Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Grandma comes to town

My momma was able to come and visit us this month! We helped fly her out for a little birthday present so she could spend time with us. She hit the big, um, 30...yeah, that's it :) So we had to do something big! I really wanted to be able to go to Corpus to see her and plan a party there, but with all of the unexpected travel to Corpus this year, Joey didn't have any days left last month to take off. Boo. So we thought the next best thing would be to help fly her up here so we could help her have a second celebration of her thirtieth birthday:) Don't ask how we are the same age. Its magic.


So we picked her up from the airport in the evening and when we came home we threw
her a surprise birthday party. The kids helped me decorate and pick out presents from
the dollar spot at Target. She really was surprised! The kids were so excited to sing to her and give her their presents. They simply adore their Grandma. I do too :)














We did lots of fun things that week at home while she was here! One of the things we did was make flower hair clips. We made like a bajillion. They turned out really cute!







We also worked on a cuh-razy 500 piece puzzle. It was a really hard one that I didn't think we'd be able to finish before she left. But we did...15 minutes before she had to leave! Phew. Just in the nick of time! As you can see, we've been on a puzzle kick lately. Its been a great thing to keep the kids quietly busy during the summer! I bought a box at Wal-Mart of 12 puzzles for only $15!It was worth every buck.

We also took a trip to Grapevine Mills mall to visit the new Legoland Discovery Center & eat at the Rainforest Cafe. We took her to her first In N Out in Allen. And we also spent an evening chillin at the Fountains at Fairview....but that's another post for another day. I'm tired :) Ammon hasn't been sleeping well lately! Good night...





Oh wait, one other thing!!! My blog is nominated as one of the Top 25
Family Blogs on Circle of Moms!
Click the button below to vote for my blog(well, if you like it:)
You can vote once a day for the next 15 days! Please vote for
me yall!
It'd be pretty awesome to be listed among the top family blogs!












Sunday, June 26, 2011

Fail



Our family started a 500 piece puzzle one Sunday afternoon that took us a week to complete. Only to find out in the end that 4 pieces were missing. Just about the suckiest thing ever.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Hiiiiiiiiiii

Last month Ammon started saying "Hiiiiiii" while "waving" his little arm(or both arms sometimes when he is extra happy:). Its been so hard to catch it on film, but I finally caught a little bit of it the other day. I had been gone and I came into the room and he was really happy to see me! Its really cute. . .I thought it might brighten your day like it did mine.



Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Cracklin' dog bran

Cracklin Oat Bran is one of my favorite cereals, second only to Lucky Charms of course:) I treat myself to it every so often. Joey isn't a fan of it and has told me that he thinks it looks like dog food to which I reply something like, "Whatever dude. More for me!" :) Don't diss my cereal man! Anyways, the other day while Cali was at the breakfast table eating her cereal, she looked at my box of Cracklin Oat Bran and said, "Is that dog food?" And I thought for a second, What? How could she look at this box and think it looks like dog food? Was Joey right?! I was feeling a bit confused and also like Joey had triumphed. He was right dangit. If an honest four year old says it, then it must be true. . .I've been eating dog food for years.









Untillllll I walk over and she points to the side of the box. . .


Ohhhhhhhh. :) So I'm glad Joey isn't right. Hehehe. She just saw a picture of a dog on the side. Phew, I can keep on enjoying my cracklin dog er I mean oat bran.



Kelloggs might want to rethink the picture of the dog on the side of the box.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Dang, my kids are lucky. . .

. . .And I am too. Not only is he smart. sexy, and a great hubs, but hes an awesome daddy, the best there is! I've bragged and bragged about how amazing Joey is in a million other posts, so I'll just leave it at that. Hes the best- 'nuff said. Happy Fathers Day to the most important person in my life! And also to my Dad and Father-in-law, Joe. I'm grateful for all you both have done for me and my family. We all love you so so much!


(Joey and the kids after church today. I had looked behind me while I was walking and was wowed by the sight of my five favorite people walking together in their Sunday best. A beautiful sight that I didn't want to forget... so I made them stop and wait in the triple digit heat while I fumbled around with the cell phone and snapped a picture. Hahaha)


Saturday, June 18, 2011

Schools Out!

I meant to post these pictures before the last post. I'm all messed up and out of order right now trying to catch up on things! I just haven't had the time to post as much as I used to...four kids keeps you busy:)

So, the kids last day of school was June 2nd. The last week of school was jam packed with all kinds of fun stuff for the girls. Ella had a "Rumble in the Jungle" day where they did all kinds of animal activities, games, relays and bouncehouses. And Aubrey's grade did a "Fern's Fair"(they read Charlotte's Web this year). Both kids had so much fun and anticipated these events for weeks! They both said they had the best "last week of school ever" :) They were actually sad school was over this year, which made me happy to know that they enjoyed it that much.


I taught Aubrey how to make spider web cupcakes to enter into the fair. They didn't give "1st prize" or anything like that, but I'm sure she would've won :) No, I'm not biased...





The kids all had "jobs" to work at the fair and Aubrey was picked to be a face painter(which she REALLY REALLY wanted!) She was so excited to do this and even practiced on her sisters the day before.


I didn't get more than one picture of Ella at her rumble in the jungle(my hands were so full) but I did snap one ofher creating an animal out of this clay stuff. :) Her favorite station was, of course, the bounce house. What kid doesn't love to bounce in those things. Heck, I do.



While I was up at the school that week I was able to snap a couple of pics of the girls with their teachers. Here is Ella with our beloved Mrs. Gahan (aka the best teacher ever). We love this lady! She has a special gift for teaching. And she just loves our girls. She only had wonderful things to say about both Aubrey(Aubrey had her also) and Ella. She wrote on Ella's report card how she is going to have to steal her from 2nd grade to bring her in to show her new class an example of a hard-working student:) She also gave Ella the "most conscientious student" award this year. She said Ella was always working hard and doing what she was supposed to be doing. Thats our Ella, always busy, always organized, always on top of things! Her teacher also told us she has never seen a child read so much! Its true-Ella devours books. And most of the time, she prefers to read out loud:) She gets REALLY into character. Its really cute. Ella has her own special flair to everything she does.
Aubrey and her teacher, Mrs. Dickson. Mrs. Dickson was super sweet to Aubrey and loved having her in class. She was the teacher Aubrey hoped she would get this year(we seem to always get the best Glen Oaks teachers!) Aubrey did so great this year in school, no surprise of course. We had her tested for the Gifted/Talented program this year and she passed so she will start that in the fall. She also scored amazing high scores on her MAP test, scores the teacher had never seen. And this was also her first year to take the state mandated TAKS test. She missed 1 problem out of the entire test! Crazy!! (There were close to 100 questions. She didn't miss a single problem in the Math section!) We are so proud of her!! And not only is she a good student in class, but outside of class too. She is known for being kind and considerate to others.

Okay, I'll stop bragfest 2011:) I'll end with a couple of pics of the last day of school. The girls with their buds. . .saying goodbye.


Ella & Isabella


Aubrey & Phoebe


But its not goodbye for long, school will be back in session before we know it. Time flies like that. Its nuts. I'll have a 4th grader, a 2nd grader and Cali will start pre-k in the fall!




Tuesday, June 14, 2011

First swim of the Summer

Its Summertime!!! And Summertime in Texas means one thing: swimming. There really isn't anything else you can do outdoors! Its so dang hot here! All I can say is, I am so glad to not be pregnant this summer. I prefer having the baby out to play, rather than in my tummy:) Last Summer was a smidge brutal. So, anyways, these pics are from late last month when we visited our neighborhood pool for the first time this year. It was also Ammon's first experience at the pool ever. He wasn't sure what to think of it all and had a very serious inquisitive little face:) It was so adorable. Watching everything through a babies eyes is so fun. By the second time we visited, he was smiling and splashing like crazy though! Splashing so much he was soaked. He loves the water.. like his Daddy:) We'll make a surfer out of him yet!







I look like a crazy person, but this picture is so cute(of Ammon:) He kept lifting up his little feet!








The girls always have a blast swimming. They were so excited when we told them the pool was open! Aubrey & Ella are awesome swimmers. And we've actually gotten Cali to put her face in a couple of times(which is a first:) so I'm hoping by the end of this Summer she will have overcome those fears more. They are both currently finishing up swim lessons. Aubrey is learning and perfecting new strokes. She just passed Level 4 in one session! Her instructor said she does the butterfly perfectly. Ella is getting awesome at rotary breathing and the backstroke. Her instructors told me today she is the strongest swimmer in her class and will be ready for Level 3 next. And Cali is just having a fun time with water and getting less and less scared of it in her lil swimmers class. Yea!


Love Cali's face in this one. She looks almost as happy as she is when she is holding candy.



Aubrey getting her swim on.

Ella getting ready to jump in. I believe she is surveying which part of the pool is most conducive to canon-balling :)


My boys: tired after a fun day at the pool.


Gosh, they're handsome.




Friday, June 10, 2011

Making a Difference

One of the girls end of school year projects was to "Make a Difference." Aubrey and two of her friends decided to make box braid keychains and sell them with proceeds going towards Japan for Tsunami relief. It was a lot of tedious work to make each keychain but they worked hard at it! They made quite a bit of money and were really proud of themselves. The keychains turned out awesome. Aubrey even made little "Make a Difference" laminated signs on each one and created a powerpoint presentation to show her class. Theirs was even selected as the representative of their class to present at the school's assembly. I was really proud!!




Taking a break and doing a little Wii Sing It :) (fun game btw!)

A few of their finished products




Ella also did this project. Her idea was to do a lemonade stand. We called her little friend Isabella who is in her class to help. They were the cutest little lemonade sellers ever! They also decided to raise money to help with the situation in Japan(American Red Cross is who we donated to). They girls helped make the lemonade and then sold it by our neighborhood pool. They did a super job! And together they created a powerpoint to show the class what they did. They were also the project in their class selected to represent them at the assembly! Wow, I was impressed with these girls and all of their hard work in making a difference!! Their teachers were quite impressed too.


They were simply adorable.


One of their many many sales. A lot of people were thirsty that day!


Break time! Time to run around and have some fun.




Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Off the market

This is long but I wanted to write down this experience for myself and my family(and for anyone that has an extra 30 minutes to spare:). . .

As many of you know, we made the extremely difficult decision to take our house off the market about a week and a half ago. It was really REALLY hard for us to come to that decision. I cried and cried.

Ever since we found out we were having a baby boy last year, I stressed about the room situation in our house. We have a three bedroom home and I had dreamed of decorating a little boys room(surfer/island themed of course:) but with 3 girls and 1 boy, that really couldn't happen. I didn't want to put Cali in the same room as him and decorate it boyish and I refused to put him in a pink room. We finally were having a boy and I wanted him to have his own manly place:) I know many reading this might think, oh well, big deal, have them share rooms. But it was a big deal to me. Having this little boy join our family was a miracle and a huge blessing. And I was so excited to make a place just for him. That pregnancy "nesting" had really kicked in:)

At that time, we couldn't afford to move so we decided to wait until the following Spring(keeping Ammon in a crib in our room until then) to put our house on the market. By then, we had hoped the market would pick up and we would also have more money saved up. That time came, we had the money we had anticipated saving and the market sounded like it was going to be picking up so we did it. It was really exciting! We were having a good amount of showings. We were going househunting with our realtor and having fun dreaming of our new home. We were hoping to buy a 4 or 5 bedroom, 3 1/2 bath home with a backyard at least twice the size of what we have now. Having an extra bedroom & bathroom and a place for the kids to run around would've been a dream come true.

Every now and then I would have doubts, but then those doubts were replaced with good feelings so many times. It was very back and forth, but I figured that happens when you are making a big choice. There are always doubts. We prayed and prayed we would be guided to the right home and that our house would sell, if it was His will....I never felt that we received a solid answer. I always felt unsure. Its hard to know sometimes what is an answer to a prayer, the Spirit telling you yes or no, or what are just your own thoughts. I felt confused sometimes and so did Joey. There were lots of ups and downs. There was a specific house, located in a different city, that we were planning on buying once our house sold. We loved it. We thought it was "the house" for us. We felt that the Lord wanted us to be happy and that moving and getting a place that would fit our growing family was what He wanted for us. We thought we felt pretty good about it. So we were ready to move forward. We were just waiting on our house to sell.

One week after a lull of showings in May, we had a showing every single day. We were like, yes, things are picking up now that its summer! But for some reason on one of the those days, I felt really down about things and felt this overwhelming feeling of doubt in our choice to move. One of those reasons is that prices of homes in our area were dropping crazy low. Two houses with the same floorplan as ours on the street over were on the market and the sellers were obviously trying to get out quick. They were priced drastically below market value and I felt like, well, there is no way we are selling at a decent price. And we were not going to lose money. I almost felt like those houses were there to keep us here! No one would buy our house before theirs. And no one would pay what we were asking when those were priced so much lower than ours. It was crazy. Those homes ruined our chances. I knew it. I couldn't deny the pit in my stomach. I just felt like we weren't moving. It was over. But I didn't want to tell Joey. Because I wanted to move.

After the kids went to bed, Joey looked at me and said, "I don't want to say this but I just don't think..." and I stopped him in his sentence with tears in my eyes and said, "I know. You're right." He talked about a talk given by one of the apostles that kept coming to him and it was giving him a feeling that we weren't supposed to do this at this time. He just didn't want to tell me because he knew how badly I wanted to move, how much I had worked to clean the house for all of the showings we had, how much excitement I had for a bigger space for our family. He had been excited too and he wanted to provide this for us. We had even started packing away things already to get a jumpstart on things. A lot of work was poured into this. I told him I had bad feelings that day too and I just kept trying to push them away because of my desires. We had a really deep conversation that night and we both KNEW this wasn't right. Something wasn't right. I cried. I was so sad. I hated admitting that I knew we weren't supposed to move yet. I hated that all of my dreams were dashed. But at the same time I had this feeling of peace in finally having an answer to our prayers. It was truly a blessing. Joey and I's relationship grew stronger that night as we both listened to the Spirit guiding us in our choices. We both trusted in the Lord insteading of doing what we "wanted" to do. It was so hard though. I know that because we listened we will be blessed.

We weren't sure why we weren't supposed to move right now but we did have a special experience I'd like to share that is definitely one of the reasons we are supposed to stay. Just one day after we took our house of the market, the second counselor in our church's Stake Presidency called Joey. That doesn't happen often. Its usually when they want you to give a talk/prayer in conference(there were no conferences coming up) or to meet with you to extend a Stake calling. He told Joey he heard we were moving to a different city. Joey told him that we had just taken our house off the market the day before to which the counselor replied, "Interesting..." He then told Joey he wanted to meet with us on Sunday. Joey told me that evening that while he had been showering earlier that day(before the call) that he had this impression that maybe a church calling was coming his way. He even said he thought of that particular man that called and even what the calling might be. The next day, Joey was extended the calling of the Stake YM 1st counselor. And Joey said that was exactly what he had felt-that he would have a position in the young mens. The counselor also said that he almost didn't call Joey the day before because he heard of our plans to move, but he said the Spirit told him to call anyways. And that he was glad he listened to that impression. I was wowed by that. It was a really amazing feeling. I know that we were inspired to stay here. The Lord needs Joey(all of us I guess:) here. And I know that the local Stake Presidency was inspired to choose Joey for that position. He is so awesome in the Young Mens program. Hes never done it at the Stake level, but I know he'll do great things.

This was truly a testimony builder for me on the power of prayer, listening to the Spirit and the inspiration of the leaders of the church. While we don't know how long we'll stay in this house before we try to sell again, one thing we are sure about is that we are supposed to be in this city/stake for a little while longer. We still have plans to move into a bigger space eventually, but for now, we will stay put. We will just have to make do with what we have, even if that means adding walls :) Who knows what the future really holds right now. But we know the Lord answered our prayers. And I trust in Him and that He can see the big picture when I cannot. He'll provide for us if we keep the commandments and have faith. And pay our tithing of course:)

So for now, we are here. And I'm okay with that.

Sunday, June 05, 2011

Just look at those eyes

Can I just say I adore this boy? Our sweet little Ammon turned 9 months old last week! And he continues to be a pure joy. He is so easy going and happy. He takes good naps now(but has been waking up at least once at night, darnit:) He is doing repetitive sounds like "dadada" and "bababa." He just started doing this cute clicking sound with his tongue that we love. And he is army crawling all over the place at lightning speeds:) He has become our little explorer. He loves crawling around from toy to toy discovering the world around him. He actually started getting up on his hands and knees and rocking last week so the army crawl may morph into an actual crawl soon. . .we'll see. Oh and something else cute he did on Friday was turn the pages of a book and study the pages really closely. I could see the wheels in his head turning. He also started to clap his hands not too long ago and he can also do this little wave while he says "Hiiiiiiii." He is so smart! And everyone that meets him talks about his eyes, how big and deep brown they are & how long his eyelashes are. Its true, this boy has amazing eyes! And he is as handsome as can be.


Joey took these pictures this morning before church. I was upstairs getting the girls hair did. Aren't they the cutest pictures? Of course the subject is cute so its not too hard to get good ones, but I am so in love with these photos!



Hey Dad!


This one is too precious.


Ammon on the go.



Turning around to go the other way-I guess he didn't like the paparazzi:) Get it, papa-razzi? Because Joey is his dad...get it? Hahaha. I kill myself.
"Sup?"







Saturday, June 04, 2011

And the winner is. . .

I used random.org to determine the winner out of the 61 entries I had in this contest and the lucky number was. . . .


5!



And that number belongs to ...




Congratulations Lura!! I'm so happy you won-you worked hard to win it, thats for sure. You deserved it!!! I'll get it in the mail to you asap. And then you can send John to Cold Stone to get ya some icecream:) For those of you that don't know Lura, she was in a horrible car accident in March. Its a miracle she is still here with us. Her chest was crushed, breaking most of her ribs, sternum and she also suffered from a collapsed lung. She is at home now after weeks and weeks in the hospital. Its been a rough road to say the least. We have been praying for her every day. It may seem like I rigged this contest for her to win, but I didn't(though I secretly hoped she would win!) I hope this brings a bright spot to your day Lura!!


I wish I knew how to do a screen shot of the random number generator, but I don't, you'll all just have to trust my honesty! I copied and pasted the results below. Hope thats good enough!


True Random Number Generator Min: 1 Max: 61 Result: 5 Powered by RANDOM.ORG


Thanks to everyone who entered!!! And heres to 1000 more:)

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Dance Recital 2011



Aubrey, Ella & Cali all took dance class this year at the same studio. Aubrey & Ella did a hip hop class together(so fun for them!) and Cali did a pre-combo class that included ballet, tap & gymnastics(so cute!). All three of them did so great this year! I saw big strides in confidence in all three of them. We never knew Aubrey had the moves she has!(shes good and seriously has rhythm!!) Ella loves to move, is always smiling and looks like she is having a great time. And Cali(who wouldn't leave my side this time last summer) now has no problem being with other people and dancing her little heart out in front of a group. So proud!! This was her first year doing it. They had their big Spring Recital last weekend. Not only were they 3 of the cutest girls on stage, but they did their routines so well! Here are some pics of their big day. .

Pre-show pics




Gotta love Cali. . .





Here is Cali with her cute little class before the show. I just LOVED their costumes! We had the girls at a different studio this year and the costumes were so much better! I was much happier here. The staff was great too, they truly loved the kids and their jobs! Cali had Ms. Ann who she adored. (I'm sad I don't have a picture of her though!) It was a struggle every Tuesday morning to get her pumped for class(she never wanted to put her tights on!), but once she was there, she loved it.





Cali and her buddy Brooke. It was nice for Cali to have a little friend in her class!





So these next few pics are actually of the rehearsal. We decided to only video and take pics during the rehearsal, so we could sit back and enjoy the show this year. Loved it that way. I hate when I'm videoing and I feel like I truly didn't get to watch it in the moment. Plus, its against the rules to video during the show(but we just haven't followed the rules in the past:)


Yes, Cali is the one trying to distract her friend Brooke in the middle of the song:) lol. Thanks Emily for letting me steal this picture from you.


Cali's costume had this black velvet that she liked to rub in the front:) I don't have any great pictures of her actually dancing because my camera starting acting up. And I plan to upload videos but in case I don't, go to my friend Emily's blog for a video clip of Cali's dance!
And here are pics of the older girls during their routine. They looked so grown up and "hip" :)










Taking a bow in the finale(this is from the actual performance night)
Aubrey & Ella with their friend Courtney after the show(holding their flowers from Daddy). I was so grateful to Courtney's mom this year-she took them for me each Tuesday evening. She had signed Courtney up first and Courtney wanted Aubrey to do it with her. I wasn't sure if I could swing taking them at that time of day so I told her I wasn't sure about it. Sheri said not to worry about it-she would just take them with her daughter, she was doing it anyways. I owe her big! It saved my life with just having had Ammon back when they started in September. I would've had to tote both little kids with me right at dinner time/Ammon's nap time. Still trying to figure out how to repay her for that! She made my life so much easier this year and I'm grateful.
Cali and her beloved trophy. All year long she talked about getting this trophy. She was so excited about it! I had to use the "you'll get a trophy if you dance really good!" line several times when she was at dance class and starting to lose interest and run around(she has a hard time focusing sometimes:) She hung in there and did great! And with every class, she did better. This really helped her learn to follow directions and listen better. She deserved this trophy-she worked hard for it!


Afterwards we went with our friends to a Chinese buffet where the kids had a blast hanging out with each other and stuffing their faces with desserts(their meal was probably more dessert than "meal" :) It was a fun evening celebrating our girls and their accomplishments!