7.29.2014

A Life Full of Good People

I have been thinking so much this past week, with the littles' birthday upon us. And before I can write anything at all about what this year has taught me, or share some of my favorite moments, I have to first thank a few people.

How did my little family make it through this year? People. So, so many good people. 

Firstly, many good friends, family, and acquaintances poured out so much love. We received beautiful letters, Facebook messages, well wishes, warm hugs, motherly advice, and prayers from so many. One lesson I learned during this, my first year of motherhood, is that it truly does take a village. So thank you to those of you that reached out to us through the written word, social media, good vibes, and of course prayer. You have no idea the strength I gained from those little encouragements along the way. 

Danny's med school friends. The bulk of them think we are completely insane and I have sometimes come to the same conclusion. But they have been such a strength to him and done so much to include me. They volunteer to babysit so we can go on dates (even when they don't know how to put a diaper on...) and come to the house and let us feel young when sometimes parenthood makes you feel anything but. Thank you! But especially to my girl Vai and Danny's bestie Luke for being so unbelievably kind. 

Next, my AMAZING New York ward and family. I cannot begin to describe the testimony I have gained about where the Lord leads us. I moved in to a ward filled with "twin moms" and it has been such a blessing. They are not only proof that you can survive but also wonderful examples of faith and patience. They have given me so much guidance, equipment, clothing, diapers, support and certainly more than one shoulder to cry on. One Sunday in particular I was just struggling so much and one of those mothers came and took a baby, put her arm around me, and just sat for a little while. Eventually she got up to leave but not before looking me square in the eye and saying, "You are so strong. Strong enough to be these sweet babies mother." It meant the world. My friends here have been one of the biggest blessings and I could not have gotten through all this without them constantly reaching out. They have opened up their homes and their families to include us and it has given us a little piece of home here in Upstate New York. 

To Sophie and Lincoln's therapists, also known as my dear friends. Thank you for your service and support this year. You have each done something for my children that I could not do myself and I will be eternally thankful. 

To my Catts family (whom I am often terrible at calling back) thank you for forcing me to break my silence, keep in touch, and always doting on my sweet babes. I often don't deserve the gracious love you offer. Thank you for Danny and giving him a place to lean when I don't have the strength to do it myself. 

To my sweet siblings. There are no words. I have never felt so loved as I did in the darkest moment of my life when only you guys were there, sitting in the living room helping me carry the burden of a lifetime. I love you each for your individual strengths and as a whole for the strength we find as a family. 

To my goodly parents. Who have gone above and beyond this year to help our little family. I know there is a debt we will never be able to repay and I thank you from the bottom of my heart for always being so willing to give. I can never explain how much I love you. For helping me become who I am, for being the role models of a lifetime, for teaching me to be a mother, for taking care of my sweet children, for loving my husband as your own, and for holding me together when I had absolutely no power to do so. You are the foundation on which all my happiness is built upon. And I am so, so grateful. 

To my baby sister. I hope you know. What we went through together this year will be the cherished memory of my life. And of all the struggle, you were ten times the strength. You saved me. You, sweet girl, are the definition of empathy. 

To the sweetest man I will ever know. I find myself in a giant hole with no way out. No way to repay what you have given of yourself this year. Thank you for never expecting me to, for loving me with no strings, no point keeping. You have loved me in a way that shakes me to my core and in a way I never knew there was a capacity for. Thank you for holding us, and this little family, together when everything could have so easily fallen apart. To be your wife, is the greatest blessing the Lord has ever afforded me. 

7.18.2014

Girl's Weekend

My besties flew out at the end of June to spend a little time with me and the babes. We ended up taking a last minute trip into the city, which ended up super fun and very eventful. Brittan and Selaina are those friends that months or years can pass but nothing changes. And for that I am grateful.

We took the train into the city, which was so fun. I've been really wanting to take the train so I'm happy to have that checked off. We found a hotel, rode the hop-on-hop-off bus, took a ride on a ferry out around the Statue of Liberty, walked around Central Park, wandered through the MET, walked through a flee market in the village, spent some time in the Natural History Museum, and found a few good eats in between.

We had a little string of bad luck this trip:
First, our tour bus hit a huge sign on a building, almost taking down the guy in front. But the driver just kept going like it was so big deal, even though the sign was bent over into the street. Good 'ol NYC. 

Second, we were on the ferry and as it was trying to back out to start the tour it ran into the side of the dock building. It bent the hand railing around the top of the boat, shattered the glass on the building and almost killed a little Japanese family. Is it horrible that we were laughing hysterically?

Lastly, our hotel. I mean booking online is always a gamble but this was bad. The pictures looked nice, it was a good deal and was only 15 minutes away from Central Park. Long story short, the room had two doors. One into the hall and one into a tiny little closet. Meaning no bathroom! It was a communal share with one tiny bathroom for the entire floor. While at the hotel that night (around 9 o'clock) there was another group of girlfriends all trying to use the bathroom as we were trying to get ready for bed. Seliana wanders back into the hotel and me and Brittan are laying on our bed in pajamas and says, "Hey guys, I guess we could go out if you wanted to...". A moment of silence and then we all look at each other and start laughing our heads off. Like the idea of three 25-year-old girls in NYC going out after 9PM was the funniest thing we had ever heard. And frankly, it was. 


 ^^^ On the bus tour

 ^^^ A few of the city from the ferry. The 911 Memorial building is so pretty!

  

  
^^^On the MET steps (just like BW), and the huntress in action.

 ^^^I will officially list the MET as one of my top ten favorite places in the world. I seriously loved this day so much! I had been before but this trip we weren't rushed and I just soaked it in.

^^^The MET rooftop. So, so beautiful.

I think I have officially done the majority of the touristy things in NYC. I'm excited to go back again and feel like I can go at a slower pace and appreciate some of the smaller, local things. For example, one morning we stopped at a little bakery (just a block from the MET) called EAT. BEST BREAKFAST OF MY LIFE. Seriously, I loved it. We also hit up a little pizza place that was good and stopped by the Shake Shack by the Natural History Museum. The food was yummy but I didn't dig the ice cream like people rave about.

Basically, my experiences in NYC this trip come down to this:
- Go to the MET!! Be willing to take the time to enjoy it and not just rush through to see the big ticket items. We had so much fun!
- The Natural History Museum is LAME. Like lame. And in my opinion, not taken care of very well. IT needs a serious update.
- The hop-on-hop-off buses are great if you are going to stay on them for the whole tour and then be done. They are not great for transportation as the buses are often full so you have to wait forever to get on again, and the stops are not always close together. And I would definitely only suggest these for really warm weather.
- Don't EVER buy a pretzel from a street vendor. Horrible.
- Use Air BNB in advance for a hotel. Much better bang for your buck. One of my girlfriend's from NY was there the same weekend as us and she paid less, was closer to everything and the apartment was amazing. Our hotel booked online, not so much.

Thanks girls for coming all the way to Albany to see us. It was so great to spend time with you!

7.17.2014

Grandma & Grandpa Adventures

My parents came to visit our little family back in May. We had so much fun and the littles ate up all the attention. Sometimes it feels so strange to have the people you love most be so far away from your daily life. My mom, who I talked to constantly, knows everything about me. But there are little details about daily life that you just don't know unless you live near each other. So it was really wonderful to get to explore a few places together, show them some of our favorite things about our little city of Troy, and let them be a part of Lincoln and Sophie's day to day.

It was also great that my parents trip overlapped with my brother and his family so we got to spend one Saturday with so many loved ones. We took everyone to the farmer's market in Troy (my most favorite thing!), over to Washington Park in Albany, drove around our favorite parts of the city and got some yummy food at our favorite Indian place.

We went to Manchester, Vermont while my parents were here and found a new favorite. Ponce, is a little cafe near the outlets for anyone that ever visits there - this is a must! Lake George was another stop we took with my parents that was a lot of fun. It was before summer season officially began so it was nice to wander around before it got super crowded.

Last but certainly not least, we spent a couple of days in Boston! I LOVE Boston. Like LOVE it. It is my perfect city. I am keeping my fingers crossed we get to live there one day. We hit up the freedom trail for the day and had so much fun. I was so impressed by how good the twins did and loved sharing a little bit of the east coast with my parents.

  


  
 ^^^ Little Italy is maybe my favorite part of Boston

 

  
 ^^^Taking a break while eating yummy treats from Mike's Pastry

^^^Just kidding. The harbor is my favorite part of Boston!

  
 ^^^Are they not the cutest things ever?

^^^My mom is the best.

  

^^^This is a picture of me in front of Anne Hutchinson's house that is now a Chipotle. I did my senior thesis on Anne Hutchinson, and Danny's favorite restaurant of ALL TIME is Chipotle. When Danny saw it, he said, "Holy cow! Our two great loves combined!"

I'm basically obsessed with Boston. The red brick + the history + the water = perfection!

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