Friday, September 11, 2015

Half a year already?!

Luke is now 6 months old! Yikes! That seems kinda crazy to me. Things have been so busy that time is flying. So, whats new with Luke? BIG full belly giggles now. They are the BEST. He is very ticklish we have found. He can't stop laughing when we poke his chest or squish his inner thigh :) He also tried his first solid food that night! He downed the rice cereal like a pro. He also started rocking on his hands and knees the end of last month and then just a week later started doing half crawl/scoots. We are in trouble now... we have spent lots of time at parks lately(Iowa summer weather is uh-mazing) so I thought I would give a park swing a whirl. He loved it. So much that he decided to give the swing a taste test. GROSS! LOL. I very quickly removed him from the swing and then contemplated how to best disinfect his mouth ;) It was funny.  And traumatizing for me..lol. He had his first sickness this month. Boooo. Fever and congestion/runny nose. It was so sad! Luckily it didn't last long and he was a trooper. Thank you big brothers for sharing the "love" ;) Or maybe it was that nasty swing...we'll never know...happy half a year Luke!






Sunday, September 06, 2015

Ammon is the big FIVE!

Ammon has been counting down the days until his 5th birthday. Its a big one because for the past year he has been asking me when he would start school and I always told him when he turned 5 he would(September birthday so he will be an older kindergartener next year). So he was BEYOND excited to be a five year old! It meant he was a big kid. He just could not wait to start school and learn. He is a smart kid and has been ready! For his special day, I looked online to see what fun places were nearby where we could celebrate. I found this place called Monkey Joe's that looked fun-one of those indoor bounce house places. We ate pizza there as a family and then the kids ran wild. They were a hot sweaty mess by the time it was all over :) Those places are the perfect place to let kids burn off some energy.  Ammon had the best time. They all did. We then headed back home for the "party." Ammon had seen advertisements recently for a video game called Skylanders. They've actually been out for several years but he had never heard of them until now(when he is finally an age where he would care:) He thought they looked SOOO cool. So when he saw that the grocery store made Skylanders cakes thats what he requested(along with the Skylanders video Wii game for his present) He was wowed by the cake(thanks again Hyvee:) and his wishes were granted. He got the game :) Its one of those games designed to addict children(you have to buy figurines, put them on this little portal for them to come to life in the game, and you have to keep buying the toys to keep going..its smart alright.) This  made us a little bit leery about getting the game but we have very strict rules about video games. They can only play on Saturdays, rarely during the week if ever. I refuse to have kids that are addicted to TV/video games/their phones. So as long as we have ground rules established, things are good. They know what to expect. And so far(as I'm writing this in the future:) its going really well. We also bought him a new Skylanders backpack to take on his first day of school which was coming up. He loves it. Thankfully I found him a great preschool! I had a hard time finding one with openings and was starting to worry my little guy wouldn't get to start, but hooray, I found one. And I'm really happy with what I've seen so far. Great people there and a great program.

Ammon, you are such a special kiddo. You have this thirst for knowledge that I love. You ask so many smart questions about how things work. You love to look through our picture encyclopedias. You love to read our Dick and Jane books and are getting so good at reading. You can even add! The other day you had written on a piece of paper 5+5=10 and when I asked you how you knew that you said you just thought of it in your head :) I haven't even taught you what a plus sign is I don't think! You must've picked it up from your sisters. Or I like to think you are just a genius ;) You are a very kind and friendly boy that everyone loves. You are friends with everyone. You have always been our least shy one it seems. Never had a problem going off to nursery as a little one. You have always been excited and eager to meet new friends and to learn and grow. I know you'll do great on your first day of preschool! You have always been excited when its your turn to do scripture or prayer in primary. Or do your part in the Primary Program. You love the microphone! :) You can be nervous/timid about physical things though..like riding a bike or skating..or climbing on things. But I think its because you are a thinker and you have a little bit of your mama in you :) You are deep in thought a lot, which also makes you very thoughtful and caring. You are so loving and still want to marry me(look out Joey!)...I am going to miss these days so much someday when you are grown into a young man. I just want to stop time and hold on to my handsome little boy forever! We love you so much and hope your 5th birthday was everything you had hoped it would be!!!! Happy Birthday!


 Oh, and I forgot to mention these pretty awesome masks everyone wore. They are Skylanders characters of course...





























Tuesday, September 01, 2015

I'm 35 which means I'm approaching 40 now..hooray...

I didn't care about turning 30. But 35 was different. It meant that I was on the downhill(in my 30s) to 40! 40 just sounds so awful! And I just don't even feel that I act, think or look like a 40 year old. And I hope I never do :) Hehehe. My birthday was just another miserable day in this apartment that I loathe. Haha. Joey didn't have any vacation days yet. So I just was up and down stairs with the little guys to get kids to and from places which has been really hard. And I've been having to go downstairs to take Zac potty too. And not having a dryer that dries clothes is awful when you have the amount of clothes I have to wash(the dryer literally took 2 hours to dry a small load..) And then stuck in the apartment going crazy as the boys had no room to play and no backyard. Every day was a battle to keep Wesley from jumping off of stuff. I have been getting very angry, very often :/ And then I asked Ella to make my birthday cake..she didn't really want to..and then when she did she forgot an ingredient and it turned out well, not very cake like, lol. So we didn't have a cake. So, the day kinda felt like a mess! But then Joey talked me into going out to dinner, even though I was in such a bad mood. Gosh, I was a big baby. I was talking like I didn't even want to do anything. I'm glad we went though because dinner was great. We enjoyed the meal and were even brought sopapillas and ice-cream(not just for me, but for everyone) for free for my birthday(along with a birthday song sang to me there:) They really went all out for us! Then we came home and the fam sang to me with a piece of cake and a candle and I was able to open lots of sweet heartfelt gifts. The day ended up ending nicely and I went to bed feeling loved. Thanks Joey for making sure I ended up having a great evening when I just wanted to go to bed and forget I even had a birthday :) I love all of you so much! I wouldn't have wanted to ring in 35 with anyone else.

















Yeah, I'm so cool.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

1st Day of School 2016

I'm not sure who was more anxious about the kids first day of school this year-me or them! Sending them to school in a new place is scary. Oh man did I stress. I'm thankful that we went under contract with a home(more on that in another post!) quick so we knew which schools to enroll them in. I did not want them to have to change schools mid-year. We got everything done just in time! We didn't have much time between arriving and school starting to figure it all out but we did. I got them all registered at the right places, found all of their supplies, and bought them all new clothes before the big day. Cali is young enough to where it didn't seem like a huge deal to her. We went to Meet the Teacher night and that really calmed any nerves she might have had. Her teacher is SO nice and was extremely welcoming to her. Cali seemed excited for the first day so that was great! She can make friends with kids in one second :) Aubrey had met a girl at church, Rachel, that went to her school and was the same grade as her so she knew she would have that familiar face(and that they could sit together at lunch too). That gave her confidence and by the time the first day of school came, she didn't seem too nervous at all. She also knew a couple of other 9th graders from church that would also be in the same building(they have 8-9 together here, kinda weird!)So, she knew a few girls that were all very friendly to her and that made her feel good about it. Ella was the one I stressed out about the week before. She hadn't met anyone yet that was in her grade at the same school.  I worried mostly about lunch..I kept imagining her not having anyone to sit by or talk to. And she isn't the most outgoing kid, though she is nice and friendly. She just isn't the type to just go up to someone and start talking to them. She was really feeling anxious and worried.

So I prayed..and prayed..and prayed  for her. I remember the Saturday before praying for a miracle, praying for someone to be at church the next day that she hadn't met yet or for somehow everything to be okay. Well at church I walked over to a girl(she looked Ella's age but wasn't in her church class...which I knew didn't necessarily mean she wasn't in her grade because of the way the church sets up the classes) and asked her what grade she was going into and stuff like that since Ella wouldn't :) The primary 1st counselor had told me that this young lady (Emily) might be in her grade. Turns out, she was. She and Ella talked for about ten seconds which wasn't what I had hoped for but at least, I told Ella, there was a face that she would know at school. She felt a little bit better but not much. I had also been told about another girl, Alyssa, that might be in her grade but that their family was out of town. Anyways, that afternoon I was still feeling worried for Ella as she still seemed worried. Then, I received a phone call from an unknown number and when I answered there was a sweet woman's voice on the other end that said something like, "Hi, I'm Teresa and I'm in your ward at church! Our family has been on vacation and we just got back and found out that you have a daughter our daughters age and that they'll go to the same school together. We would love to come over and meet you this afternoon if thats ok. We have a treat to bring your daughter too." I almost cried. I was so excited! Within half an hour we were talking to this family in our parking lot(as they are a big family with seven kids that wouldn't even fit in our apartment with us:) Their daughter was so sweet(their whole family was!) and I couldn't believe the inspiration that Teresa had to come over and do this. I know she must've been SO busy. 7 kids and they had literally just gotten home from a vacation just one day before school started. But I know she must have followed a prompting from the Spirit to do this. She answered my prayers that day(and I'm sure the prayers of Ella as well). That night all three of my girls were excited to start their new schools. I know Heavenly Father listens to the prayers of a mother pleading for her child. This was a testimony building experience for me on the power of prayer. It was also a teaching moment for me and my children on how He answers our prayers and how sometimes He answers them through others. We always have to be living in a way to where the Spirit can guide us not just for ourselves but to help others too. All 3 of them did have a wonderful first day and I was so grateful for it! I also have to say that the night before Joey gave them all father's blessings(even the boys..even Luke..and even me as I was needing a blessing myself:) I'm so so grateful to have a husband that has the priesthood and honors it.

Joey took these photos at our apartment complex that morning...they have some really beautiful weeping willows that made a unique background for their photo shoot. I think these might be my favorite back to school photos ever! We have three beautiful girls, inside and out.

Aubrey, 8th grade





Ella, 6th grade




 Cali, 3rd grade







Thursday, August 27, 2015

Made it here! And Happy 3rd Birthday Wesley!!!

So, we made it to Iowa :) It was a LONG trip. And when we arrived at midnight, it was pouring rain. And the garage we had been promised wasn't available. So, poor poor Joey offloaded a ton of it in the cold rain so that our valuables wouldn't just be sitting out in a parking lot. And then he did more in the morning with no help. Oh, and did I mention we were on the second floor?  He was exhausted! I don't know how he did it, though I'm not surprised as he has crazy strength. Like HULK strength :) He didn't even have a place to park the cars/trailer that night as all the spots were full. It was a mess. I didn't help a ton with that because, well, I had all the kids and was getting them all in bed and the baby nursed/in bed. So, our arrival wasn't picture perfect. I do remember once we laid in bed thinking, whoa, did we just do all that?! And falling asleep in seconds. We were just exhausted. yet, made it to church in the morning as it was a HUGE priority to me for the girls especially to go and meet some people before school started. School was starting just a couple of weeks later!

So, just a few days after our big move, we were able to celebrate our little Wesley's 3rd birthday. He told me he wanted a trains cake(well, he pointed to that one in the cake book;) so I ordered one from Hyvee(a really awesome grocery store here in Iowa that I'm diggin). We spent a really fun evening out at Chuck E Cheese. The younger kids(heck, all of us) had a blast. It had been a long time since we had gone to one so it was exciting to the little boys especially. Wesley was running around and having a grand ole time :) Chuck E Cheese was where I had LOTS of birthdays as a kid. I have so many memories of running from that big scary mouse(ok, mostly having fun;). But my kids aren't quite as scared as I was thankfully. We've had our share of kids scared of him, but the boys got over it quick. Wesley even gave him a high five! And if you know our family/kids, thats a miracle :) They've changed the "look" of Chuck E to where he isn't as big and intimidating. I approve. When we got home, we sang him Happy Birthday, ate a yummy cake(not made by me hallelujah, I couldn't handle that that week:) and watched him very excitedly open his gifts..cards and candy from the girls, a robot and train from us and lot of other fun things from extended family. He had a great night. Its so fun to create these memories and fun for your kids.

Wesley, you are a busy brave energetic kiddo! You are determined to do the things you want(and while that is hard right now..I know it will serve you well someday;) You love to jump off things which I'm sure our downstairs neighbor LOVES, haha. You love to climb. You love "treats" and will do anything for gummies or to play with anything with wheels. Or to play on a tablet or phone(you are constantly stealing ours) If we can't find you and you are quiet, you are either 1. Eating candy in a corner or 2. Playing on someones phone in a corner or closet. Sneaky kid. You don't talk much, but we are going to work on that and find you some help soon! You are cuddly and loving. You are becoming a wonderful big brother to Luke. I'm seeing some new qualities come out in you which warm my heart. You pat him softly and put your little arm around him sometimes. You try to show him things. You love your siblings and parents. I know if you have done something wrong and I look sad, you will come and hug me because your little heart is so tender. You are also unusually handsome, which makes it hard when I'm mad and you give me that sweet smile. Your smile and dimples kill me! We love you, Wesley! Happy 3rd birthday little buddy.

We always have the kids stay in a room while we decorate..and then they come out for the big reveal. His little excited shy happy face makes me smile :)