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!!

Friday, November 9, 2012

Adventure Bound.

It's true. We are heading off on our very own grand adventure. I have always wanted to say something like that and actually mean it. We are moving to the Southern Carribbean (I think it's South, let's be honest I'm not the one to ask) for a little over 2 years while Shawn completes his Master's in Public Health degree and his first two years of Medical School. After those two years we will be back in the US for his 3rd and 4th year. He is entering St George University in Grenada (in the West Indies) starting in January 2013 and I couldn't be more excited or more proud!!

For me, this is a long awaited post. Shawn has always known that he wants to do medicine, and I have always known that he would. Let's be honest, like every lofty goal-there have been times that we thought it would be easier then it has actually been to find a school that was our own perfect fit. Shawn has spent hours doing research, studying for the MCAT, keeping up his grades, providing for our family, and just plain old working hard at something that he wants to succeed at. There have been nights when we have thought it was impossible, and that we were just in over our heads with almost 2 kids, work schedules, school schedules, waiting on scores and acceptance letters and interviews, etc. In fact, a week before Shawn got his acceptance phone call we went to sleep after a long heart to heart discussion that involved tears and reality checks. We were thinking that maybe this just wasn't the route for us after all, and that it might be easier to just find a quick solution and a safer solution close to home.

On a Friday afternoon a few weeks ago Shawn got a phone call telling him that he was accepted into SGU. By the time the phone call came we were so used to living in the unknown that it hardly phased us. As time has gone on we have became more and more excited. We each came to terms with it in our way, and both made a decision that we could never turn down this opportunity. We finally looked at each other on Sunday afternoon over a nutritious frozen pizza, and committed that we were going to make this happen. As we have looked back, and the congratulations balloons went in the trash, and the excitement of having a new option died away-we have felt almost nothing but peace with our decision. I have been so surprised at how little stress I feel, considering we are having a baby within the next two weeks, moving out of our house in six weeks, and to an entirely different country in two months.

Looking back now, it's easy to see all kinds of little events in our married life that have nudged us in this direction. A few different people mentioned this school to us in the same week, a week in which we just so happened to be open to alternative options. As time went on I silently became more excited, and I kept persuading Shawn that I had a feeling we would end up there (I like to think it was inspiration with a slight hint of beach-girl intuition). Shawn took every bit of persuading and eventually after doing some research and talking to people who had been there, done that- he applied. It's interesting to me to look back over a few years time span and see how we are led to certain places for a very specific reason. Hind site perspective is the best.

I definitely know that there is not only one place we can be in our lives to be happy. But, right now I am enjoying the fact that for once we can say goodbye, for at least a short while, to the inbetween.  Like any decision, we of course have a few negatives on our side, but we are choosing not to focus on a single one of them.
Shawn is focusing on school, and the excitement of the fact that he gets to pursue a career he has always wanted, and one that intrigues him enough that he feels he will never get bored. He is focusing on being the one to get everything all settled financially, for living, and getting ready for a big move.  Conveniently it just so happens that the world of medicine is something I also find entertaining and I will be a diligent audience for all his stories. I am lucky enough to  focus on getting our baby girl here safe and sound so she can take the journey with us. I have to be honest, I am also focusing on the fact that my love for the beach will be put to good use for a few years as a stay at home mom/wife for the first time ever! I am focusing on the fact that I know there are things we need to do, people we need to meet, and life we need to experience in Grenada that we couldn't find anywhere else at this time.

On the nights when that way of thinking fails me, and I accidentally start to cry before bed because I don't know if I am quite brave enough to say goodbye to my little Sugarhouse, I realize the idea of an adventure is a lot easier then actually going. That's when I remind myself of what my number one reliable source says..
Thomas S. Monson-"Your future is as bright as your faith." 
Probably his most quoted quote. And with good reason.

And so we keep telling ourselves that our future is fine with a little faith on our side, and we are believing it, and I am repeating those words over and over in my mind as we prepare to pack up our babies and close the door on the very simple and very comfortable home and life we love. We are ready to create a new home and life we love a million miles away. I'm excited to go explore another few inches of such a beautiful world, and teach my two little ones all about this wonderful place that they get to spend a lifetime of years exploring.
I am thankful to be married to someone who works hard for what he wants. I am extra thankful that he has an adventurous soul similar to my own, and that he will think outside the box to make things happen. I could pretty much toot his horn all day, he is my pride and joy. We were made for each other there is no doubt in my mind. I am thankful that the past four years have led us to this exciting milestone, this huge blessing.

I am proud to be a part of Team Allen, soon to be a family of four, soon to be on a grand adventure.The best part is that we are going together.

Just so you know,  I'm already putting plugs out for visitors. Does that look fun?

p.s. I decided to not privatize my blog considering we will be so far from home. I have a feeling that this little page with help with lots of homesickness and make us feel like we are not quite so far away. We want to keep in touch with as many family and friends as possible!

And so we sum it up like this-  
Hello, adventure. We are terrified of you, but we have been begging for you and you are just what we needed right about now..Grenada, here we come!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Happy bday to ME

It sounds vain but I pretty much just really love my own birthday every year. Shawn knows I love it and so he reminds me the whole month that it is coming up. I really just like it because I get to eat all of my favorite food, and usually talk to all of my favorite people in the same day. This year Shawn got off work at 1 and showed up on the doorstep with roses and a cute smile. He isn't usually a flowers type of guy, so the effort of the flowers was a very nice touch on his part, even if they were accompanied by a questionably inappropriate card!

We drove to Park city through Provo canyon, just because we both knew I needed to see the beautiful fall leaves on the way. We were not disappointed! We pathetically can't recall ever being to the actual historic downtown Park City main street, but we loved it!! We ate at a quaint little restaurant, out on the patio. We were the only ones out there. We did some people watching and took in the scenery.

We went to the outlets and discovered a Nike sale- I came home with new running shoes, which is something I have been begging for. I was impressed with how helpful Shawn can be at shopping when he puts his mind to it, he was determined to help me find the perfect shoe. I knew he had been trying to find some on his own for a while. I found evidence of chicken scratch notes on places to look for shoes in the car. The thought that he had tried so hard was the most fulfilling part of my day.

We came home to something we love-- a good comedy and our pj's.

We ate food that was much more fancy then people like us are used to eating on a regular basis. AND, that's why I love birthdays!

25 years seems old. A quarter of a century. Just yesterday I swear I turned 15 and got my first cell phone. I have to say, these have been 25 good ones. Mostly because of the people in them who make them just so good. Thanks to everyone who made me feel special on my bday weekend. I couldn't have been more satisfied.

Don't mind the dirty windshield, this sunset on the way home was too beautiful to pass up, even through the smashed bugs.


 Happiness is a wonderful thing. It's just a fact of life that it's nearly impossible to have happiness every second of every single day. Sometimes it takes effort to be truly happy, and sometimes happiness is just present in your heart when you wake up.


Sometimes, I look at Cooper and his face shows pure and complete bliss. I have caught myself thinking as I watch him, that many people ironically search a lifetime to find the happiness that comes naturally to pure, innocent, brand new little humans.  I love watching him everyday. I am reminded often as a mom and wife, what truly makes me happy-and what currently jumpstarts that feeling in my heart when I wake up. 

Here's to the genuine happiness of a kid-here's to letting the gut hang over, and the hair stand straight up. Here's to walking around in only a diaper, and eating everything that just so happens to come your way.  Here's to unbreakable spirits, and putting up a fight when life tries to take happiness away. Here's to sharing a little happiness, with people who seem really old and boring (parents) who think that work, school or finances should get in the way of going down the slide fifty times, or laughing till our pant buttons pop. We have lots to learn.

Monday, September 24, 2012

A weekend in September

A Friday night cabin chat with good friends. Two pack and plays smashed into a tiny kitchen. Two little boys lasting without disturbing each other once the entire night. Sad mama with no memory card for the camera. Two couples tucked into cozy beds in the loft, a rustic cabin in the woods with only the crackling of a fire to be heard..(seriously, this place was warmed by a REAL fire, it was heavenly). A chilly Saturday morning hike, and two tired families heading home after the sleepover was deemed a success...

 A Saturday afternoon at City Creek, finally able to pull out sweaters. A miniature explorer splashing in the water, playing with trains, slurping a Jamba by the river. A tired baby going to bed exhausted, proud that he discovered a few new things in the world. Happy parents putting on sweats with a sleeping babe, listening to football and watching TV reruns, feeling content. Pumpkin muffins in the oven, banana oatmeal in the crock pot, the house smelling delicious. A little one on one time that never gets old.

A Sunday evening with family. Cousins learning to finally be friends. Feeding ducks at the park without sweating to death. A special new sweetie to cuddle. Warm pizza and cookies. Grown ups talking in a tiny kitchen. Flashbacks as the car drives away, gratitude for the many memories with the sweet family inside.

Sunday night cuddles before bedtime. Finally sharing cuddling skills after becoming slightly jealous of baby Tucker. Taking a moment to count blessings after family prayer. Warm home, full arms, grateful hearts, happy family..

Monday morning butterflies, waiting to sneak a peek at little Miss Allen. Laughing at our own jokes in the waiting room while waiting and waiting and waiting too long..a little profile shot that looks just like her brother, a little hair on the back of her head, little feet, little hands by the face, tiny nose, a little swallow. A special feeling that I will miss in less then two months. A tinge of excitement, my arms are ready..although nothing else is!

Why does September only have four weekends?? It just doesn't seem right..they go by too fast, and they stay gone for too long...Stay awhile September, ohhh how we love you every single year.

Monday, September 17, 2012

My Happy Place.

My happy place.
This is it, and these are them.

 After twenty four hours of hospital craziness seemed like a little too much for one nurse (who doesn't work much) in one weekend- these two were here waiting.  I woke up to pizza and cookies coming out of the oven, a diet coke, and a house freshly cleaned (you know, that special kind of cleaning that husbands do). We took a trip to Silver Lake, one of my most favorite places this time of year in Utah. We chatted about things that best friends can chat about while we walked around the entire lake. We drove home with the setting sun, and a sleepy baby. My heart felt completely full. 

And I realized, that my shifts seemed so far away, although I had just been charting at 7am. That's what going to a happy place can do for a person.

And so I decided while walking around the lake, that I have a great team--when four teeth are coming at once, when homework takes 2 hours too long, when life disappoints, when it's freezing outside, when it's 90 degrees, when you can't keep your eyes open for even one more second, when you get that letter that you have been waiting on for years, when you think that tomorrow couldn't be any worse then today, when it feels like everything you have ever wanted in life is finally happening, when we have extra money to dream about blowing, when the budget is tight and we can barely afford gas, when the leaves change, when the sun comes up on little Sugarhouse main, when the air smells like pumpkin, or cinnamon, or sunscreen--
When Sunday night calls for popcorn and brownies and a movie,
When Saturday is full of chores, when Monday seems depressing, when Friday night plans give butterflies..


Being together is our happy place. We are here together to make life just the best it can be for each other. We can block out the long days, and obsess over the good ones. We can lock the door and eat treats and not let anybody in. We can celebrate or survive, because we have each other. Thank goodness for family.

splish splash

My little Coop.
The first bubble bath. Not sure why we waited so long to try this. I wish I could have bottled the shreaks to listen to forever. Coop has a distinctive squeal when he gets excited, sometimes at the park people look at him like they wonder if he is hurt or just overly excited. Although I don't expect everyone to feel the same way, to me it is one of the world's greatest sounds. The camera just can't do it justice.

 Tonight I sat on the bathroom floor and couldn't take my eyes off the non stop moving going on in the tub. I really didn't care about the splashes on the floor this time. I watched the full on swimming around up to his neck, the standing on his tip toes to try to turn the water back on, to the leaning out of the tub trying to get the toilet to flush from the bathtub.

I just want to spend every second watching him that I can, since I know in a few months my attention will be shared. This boy could keep himself busy for hours on end, but he does look over about every 5 minutes to make sure I'm still there.

I was there the whole time my sweet boy. I saw every last splash, and I loved every second.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Moving up..

Remember once upon a time, when we strapped in a little teeny seven pounder and headed home from the hospital as a real life family?? Remember how I was too scared to drive to Jaimee's because I felt like something might happen to such a tiny piece of precious cargo (and I am not known to be an overly safe driver all the time). Remember when he couldn't even hold his head up in that carseat, and we tightened the straps about 500 times, and Shawn magically changed from the world's most laid back to the world's most paranoid? Remember last week on our roadtrip to AZ how the straps were completely loosened and somebody's fat rolls and long legs were still spilling over on every end!?

Remember how just exactly one year ago this month, we strapped in a tiny body and searched the pumpkin patch for a very first pumpkin, and so carefully placed it with him in his new little seat?

Suddenly it all seems soo good. Every road trip in the back seat with him cozily sleeping and facing me seems so extra wonderful...and consequently, this infant carseat seems like it has suddenly become my favorite possession at the moment. That's how I get when I say goodbye-it's not healthy..
Don't worry, thankfully for everyone in the family this carseat will not go empty, we are filling it up with new precious cargo in only a matter of weeks that can now be counted on two hands!

On a happier note, last night we took a trip to Costco. We have been stewing over carseats for way too long. We finally returned home with a toddler seat, read the safety manual and stressed over if we had it in securely enough that if we got hit by a semi Cooper would still be safe. We stayed up past bedtime, driving around the block. Cooper's face at first was hilarious, literally it's like he was not sure if he should smile or be terrified, "Mom are you sure I'm allowed to do this?!"

We pulled into the driveway with everybody happy, and we carried our little infant seat inside-to be washed and prepared for baby sister-and never to be used again by 'Baby Coop'. This morning I took a trip to the dentist and received Cooper's first toothbrush. Life is so exciting with someone new around to explore things with. Every change is bittersweet, as excited as I am-and Cooper is..I have just tried not to look at his little seat sitting by the door this morning. I'm giving myself just one day to say goodbye before re-saying Hello!
We are growing up over here..

Monday, August 27, 2012


We ended the 4th of July like this..
We waited for the fireworks while the boys played football. We had full tummies, perfect weather, good company, and happy hearts. I like when time slows down for one evening and we have no time restrictions and no big plans.

For not taking their usual naps, Cooper and Sophie were little angels. I have to say this was one of my favorite holidays in a long time..

Cooper successfully wore himself out enough to lay down and watch the fireworks to end a lovely day..Happy late fourth.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Small town parade

They just don't do parades like this very many places anymore. What a way to start off Shawn's first 4th of July in Idaho, and Cooper's first 4th all together. This is one of my very favorite holidays, so I was determined for Cooper to enjoy it. He looked like a classic little mini Uncle Tom, and I took a million pictures all day long because I couldn't stand not to with his chubby legs smashed into these skinny jeans. I was thrilled to give Shawn just a little glimpse into the spirit of a town that he has mostly just heard exaggerated stories about. It really is a pretty great place, I love the small town feel, and I realized how much I have missed it. Shawn is catching on-Idaho is a pretty great place to escape and go home to.

Cooper has such a funny relationship with his little cousin Dylan. They both just seem so amazed by each other. They both seem like they think the other is actually pretty cool. Surprisingly, they have even looked straight at each other and just smiled like they know they will have some great memories together someday. Cooper waited patiently while Dylan got out of his car seat, and then he couldn't stop staring at him.

Everybody loves grandma. The past few times we have been home he has became very attached!

Easily the best part of any holiday is the fact that everything in life stops for the day, and we just get to spend an entire day with just our little fam..

And of course the reason behind the holiday. Cooper will always be very well aware that he has an Uncle in the army who is a pretty big deal. He will always know that this soldier is our favorite brother, and is working hard making our family and country proud. Grateful for all the other soldiers who spend time away from family. Thank goodness there are people like them who can do that job so well. We miss Josh and his cute wife and kids EVERY time we are together!

Grateful to live in such a great country, and grateful to be able to celebrate this year in a little place that always feels like home. It's been at least 4 years! We will be back to the parade much sooner then that this time I hope..