had taken more (and better!) pictures, but whether the pictures show it or not, it was a trip to remember - probably our last one for quite awhile... But we always say that ;) We were so grateful to get to spend so much time with family, even if it was in random spurts trying to avoid the stomach bug. And we were very appreciative of Fairbanks' weather staying warm enough not to scare me off forever - Uriah even got to play in the snow one evening! 

I'm so very blessed to have married into such a loving and fun family - thanks, all, for loving our little family so well! You are loved right back! (And missed dearly!) 

Monday, December 15, 2014

on the interview trail

Because I know you all wanted to see a bunch of selfies of me and my husband, right? ;) What seems like forever ago now, I got to leave Uriah with my mom and meet Stephen in San Francisco for his residency interview with Stanford in Palo Alto. It was the third time I'd been away from Uriah and the first time I'd done so with Stephen - about time, too! Stephen was flying up from Los Angeles and we met in the airport on Tuesday night. We had a whole day on Wednesday to explore San Francisco (neither of us had ever been). We started at Union Square and walked our way to Fisherman's Wharf and back, walking through China town, little Italy, up the "Crookedest Street", out on the Hyde St. Pier, so on and so forth until my feet were covered in blisters - literally. We called it a semi early night and watched a move in our hotel room after a bowl of cereal and it was pretty perfect.

We spent Thursday wondering Stanford's campus - the college, the medical school and the hospital all share one space, along with a shopping mall...!? All you could ever want, right? The weather wasn't ideal but the campus was gorgeous. I walked most of it barefoot because the eight bandaids on my feet weren't doing any good to protect my blisters from my shoes, but hey! We made the best of it.

That night was the pre-interview dinner with the program residents and I'm so happy I got to tag along. Hosted at a restaurant on one of the main streets off the university, appetizers, dinner and dessert were all delicious. We got to meet quite a few residents and had one all to ourselves at the dinner table to annoy with questions. I think Stephen got to ask all the questions he wanted to know about the program and then some and since she was born and raised in the area, she was able to answer all my questions about livability.

I was the only interviewee's spouse there and I felt all sorts of inadequate when someone asked me if I was in the field of medicine as well or what I did for a living. Though I answered with a very proud, "I'm a mom. We have an almost two year old boy at home and we've got a girl on the way", I couldn't help but feel judged and a little less than, despite everyone's genuine and enthusiastic responses. I sorta hated that I felt that way, but I sorta loved the smile on Stephen's face when I told them. I know he is truly grateful that I wanted to be a stay at home mom and I love knowing that he values what I do and is proud of me for it. He's pretty great, that one.

Anyway, the night was a success! I headed up to San Francisco in the morning as Stephen set out for his interview (which went well, of course - it's Stephen!) I was back in Boise by four and had just enough time to unpack, do laundry, sleep, repack and get on another plane with Uriah headed for Seattle where we met Stephen on our way to Fairbanks (which will be my next post!)

A thousand 'thank you's to my mom who came to Boise to spend a few days with Uriah (who was slowly getting over a stomach bug - yuck!) I am ever so grateful for the time alone and away with my husband! A 'thank you' to him, too, for letting me tag along on his interview and, more importantly, for wanting me to.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014


How far along are you?: twenty-four weeks. OVER half way? I remember this feeling when I was pregnant with Uriah - It has been dragging but somehow flying by at the same time! 

Baby is: the size of an ear of corn! 8.5 inches and 1.5 pounds. Pounds?! So I can officially attribute some of this weight gain to baby, right? ;)

Obsessing over: all the babies!! You guys! So many of my real life friends and my "I wish they were my real life, Instagram" friends just had babies, are in the middle of it all like me or just finding out and announcing their sweet news! 

Favorite moment this week: this hasn't been in the last week, but it has been since my last update... Finding out we're having a GIRL! Even though I had a feeling, it took me a long time to actually grasp the idea and get used to it. Maybe I'm still not used to it yet... I've always wanted a girl, assumed I would have a girl and am thrilled, but a little nervous, now, too. I know how to do boys! But it's a good kind of nervous. Like, oh my gosh, I get to experience the relationship I have with my mom from the other side, this is going to be so crazy, fun nervous! 

Feeling: so many aches and pains and cramps. I'm feeling 35 weeks pregnant, not 24! The back pain that I didn't get with Uriah until 30+ weeks, the cramps I didn't get until the day before I delivered, the random, sharp round ligament pains I never got the first time around... I know each pregnancy is different, but my gosh, little girl! Give your momma a break! 

Working on: working out. Well, not really. This pregnancy had me bogged down for a long time, and now that I've got my energy back, I've been having to sorta force myself into being more active - I got so used to lounging on the couch! So, little by little, while my energy lasts, I've been trying to go on more walks and pop a few squats while ;) 

Thinking about: labor...! Which I really shouldn't spend too much time on because, well because it's labor...! I just keep thinking it will be the same as last time, but I know that it will be so different, perfect for her and for us, but different, and that scares me, the different part, the not knowing part, the part I can't fully be prepared for. 

Anticipating: my next doctor's appointment - per usual. They're still every four weeks, so I won't be going in again until after Christmas. I'm already nervous as to what the scale is going to say after all those goodies I plan on baking and eating at my mom's house because I'm already at my halfway mark for what I should be gaining and women tend to gain more and gain it more quickly in the last 10 weeks, so... think thin! It's also my glucose test appointment. I'm neither dreading or looking forward to that orange drink, but I'm already anticipating the results. Both for gestational diabetes (because of the problem listed above) and because last time (and multiple times in my life not pregnant) I was diagnosed anemic. Taking a pill every day is easy peasy, but I remember them making me soo constipated and I already am that! 

Currently craving: still - cereal, turkey sandwiches (specifically Jimmy Johns!), coke, chocolate (but I've been a little picky about this one, not just any chocolate will do!), berries and fresh food. Basically, I'm always eating. 

Wishing: it was Tuesday and I was on my way to the airport to pick up Stephen. Not that that wish is really in any way pregnancy related, but being a full time stay at home single pregnant mom is draining and I'm already missing my number two. 

What are you most looking forward to?: bringing our baby girl home. Even though we'll be leaving this place just two months after she's born, I am thrilled to be bringing her home to this home, in the gorgeous Spring of our neighborhood. In my mind, it's really all quite picturesque. 

Saturday, December 6, 2014

family pictures 2014

Before getting sick and before Alaska and before California and before Uriah getting sick and before Pocatello... We took family pictures this fall with my mom when she came to town for a visit! The session was short and sweet, and we got just enough good ones for Christmas card - check! I love getting to capture our little family at this stage - Uriah at 21 months old and me, at 19 weeks pregnant (we took these before we found out we were having a girl!) Thank you, mom, as always, for your time and talent! So blessed by this family of mine! 

My mom took family pictures for our friends, the Heads, at the same time, so we couldn't help but snag a few together. This family has been apart of our lives since Stephen started medical school in Anchorage just after we were married - we were one of the first people to meet Natalie! Leaving them in June won't be easy, but we've loved traveling from one state to the other and sharing this crazy journey with them!