Thursday, December 20, 2012

in between

 It has been a nice autumn.  We were able to take a trip down to St. George during October for UEA weekend.  Ashley held a big family party where the kids got to carve pumpkins.  Always a favorite, and ours lasted the drive back home.   Halloween wasn't nearly as overwhelming as other years, candy-wise.  I got the idea to have the kids sell me their candy to get money to buy a movie - they agreed!  Of course I let them eat as much as they wanted when they first received it, but then I got the rest!  It was wonderful, and they loved giving their money to the clerk to buy Madagascar 3. 

Lily was very happy to be Ariel, and for our date she and I went to the Treehouse Museum where they had an awesome little set up where the kids went around in a group and met a bunch of storybook characters while they tried to find Peter Pan.  It ended in the theatre room where Peter had given them instructions on how to get rid of Captain Hook and his pirates.  Lily was so into it!  We snuck in the theatre where Hook and the pirates were on stage, and she was so nervous, and was clinging to my hand.  When it was time to yell out "Imagination!" (which hurts pirates' brains because they don't have any) she shouted so loud.  Then to get rid of Hook the kids yelled "tick tock" for the crocodile.  It was very well done.  We wish Jackson could have been there since he *was* a pirate (thanks to Liz for all of her hand me down costumes....she saves us a lot of money).  And then of course we had our little monkey Isaac.  I really wish Adam would dress up as the Man in the Yellow Hat one day, but the chances are probably next to none...  
 Lily and Jackson are both happy in school.  Isaac started moving around on his feet a bit more, and we learned that he LOVES trampolines.  I think it has been a bit more challenging for me to have three kids know that Isaac is a bit bigger and more independent.  Newborns are easier to get around with, anyways.  In September I met up with a friend from high school, Simon.  He was a German exchange student and has worked for IBM for many years, traveling around the world.  He was with his fiance, who is Chinese, and works for Dell.  Adam was in Philadelphia for work so I was alone with the three kids.  We went to the Cheesecake Factory down in Salt Lake, and started around the kid's bedtime.....yeah.  Total disaster, although the conversation that DID get across was super interesting.  Lily was learning Chinese, Jackson was bored tearing all of the bread into pieces and so began whining "let's go, let's go, let's go" while pulling, kicking and hitting me, pretty subtly and easy to ignore, and Isaac was grabbing for anything just so he could chuck it somewhere else.  So when the sparsely seen waiter came by towards the end of my salad, I (slightly) yelled at him "I need a box and a white chocolate macadamia nut cheesecake to go!" right before Isaac dumped my water glass on us.  Fun!
 On the way home, I was struck quite bluntly with the stark differences of me and Simon, and laughed to myself that I had never in my life felt so much the stereotype of being a mom with lots of kids that she can't handle.  Which I would maybe be embarrassed about had it not been about an hour past bedtime, after an afternoon of Ikea and Aunt Carol's for the kid's to get extra tired from anyways.  See, I always make sure to give myself a ton of slack.  No use being too hard on yourself!
 Our Thanksgiving trip to St. George this year was nice.  I was preoccupied with Ogden-related matters, and Lily's birthday party was going to be at Janet's house since she requested a cousin party and Janet very generously offered to take care of the majority of it, so it was a busy week.  Amanda and family was in town this year which made it awesome!  We got to go out with Amy one night to celebrate her getting into PA school, she made a cake for Lily's birthday, and we spent the day after Thanksgiving hanging around the Crack in the Red Hills.  Jackson joined Lily and I this year going all the way through, after roaming the red rock with Adam for so. long.  Adam said he was running and climbing around so fast.  He found a little tunnel in the rock and went through over and over again.  I was getting vertigo looking up at some of the rocks he was climbing with my heart dropping over and over.  I told Adam I don't think I will be able to survive these boys!  Good luck Mindy!
We ate dinner with Adam's family, and I got to do rolls - it was fun being able to contribute to the dinner since we normally just show up from out of town.   So many things to be grateful for this year, like always. 
 (I love this picture - Jackson had so much fun with his cousins!)
 We celebrated at Mom and Dad's house since Amanda and Tyler were leaving early Saturday morning.  With that and the following day's party at Mimi's house, you would think Lily would be all partied out.  Not so!  She got a TON of art stuff and makeup, nail polish, more makeup, and then some more makeup!  I said if Santa brought her anymore she would drown in makeup!
Our camera is broken.  I have no pictures of Lily's party at Mimi's house - but it was amazing, like all of the parties at the Bird's.  The next week she was sung to in Primary, we took oreos to share with her class, and she was still asking when her party was.  Lots of lessons learned this year!  Like don't celebrate too early.  Can't believe my baby girl is 6 years old.  She is one of the best parts of my life, and we love her so much.

Sunday, October 28, 2012


 It has been a wonderful autumn.  We began our September by attending the Brigham City Temple Open House with some friends - thank you to Kellee for getting the tickets and to Boualay for helping with my three.  The kids did rather well and it was fun to share some temple facts with them.  Lily's favorite part was the 'diamond lights'.  I'm pretty sure Jackson's favorite part was the cookies at the end.  :)
Isaac has been exercising his ability to make me feel like I am a first time mom.  I didn't realize how similar Jackson was to Lily, because Isaac is totally throwing me for a loop with how much he changes his schedule and preferences and everything.  Although he always sleeps through the night, so that is awesome. 
 By far one of my favorite happenings of this season has been spending time with my buddy Jack.  Lily gets picked up for school at about 7:30 a.m. and the 'sound volume' is significantly decreased compared to normal.  So Jackson just starts chattering away, asking questions, telling me to look at this or that, and is just SO MUCH FUN.  The first few weeks (it snowed this last week so that is ending) we went jogging on his day off, which worked wonderfully as he gave Isaac toys and snacks so I wouldn't have to stop, and totally kept me company with his comments of what he saw and questions of why or what.  Totally treasured memories. 

Isaac loves Jackson and Lily so much.  Sometimes he will be super fussy and won't eat and isn't tired, but then I will walk into a room where Jack and Lily are he will start giggling and wiggling to get down to play.  I am hoping they will stop treating him like a toy baby soon so I can leave him with them for longer periods of time and not worry for his safety. 

 Lily is doing so well in school - it's so fun to see her acquire knowledge and enjoy going every day.  She still loves to make people laugh - here she was showing me how she smiles without showing her teeth.  She and Jackson started going to gymnastics and are having so much fun.  Her favorite thing ever is to get tickled - especially if I say I will tickle her until she pees her pants.
Also in September I got the chance to go and visit Amanda to see her new house and paint a lot.  A lot!  Isaac and I flew over and left Adam to spoil Lily and Jackson (movies, a trip to the zoo, silly string, lots of candy and treats) for a long weekend.  It was so fun to be with the Nays!  After being around Amanda for a few days I feel like I can do anything - (small) home improvement projects; control my budget better; make meals that my whole family will eat; and of course be a better and more sensitive mom.  
 Isaac was pretty cooperative and handled the plane well, and slept almost perfect for me to be able to paint (a lot).   I wish I could have stayed longer and helped out more - they are going to be working for about two years on all of the things they want to do.  Although my clothes wouldn't have been able to fit if I had.  Here is a list of the treats for the weekend: home made mint truffles on my pillow; almond chocolate bars from Ikea; half a dozen Mrs. Duffy cinnamon rolls; red velvet cheesecake from the Cheesecake Factory; sea salt chocolates (and lots of other kinds) from Lulu's Sugar Rush candy store.  I think I forgot something, but regardless it was a lot.  My hips are still suffering.
I got to babysit the boys one night - they were super good little pizza dough rollers!  I thought they were getting used to me since they were pretty happy after Amanda and Tyler left, but about 30 minutes later Henry started calling "hey" and telling me he was looking for his mom and dad....luckily the night ended well (except Peter had one bad diaper rash he was screaming about as I changed him). 
 The next weekend marked one of my favorite times of the year - our annual trip to Logan to see the leaves changing.  We picked the PERFECT weekend - the colors were absolutely incredible - vibrant reds, deep oranges, and pale yellows.  Jack and Lily even got tired of pointing out "look!  the leaves are turning colors!"
 Our first stop was the Utah State Ice Cream store, where the kids chose a quarter for candy instead of a cone.   We then drove around Utah State and pointed out the places I lived and studied, and headed up the canyon.  We stopped where we could get out and walk next to a pond to see the fish, run over bridges, skip pebbles at a small shore, and find the highlight of our trip: the spooky forest.  The kids had been mentally preparing for Halloween since the beginning of September, and we had already decorated the house and had some spooky parties (worm spaghetti, ghost toast, pumpkin-oranges, goblin peas) with the lights dimmed; so the kids were super excited to find a place to go and explore that fit the 'spooky forest' description.
 I have to say it was just pure heaven.  Just us as a family, with the kids exploring nature - even Isaac wiggled out of our arms and headed into the bark and dirt and sticks, happy as he could be. 
 After dinner at Jack's Woodfired Pizza, we headed back to Ogden to go through a corn maze (much more kid friendly than last year), go down the big slippery slide MANY times, and play in the corn pit (Isaac's favorite). 
 It was a great day.  Adam took the day off and it's awesome having him able to have more freedom to do that every so often.

 Speaking of great days....Isaac had his first birthday!  Since he loves dirt so much I wanted to make the dirt pudding cups with oreos and gummy worms.  He wasn't feeling too good the day of his birthday and so we did it the next day.  Lily and Jackson (and Carly and Carson, who were here for a sleepover) thought they were pretty awesome but Isaac ended up crying - we found out he had an ear infection a few days later :(. 
 Here he is that night.  Adam said he was so tired and finally fell asleep like that.  He is just such a cutie and so fun to watch grow up.  He loves clapping and as of yesterday and today will take a few steps by himself.  He's a little squawker and really lets you know when he's excited, or mad, or happy.  I can't believe it's been a year!  He's still a little pipsqueak and not appeasing the doctor's wishes for weight gain, but for the most part he's happy and satisfied so what else can I do (besides continue to nurse him like he's 6 months old since he still will just snack occasionally.....)?

 And here is our most recent babysitter, and one of the major downsides of winter: tree climbing.  When the weather was warmer, the kids spent most of their time outside in these two trees.  Jackson started getting quite inventive, and brought an 8 foot long 2x4 from the backyard (I still am not sure how) to start making a tree house.  In this picture the cords connecting the trees are jumper cables that the kids clipped on so they could more easily walk between the trees on the fence with something to hold on to.  One colder morning, after Lily had gone to school and Jackson had slept in until about 7:45 a.m., he got up and headed right outside to go and climb the trees.  We've only had a few tumbles but nothing serious - here's hoping that continues!

Monday, August 27, 2012

time for school!

I don't think I have accepted that fact that the school schedule has started, that my first child has started kindergarten, Jackson is in his second year of preschool, and I will be home alone with Isaac four mornings a week.  (Although that last item sounds pretty good.) 
Lily got into a charter school over in Riverdale that we are in a carpool for (kind of hard to give up that bus option for the public school!).  We are very excited and really like the school.  Lily thankfully loves the uniform dress code - I was so worried since she can't wear pink. 
Adam got an alarm clock set for her to prepare for getting up early (Boualay comes at 7:30 a.m.).  I was nursing Isaac when it went off and she came out of her room and said "well that sure worked!"  We were pretty worried since last year we were constantly getting after her to get up for her 9 am preschool.  She is happy with her teacher, Mrs. Bever, and told me the night of her first day, "I was kind of nervous and scared to go into the school but then when I got in my class I wasn't nervous anymore and I had a lot of fun."
She is home by lunchtime each day and I have to admit that I am so happy she is not in full day kindergarten!  I can still feel like she is a little girl for a bit longer.  :)
Jackson started his preschool a few days after Lily.  He was so excited to get back there!
I've said it before and I'll say it again - we are so grateful for the opportunity Jackson has to go to this school.  He loves it and was quite upset he didn't start when Lily did.  When I went to pick him up (I didn't hear from the buses so I didn't know whether or not he had a ride home), he was NOT happy to get in our car instead of the bus.  It will be nice to get in a good routine throughout this week.
This is totally long winded but I did want to document Lily's first day of school.  We had a man in the ward pass away over the weekend, and the funeral was scheduled for that day.  So here is what happened:
6:30 - 7:45 a.m.  Isaac wakes up to get fed.  Get everyone up, ready, fed, and in the car.
8:00 a.m.  Drop Lily off for her first day of kindergarten!
8:15 a.m.  Get to church and enlist Jackson's help in setting up: cover tables with paper, count paper products, make final list for Costco.
9:00 a.m.  Go home to nurse Isaac for his nap, get Jackson ready for playdate (i.e. he was at this house for 7 hrs....),  drop Jackson off; neighbor drops by to get the 3rd ham to prepare for funeral, I run to Costco while she stays with sleeping Isaac.
10:30 a.m.  Clean kitchen and prepare funeral potatoes.  Leave (late) to pick up Lily and Sebastian.   
11:30 a.m.  Lunch and pack up car with stuff to take to church.
12:00 p.m.  Drop off Lily, Sebastian and Isaac at Boualay's house, then head to church to help set up more.
1:00 p.m.  Pick up the 3 hams at 3 different houses and take to church.  Go nurse Isaac and put him down for a nap.  Return to church before funeral, find out someone forgot to bring rolls, rush to Fresh Market to get more and some ice too.
2:15 p.m.  Realize that instead of 100 people coming like we thought, 40 did.  Begin worrying what to do with extra food!  Figure that out, clean up as much and as fast as I can before having to leave.
3:30 p.m.  Go to pick up Lily, Isaac and Jackson to go to Jackson's Back to School open house at his school, which ends at 4 pm.  On the way home, drop off clean dishes from people who contributed food.
4:45 p.m.  Get home and make dinner (this 'making dinner' is pretty unusual on busy days but I had a pork tenderloin in the fridge I had to prepare).
A few observations: 
I enjoy looking back at these days knowing that they only come around every 6 months or so.
I am grateful I had a small funeral before this one because I don't think I would have handled the stress very well (or at all). 
I live in a wonderful neighborhood that takes care of each other.  I had a LOT of help (with the funeral and my kids)!!!!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

holy smokes, 4 years old!!!!

I can't believe my little boy is 4!  He has been giving us a run for our money lately, pushing our buttons right and left, causing Adam to say every other day or so "I do not understand that kid", but it had to happen sooner or later, right?  You can only spoil a boy so much.... He's a good kid, a big helper, and independent like nothing else.  He is constantly doing things he's seen adults doing and acting like it is his job.  Kind of exasperating but at least pretty easy to work with, except when a tantrum follows.... 
Here is Sebastian, Madeleine, Lily and Jack making the birthday cake!  I didn't put one ingredient in the bowl, or even crack an egg!  Super good helpers!
Here is the finished product.  He wanted a Cars 2 theme, so I borrowed some tiny cake pans from my neighbor and came out with these as an alternative to last year's flat roads.
 Britt made me that cute sign for my birthday - I LOVE IT!!!  I am going to use it for every birthday in our family.  She used fabric with a bird-print and it is just gorgeous.
 We had a water/pool party outside for the kids, with some obstacle course games as well.  This was the first year Adam has been able to help with a kid party and he was pretty shell shocked about half way through. 

He was so cute with his presents, and hugged each one after he got it.
On his actual birthday, he woke up to his presents under that cute banner, then Lily headed off to school and Adam took him out to breakfast.  Then we went shopping for new clothes and shoes for school, and that afternoon picked up Adam from Lagoon (work party) and went down to Salt Lake to eat at the Spaghetti Factory in the trolley!  The kids were so excited and Jackson seemed very happy to be 4!  His favorite thing right now is to go after you with "pokes" and to get tickles in return.  He is obsessed with knowing how things work, and loves to take stuff apart.  We love our buddy Jack!

Saturday, August 18, 2012


I am 30 years old!
To celebrate the milestone, I planned quite a few activities.  I recruited my sister-in-law Sarah to take me shopping while her daughters babysat all day.  :)  It was so much fun!  Sarah was so nice to take an entire day to talk to me about fashion and help me pick out clothes and outfits and shoes.  I have been wanting to get a new wardrobe for a long time and Adam encouraged me to do it for this birthday.  About a week later we went to St. George, where we basically dropped off Lily and Jack at the Bird's to enjoy the enormous bounce house that Janet got to celebrate her 60th birthday.  It was so neat to have them spend time with their cousins - they are all such good kids - I am always amazed at how kind the older ones are to the younger ones.  Jackson would tell me how Dreyden helped him go down the slide, and Lily would be included with Olivia, Boston, Elle and Claire.  We are so lucky to be a part of such a wonderful family.  Mom treated me to a pedicure and lunch; so fun to spend some time with just her!  I also got some time with her and Dad while Adam was out golfing with Dreyden.  Adam and I were able to go out to eat at one of my favorite restaurants, and also catch a showing of the Bourne Legacy.  Yeah for free babysitting!!  The weekend went by too fast.  The following week I finished training for the 35 mile bike ride I signed up for to do the day of my birthday.  It was called the Wildflower Pedalfest, and I did the Sego Lilly ride.  It was all girls, and so very low pressure and the 'feed zones' had fresh fruit, granola bars, candy, and a ton of other stuff.  I was cheered on by Adam and the kids, who got out to yell "Happy Birthday" as I rode by.  It was so cool!  Put a huge smile on my face and made me so happy.  Adam motivated me by saying I shouldn't be worried about finishing, but I should remember to finish FAST, which did the trick!  I finished in 2 hours and 20 minutes (my goal was 2h 30m so I was very happy!)  Afterwards we headed to Salt Lake to have Matt and Jana babysit while we went out for dinner.  It was wonderful!  I also got spoiled by friends and family who sent packages and emails.  It was a very spread out celebration and I don't even miss being in my 20's!

Monday, August 13, 2012

a few things we've been busy with

We put the kids in a summer camp at Lily's preschool from last year.  They had a blast!  I was surprised that I wasn't as prepared as I thought I would be to have them gone every morning - summer went pretty quick.  I was worried about Jackson being with new teachers but he had so much fun.  They made some binoculars out of toilet paper rolls, which they used to scope out the cement truck pouring some cement across the street.  
Lily even demonstrated some climbing skills to get a better view.  Jackson was so darn excited that he set up his little camping chair and just peed on the grass instead of coming inside....I'm sure the truck driver loved that!  They actually went on their lunch break and then brought Jackson a Gatorade - he was pretty excited.
I have been busy with some home improvements, thanks to Mom who gave me the motivation to do them!  I got the shed cleaned out - took a few weeks as I filled up the garbage can within minutes of it being emptied Monday morning about 4 times in a row.  At the same time I was organizing our storage room, as we emptied it to get *shelves*!!  Very exciting!!  I no longer have all of our stuff precariously stacked and have to unstack to get to the bottom.  Also I was able to bring a ton of stuff from upstairs because our closets were packed.  And then came staining the deck.  I spent all morning working on this section, went inside, and then it started pouring rain!   I was so upset!  But luckily it had been so flipping hot while I was staining that it had dried and I didn't have a problem.  I am almost done with the deck portion and still need to do the fence and the kid's playset.  It's so satisfying to update the house though!  I love it, although I wish I could just have one full day to stain instead of little bits of time during Isaac's naps... 
We made it to the Rodeo again!  I was hesitant this year but when Adam said with his new position he gets good tickets, we decided to try it out.  We brought along Jackson, one of Jack's friends with us.  We got VIP parking, about 40 feet from the entrance (made it SOOOOO nice when I left to nurse Isaac); free dinner in the VIP Cabin; and box seats!  We were in the front row, looking straight down at the cowboys and bulls!  It was so much fun, and so much nicer than the stadium seating when you have a baby!
We also went to the Dabney Family Reunion (minus Nathan, Alicia and Eve) in Cannon Beach!  Here are the kids at the hatcheries outside of Portland.  They love to see those big fishes!
And here is Isaac!  Right before my camera died and I didn't have the recharger.  So to recap: started out with our gas light coming on right at the Dalles - that was a scary 20 minutes until we got to a gas station!  High cliffs on the left and the Columbia River on the right, not much else.  Then Dad was very sick; Mom ended up taking him to the emergency room twice.  Anyways, enough stuff happened that I had plenty to contemplate about while forming my presidency message for Relief Society.  I was also able to run lots on the beach (also a super fun time dribbling a soccer ball with Ethan), go on a bike ride alone (up in Ecola State Park - so green and beautiful and green and quiet and GREEN! and then back home, with a small 1 mile stretch on Highway 101, just to say that I rode my bike on Hwy 101) and with Adam.  It had the requisite trip to Tillamook; this year we made it to Haystack Rock to see the starfish (the 1 mile walk with the kids was a nightmare!  I need to get Lily more used to physical exercise); Dad's 69th Birthday celebration; and me apparently getting into such a bad mood once that Liz asked Mom if I was pregnant (no).  Isaac enjoyed himself with all of the kids running around; Jackson was in HEAVEN digging on the beach with his cousins; Lily was ECSTATIC to be with Brooklyn (Amanda helped them choreograph a little dance to do as a performance for everyone to watch - it was so awesome!  Invites and everything!); Adam and I had a wonderful vacation!  Thank you Mom and Dad for making such a great time possible!  
Our garden is doing well this year.  Lots of basil, roma/cherry/grame tomatoes, zucchini, cilantro, parsley.  The strawberries did awesome, and I am so happy to report the raspberry bush we planted last year has gone crazy!  We get about this much every week from one plant!  I thought it would take a few years.  Now if we could harness those grapes and plums in the back and get the apple tree producing, I would feel complete.  Just kidding.  There's always something else to improve.