David is two!

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A letter to David from my mom last year on his 1st birthday:

Dear David,

If ever I doubt whether God is truly involved in the details of our lives, I will think back to the week of your birth and there will be no question. God knows the desires of a grandmother’s or mother’s heart.  He recognizes that willing desire to serve her family, then He works out the details. I don’t know why I am so surprised and amazed by this every time it happens in my life. Like your great-grandmother Smith said to me the day after your birth, “Why do we ever doubt?” Your story is a remarkable one.
At the time of your birth, your family was living in Birmingham, Alabama, far away from Papa and Nana’s home in Gilbert, Arizona.  In Arizona, we were greatly anticipating your arrival to this earth and also the January 24th return of your Uncle James from his two-year mission to Veracruz, Mexico. Your due date was January 31. The tricky part was guessing when you would actually arrive. I needed to be here in Arizona to welcome James at his return, and I needed to be in Alabama to help with everything that is required when a new baby is born. I also wanted to be back in Arizona by February 9 so that I could hear James give his talk in church about his mission to Mexico. The timing was complicated! It was decided that I would fly to Alabama the day before your due date and stay for a week. Of course, the ideal would be if I could be there to help after you were born and not just be there to help with the “nesting”.
Your mom’s doctor had told her all along that he would induce her on her due date if she hadn’t yet gone into labor naturally. Perfect! But, on January 27, your mom called me in despair because at her appointment that day her doctor reported that she hadn’t progressed at all and that he couldn’t guarantee that he would induce her on January 31! This is when the miracle began. Birmingham was hit with the craziest snowstorm in years and your mom and dad and Jack were stuck in their apartment for two days. Had you been born early, it is likely that you wouldn’t have been born in the hospital! Streets and highways were essentially shut down for two days and many cars had slid off roads and were abandoned. Schools, including your dads, were canceled. In sunny Arizona, I was earnestly checking the weather reports, praying that my flight would not be canceled. By January 30 the weather cleared, I made my flight, and your parents and Jack were finally able to leave their apartment to pick me up at the airport! We immediately went out to dinner to celebrate the fact that the storm had ended, I had arrived safely, and all was well. It was as if you knew that now was the perfect time to make your debut.
As we finished our meal, your mom’s contractions finally began and by the middle of that night, you were well on your way here. It was time for your mom and dad to go to the hospital. Thank you for waiting for my arrival and thank you for not waiting too long! Your timing was perfect and nothing short of a miracle.
By then it was January 31, your due date. During Jack’s nap your mom called saying that you were coming SOON and that I could hurry and drive to the hospital and she would have a friend come and stay with Jack. Or, I could just wait for Jack to wake up and come with him to the hospital. I knew that Jack would be awake soon, so I decided to wait for him. As I held my phone and nervously rocked in my favorite rocking chair in your living room, I somehow drifted asleep! It wasn’t long before I was suddenly startled awake in a way I have never experienced before or since. There are no words on this earth to describe it, but it was as if a “wave” of incredible light and love quickly passed through the room and I was left knowing that you had been born. I am sure that there were angels that attended your birth and perhaps they were just passing through to love me and to say, “Wake up, the babe is here!” Sure enough, your mom called shortly thereafter to tell me that you were a boy and that your name was David Maughan Hall. Three very special names! Tears of joy! Then, as if two-year-old Jack knew what was going on, he awoke from his nap and we rushed to the hospital to greet beautiful you!

After spending time in the hospital loving on you and taking pictures, and before Jack could play with the hospital bed remote controls for the hundredth time, Jack and I went on a Sam’s Club shopping spree loading up on food and baby supplies for home. As I chased Jack out of Sam’s Club while pushing an overloaded shopping cart, I looked to the left and noticed a Walmart next door. How fun it would be to have some “It’s a Boy” balloons to greet you and your mom and dad when you returned from the hospital. But, how risky it would be to take a wiggly two-year-old to yet another store! I decided to go for it!

This is when another little miracle occurred and I was left dumbfounded at how the Lord hears our tiniest unuttered prayers. My desire for the short time I was in Alabama was to help your mom and dad with tiny newborn you, to cook some meals, and to entertain Jack. A bonus for me would be to leave some surprises that would help your parents amuse Jack. Since it was January and it was very cold and snowy outside, what would your mom do to occupy him when I returned to Arizona and your dad returned to work?! There were two things I thought of that might help. One was a little craft table or desk for Jack, and the other was some sort of outdoor toy that he could use inside. How I wished there were some sort of “roller coaster” like mine in Arizona that was smaller and could be used indoors. Was there such a thing?

By the time Jack and I found decorative balloons and made the trek to the back of that huge Walmart to have them filled with helium, Jack’s patience had run out and he wanted out of that grocery cart. In the meantime, a friend of mine in Arizona called with an important question I needed to address about the Gilbert Temple Youth Celebration that was coming up. I was almost at my wit’s end when I turned the corner to head towards the toy section. To my surprise, there on an end cap was the most perfect sized beautiful wooden table! I didn’t even know they made desks that cute and little! I plunked it the cart in a hurry. Then I turned another corner and there in the middle isle was a huge display with a tiny, compact roller coaster that I had envisioned but didn’t even know existed. Perfect!  I tossed Jack into the cart, handed him a ring pop sucker and marveled all the way to the checkout stand at the miracle that had occurred. This couldn’t be a coincidence! Was God really that aware of my time restraints and my little trivial desires? Why don’t I trust him more?
A friend of mine in a Relief Society lesson once said that she thinks that God gives us these little trivial tender mercies to remind us that He is aware of us. He wants us to deposit these experiences in a “faith or trust account” so that when bigger things happen and maybe He can’t give us immediate answers to our prayers, we can tap into that account, remember to trust in Him and to have faith that he really does know us and exactly what is going on in our lives.

David, you are too young to understand all of this now, but someday I hope that you, too, will look back on your life and realize that God is always there and is always aware. Even when times get hard and you may doubt, He will forever be near. Always have faith and be believing! You are a miracle and you were sent to earth to our family at this time for a reason. I love you my sweet one-year-old! Life is good. God is good.

With love for eternity,

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Happy birthday, David boy!!! (even though it feels like you've been two for at least six months!) We love your passionate, enthusiastic, stubborn, demanding, dynamic, energetic, loving, and big personality. I can't believe I ever assumed that you would be my even-tempered and easy going second child - you must be seen and heard, and we wouldn't want it any other way!!! WE LOVE YOU!!!

David's 1st birthday post
David's birth post


What's Up Wednesday

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I'm linking up with Shay, Shaefer and Mel the last Wednesday of the month again for What's Up Wednesday!
What we're eating this week:
Healthy and simple food since Spencer joined Weight Watcher's this month!

Our Sam's Club finally started selling Addiels Chicken Pineapple Meatballs (we haven't had them since we lived in Alabama) and they are my FAVORITE with rice and sirachi sauce. I've had it for lunch three days in a row and I'm still not sick of it!
What I'm reminiscing about:

What I'm loving:
This! #storyofmylife

And this:

What we've been up to
I try to stay busy in the winter so I have motivation to get out the door in the mornings :)
Mondays - MOPS group at Bettendorf Christian Church the 2nd and 4th Mondays of the month (I met a new friend at the zoo this fall (where else would I meet new friends!? ;) and she invited me to join)
Tuesdays and Thursdays - Preschool for Jack
Wednesdays - storytime at the library
Fridays - art class (I loved the arctic theme this last week :)

What I'm excited about:
We still have many months to go but our vacation is booked and this came in the mail last week!!!!
I CAN'T WAIT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 If you have any Disney World posts or tips I'd love to hear them!
What I'm dreading:
What I've been dreading is finally here (winter!) and I guess I'm just dreading that I still have at least two more months of it to go! haha
What I'm working on:
Being more like Tim ;)

But chances are, I am going to continue to use my blog as an outlet to vent and whine about the cold so if that bugs you, you should probably not check my blog until May ;)
So far, I have stuck with my winter goal of walking or running outside at least twice a week. I check the weather and go on the "warmer" days and I think it has been very good for my mental well being ;) It was 33 degrees on Sunday afternoon so I dragged everyone along with me and surprisingly, no one complained about the cold. It feels good to be outside!
What I'm watching/reading:
I'm a little out of control this month with my TV shows, but I'm loving all of them!

We signed up for a free month of Hulu to finish the last season of Parks and Rec but then we got sucked in...

And more seasons of my ultimate guilty pleasure that I didn't know about!!!

I read two YA novels this month - Dumplin by Julie Murphy and The Disputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks.
"There's something about swimsuits that make you think you've got to earn the right to wear them. Really, the criteria is simple. Do you have a body? Put a swimsuit on it."

"It is better to be alone, she figures, than to be with someone who can't see who you are. It is better to lead than to follow. It is better to speak up than to stay silent. It is better to open doors than to shut them on people. She will not be simple and sweet. She will not be what people tell her she should be. That Bunny Rabbit is dead." I LOVED THIS BOOK!!!
What I've been listening to:
Because Sister Wives wasn't enough... haha
What I'm wearing: 
I hate this one. I always wear sweats when I blog and I never remember to take "outfit" selfies.
What I'm doing this weekend:
Celebrating our baby turning two!!!
What I'm looking forward to next month:
Valentine's day and Spencer's birthday!
Bonus Question: What is your favorite Valentine's Day treat?
Chocolate covered cinnamon bears (but they don't sell them anywhere in the Quad Cities! Whaaaaa!!!)
What's up with you?!

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Friday Favorites

Today, I am linking up with Narci, Andrea and Erika for Friday Favorites! 

January is my least favorite month of the year - it's frigid and dark and depressing and it feels like it's never going to end. Bundling kids up to go somewhere is the worst thing ever and all I really want to do is quit life and binge on Netflix and brownies ;) So we'll see how many "favorites" I can actually come up with this week...
  • Art class! We signed up for another session and Jack and David love it! Here they are "making" bird feeders :)

  • Any indoor activity that gets us out of the house! This week we went to the Putnam Museum, story time at the library, and played racquetball at the gym.

  • Soccer - I joined an indoor soccer league with my friend and it is SO MUCH FUN!
  • My new favorite instagram account @BYUPDA - it's disturbingly hilarious!
  • The things kids say. Yesterday I asked Jack to throw his apple core in the garbage and he replied, "You got it, mom! You're a big girl!" hahaha
  • David's new favorite color (pink) because Jack and David no longer fight over all of the blue stuff. hahaha 

  • James and Maddie's pictures from their Arizona reception. Here are some of my favorites:

  • It has been extremely freezing this week (on Sunday, the high was -2) but last Thursday, it was miraculously 43 degrees and sunny while Jack was at preschool. I dropped all of my errands and walked to the park with David instead. It was amazing :) 
Happy weekend! Hope you get as much TV and brownies in as I do! ;)


Arizona Photo Dump

I think I hit my record for the most pictures in one blog post. You have been warned :)
Pre-wedding reception:
Christmas round 2 :)
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We all got put to work ;)
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Pizza before the reception
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I didn't take any pictures!!! I can't wait to see the photographer's but it was a beautiful evening and so much fun!
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New Year's Eve:
Top golf and Bahama Bucks with the Oggletrees (Maddie's family)
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Fireworks party at 8 so that Jack and David could participate (Warning: a ridiculous amount of pictures below)
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This portion of the post is entitled "Elizabeth and the Fireworks" haha
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And then we spent an hour getting an Instagram worthy picture with sparklers! haha I've never had any desire to have 7 sisters until spending New Years Eve with the Oggletree girls! At least I've got one of them now :)
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New Years Day
We hiked flat iron with Maddie and James!
On January 1, 2011, I hiked Flat Iron with my boyfriend
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Exactly six years later the same hike seemed a lot harder! haha
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We went to get bobas after AND THEY WERE OUT OF BOBA!!! I almost cried.
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While we were hiking, my mom and dad took Jack and David to Freestone Park to feed the ducks, ride the train, and ride the boats. They are the best!
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This picture makes me laugh :)
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My grandma and grandpa played with them too :) They love their "snail" grandparents :)
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Hanging out at my parent's house
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Four generations
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"Turtle and Bunny hike" at the Riparian Preserve. We were going to hike the wind caves but we were too wiped after playing soccer that morning and we were still sore from Flat Iron. Jack just wanted to ride in a hiking backpack so it was all good :)
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Jack loves riding the Polaris!
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Making brownies with Papa!
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Spencer went home on the 4th and I spent a few more days in warm Arizona with Jack and David.
Sea Life Aquarium 
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 Turtles for the win!
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And a boba WITH BOBA on the way home, thank goodness.
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The day before I left for Iowa, I had made crazy plans with friends to drive to California and go to Six Flags and come back the same night. The forecast was not looking great but we decided to risk it and go anyway with a back up plan to go to the L.A. Temple if it was closed. It was pouring rain when we got there (and closed) so we went to the temple instead. After we got out of the temple session (it was such a cool temple!), I somehow convinced everyone that we NEEDED to ride a roller coaster and we somehow ended up at California Adventure that afternoon and evening. BEST. TRIP. EVER. I was obnoxiously high on Disney Magic and the lack of sleep probably didn't help :) I have yet to visit Six Flags but I sure love Disney and my friends!!!
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Katie forgot shoes! haha
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The new Cars Land was so cute and the ride was so fun!
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 I beat Chelsie on the Toy Story ride!
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 And I found out that I make two and a half Disney Churros an hour at my job, not just one, thank you very much! ;)
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Taking a picture of my favorite clam chowder bowl - what a great moment ;)
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While I was playing for 24 hours straight, my mom played with Jack and David at the zoo. She's the best!
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Flying is never pleasant by myself with two kids but it's the price I pay to enjoy Arizona a little longer and avoid Iowa's horrible winter (it's 3 degrees with a wind chill that feels like -17 as I type this). My flight was delayed (of course, it's Allegiant) but when my flight was delayed, someone told me about the gate pass that let me take my mom through security and have her help me. It was a game changer and I seriously don't know how I didn't know about it before!!!
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Every time I leave Arizona, I wonder why the heck I don't live there and I also leave ridiculously hooked on diet coke (thanks, mom!) haha
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Now, we are trying to make the most out of the winter, but we're mostly just freezing and eating a lot of vegetables because - resolutions. Whoot whoot.