Monday, January 9, 2017

2016 Year in Review

2016 Christmas card
Our Christmas card this year read:
We've been in Alamogordo, NM for a year now, and will be moving soon, although location is TBD.
Chris enjoys working for Aramark and works incredibly hard for our family.
April still blogs and sells Younique.  She has connected with lots of moms and enjoys MOPS.
Helena (2.5y) potty trained herself over the summer and is a great big sister.  She is always asking what we are doing next!
Bennett blessed us on 4/25 and is a very happy baby!  He laughs and laughs and doesn't take his eyes off of Helena.
We are looking forward to the blessings 2017 will bring!


Now that the year is officially over and I look back on it, 2016 was a hard year.  I didn't want to move and I still think about Denver almost daily.  It's incredibly hard for me to not think that moving here was a mistake.  Mainly because we moved here for Chris's job.  Well Chris only had his job for 10 months.  And when everything is said and done, he'll just about be traveling more for his job, than the amount of time he actually had a job in Alamogordo.  Hopefully that makes sense.  If I would have known, I would have much preferred to stay in Denver, and have him travel back and forth from Denver to Alamogordo.  I know it's horrible to look back because you can't change the past, but when I look back on 2016 I just wish we would have never moved. 
But then that brings me to the positives of this year.  One of course, being Bennett. Having my son.  A huge part of me feels that moving to Alamogordo resulted in me getting my VBAC with Bennett.  Mainly because I feel had we stayed in Denver, I would have most likely stayed with my doctor that delivered Helena and that she would have eventually convinced me to have a section.  Moving forced me to find a provider to give me a shot and something I really wanted.  In that aspect I'm thankful for the move.
Another amazing pro about this small town are all of the amazing friends I've made.  I have some great friends.  Finding friends was super important to me, and one reason why I jumped right in and got involved immediately after moving here.  And I'm so glad that I did.  From MOPs, to book club, Bunco, Moms Night Out, playdates, library activities, to being on the leadership with MOPs, all of it has kept me sane.  These women get me, and are truly there for me and offer there support constantly even though they have their own lives and children to take care of.  I feel extremely blessed that knowing when I leave here I'm taking some amazing friendships with me. 
Lastly, I hate how this year ended.  We have so much up in the air.  And that is just a huge weight on my shoulders.  I want to know where we are going to live.  I hate that Helena's 3rd birthday will be (most likely) in a 3rd different state compared to two previous birthdays.  I want to feel settled.  And I feel like we've been unsettled since September. The uneasiness is not good for me. 


What did you do in 2016 that you had never done before?  Gave birth vaginally!  It was amazing.  Went out of my comfort zone and asked for help from almost total strangers, that are now friends.  

What moments from 2016 will remain etched into your memory?  Giving birth.  Holding Bennett.  Creating daily moments everyday where I just hold Helena tight.  Helena potty training herself.  Driving home for the pediatrician and having to pull over to take a phone call from the pediatrician to hear bad news about Bennett.  

What was your biggest achievement of the year?  Taking care of my two kids and myself.  

What was your biggest failure?  Binge eating, and gaining weight.

Did you make any resolutions?  Did you keep them?  Yes and no.

Did you suffer illness or injury?  I still remember how sick I got when I was 38 weeks pregnant.  It was so bad.   

What was the best thing you bought?  I would have to say all of my LuLaRoe stuff!

What were your favorite photos of 2016?  This is always so hard, but I tried to pick pictures I had previously put focus on.
January 2016

February 2016

May 2016 my short breastfeeding journey

May 2016

June 2016

July 2016

September 2016

September 2016 ~ Chendra's visit

October 2016

November 2016

Christmas morning 2016

What did you get really, really, really, excited about?  Chris planning a weekend away.  What was our anniversary trip to Taos, NM.

What song will always remind you of 2016?  Can't Stop the Feeling by Justin Timberlake

What was the best food discovery of 2016?  Probably accepting that cooking isn't all that bad.

What do you wish you'd done more of?  Blogging, watching what I ate, finding time to work out.

What do you wish you'd done less of? Losing my patience with Helena.

What was your new favorite TV show?  This is Us and Notorious.

What was the best book you read?  I only read one book this year: Room.

What was the best film you saw this year?  Moana

What did you want and get?  A life in Alamogordo.

What did you want and not get?  A move back to Denver.

What's something you fell in love with?  My son.

What kept you sane?  My husband, mom, and all my friends.

Who was the best new person you met?  My son.

What was a valuable life lesson you learned in 2016?  To not keep things inside.  To talk about things. 

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Christmastime 2016

Giving Papa and Bennett a ride

out showing Helena Christmas lights

making sugar cookies

Bennett is ready to open presents!

playing with Grandmasita

they love each other

rolling under the tree

Christmas in Kearney

she loves her Auntie Alice

helping Great Grandma open presents

Christmas morning

Helping Grandpa

playing at the Children's Museum

Giving Grandpa a check-up

the famous wagon ride!
We had two Christmases this year.  One with my parents the week before Christmas and one with my in-laws at their house in Kearney, NE.
My parents came down the week before Christmas.  We made sugar cookies, went looking at lights, and opened presents!  It was a lot of fun, and the kids had a blast!
And of course Helena and Bennett got spoiled.
The Thursday before Christmas we started on the 13 hour journey to Kearney.  I was not looking forward to this drive.  I don't like driving 3 hours to Albuquerque so planning for this trip wasn't fun for me.  We only did 6 and half hours each day so we stayed in a hotel coming and going, so it took us 2 days to get to our final destination.  It just sucks, because traveling from one small town to another small town, there is just no easy way.  We were on small state highways the whole time driving slowing down every hour or so to drive through another small town.  So the drive just goes slow.  Plus driving for a total of 4 days to only be there for 5 days.  But we had a good time, as usual the atmosphere at my in-laws is just so relaxing.  My MIL made home cooked meals each night and we just enjoyed the company.  The first night was really hard for Helena as she didn't have a place to sleep.  So her and Chris slept out in the living room.  For the rest of the trip Helena slept in Great-Grandma's room, while Great-Grandma slept downstairs.  Helena and Bennett enjoyed daily wagon rides, and Helena got to bake cookies with Grandma.  Bennett got lots of love from everyone!  Chris and I even got a night out.  We went to the Kearney Children's Museum.  Overall it was a fun trip!  And of course Helena and Bennett got spoiled.  Helena got an amazing owl recliner and Bennett got fun toys!
We thankfully had no weather to worry about on the drive, and Chris did some of the driving home which I appreciated.
We got home to spend the New Year as a family.  I usually love to stay up until midnight but I just couldn't hang and rang in the new year asleep in my bed.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

not this year

I gotta be honest, I am not in the holiday spirit this year.  After we returned home from spending Thanksgiving in Albuquerque we put up the tree and the decorations.  My main motivation to decorate the house was to put me in the holiday spirit.  I was hopefully that the decorations would put me out of this funk.  To enjoy my house at Christmastime.  But it unfortunately had the opposite effect.  In fact I feel like it has made me down right depressed.  I'm sad because this house isn't our "home" and I just want to spend Christmas in a place that is home.
My family is going through a huge transition as Chris is currently working in Northern California 4 days a week (it was previously Houston) and daily I'm wondering where we will be living.  I didn't really do Christmas gifts this year and I'm lucky to have gotten Christmas cards out and mailed. Monday's are always the hardest because Chris leaves super early on Monday mornings.  I have a break down every Monday usually around 5pm when I would normally expect him home.
This back and forth isn't good for our family.  Back in August when Chris was told the Aramark contract at the hospital here in Alamogordo would end early I immediately thought we would be spending Christmas someplace else.  That Chris would have found a permanent job by now and we would have moved.  And as for right now we'll be doing this back and forth thing through February.  It's hard because I see no point in living in Alamogordo.  If I would have known Chris would have only had his job here for 8 months we would've never moved.  And now everything is back up in the air.  The only reason we are still here is because we have a lease to fulfill through the end of April.  If we don't have anywhere to go by then the kids and I will most likely move in with my parents.  Which I hate the idea of doing.  I like to feel settled and I feel like we've been unsettled since Chris got fired for the first time back in July 2013.  All of it just makes me sad and frustrated.  And now we have to drive to Kearney, NE for Christmas.  And getting from one small town to another small town, well there is just no easy way to get there.  I'll have to do all of the driving, which I don't like to drive.  Who knows what the driving conditions will be like, and we'll stay overnight in the middle of nowhere Kansas halfway there to break up the drive.  It's just a lot.  Overall I'm just sad that I'm sad this holiday season.  Usually I really enjoy Christmas and I wish this depression wasn't lingering over me because I want to enjoy this season with my kids and truly enjoy the present.  But often times I find myself crying and being sad, or just frustrated.
Then I feel guilty because truly the things I have to complain about aren't that bad.  And I have so many blessings around me.  I have two amazing kids that I get to stay home with.  As much as I write about my dislike for Alamogordo I've made a pretty good life here and I have some amazing friends.  We are close to my parents, who gratefully come down about once a month to see us.  So truly I shouldn't complain.  I just crave stability and I want a place to call home.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Bennett @ 6 and 7 months

Bennett @ 6 months

Bennett @ 6 months ~ October 2016
 I'm totally behind because Bennett's 6month well visit wasn't until he was almost 7 months old.  So I'm behind.
He is such a happy baby!  He has 2 teeth and is sitting up, but not quiet 100% as he still has his tumbles every once in awhile.
He's gross, this must be a boy thing.  I've physically seen Bennett poop twice now, and I've NEVER seen Helena poop (going on the potty doesn't count).  His dirty diapers are so much worst to what I remember Helena's being.
He started a family sickness at the beginning of November.  But thankfully it was short lived, but had me worried since I had never had a baby at that age throw-up.
He's eating and wants to eat our food so bad, but I'm just not comfortable feeding him table food yet.  He loves, like really really loves Helena.  Helena is more so just annoyed by him, but sometimes she'll humor him and give him good attention.
He still isn't a fan of being on his tummy, and usually just rolls over which makes me think crawling is nowhere in sight.  Which is weird because Helena was crawling by the time she was 7 months old.  He loves to play with toys and touch different textures.
He's ticklish.  This just cracks me up.  You tickle his belly and he gives you a full on belly laugh.  It's so amazing.
He loves the water and kicks up a storm while taking a bath.
He usually wakes up super happy which I feel totally blessed by because Helena has the same personality trait.
He's super laid back and doesn't mind coming along to all of Helena's activities.  He sorta takes two naps a day.  He'll take a short one in the morning in-between errands, outings, and activities, then a longer one in the afternoon during Helena's nap.  Then he is usually down for the night between 8:30 and 9 and up in the morning around 7.
I'm pretty sure his blue eyes are going to stick around, which it is just crazy to me knowing I have a blue-eyed baby boy.  He definitely has Chris's coloring and him and Helena look nothing alike.
I love him so and I'm so blessed by this beautiful baby boy.
Bennett @ 7 months

Bennett @ 7 months ~ November 2016

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Halloween 2016

he doesn't stop looking at her

have I mentioned that he doesn't take his eyes off of her?
 Halloween this year was a lot of fun. We did lots of Halloween activities throughout the month and I had fun coordinating their costumes.  Bennett was a ghost and Helena was a skeleton.
Halloween night we took Helena out trick or treating for this first time.  Last year on Halloween was when the moving truck finally showed up to our house so we couldn't take Helena out, but going out this year was a lot of fun.  Helena as some friends: Shepard and Noel a few houses down, so all of us went out together.  Overall Helena did really good.  Our neighborhood was surprisingly busy.  I think we got home a little after 8:30 and Helena had a great time checking out all of her candy.  She now asks for candy for breakfast!  I would say her favorite candy of choice: a sucker.
Helena LOVES Shepard

We carved 2 pumpkins but I only got a picture of the one

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Alamogordo: One Year Later

Probably one of the best things about Alamogordo: White Sands.

Can you believe we've been in Alamogordo one year?!  We arrived 11/2/2015 and I think I went to our first playdate the very next week.  I can remember so many details about this time last year.  So much change and now we are awaiting more change.  I'm beginning to realize that with kids in the picture, life will never really slow down anytime soon.  But I want to feel settled, I want that stability.  It's something I crave, and I hope it happens soon.

I miss Colorado everyday.  I miss my friends, my gym, my job, my house.  I love Denver, and I hope to be back there one day.

As much as I dislike living in Alamogordo the one thing I absolutely love are the friends I have made.  I have met some amazing women!  I have some great friendships that have made living here tolerable.  I knew once we moved having friends would be crucial to my mental health and that's why I jumped in and got involved with various groups.  Mops, playdates, book club, bunco, etc.  And when we leave I'm going to miss these ladies so much.  They've been there for me more than they will ever know.

Let's talk about the bad.  One of the things I hate the most about living here is the lack of food options.  We go to either Chili's or Applebee's once a week (not that often, but that is what it seems) and we are so sick of it.  I know that once we move it'll be at least a year before we go to either one of those restaurants again.  There is a good pizza place and good mexican food.  But the local places are closed on Sundays.  As someone who enjoys good food and a good meal out, to not have endless options is still a big adjustment for me.
The weather here is so hot.  I definitely miss seasons.  It's the beginning of November and our air conditioner is still going off.  The spring winds.  They are brutal.
I would say that there is nothing to do, but truly that isn't true.  I would say there's a lack of things on the weekends, but there's usually always stuff going on at the library.  Or there are parks to go to, but the parks are sand covered which I hate, and over the summer a handful of parks got a shade covering, which was great!.  And a lot of the parks don't have a place for the parents to sit at, which sucks.  There are a shortage of sidewalks which makes going for a walk outside of the neighborhood tough.  There are no splash parks which made this hot brutal summer super hot and brutal.  The pool was only open for afternoon swim, which sucked.
The lack of shopping.  Thank goodness for online.  But really if you can't find it at Wal-mart you might as well click at amazon.  We go to Wal-mart at LEAST twice a week.
Because we are so close to Air Force base they have these random sonic booms, and they are so scary, it's like a mini-earthquake.  Sometimes they are twice in a row, those ones are super scary.
The lack of visitors.  My parents obviously come down frequently, but I had more visitors the first two months I lived in Denver, compared to the year I've lived here and majority of my family is only 3 hours away.  This shows me that people come visit the place that you live, if that makes sense?  I get that there is nothing to do here, but honestly it makes me a little sad that not more of my family has come down.

Let's talk about the good.  There is no traffic.  You can drive from one end of town to the other end in 15 minutes.  White Sands, it's amazing having such a beautiful National park literally in your backyard.  Helena loves it, and it's a lot of fun and a great sight to see.  Everyone has a story.  I love hearing people's life stories, and the fact that Alamogordo is a military town just about everyone has a story.  Since living here and various people moving away I now know people who live in: Hawaii, Japan, Germany, San Antonio, and that's all I can think of for now.  Mountain towns: Cloudcroft and Ruidoso.  Cloudcroft is about 30 minutes away, there isn't much to do there but in the summer it's 10 to 15 degrees cooler.  Ruidoso is fun and also cooler!

Alamogordo will always hold a very special place in my heart mainly because of Bennett.  This will always be known as his first home, even though he won't remember it.  I like to think we came here so I could have my VBAC because I feel had we stayed in CO who knows if I would have done the work to find a new doctor because I did really love the doctor who delivered Helena, but I think had I stayed with her care I would have ended up in a repeat c-section with Bennett.  Moving forced me to "shop" for a doctor that I really liked and would give me a true try at a VBAC, and because of that I did get my VBAC.  So for that reason alone I'm thankful for the move to Alamogordo.
Living here is obviously not my most favorite thing, one of the hardest things is not having pride in where I live.  I know it is sad to say but it's true.  Being in a small town is just not me.  Up until I left driving around Denver I would just get this rush.  Going up and town I-25 I would think to myself "I can't believe this is where I get to live."  I felt that appreciation up until we took that final drive out of Colorado on 11/1/2015.  I never thought I would live in New Mexico again, let alone in Alamogordo.  I miss having that pride in where I live.  That feeling of getting teary eyed of living in such a beautiful place.  I guess because I did the work to get myself to Colorado.  I did the work to keep myself there.  Moving to Denver at 22 I didn't know I would love it so much.  At the time I was moving away just for the sake of moving away.  But being there for 13 years I went trough some really low lows and some amazing highs.  And along the way it truly became my home.  One day I hope and pray to go back home.

Friday, October 21, 2016

ABQ and Taos Getaway

Two Friday's ago we traveled to Albuquerque for Bennett's MRI that was on Tuesday.  We attempted the Balloon Glow Friday evening, and unfortunately it was a big bust.  It was too windy.  Just as a balloon got up it would go back down.  We saw a handful go up, but that was it.  Helena got a fun light wand, we danced to some live music, and saw the laser and fireworks show.

 Saturday morning Chris and I left for Taos.  I had never been to Taos before, and it was a great little getaway for Chris and I.  We had breakfast at The Pantry (so delicious!) in Santa Fe, and then checked out the Georgia O'Keefe Museum.  The museum was much smaller than I remember (last I was there was in elementary school).  And there weren't any of her really popular pieces.

 We checked out the plaza in Taos got checked into our room and just relaxed.  We had an amazing dinner at El Meze, with the most amazing tomatoes ever!
On Sunday we did a little shopping and checked out the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge.  So amazing!  We had a coffee shake (it was ok, but different)!  We tried to check out the Taos Pueblo but it was closed for a funeral.  We sat and drank at a local winery in the afternoon, the wine wasn't that great, but the company was amazing, everyone that was there also trying wine was from the Denver area, so it was just great chatting with "friends".  After tasting some wine we walked to dinner and had a good dinner.  We then went to the casino and played Blackjack we played for a good hour and walked away with what we started with, so we had free entertainment.  Then Chris wanted to play some slots so I picked a $1 slot machine and after a few turns I walked away with $260 in winnings!

 Monday we had breakfast delivered to our room and drove back to my parents house.  The kids did great!
Monday for dinner we met my Aunt Deanna and cousin Cheryl.  It was great to see them.
Tuesday morning we had an early start as we had to get Bennett checked in for his MRI at 6am.  Not too sure how I got so fortunate, but like Helena Bennett wakes up so calm and happy.  Waking him up at 5:30am didn't phase him at all.  We got checked in and I was able to go back with him for his MRI.  He thankfully didn't need to be put down because the MRI was super short.  He wasn't a fan of being swaddled up, but he eventually calmed down.  They put something over his head with a mirror so when he looked up he would see me, and he was such a rock star.  I've never had an MRI but it is so LOUD!  Who knows what the purpose of the loud banging noises are, but it is just so so incredibly loud.  The noise didn't even phase Bennett, he was just focused on me and smiling at me, which helped keep me calm.  At the end he lifted his head a handful of times, so the MRI lasted a little bit longer.  But from start to end I would say it lasted about 5 minutes!  After the MRI we walked over to the UNM campus to give Chris a little tour.  I showed him the dorms I stayed in and the duck pond.  We then made our way to The Frontier for breakfast.  Then back to the doctor's office to actually meet with the pediatric neurosurgeon.  She pulled up his MRI and advised us Bennett is 100% ok and 100% healthy!  Chris had her repeat herself numerous times.  I asked why even the referral, and she said because he does have a big head, and if anything his pediatrician was just being overly cautious.  There will be no follow-up!  We just have a baby boy with a big head!
Overall the trip was good, and now we know Bennett is fine.  I've always taken the phrase "hug your healthy kids to heart" but now it just means so much more.  The trip to Taos was amazing, and two nights of uninterrupted sleep was much deserved!  I truly appreciate my parents who watched the kiddos and have been there!  It was great to reconnect with Chris and have so much continuous one on one time.