Thursday, February 28, 2013

New Blog.

We are starting a new blog for new adventures and memories! It is helping us start over, instead of focusing on our fun times in Utah right now..
We love keeping in touch with anyone and everyone from home!! It helps with the homesickness :)

We love all of our family and friends!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Breaking Point

Finally! We are here. We are safe, sound and settled on the beautiful island of Grenada.
Okay, actually not completely settled yet-but we are getting there!!
I have so much to say, and so much on my mind. I was excited to come to my little blog tonight, because it feels like a little piece of home! It doesn't take much from home to excite me. I am writing from my new room, I can actually see the ocean sitting on my bed and it is so peaceful in the evening. More beautiful then I had even imagined. I am obsessed with this island and all of the culture and lifestyle that comes with it.

 Although I really want to talk about how much fun we are having, and friends we have made, and how beautiful the beaches are and the wouldn't be right! I need to document the bad with the good.  The  path of getting us here was a crazy one. Let's just say we officially reached our breaking point this week. It seems comical looking back on all that has transpired in the past month..

Right after Gracie was born we headed to Arizona for a few weeks. We got stuck in a snow storm driving from Arizona to Idaho with both of our kids (one just 5 weeks old), and still we were all pretty darn happy campers. We knew that it would be crazy getting out of town and we had planned on it. We were happy just having time together before Shawn left.

Shawn left on a Sunday, that evening Gracie started coughing. It wasn't a regular baby cough, it was like a horrible adult cough. Four winters at PCMC taught me too much about RSV and I knew Gracie had it! We barely squeaked by without hospitalization, I continuously took her to get her oxygen checked and every time we were just barely squeaking by. At the same time Cooper got the sickest he has ever been..Bronchitis and an ear infection. It was seriously so sad, and I felt like I couldn't give them both the attention they needed every day. They were both getting albuterol treatments and they were both waking up in the night. At the same time I was worried about Shawn who was in a new country by himself, trying to figure out how to get to school and get groceries and a million other little details. I wanted to be with him! All through the two weeks at my Mom's I was in survival mode. Pretty much no tears the whole two weeks except for goodbyes!! I packed us all up, I tried my best with the kids, and we actually can say we had fun spending time with them despite the sickness. Our time there is pretty special to me now that we are so far away. I appreciated my Mom and Abby's help so much. The worst part was not being able to spend time with all the people we wanted to since we were stuck at home and didn't want to share what we had! (See, still no breaking point even after RSV and ear infections as a single gets better! )

We went from Idaho back to Utah, where we spent a really fun  and much too quick two days with my sister Jaimee and her kids who I love soo so much! We said some depressing goodbyes, and were on our way. Fast forward to finally getting here..two middle of the night flights later we were in Grenada! Luckily, both kids were angels on the plane! Although Cooper's ears were rechecked before we left he was not himself when we got here. Cooper currently sleeps in a pack and play and Gracie sleeps in a suitcase, ha again still in survival mode. I was feeling like Gracie was always hungry, we all were getting dehydrated and I just didn't have enough to keep her satisfied. Our house is actually really nice, but the part we are living in is newer and has not been rented before. There are a few little quirks that drive me crazy and haven't been fixed yet. The washer leaks, and the sink doesn't drain right. They are working on it! At least it's clean because it's new.  That counts for a lot! Although Shawn is super helpful when he is home, and makes time for us every day, he has a super busy schedule this term and was already a few weeks in when we got here. We have had to try to do a lot of things on our own, which I'm sure has been good for me. I have been learning to drive on the opposite side of the road, and the opposite side of the car (I actually hate driving even on the right side of the road so it hasn't been my favorite thing!). I have been trying to get our things put away and get the things that we still need. I have been trying to meet new people and establish us somewhat of a life here. (Still hangin in there at this point...)

The first time I drove by myself we headed to the beach just a few miles away. The drive itself wasn't bad, I followed my neighbor the whole way..but don't worry, I am still getting used to being out and about with a two month old and an 18 month old. With everything we had with us, somehow our key didn't make it back to our car!! What?! Me.. lose a key?! My poor friend that was with us. Seriously my friends from home should have called her and warned her that she needs to be the one holding our keys!! Luckily the guy who sold us the car still had a spare, Shawn took the bus to the car and brought it home, and was thankfully even in the mood to just laugh about it.

The next day we were determined to figure out why Cooper had been so upset, and decided to get his ears checked for a third time. I went out to start the car, with no such luck. The cars here are not the greatest, they just get us by! So, we loaded up the kids and headed to the bus stop. We took both the kids on the bus to the clinic at the school. I had to laugh at myself in the waiting room, nursing Gracie with Cooper just pulling at his ears and touching everything he was not supposed to touch. People were looking at me like, you poor girl!! Cooper did indeed have a bad ear infection. It breaks my heart! He has been in 4 different beds in the past two months. And he just got a new sister, moved out of the country, and has been sick. He really has been a trooper all things considered..and I have felt so bad. On a better note, Don't worry our car is fixed, it was just something with the battery. I wanted to tell the people staring at my chaos in the waiting room..I swear our life is not always like this!!

Last night we got home from dinner at a neighbors house and Cooper was just wandering around in his room before bed. He loves opening and closing doors now that he can reach the doorknob. I didn't even know these bedroom doors lock, we haven't locked them or even tried to or needed to since we have been here. Next thing we know Cooper is locked in the bedroom! Although we have a whole ring of keys-not one was to the bedrooms!! Of course, our landlords are out of town so we had to wait for their friends to come bring us the bedroom key. Why did we not have it in the first place?! Either way it was the saddest 20-30 minutes of my life. Cooper was just curled up in a corner by the door crying his poor little eyes out. When we opened the door he was just standing there, the saddest little eyes, with a soaking wet face and shirt. I just sat by the door the whole time and tried to sing songs and let him know that he was not in trouble and we were not doing it on purpose!! I just sat there by the door thinking, really?! Can we please catch a break! We gave Cooper a cookie before bed which we never do, and we both rocked him to sleep just because he deserved it. We couldn't believe how we can love a cranky little trouble maker so much.

Last Saturday my Grandparents celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary. All of my family was together, and it was the first major event that I missed being over here. I have always been really close to my grandma and grandpa and missing their anniversary was one of the hardest parts of leaving when I did. My phone was going crazy with photos from the party and I was so grateful to see them, but they made me sad at the same time. Shawn had to study late on Saturday for a Monday morning test. I was home with my Mother in law and I realized I had finally reached my breaking point. Bad ears,  2 month old baby, new country, car issues, homesickness, sand all over the floor, leaky washer, a hungry baby, I swear the list goes on..I got this huge feeling of panic being so far away from everything and everyone I know and love. I really didn't expect to feel that here. I like adventure, I love new places, and all I really need is my family, but I underestimated how lonely I would feel just being so far away. It was an overwhelming feeling that Shawn is going to be busier then I thought, and that this road is longer then I had imagined. I can't see my sisters or my mom or my friends in a short quick drive whenever I want to anymore, and I have two kids who are both babies and who both need a lot of attention, and sometimes I feel like I just don't have enough to feel like I gave enough at the end of the day..

Yesterday Shawn completed his first test of Medical School..woohoo! I am so proud. He had the day off in the afternoon and we went to the beach. Shawn's mom is here so it was nice to have an extra set of hands. Gracie slept in her carseat, and Shawn's mom read her book on the beach. We actually had an hour or two to play with Coop in the warm water, and give him our undivided attention. It was the most fun I have had in a long time! Cooper was so happy, and he kept going back and forth between the two of us like he was just so happy that we were all together again.  The water was perfect, and the weather was perfect, and the beach was almost empty.

It was like this major breath of fresh air for me. I realized that this is our home now, and I realized that really we are all okay. It is the most beautiful place I have ever been. The people here have been overly inviting and welcoming to our family. Our neighbors have taken care of us above and beyond what we would expect!! They have made this transition a hundred thousand times easier. But it's still a transition. We can't expect to feel completely at home here overnight, but we are getting there. We are getting on a better schedule and finally Cooper and Gracie both napping at the same time and go to bed around 7:30-8 which is saving me right now. Seriously, although it doesn't sound like it, the good in our situation by far out weighs the bad. And someday I will blog about the good. Tonight it just feels good to blog about the bad. And admit that we hit our breaking point. It actually felt good to have a little melt down, because since then we have been on the up and up.
I woke up yesterday ready for a new week and a new start. I have been trying to do everything familiar to Cooper that I can, and today he actually seemed the best he has since getting here. I know that we are not in our comfort zone, but I think we will surprise ourselves by what we are capable of as a family and we will learn by not living the same life we have always lived. So grateful for all the people here who have been there, done that, and our helping us out. Crossing my fingers for a better week..and a fresh new start to our life in Grenada.
 So apparently moving to an island in the Eastern Carribean has more to it then beach babies and tan lines. We are learning as we go..but we are happy to be on our way..

Friday, January 25, 2013

Just a few pictures that I want to make sure we have forever.
I am grateful to have this family as my own.
Just a few pictures to preserve this stage. The stage of growing up. Every family is taking steps towards their own future, and unfortunately that takes us away from each other. But that only makes me appreciate the times when we are together. I love this family, I really couldn't have asked for better in-laws.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Cooper and Gracie

 Siblings. There is nothing in this world quite like them. I'm obsessed with my own, so it's only fitting that  my son be obsessed with his. Here's a few pictures I want to save forever of Cooper, with his beloved  "Gr-Gr" He looks for her first in the morning when he wakes up, and he calls for her in the backseat if she isn't making noise in her car seat. One morning Gracie was fussing on the couch, and I ran to grab something. I came back and found her pants, her blanket, and her binki all on top of her face from Cooper's attempts to comfort her. Although it didn't help the situation much, it sure was a nice try! Last week I was getting ready to take them both to the doctor and was calling for an appointment, I turned around and found Cooper happily sitting with Gracie in her carseat. Surprisingly, she was wide awake just looking around and had no problem with it! He is not a very mellow child, but if he is in the mood to hold Gracie he will sit there forever. I love this first picture, notice Gracie's crossed legs, they were both just chillin on her bouncer-I'm surprised it's not broken.

Sick day lounging
 blessing day

Nothing has made me happier as a mom then to watch these two interact in the tiniest of ways. I am convinced that Cooper remembered this girl, he had just barely been here a year when she arrived after all. He met her when she was just 8 hours old and immediately wanted to kiss her and hug her the moment he walked into our hospital room. Luckily my neighbor brought Cooper to us, and just picked up the camera and starting clicking. I am so thankful, these pictures are some of my favorite treasures! Looking forward to watching these two grow up side by side...

Friday, January 18, 2013

On the Road Again..

I wish I could write in beautiful detail all about our eventful month. I really wish I could capture it all just perfectly on this little blog page, to open up and laugh about in the future, to read and remind myself of the way I have been feeling each and every minute of this madness. However, let's be realistic. I barely have time to keep this little family fed and looking semi decent  (third week of suitcase living over here.) We are currently just in survival mode, please don't judge..

It started when Gracie was not even a month old, and Christmas came to visit in all it's glorious chaos. As if that chaos wasn't enough, we added a little chaos of our own. The week of Christmas we started selling all of our crap newlywed furniture. I'm assuming it seemed like a KSL jackpot to many of our Christmas time purchasers, but nothing left our house without a little pit forming in my stomach. I watched every piece be carried down the driveway, until it was safe in the car of it's new owner. Trust me, I'm not afraid to admit that I may be a little on the overly sentimental side. But honestly, we are talking the kitchen table-our first big purchase together as the Allen-Allen's. It was assembled in front of a big kitchen window with all the naive joy of two little can you say goodbye to that without a little tug on the ol heartstrings. So one by one our accumulated belongings left, and I learned that "things" just really aren't as important as I thought they were.

I decided that some other day when it's not so close to the surface I might bring myself to blog about saying goodbye to our little Sugarhouse cottage. I might blog about when I vacuumed Cooper's empty nursery for the last time, and let myself have a little private break down remembering the nights that I had rocked him to sleep in that room, and the mornings I couldn't wait to open that door and see his sweet face. I also might blog about saying goodbye to our neighbors in the driveway, who have been there since year one of our marriage, who followed us from South Jordan, whose door Cooper knocked on all Summer, who taught us exactly what kind of neighbors we want to be to all of our neighbors in the future. They will forever be considered our family.
Maybe someday I'll blog about shutting the door of 1740 Downington for the last time, and walking down the steps to the loaded car. I tried not to remember that Cooper first learned to climb on those steps this summer (I video taped it 4 times) and I tried not to remember that we brought both our little babies home here.

I might get to the point where I blog about eating Zupa's on moving day in an empty front room with Jaimee, Tyler Sophie and Tuck. Probably not anytime soon though. For now, I am not facing the fact that I will not be able to spend weekday mornings, weekend game nights, Sunday dinners, and summer afternoons with them whenever I please. I am pretending that next week we will take Cooper and Sophie to the mall and let them ride the merry-go-round, and Cooper will follow Sophie wherever she goes. I'm avoiding the fact that my sister is the best friend I could ever ask for, and I have never been so far away from her for so long.
I also plan to blog about saying goodbye to all of our other good friends and family, all of the people who have made Utah feel like home. This doesn't include the goodbyes to my beloved Sugarhouse Park, Primary Children's, and just good old Utah in general. This is the place where I became a wife and mom for the first time. It is a place where I have only the happiest of memories.

When we drove away at 6pm (only an hour late on moving day, impressive, right?)we had two sleeping babies in the back and almost everything we owned stuffed inside our little Nissan Rogue. It was a peaceful drive down a dark empty highway. We talked for a good solid three hours about the memories we had made, and the amazing people we met who just basically have inspired us, and we realized we want to be like them someday, wherever we end up..and we concluded that maybe we were leaving the place we love as just a little bit better people then we were when we arrived, thanks to those around us.

So maybe I sound a little depressing in this post, but what's the purpose of a blog if the feelings stated aren't real and true. Don't get me wrong, I really am soo SO excited for our move, but I have been an emotional mess lately. Sunday morning we just put the cherry on top of our streak of goodbyes with a goodbye to Shawn at the Idaho Falls airport. Despite all the stress the past month has provided, he and I have had some good times together. We haven't had work and we haven't had school. We have been together 24/7. It wasn't easy saying goodbye for a few weeks. And maybe a few weeks is not an epic life changing amount of time to be away. It's true, soldiers like my brother bravely leave their wife and kids for a year or more. Businessmen like my dad travel for weeks at a time on a regular basis. So what's the big deal??
I realized what the big deal was-I am just a proud wife at the moment. I simply just wanted to be there with waffles on the first day of school, and a good luck note in the back pack. I really wanted to be there after school and ask a lot of annoying questions and try to hear every single detail of the day. I really wanted to sit back at the white coat ceremony on Monday, and just enjoy the moment.  But that's life. Shawn prefers cereal to waffles any day, and I can still be annoying and ask every detail of the first day of school over skype. I guess I just realized when that brown and yellow sweatshirt walked through security and waved goodbye, that all of this is really happening, life is about to change for us, and we are really growing up around here..

So here we go. We are on the road. We are on the road to a goal that we really want to achieve and it feels great to be getting started. We are on the road to Grenada for two years, and who knows where after that. Everything else is a mystery. But that's the adventure in it all. And when we get sick of the road, which inevitably happens to people on their roads in life, we will sit down and remind ourselves about the day that we thought our road was impossible. Then we will dust ourselves and start again, being grateful that we have such an amazing opportunity, and that this is our very own road, and it's leading us just where we need to be. And where would the excitement be without a little adventure thrown at us?!

I am hearing words from Shawn like "dinner at the beach," "sunset on the balcony," and "pools days twice a week" that are making me begin to wonder if Grenada is just some mystery island created especially for me. Those words define my paradise. We are heading out February 1st. Can't wait to start our adventure, and can't wait to have our family back together again! Happy memories are to come..

We love you Dad, we are soo proud of you, can't wait to see you soon

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Gracie's Sunday.

On November 26th at 3:26 am we met our sweetest ever little Gracie girl.

When Cooper was born I was induced past my due date, so I didn't expect this girl to come early! BUT, Gracie was even later then Cooper was, it's a game of patience and torture-those last 1-2 weeks of pregnancy! However, she came at the most perfect time and in an almost perfect way. I tried to hold out, cancelling two inductions, hoping that she would just come on her own when she was ready. My doctor eventually gave me a date of Tuesday November 27th to be induced and this time he took away my option to cancel the night before!

The week of Thanksgiving we did lots of relaxing. MUCH more then we are used to! We took long naps together on the couch, we slept in, we went to bed early, we watched movies, we felt so rested we didn't know what to do with ourselves! On Sunday afternoon we took a nap on the couch and I woke up and said, today would be the most perfect day for Gracie to come. I felt like I had done every "last event" with Cooper I could think of as my only child. I felt like I had more quality time with Shawn then I had had in a long time, and my canteen was completely overflowing with Cooper and Shawn time. My doctor was back in town, my sister was back in town, and Cooper was feeling 100% better after his first ever throwing up episode. Unfortunately, I felt great and I had no hope whatsoever that it would happen. I went to church and had about ten million conversations on why my baby wasn't here yet, what the plan was, how far overdue I was, poor you you look so miserable, all those fun things. I was convinced that Tuesday was the day.

On Sunday night Shawn and I read books with Coop, we had prayer, and we tucked him nice and cozy into his crib. Later that night we were eating our usual weekend treats and having a grand old time being completely entertained by Sister Wives.  At 11:00 I started not feeling that great, but sometimes you just don't feel that great when you are a million months pregnant so I didn't think that much of it. We decided to try to go to bed around 12, and I finally admitted to Shawn that maybe possibly this could be labor, but let's not get our hopes up. I had never been in labor without an epidural before and I had no idea what it really felt like. At about 1 am we called our neighbors to come sleep on our couch and listen for Cooper. Shawn, with his ever calm fly by the seat of his pants nature called and said-if you have time just come by whenever, no big deal. They thought that was pretty funny when they met our baby the next morning. On our way to the hospital we came back home for the memory card for the camera, and we stopped at the gas station for drinks and gum. We were not in a huge hurry. We were happy until about when we got on the freeway to head to Intermountain Medical Center. Then the laughing stopped. Something flipped a switched and all the sudden I knew I was in labor..

When we walked into the Labor and Delivery unit I tried to act like I was not dying and like I was just totally fine because I knew there was a chance I could get sent home. I told the nurses this could possibly be labor, but I don't really know it might not be. They took their sweet time coming in our room, because of course they thought I was not even close. Finally they came in and we were all shocked to discover I was at a 7!
I had a little break down at this point, knowing that I had not prepared myself  to have a baby with no epidural and I had this major concern that the epidural would not be there in time. Somehow nothing seems as bad after you cry for a minute. Shawn was calm, cool and collected like any future Dr should be :) He handles stressful situations so well, which is a huge blessing because if he had looked nervous for one second I probably would have really freaked out! Luckily, the anesthesiologist was right next door and he was there within five minutes and the epidural worked like a charm!  Shawn likes to tell people that I was swearing up a storm but let's be honest who really believes that?! We got to the hospital about 2am and Gracie Kate made her grand debut at 3:26. It was an extremely chaotic and very exciting hour and a half, but over all we were so happy with the way everything worked out.

The recovery seemed so much easier after round two, maybe it's because I just had Cooper basically yesterday, or maybe because it all went so quick this time, but either way I'll take it!  Nothing is better then holding a new baby for the first time, and nothing is more special to me then the feeling of bringing a new baby home. Gracie has such a sweet, calm spirit about her and it has been so fun this Christmas time to enjoy one of heavens very newest little angels. I am happy to have a girl around here, it has been so fun pulling out the headbands and little boots. This is a good example of her life, she's never awake long and if she is-she is yawning.  Poor girl has a hard life.

Overall, never have I been so grateful for my family. Before we left the hospital I couldn't keep it together thinking about all the blessings that have come our way this past year. I new I had a good feeling about 2012, I posted about it at the beginning of this year. I had more excitement for a new year then usual-I had no idea it would bring us another baby and an acceptance to medical school but I am grateful. A move out of the country is much easier knowing that these three  are coming with me. I am completely convinced that I can be happy wherever we go if we are together. So grateful for the safe arrival of our Gracie girl. She gave us a Sunday night we will never forget, and I have thought about it every Sunday night since. We love you little miss Gracie-Welcome to our fam!

Friday, November 30, 2012

The Final Countdown

Just a few pictures that need to be documented of the last few weeks of me and Coop quality time. In the past few weeks I have panicked that once I am busy with the new baby I will no longer be Cooper's fun mom. Therefore, I have found myself in my last month of pregnancy being smashed up against the wall inside a blow up jumping house at the park carnival with about 15 other bouncing kids, riding on a sled with no snow clothes, going swimming multiple times (at 39+ weeks pregnant), climbing clear to the top of the playground and sitting Cooper on the slide (just to run back to the bottom in time to catch him) and done multiple laps at Sugarhouse park.  Last night we braved black Friday at Toy's R Us and I fought the mall crowds this morning. AND YES, I am still past my due date by 3 days at this moment. Are you telling me that some people go into labor just minding their own business at 37 weeks?? I don't believe it!! I am leaving out the small detail that I also take a nap everyday, but still...

There is nothing like the final days counting down before another baby. I wish I could write down every detail of our busy life. I just can't seem to find the time at the moment, I'm hoping one of these days I can take two hours and just catch myself back up! We have been having the best time lately, the older Cooper gets the more fun I have with him. He seriously makes my days fly by, and he has been so well behaved I'm praying it doesn't change once the baby is here. I have tried to let little things go, and dedicate my time to just embracing every second with my boy. I have let the house be messy to read a few more stories, and I have not done a few chores that I needed to take him somewhere that makes him happy. On the days that I have stuck to my chores he has been a great helper, he loves having a towel walking around the house wiping things off, he loves trying to put the clothes over his head when I am folding laundry. He is just hilarious right now, and he wears himself out every second of the day. He goes down like clockwork for his naps and for bedtime. This picture was two or three weeks ago before my cousins baby blessing, he was crying because he always does when the door opens and he thinks he doesn't get to go outside. Once he realized he wasgoing out his tears turned to a smile, but if you look closely you can see some sad little red eyes.

We took Cooper to the arcade and he was in heaven thinking he was controlling every game. Shawn and I may or may not have loved the games ourselves, we plan on going back really soon!

This year, considering we have a baby due, we were stuck in Utah. We spent Thanksgiving for the first time as just our own little fam of three. We had a nice dinner with friends, we went sledding at Silver Lake, and we took wonderful naps. I loved the extra time I got with these two before the baby, although we missed our families so much! It was a quiet day but it was just exactly what we needed. This was the only even semi decent picture we took, and it's hardly decent. We are holding Cooper out in front of us like he is a shrine, but really I think it's because he can't get any closer to us with my huge belly in the way!
After this whole slew of unorganized pictures I am considering our fun documented. I have caught myself up as much as I can for the moment, which means I am checking one more thing off the to do list of "before baby girl" . Seriously though, come on!!