Alright, there is just too many great moments that I want to remember. I HAVE to post a weekly update on our lives and share a few fun stories.
Grace is currently obsessed with Beauty and the Beast. We listen to the music on constant repeat during the day, and whenever we put on a a movie, that is her choice. She has the music memorized, and even sang part of it in the bathtub last night (I will have to try and record it because it is just too cute and writing about it doesn't do it justice.) She even has adopted some of the actions from the movie; right now the most tender thing you can do to show her affection is cup her cheek with you hand because that is what Belle and the Beast do in one of the final scenes.
So it's not surprising that Grace wanted to be Belle for Halloween. She is now obsessed with the Belle costume (which has left an obscene amount of glitter all over my house). She let me pull up her hair like Belle and paint her face with roses and swirls. Madelyn's costume was very last minute, but I think it turned out cute. She was a little lamb, and somehow I learned that she now knows some of her animal sounds. I'd ask her, "What does a sheep say?" and she'd respond with the appropriate, "Baa." With her dressed up, it was one of the cutest moments of the day.
For Halloween we had a casual family party and the house of my Abuelo and Abuela (my grandparents from Cuba). All the great-grandkids were dressed up, and we did a modified version of Trick or Treating in the backyard. The kids ate cupcakes and played with each other. Despite the photo on this post, the kids had a great time; it just is terribly difficult to take a good picture with 4 toddlers and 2 babies. Haha!
Then we went home to see if we'd have any trick or treaters arrive at our house (spoiler alert: we didn't have a single person drop by to ask for candy, but we did have a few very kind neighbors who actually brought over treats for our girls!). Overall, I'd call our Halloween festivities a success. The only downer part was that Andrew and I didn't dress up (which we always do). It just seemed that COVID killed the adult motivation to figure out a costume. Oh well, next year we will have to be better about planning it.
One afternoon while Andrew was at work, I was talking to him on the phone when I realized I could hear Madelyn upstairs. She had crawled all the way up (yes, that's a thing she does now). She had then proceeded to go into our master bedroom and sit just outside the bathroom door to call, "DADA!!! DADA!!!" at the top of her 1-year old lungs. It was hilarious. Apparently, Maddy knows that Daddy likes to spend some time alone on the toilet, and she was determined to find him. Andrew and I both laughed our heads off.
Since we cannot go to church because of COVID-19, we have church in our own home. We have a virtual meeting over zoom with our ward/congregation. We then meet as a family in the living room to partake of the Lord's sacrament. I want to always remember how Grace kneels next to her Daddy as he blesses the emblems of the sacrament. It's something so special that I never would have seen if we had still been meeting in a church building.
Dear Madelyn Estelle,
You are now 1 year old!
Well technically you are now 13 months by the time I am writing this...which actually makes a big difference since so much has happened in your development. You turned 1 with no teeth, but now a short month later you have 4 teeth!!!! They are such cute little chompers, but I have to admit that I loved having you as a gummy baby for so long. You also were very tentative on your feet when you turned 1. But now you can actually stand by yourself! (although you'd still rather hold my hand).
You are such a snuggle bug! You give the best head hugs (imagine how lions hug) and you love to lean in when we hold you. It's the clearest Thank You and I Love You I have ever felt from a little baby. Isn't it amazing that so much can be communicated without words!?
And yet, you despise snuggling before bed. Maybe it's the anticipation of what you know is coming, but you squirm and arch your back, and there have been a few times when Daddy or I have almost dropped you because you move around so much. Again, you clearly communicate that you do not want to go to bed, but luckily you normally fall asleep quickly once we set you down for the night. You were a pretty terrible sleeper up until you were about 9 months old. Then we did some devoted sleep training and you have since mastered sleeping throughout the night.
I was blessed to be able to nurse you this whole first year of your life. It turned into some of my favorite bonding moments with you. Since you are the second child, I have to admit that there have been many moments when I have had my focus on your big sister, Grace. But when I get to feed you before bed or have a quiet moment with you while Grace is playing on her own, I love the special connection I get to share just with you. Through my nursing journey, I have learned a lot about myself. I have learned to be stronger and braver than I was before. So, thank you for letting me nurse you this year.
Now, back to your development. You are starting to say words and repeat sounds with more accuracy. You clearly say Dada, Mama, bye (and you wave your hand), woof (when we ask what a dog says), and bubbles (which is the topic of your favorite book). You love playing hide and seek with Grace, where she hides under a blanket and you pull it off of her. You giggle together and it makes my Mama heart fill up with joy.
Maddy, you are such a light to all those around you. Your Abuelo gushes at your smile, and Auntie Sarah swears you are the cutest baby in the world. Grace gets giddy to see you crawling into her room in the morning, and Daddy melts when you squeal to see him after he returns home from a long day of work. I cherish the way you put your head in the crook of my neck, and am so grateful to be your Mommy. I am so excited to see your continual growth throughout your life.
I love you, baby girl.
My Namma, my Duo, returned home to heaven on August 24, 2020. In the past 6 months, Namma felt great! She had more energy and less pain which meant that we were able to visit more often and even have family gatherings. Then, she quickly declined and within a few days was welcomed back to heaven.
Yesterday we were able to hold a memorial to gather many of her friends and family together. Those who were too far to attend were able to participate virtually through Zoom. We watched a slide show of pictures depicting Namma's life. I was able to share a few words and memories the grandkids have of her. Then her children all spoke: my Uncle Scott, my mom, and my Uncle Erik. At the end, her husband, my Granddaddy, shared some memories too. It was a beautiful day and a beautiful meeting. We all loved Namma so much, and you could tell from those congregated there and the memories they shared that she had a wonderful life, filled with love, friendship, adventures, a little bit of glam and a lot of laughter. She will be fondly missed here on this earth.
I will post my speech below if you care to read it.
My Speech for Namma's Memorial
I am honored to represent all of Namma’s grandchildren. I’m Maichael Macey, Patricia’s first granddaughter and the one who named her Namma for the rest of the posterity. Today I get to share a few cherished memories from some of her grandchildren.
Elizabeth Messinger remembers visiting Namma and Granddaddy in their cabin in Big Bear. She recalls Namma trying to teach her how to knit and letting her try on her big, puffy fur coat. Jonah Messinger also has memories in the mountains. He said “My favorite memory of Namma has to be in big bear before I was probably even 10 years old. My family went with Namma and Granddaddy to the kids pond, just the small body of water they stock with fish. After a little bit of time I began reeling in a fish and Namma was on net duty. When we pulled the fish out of the water, the fish went flopping everywhere. Namma couldn’t get it in the net as it continued to thrash and we heard a “OH S**T!” Me and my sister were young enough to not know the word but, the best part is that my dad was recording the whole thing. He tried to cut it out, but we have a perfect video that cuts just as you hear Namma yell out “OH S-“ We watch that video back every now and again and find it hilarious every time.”
Jacob Mayans thinks fondly on some scrabble games he played against Namma, where she would always come up with the craziest words and we’d have to check in the dictionary to make sure they were legitimate. They always were. And I remember Namma teaching me silly sayings with fancy words so that I could impress my friend’s parents at the dinner table when I’d express that my sufficiencies had been suffonsified and more would be superfluous and utterly detrimental to the interior regions of my gastronomical department. We can all admit that our Namma had a way with words.
Ben Mayans remembers secret stashes of gummy bears to be found in a special drawer at Namma’s house. Ashley Messinger remembers connecting with Namma over a shared love: dancing. She said, “ When I was in college I began learning how to swing dance. It didn't take long for it to become one of my passions. What a sweet surprise it was for me to find out that something that I loved to do was something that Namma and Granddaddy had both loved doing when they were young. Our shared appreciation of dance wove itself into our relationship over the years.”
Some of my personal favorite memories of Namma are on the porch of her house in La Habra. As a little girl, I loved having tea parties and talking in the warm California sunshine with my Duo. When I think of manners, I think of Namma, who taught me how to correctly set a table or how to hold my pinky out while I sipped lemonade in a teacup. I’ve always seen Namma as intelligent, posh, and fun-loving; and as I’ve grown older I loved our conversations over books and family.
To finish up, Sarah Mayans shared a few final bits of wisdom from Namma. She wrote, “I have always aspired to be as elegant, glamourous, and confident as Namma. She wrote me two quotes that I have up on my dorm wall that inspire me and make me laugh all at the same time. One is “If it isn’t illegal, immoral, or way too dangerous, GO FOR IT!”. Classic. The other is “Head up, shoulders back, chest out. Honey, just strut your stuff!” She knew I needed that one. And in my mind, I will always hear her sweet voice saying, “I love you, my Sarah Patricia.” I’m so honored to be able to carry on her name and always have a part of her with me. ”
I think we will all carry Namma with us in the precious memories we have of her and all the wisdom and love she passed onto us. We love you, Namma.
I can't lie, I feel a little overwhelmed blogging since my intention was to write detailed updates on our lives....and that obviously has not happened. So instead of letting the fear of not getting every detail deter me from writing, I am diving in and giving a quick synopsis (as quick as almost 10 months can be) of our lives here in California.
Part 3: Living with my Parents
First, we moved to my parents' home in Yorba Linda. The plan was to be there for no more than 3 months. But then COVID-19 happened and delays in building and we ended up living there until July (7 months total!). Luckily, my parents are amazing. Andrew and I have thanked my parents for being so easy to live with.
Even though it wasn't ideal, I am so grateful for the time we were able to stay with my parents. We created some really beautiful memories. My Namma and Granddaddy lived there with us for 2 weeks while my Granddaddy was recovering from a surgery. I loved being able to talk to my grandparents and have my children grow closer to them. This was an especially tender mercy since my Namma just passed away.
We also spent countless hours with cousins. Grace and Madelyn love being with family, so it was nice living in the hub where everyone would congregate regularly. We'd swim in the pool, watch movies, read books, and share meals together.
And of course, COVID-19 happened. What started as a 2-week shut down quickly turned into months of sheltered isolation. The COVID-19 virus affected the entire world. California's governor issued a temporary lockdown, with the exception of a few essential jobs being allowed to opperate. We were stuck at home, and I still worry for both our health and our economic well being in this country. While this pandemic brought a lot of stress, it was actually a relief to still live in my parents' house and not be alone in my own new home. One thing I especially treasure is the time I got to spend with my sister, Sarah, before she left for college. She is a magnificent young woman and it was fun to see some of her progression into adulthood.
Through all of this, Andrew studied for his real estate license and passed his test. He worked on marketing and learned new skills in photography and website design. This move has paid off and he is so much more content in his work. I was able to work helping my dad and sister-in-law design the sales brochure for the development. It was fun to have a creative outlet and learn new skills myself.
And like I mentioned before, there is just too much to detail, so here is a quick list of all the other things that happened while we were living in Yorba Linda.
Part 4: Our New Home!
So we finally were able to move into our new home in South El Monte in July. The community is called The Horizons, and they are a beautiful collection of 77 3-story townhomes, a kid's play area, BBQ, fire pits, and festival lights over the seating area.
Mind you, we were the first ones to move in, so we are currently just surrounded by construction. :) But that's ok. I am excited to see the community develop and for new neighbors to move in.
I don't know if it is because we are the first one's living here or if it's because my dad is the builder, but I feel a responsibility to set the tone for the development. I want this neighborhood to be filled with love and friendship, so I have taken it upon myself to greet each new move-in with cookies and a personal introduction.
For our own home, we are slowly getting things set up and decorated. We bought new couches....and when they arrived, we quickly discovered that they wouldn't fit up the stairs (our kitchen and living room are on the second floor). Well, good thing my dad is the builder and was willing to go above and beyond; he got a guy to take out our kitchen window and lift our couch to the second floor to fit it through the window. Crazy!!! (Well, I guess we are going to have to sell our couch with this house when we eventually move).
Andrew works on site selling these homes. His commute is a 20 second walk to the sale's office, and we see him often when the girls and I go on walks. Even though COVID-19 has brought many economic challenges, real estate seems to still be going strong. We've had no problem selling these townhomes so far.
In walking distance from our home, we have a park and the county library, but we haven't been able to us the library since it is closed due to COVID-19. Let's be honest...everything in California is closed due to COVID. We got Disneyland passes and a year pass to the LA Zoo when we moved here, but we haven't been able to use them hardly at all!
Anyway, life isn't exactly how we imagined it...but when is it ever the way you planned? We are happy and healthy in our new home. We miss our family and friends in Utah so much, but we hope to get some visitors once California opens up again.
And again, here is a list of other things that have happened while we have been living here:
Grace turns two today.
How do I sum up my little girl?
She's sweet. She's smart. She's spicy and strong willed at times. She is often shy and cautious. She is loving. She is my everything!
Grace is old enough and strong enough to fight me on changing diapers, putting on clothes, or taking a nap. There is a daily fight about something, and it gets exhausting. She is a bit belligerent and will yell "No!" if you look at her when she doesn't want you to. She is definitely a two-year old. However, Grace is also full of love and curiosity.
She loves her baby sister, Madelyn, and always wants to take care of her. If Maddy is crying, Grace is willing to give up almost anything to help her little sister be happy again. She will find a binky, blanket, or toy to give to Maddy to distract her, and she will tell me, "Maddy cry". Grace gets sad when Maddy has to take a nap. On multiple occasions, Grace has snuck up to Maddy's little room while she has been napping. Unaware, I will hear Grace through the baby monitor, "Maddy...wake up..." It's too cute for me to be mad.
Grace loves learning. Right now she is obsessed with puzzles, especially ones that help her practice her colors. She has always been a book girl and loves to sit in my lap hear me read. Recently, she has started mumbling/reading to herself
Grace is a follower. She is cautious in her play when she is on her own, but when her cousins come over, she is much more adventurous as she follows their lead.
Grace is so smart! I love seeing how much she is learning. Grace surprises us every day with new words and knowledge. She can count to 10 in both English and Spanish (almost all by herself). She loves to sing and loves to name the colors. Recently we've discovered that she loves jumping in the pool with her floaties (although her "jumping" is more of a trust fall).
Two is tough already. But it is wonderful as well.
Happy 2nd Birthday, Gracie-bear!!!
Andrew and Maichael
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