Saturday, May 9, 2015

A full heart

As I've pondered on the celebration of mothers coming up, I've been filled with feelings of gratitude.  How did I get so lucky?  and why the heck do I feel so frustrated some days?? It's true, I'm human. I get annoyed with the day to day routine sometimes and there are days when I feel the burden of parenthood more than anything else.  But as I woke up to Vivienne tickling my toes this morning, I felt a peaceful feeling- one which I've had often and wish I could never forget- of being grateful for being a mother.
Last weekend at the Wooden Shoe Tulip Festival
This gratitude really begins when I think of my own mother.  She is so amazing.  I know I tested her patience growing up from throwing tantrums as a child to bleaching my hair blonde without asking for permission (I looked terrible, by the way).  But as I look back, I can't remember a time when my mother was so upset with me that she told me something to hurt my feelings or to shame me.  She was just always there to support me. I am grateful for the life lessons she has taught me, her willingness to give her children everything that was possible and to make sure we had rich experiences growing up. I am grateful for her strength during trials and to see the positive attitude she has each and everyday.  Her motto has always been to not be downtrodden about things out of our control.  If we can't do anything about it, then it's time to move on and keep working.  I love her stories about growing up in Myanmar and to hear about her industrious family, working so hard to get to the states and to start a new life in the US.  She inspires me day to day to be a better mom and to work hard to give my everything to my own children.
Christmas 2014
I also think about my sweet mother in law, who raised five kids and taught them all valuable lessons day to day. I am grateful for the lessons she taught Carl through growing a garden, canning fruits and vegetables, and even sewing.  She taught him to be kind and to be a gentleman, to serve others in whatever way he could.  He has treated me like a queen since I've known him and makes me feel like the most drop dead gorgeous person that ever existed. I am grateful for the friendship my mother in law and I have. I love to sit and chat with her and I love how giving she is of her time.  She has shown me that motherhood can strengthen a woman and that it can extend beyond being a parent- mothers can be the best of friends too.  All her children are such good people with good hearts full of kindness and love.  They definitely learned this not only from being threatened to be knocked in the head with a 2x4 (haha!), but by example.

I got married when I was 19, which I realize is incredibly young, but it has been the best decision I've ever made.  Carl has been an inspiring person to spend night and day with and has helped me to become the mother I really wanted to be so very much. We decided to grow our family a few years later and I have found now that that decision was also a choice to grow myself.  I am a changed person because of my children.  I am grateful for the lessons they teach me in looking for the joy in the simple things like the excitement over an ice cream cone or building a block tower taller than themselves.  I wish I could bottle up that pure joy and breathe it in whenever I'm frustrated that I've asked Ezra to put his shoes on for the umpteenth time or when Vivienne decides that coloring her hand and the couch with a sharpie is a good idea.  It helps to take time and ponder the joyful things though and I will be making more of a conscious effort to remember these things.  May we all have more gratitude in our hearts for the people who have made us mothers. Happy Mother's Day!

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Back Better Than Ever!

christmas 2014

After having a nice texting chat with my sister-in-law a few weeks ago, I decided that it was time to jump back into blogging.  Sure, I've been busy, but it's not like I'm trying to make a career out of this! I blog for enjoyment and to keep those who are interested in my life- namely a few friends and family- up to date on the happenings of our life.  Also, it's a great record keeper- I'm basically writing my family bible. Ha. But really, I used to be into journaling so that I wouldn't "forget a moment" and that fizzled out once I got married. Whoops. A lot of precious moments forgotten I guess.

What the heck are we all up to now? Well, we are still in Oregon! Yay.  I love it here.  I miss my dear friends and ward in Wisconsin, but Oregon is wonderful in every way- close to the mountains, ocean, beautiful weather, and best of all- close to family.  I never thought we would be homebodies, but it has been a blessing to be close to both our families for once.  We live with my in-laws (how much closer can we get?? hahaha) and Carl's siblings are all within an hour's drive.  There are aunts, uncles, and cousins every which way we look because something about this Leder family keeps everyone in the same area, many in the same town, for generations.  My parents, sister, and brother-in-law, are only a mere 9-1/2 hour drive down south- only a 1-1/2 HOUR plane ride! It has also been wonderful for our kids to be so close to their cousins.  I love seeing Ezra and my nephew play and use their imaginations together. 

Makes you think National Geographic cover, right??
Little miss Vivienne just turned 3! Full of sass, attitude, and an unbelievable talent to be so adorable all at once- we sure are glad to have Vivi in our family! I can hardly believe that she's 3 already... and that I have a third baby on the way! Eek!
Vivienne's favorite..

  • color is purple
  • food is cucumbers and pickles. Oh and goldfish. duh.
  • beverage is chocolate milk
  • activity is playing in water (endless bathtime, sprinklers, the sink...)
  • show/movie are my little ponies and the book of life
  • book is "where's spot?"

She is a master of getting under Ezra's skin and making sure all the attention is on her. She loves to have the spotlight! She is our big talker.  I can hardly remember a time when she wasn't talking now.  She was an early bloomer when it came to talking! We thought she was an early bloomer when it came to using the potty, since she started wearing undies at around 18-20 months, but that has been a 1+ year process.  I guess some parents claim their children are potty trained when they use the potty 50% of the time, but until my kids are 100% day potty trained, I claim almost potty trained. So, as of one week now, she is 99% day potty trained! I'll take it. Potty training is my least favorite parenting venture.

Ezra is in preschool and a teacher's pet- they all love him! Unfortunately, preschool takes a lot of his time and energy, so come the end of the day, we have noticed a lot more attitude from our little guy. Nonetheless, he is such a good kid! I love this kiddo.  He will be so good with the new baby! I love his imagination and expressions.  This kid is so outgoing and social.  I never have to worry he won't make friends. We decided to "homeschool" him for kindergarten this upcoming year.  I say "homeschool" because I enrolled him in the Oregon Virtual Academy (ORVA) which is through  It is essentially public school brought to your home.  So, I'm not coming up with my own curriculum, but I do have a lot more active role in instruction and support.  We weren't really sure where we would end up after Carl and I graduate, and enrolling him in public school has been up for debate since we started having kids, so I figured, why not just try "in-between homeschooling" and see how he does? The one thing about Ezra's preschool is that I don't feel like he has been challenged enough.  I like the idea of him attending kindergarten for 2-4 hours a day so that we have more time to do activities he really wants to do like gymnastics or going to museums. And if I completely fail at this, at least it was just kindergarten. Ha! Good plan, I know.

my favorite 2014 picture!
Carl is doing great.  I am so proud of this guy. PA school has been crazy hard with long hours, but I'm so glad it's only a 26 month program, ending in July!! Carl has completed clinical rotations in family medicine, cardiology, women's health, internal medicine, and now currently emergency medicine.  I don't know how he does it some days! We have had good years and rough years, but 2015 is beginning to feel a little too good with all sorts of prayers answered.  No complaints here though, we are happy to be out of the mud for a bit!

I can finally see a time in our life where there is a solid plan and no moving to a new state.  I have loved our moving adventures over the last 7 years, seeing our country from coast to coast and getting to know people from all walks of life.  It has been a blessing.  Not many people can say they've lived in 7 states (13 moves? I keep losing count) in 7 years.  But- I am glad to say we are settling down in Oregon.  This is our home now.  Carl received two job offers this week, so we definitely will be staying in the area! That is probably are most exciting news!

I am surviving most days :) 26 is not very old, but something about have two kids and a baby on the way has aged my body. I guess I need to actually try harder to get back into tip-top shape after this baby is born.  This baby is very active and kicks me hard every hour.  The pregnancy has been quite different than my other two, namely the morning sickness for the first 20 weeks.  I am grateful for zofran but grateful to not be dependent on it any more.  I've actually had sciatic pain too- I can now relate to other moms in that matter.  It hurts a LOT.  My abdomen grew very quickly as well, so I have many more stretch marks than before. We are stoked to meet our tie-breaker in July though! Either way, baby girl or boy will be adorable and loved :)

This is my last and final semester as well! I am beyond excited to never go back to school if I don't want to.  I am glad to be finishing my BSN though.  It just needed to be done.  Overall, I'd say the workload hasn't been too horrendous and this semester is my (thankfully) lightest one, with only one class at 3.0 credits.  I took 9 credits in the fall and 7 credits last semester.  There is some busy work, but I'm at a point where I could care less if I get an A anymore. It's funny the things that used to matter don't really mean anything anymore.  I was working to get an A again last semester and was doing well until the last three weeks of the semester when I thought, "what am I trying to prove?" I knew I could do it, but why did I want it? Just to say "Boom! I got straight A's!" ? So I skipped all of my last few busy work assignments and received a beautiful B.  It was the best way to end my semester!

I hope you all are doing well! I look forward to chronicling our life more in upcoming months! We've had a trip to Spain, grandparent visits, and all sorts of fun :)

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Ezra starts (pre)school!

Right around my last post, we had made the decision to move back West to Oregon so that we could be closer to family, hence the 3 month hiatus. I can't promise I'm going to be a regular blogger this year as I have also just started working on my BSN degree again, but I will certainly try to catch up on important details of our life such as Ezra's birthday, moving (including all our stops along the way!), life in Oregon, and Ezra starting school.

Yeah! My boy just started pre-k on the 16th! I'm pretty excited because it is similar to where he was going to go in Wisconsin. I was so excited for him when he got accepted into the Spanish immersion program in Milwaukee and fairly bummed when I didn't think he'd be going to preschool, but then I came across the pre-k here and it's almost exactly the same- dual language, half day, 5 days a week. Ezra has looked forward to starting school for awhile now, but has felt shy right before going into the class and when I pick him up. His teacher says he's been great in class and participates in the lessons and activities, but he tells me "I'm shy right now" when I ask him about school (Katie L., he likes to say "I'm shy, just like Ellie." sometimes too! Cute :). We're just rollin' with it. Overall, he's loving it!

Anyway, he's in afternoon class so the morning before we left, we did a little photoshoot:

School?? say it ain't so, mama!

Will they let this pretty face in school?? please???!
hugging, I promise. NOT choking. hahaha

Mom, what do I do? I just decapitated Princess Jasmine...

Who does this cool dude look like? Pretty even split between Carl and I here.

I used to hate sibling kissy kiss pictures, but Vivi loves to smooch everyone on the lips. 

 And guess what, my first-day-of-school sign is fake. Maybe you could tell, maybe you couldn't.
Ma, why am I holding a picture of grandma case?

Hope to update more as we are getting fairly settled here. Plus we have a horse. What?!


Tuesday, June 17, 2014

zumba zumba yeah

I'll admit that I have always loved old-school rap and good song to dance to, but something about participating in Zumba has intimidated me. It's probably because there's a whole lotta booty shaking and well, to be perfectly honest, I don't have a lot to shake. Nonetheless, I have felt like a superstar three days a week since January this year:

I know I am not alone when it comes to feeling like a star at Zumba- everyone in my class gets into it and smiles through the hour long performance cardio workout. Yes, I know I really actually look like this:

but- it is so much fun. I mean, I have never enjoyed a true cardio workout like this. I finish the class smiling though I have sweat marks on my back, pits, chest, and have a bright rosy face shining in sweat. I guess it's almost empowering- it's ok to totally get into the rhythm while pretending to be Shakira and let loose! As an added bonus, I burn almost 400 calories every class! Fair warning- not all Zumba classes are created equal. My instructor, Galina, is truly the superstar. I think it helps that she was a belly dancer, so her choreography is amazing. Plus she's Bulgarian, which makes her automatically cool.

one of these days I'm going to become a Zumba instructor...

Now get off your bum, join a Zumba class, and shake dat thang like there's no tomorrow!

Well, our life has suddenly become a little crazier in the last few weeks. I don't feel like today is the day to delve into the details, so instead, I will just let you know that the kids are growing up way too fast and Carl is halfway done with PA school- starting clinical rotations this fall! Until next time,


Wednesday, May 21, 2014


Two weeks ago, my day started off lovely. It was a Thursday and Ezra was just starting to feel better and the weather was cheery, so we went on a walk:

See, shorts, romper, outside. Nice. 

We walked back to our apartment where, without any notice, I felt quite ill and feverish. So I spilled my guts, curled up on the couch and pitifully begged Carl to come home from studying his finals to watch the kids who were gorging themselves with chips and endless amounts of movies. For a day it seemed as if my sore throat would be tolerable and that the illness symptoms would be gone within a day or two. Lies, it stayed a week, improving by Monday evening. You see, the children kindly passed on Hand, Foot, and Mouth disease to me. By the way, this sounds way more disgusting and dangerous than it really is, but it's just a virus. A horrible one, but just a virus seen more commonly in children. 

Read here for more info and don't believe the part that says adults may not even get symptoms. Lies again. 

My symptoms included ulcer-like sores in my tonsils and throat, swollen hands and feet accompanied by "polka dots" as Ezra endearingly called them. 

Those hands are now peeling. Awesome. Nonetheless, I'm glad to be able to eat now and to be use my hands again, not to mention not feeling like a leper anymore.

On the bright side, I went to an urgent care on Mother's Day and I got hooked up with good drugs, including one called Magic Mouthwash. Serious. It was indeed magical. 

It's great to be back and healthy again. I'm toying with posting from my phone (not gonna lie, my thumb typing is pretty fast and amazing) more often. The picture qualities won't be as great but I think you will hear about our lives a bit more frequently. Until next time,


Wednesday, April 30, 2014


For starters, please watch this short video:

I love it. It's the reason we celebrate Easter- the resurrection of Jesus Christ! I love how short and sweet it is.

Our Easter Sunday was quite relaxing. The weather was gorgeous finally (and lasted that day only, mind you). We took the opportunity to ride our bikes in the morning and even got to take family pictures finally. I love the camera remote I use. I would much prefer being behind a camera to take pictures, but this handy little tool is much easier than running back to my place in the picture with the 10 second timer on and then holding my smile until the camera clicks. Here are our pictures:

so many shots of  us and only the first picture shown is the winner. With editing of course. Can you see what was photoshopped in it? I'll show you at the end.

 I love how Viv looks like she's pondering the universe here with her handsome daddy

baby Gap?

she loves to smash her nose to ours during eskimo kisses

this was so frustrating to take because they kept shaking those dang baby trees hahaha

I didn't even ask them to do this! They are just natural hams.

 he can be such a GQ poser and goob!

always love an action shot

 and here I had to opportunity to hone my photoshopping skills:
head transplant!
special thanks to Grandma Leder for Vivienne's Easter dress :)

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Warming right up.

4th of July 2013
 Is anyone else extremely excited for summer? I am. I cannot wait for the sun, warmth, bike rides, water play, and happiness that is associated with being outside! I get the worst winter blues and as I've complained previously, this winter has been the worst. Stopping at that. Look at the next few days:

While Monday is not ideal, I'm still quite pleased with the lack of snow and freezing temperatures we had been experiencing. We don't have any summer plans so far for Carl's 3 week break in August. We have toyed with the idea of camping across the Midwest heading West for 2 weeks so that we can visit family. But, that seems overwhelming with the kids and a lot to plan. Other possible plans are:

- hold a multi-family garage sale to get rid of crap (our junk, your treasure!)
- visit some more of the East/South, like Tennessee, Kentucky, DC and NYC. Perhaps the Carolinas. We are not sure when or if we will ever be this close to the East again and there are states to be visited!
- stay home. Requires no planning and just being a homebody, enjoying local eats and events.

After this summer, Carl will begin his clinical portion of PA school! It's exciting to only have a year of school from that point on. I can't believe the school years are coming to an end. Speaking of school, exciting news for me.... *drumroll*

I just registered to finally finish my Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) online with BYU-I! I have four nursing classes and one non-nursing course- it will only take three semesters! So technically, I will graduate at the same time as Carl ha! I started it with BYU-I shortly after graduating AND having Ezra, but I deferred because I was trying so hard to find a job and moving all around was tough too. While it was a bit disappointing to stop, I'm glad I did because I gained valuable experience in my professional career while not having to sacrifice much family time. It's been even tougher trying to decide when to go back to school though. I'll tell you this- it does not get easier as the years go by. I have been an RN for 4 years now and there hasn't really been a "perfect" time to return. I think if we didn't have any plans to have any more babies, then I would have waited until both kids were in school, but we don't plan to stop at two :)

Moving on, we have more future planning in the works- I promise to get around sharing one of these days. As for now, I'm going to enjoy this "heat wave!"