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!