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Sunday, September 4, 2016

July - Or, Our Last Month in the States

July was a big month!  It was our last month in the states for the next year!  A bit bittersweet.  It started off with a (miserable) trip to San Francisco to get Visas and then just took off like a train.  It felt like the month went by very fast.  And I definitely didn't take as many pictures of videos as I usually do.

July was also a month of guilt.  With all that we had to get done in preparation for the move I wasn't often able to play with the kids.  I found myself having to say, "no" almost anytime they wanted my attention.  I just kept saying (to myself and them) that I'd spend more time with them in Paris.  So far that has been true.  It was also a rough month because Emerson was sick and fussy for a lot of it and Harp wasn't in a very good mood a lot of the time too (probably because of all the craziness).

There were a lot of goodbyes and "lasts."  Last time seeing friends (SO SAD), last time going places and seeing things.  Last time eating things.  Last time driving a car (technically in August).  At least for the next year, but some of them will be forever.  While I was sad about a lot of these things I was also happy about some and feeling impatient as well.  

Another big thing this month was that my good good friend Alyse came to visit.  She lives (lived) in Miami and I don't get to see her that often, but it's the best when I do.  So, we got together a bunch and our littles had lots of fun together.


- Emerson learned how to clap (from Baba singing, "Patty Cake" with him) and went through a stage where he did it all the time with the cutest little grin.
- I don't know if this happened this month or before, but he started saying "Baba" (both for Tom's mom, who goes by "Baba" to the grandkids and for "bottle")


- Harper spent the month in her imaginary world.  She is big on make believe, (which I LOVE about her) and can turn any object into anything else.  Like, yesterday she was playing with her duplo blocks and pretending that the big blocks were cars and the little ones were people (with names) and there was a whole narrative.
- She started saying, "Oh, I was just jokin'" anytime we told her not to do something.
- One time she was asking me who all the superheroes were on a superhero cup we have.  When I told her "Batman," she heard wrong and said, "Fatman??  Why is his name Fatman?  That's not a good name for a superhero."
- One time after tucking her in, Tom forgot to turn on her monitor (you can't hear her crying from our living room and bedroom without it on).  Eventually, one of us turned it on and she was wailing.  We both ran in there and the poor dear had been needing to go potty, but was too scared to get out of bed and sit on the portable one in her room.  It was SO sad.  We helped her onto the potty and she was feeling much better (with BOTH parents there attending to her, after all), but she was still huffing (you know, like they do when they're normal breathing isn't quite back after a big cry).  As she sat down on the potty she started saying, "You (huff) couldn't (huff) hear me (huff) because you were too asweep (huff)" in her adorable sweet way.  Tom and I just looked at each other with that, "It's so sad but she's so cute" look.  
- One day she randomly said, "The frog!  He's in my chin!"  Confused, I said, "What's he doing in there?"  She said, "He's pickin up food!"  Toddlers are weird.
- One day, as we were driving up to the house Harper was talking about Baba and Papa for some reason.  First she said, "Papa is Baba's brother..." then she thought about it and decided that wasn't quite right and said, "No, he's her....boy.  He's Baba's boy."  Baba and Papa are Tom's parents.
- One day Tom said something about not having enough energy and she said she'd share some with him.  He said, "how?"  She thought about it and said, "We're family and families share with each other."  Then, Stacey wasn't walking out the door (to work?) and asked her for some.  She thought about it for a second then pretending to grab and handful and give it to her.


Sticker fun at church:

Make believe:

We were doing a trial packing run and Harp packed these maps and a star wand for us.
On our way to San Francisco, for Visas.  We left on the 4th of July:

Harper is at an age where she's not too hard in the car.  She can be entertained by a lot of things that are carseat friendly.  For example, she played with these stickers for quite some time.

E, on the other hand, is at a terrible age for car travel.  He is no longer interested in baby toys and just wants to be moving around.  There are very few things that can entertain him in the car.  To make matters worse, we believe he was sick (possibly with Roseola) for the duration of the trip, so he was especially miserable and didn't want to eat either (which is pretty much what we were planning on using to pass the time for him).  Any time we passed him something he'd take one look at it and chuck it to the side.  It was SO hard.

He got REALLY gross and sticky and smelly every day, even though we put a bib on him in the car.
The first night, we stayed in Reno.  We were all in one room, which was no picnic, but wasn't as bad as I'd feared.  The fireworks added a level of difficulty though.  We kept talking about how so many aspects of this trip were just a trial run for Paris.  The car ride was a trial run for the plane ride.  The hotel rooms were trial runs for our tiny Parisian apartment.  Being in a big city (SF) was a trial run for being in Paris.  And, I guess, the visa process was a trial run for French bureaucracy.

The second day we were imagining that it would only take us a few hours to get to our hotel and we'd have most of the day to explore SF.  Unfortunately, it being July 5th, everyone was heading back into town from the long weekend, so traffic was terrible the whole way there.  We finally got into the city and checked into our ghetto ghetto room.  It was a bit of a shock after being in South Jordan for a year.  Gave us something interesting to talk about as we walked around the city (the fact that it was shocking to us after living in South Jordan, even though it wouldn't have been at other times in our lives).  All we had time for that day was a quick jaunt to the Golden Gate Park playground.  The kids had fun of course.  It always throws me off how cold SF is, even in the summer!  Always bizarre to me.

Anyway, we suffered through another night of rough sleep, then booked it out of there first thing in the morning so that we could make it to our morning visa appointment.  We had heard many horror stories about consulates rejecting visa applications for tiny things and requiring paperwork and proof for every little things, so we came very prepared.  We were so prepared that when the employee saw all our paperwork she gave us a look that basically said, "um, are you crazy?"  In the end, we got the visas, but I was a bit miffed that it ended up being so easy!  She asked me only a handful of questions the whole time and didn't really even acknowledge T, H or E's presence.  I couldn't help but think, "man, you guys made us come all the way out here and have this miserable, expensive road trip for THAT???"  Regardless, we celebrated by getting a pastry and some macarons from a local shop.  E wasn't very impressed.

Then, we headed straight from the appointment to the open road.  We drove all the way home that night.  We left SF around 11am and got home around 3am.  It was pretty much hell.  When it was E's usual bedtime (around 8pm), instead of going to sleep (like we'd imagined he would) he just started screaming.  He didn't stop til we got home.  That's 7 hours straight, of screaming.  Poor Harper had to sit back there with him and it was pretty hard for her to sleep through.  Whenever we looked back at her she had this pained expression on her face.  We told her not to talk to him, because he'd just start screaming louder whenever she did, but every once in a while she couldn't help it and she'd burst out with, "Baby!  Shhhhhh!!!  Stop crying!"  I have never been happier to get home.

E's carseat stash

Us stopped at a gas station less than an hour from home.  I got him out and sat with him and the crying ceased for a brief moment.
After the SF trip, I felt like Harper deserved a "Mommy date."  She'd been such a good girl on the trip and had been through a lot, so I took her with me to 7 Peaks.  All she wanted to do was "dance" in the water.

E is still an amazing snuggler, especially when he's sick, but all the time.

On a Sunday walk:

One day, Harp found a Book of Mormon that was on the kitchen table and became very attached.  She carried it around the whole day:

She even wanted to sleep with it and specifically wanted me to leave it open to this page (with Jesus) while she slept:

Alyse came!  Oh, it was so so good to see her and meet her little Jane.  Jane and Harp were especially cute together:

We went to Jungle Jim's with Alyse and her friend Star and almost all of our collective children (5 of them):

We got all decked out in our cow gear to get free meals at Chick-fil-a on customer appreciation day:

We hung out at our good friend Jan's house one last time and had one last ice cream (in popsicle form).  It's tradition:

Alyse's son, Ezra and Harp were super cute together.  Here they are holding hands (unprompted!) talking about whether they were gonna go play on the clubhouse (Harp's favorite) together or not:

Also, notice how much bigger Ezra is even though he's only 6 weeks older).

The best bubbles ever (Fubbles) that don't spill and are easy for toddlers to blow:

I just love when I peak on her, on her monitor, and she's deeply engrossed in a book:

Sad, sick baby:

We went to the City Creek dino play area and E LOVED it.  He was very go go go the whole time and couldn't get enough:

Kept him home from church one day for being sick and went on a nice walk instead, followed by a picnic:

Some of my dear friends had a little farewell party for the kids and I.  It was bittersweet.  Part of the bitter was that Harper peed and pooped all over everything, in her bathing-suit.  Woohoo!  But, I will (and already do) dearly miss those friends.

I thought it was funny that generally all the girls were wearing pink and the boys were shirtless.

Waiting for daddy to come home from work, on the lawn, in a nice shady spot.
Shortly before we left this keyboard (which is Tom's from before we got married) got unearthed somehow.  It made for a great kid toy.  E, especially, loved it and would bounce his bum to the music.

We went to Wheeler Farm and Harp saw these girls up this tree.  She wanted up too and did NOT want to get down even after some time.

In the little clubhouse at Wheeler Farm:


Ezra forgot his shoes at our house and Harper became obsessed with them.  She woke up the next morning and the first thing she said to me (before even getting out of bed) was, "Can I wear my princess dress and tiara and Ezra's Spiderman shoes?"  In this picture she's saying, "I'm a superhero Spiderman princess!"  Rock on Harp.
Just Harper, pacing around, talking my ear off, being hilarious:

We read a Berenstein Bears book that told a story with prepositions, then we created the story in real life and acted it out:

The kids were being super cute while they played together while Baba and I wrapped the stroller extension handle in bike tape.

E going going going at City Creek:

They have this great baby seat in one of the City Creek bathrooms.  Perfect for putting E while Harp is going potty.  He loved it too.
Alyse and I went on a hike, just the two of us.  It was perfect.  I wish I could do it every day.  Along the way we saw this gorgeous beehive and took a zillion pictures of it.  It was seriously so so cool.

I'm going to follow this post with one of all the pictures that Alyse took of my kids while she was here.  It deserves it's own post because they're so good and there are so many!  Then, that will be followed by another post on our journey to Paris and our first month here!


  1. OK, Sheri, you kept me spellbound with the adventures of your family. I'm wondering if Emerson is walking yet. Can't wait to see those. He gets around good just by crawling.

    1. A Paris post is in the works! But for now I'll tell you that he's not quite walking, but he stands up without holding onto anything and take a step or two. So....close!