Tuesday, December 30, 2014

very merry

Christmas was pretty fun this year.  Because of our laid back schedule here I wanted to focus on recreating some memories from when I was younger.  Music was always such a huge part of Christmas, since I was involved with orchestra throughout high school.  We went to the Nutcracker - so awesome!  I have to admit that I cried a bit at the beginning I was so happy.  I took Lily and Jack and Adam stayed with Isaac and Ada.  Jackson almost made it the entire way through but nearing the end he was so tired!  Lily was so cute and excited.  It is so fun to share something you love with your kids.  They thought the big nutcracker was so cool.  I kept them all sugared up with lots of treats, which always helps.
It was held at Desert Hills High School, where they have Thor's Hammer in a glass case.  Jackson thought it was so cool, and made the best faces for pictures.  
We went as a family to see the lights at the temple, and drove around  to find some music displays - the kids watched for way longer than I thought they would.
Adam picked up this house - they are so not my favorite.  Luckily the Tylers came over for dinner and a movie (The Muppets Christmas Carol!) and got the ball rolling so I didn't have to supervise at all, just let them eat all the candy and frosting they wanted.  I don't have a picture of the Christmas tree, but I have to say that it was so fun this year to decorate with my childhood decorations - helped with missing our own that are away in storage.
Other highlights included a Christmas Music devotional over in Green Valley that Peggy was in and invited us to.  One thing I really enjoy about living in St. George is being able to point out so many things to the kids about where Adam and I went to church as teenagers, or where we went to school, etc etc.  Being back in that ward house brought back so many memories.  We also had a ham dinner on Christmas Eve with the Tylers, and a very nice Christmas dinner at Terrel and Janet's the next day.  All in all it was a wonderful Christmas, although seeing pictures of the beautiful snow up north is a bit sad.

Monday, December 29, 2014

beautiful celebrations

 What a first week of December!  Two birthdays, a baptism, and a Christmas party.  For Lily's birthday, I sneaked her lunch out of her backpack, and when she called from the school asking where her lunch was, said I was around the corner and asked if she wanted to go to the Pizza Factory for lunch with me and Dad.  She said yes!  She was so cute and excited.  That night we had dinner with the Tylers, then cake and presents.  In the picture above she was telling Jackson not to blow out her candles (he tried to anyways).
She has been getting into all things Paris, and so the Dollar Store Eiffel Tower notebook I found was AWESOME!  She was so happy with her presents this year, and I was so happy I didn't even entertain the idea of a friend birthday party!
She was so sad that Aunt Amanda couldn't be there to make her cake, but Amanda sent her this crown (tiara from her wedding...!) with a bunch of candy and a big birthday sign.  Lily was so excited.
And baptism day!  Except for me bumbling up the group text and not including Becca, the whole family in St. George was able to come.  Lily was the only one getting baptized so she got to choose the opening prayer (me), talk on Baptism (Audrey), talk on the Holy Ghost (Liz), and closing prayer (Mimi).  It was such a nice and simple program, and she was so incredibly excited.  Afterwards we went to the park and had Cafe Rio for lunch.  Again, so happy I didn't put it on myself to host everyone at Mom and Dad's house.  So much less stress the way we did it.
That afternoon it was time to get ears pierced!  Cousins Elyza and Brooklyn came along to watch.  Lily's first choice was a 5 carat cubic zirconia, until I steered her to something that wouldn't weigh her neck down.  She settled for her birthstone, and barely winced for the pokes.  She is growing up!
 That night was the Ward Christmas Party, which included a musical piece from the kids, and a sight I hope never to forget.  Jackson was running around like crazy like normal.  The Primary President called the Primary kids up to sing a song.  I went up closer to see them.  I could see Lily, not Jack, who wandered in a minute or so into it.  He first slid into place, but then looked everywhere for Lily, and saw her on the other side.  He goes to stand next to her.  He then proceeds to make his shooting and bombing motions, and I see his lips doing the sound effects.  Lily, who was slightly in back of him, was trying to get his attention without moving too much, finally did, and then pointed furiously to her mouth, as if to says "Sing!" So hilarious!  Poor Adam missed the whole thing since he was outside changing Isaac's diaper.
 Our little Ada celebrated her birthday the night before.  What a precious girl.  She loves to clap for anything, here she is clapping while we sang to her.
She enjoyed her piece of cake.  She got a little water activity table that is currently on the back porch, waiting to be used in a few months....She is just the sweetest thing - this is the best age!  So much fun.  Right now she is trying to walk everywhere, and loves to  be put upside down and get her neck tickled.  She loves it when Adam chases her and will laugh and laugh when he swings her up.  Lily and Jackson and Isaac are such big helpers and love to play with her - she is so lucky.  She definitely is the frosting on top of our 6 person family.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

nice november

Thanksgiving was over all of a sudden.  It was really nice to not have to pack up and drive across the state for the big dinner.  Very relaxing!  We went out to the Bird's.  The highlight was probably when the prayer ended, Lily was coming from MiMi's room with elaborate makeup, her hair done with jeweled pins, and a large shimmery scarf wrapped around her body like a dress.  Her face was saying "Oh, what's happening out here?  I have been preparing for the evening."  I sure wish she had some girl cousins her age; the closest ones are 2 years older and 2 years younger.
The crack was closed, I guess they are doing a major overhaul up there for a park.  It is Jackson's favorite place and he cried when we couldn't go there.  We went to a different hike where the kids ran and explored.  What a beautiful place - you just can't beat those blue skies and red rock.
 Janet called the first week after I moved, asking if I wanted her to take Ada and Isaac every Wednesday or Friday for a day with Mimi.....ummm....talk about spoiling mom!  What a luxury.  Since Jackson has afternoon Kindergarten I get to spend the morning with him, and then have an hour or so after school with both of the big kids.  One Friday we went for a bike ride on the river walk.  What fun buddies.  We went super far and Jack kept on teasing me with his tricks of riding with his feet on the seat, or one leg crossed over the other while he coasted.  Little stinker, he just laughed when I told him to ride normal and to stop scaring me.
 Shortsighted Mom didn't really pack any toys for Grandma and Grandpa's house, so the number one favorite play thing is either my phone or camera.  Here are some of the little treasures I've found.  Jackson seems so content here.  I was telling Adam the other day that in Ogden I was always (always!) yelling for him in that big house and yard, but he always just ignored me and kept on playing.  Here he is so much more responsive, and such a big helper.  And such a sweetheart!  He just loves Ada so much and is always making sure she is comfortable and happy.  We have been reading books and he is getting so good with letters and math facts.  Such a great boy.
 I wonder when Lily will stop being silly.  Hopefully never, as she loves to be crazy and make people laugh.
 I spent $25 for a massive phone case that Adam makes fun of, but I totally don't care because this little missy can play and slobber on it all she wants and I never have to worry!
I have to say this month was very rewarding as a parent.  I really felt bad about all of the different schools we put Lily in, and the fact that she had experienced set backs in her learning because of it.  But because of being here and not having to set up house or unpack or anything, I spent a bunch of time working with {i.e. torturing} Lily.  She was bringing home her 'bell work', little worksheets that everybody does first thing, and sometimes they were completely empty.  Her teacher told me she wasn't getting her math review done in class, so she would bring that home to finish.  Then she had her one page of homework and spelling.  Some days we would be sitting for almost 2 hours working, struggling, crying, etc.  She was getting 2/15 correct on spelling tests.  By Christmas break she was closer to 9 or 10/15 correct on spelling, and one day I was helping Jack with something and went to check on Lily who was doing her homework sheet.  She gave it to me and said, "It's all correct."  And continued telling me how when the teacher was explaining the new concept she just knew what the answers were!  She was so excited, and it was so exciting to see her and how all of the hard work paid off.  Certainly isn't the end of the road, but so cool, especially watching her explain to house guests Carl and Nadine how she subtracts big numbers in her head (this was so crazy as when Adam and I first tried explaining the concept to her she got so mad and cried from frustration).
As for Isaac, when Ada took her afternoon naps I was pretty desperate that he not watch a show some days, so would get him to include me with his imaginative play, usually consisting of us hiding under furniture with guns and bombs so we could get the bad guys.  The first time we did this, at one point he turned to me and said "I like you Mom." It was like it had never occurred to him that I was fun to play with?

spooky questions

 It is pretty silly, but one of the more prominent promptings of "Why did he want to marry me?" musings involve Halloween.  Adam loves scary movies, haunted houses, and to be spooked.  On the other hand, I remember despising Halloween as early as 5th grade.  Unfortunately for Adam our kids seem to be following in my footsteps (there's still time though, right?) and whine when Adam puts on a Tim Burton film.
In previous years I put off getting costumes for the kids, hoping that they will want to wear a previous years' garbs (I was a witch for about 5 years straight, my mom tells me), whereupon Adam finally drags the family to a Halloween store and wants to spend $30 a pop on whatever seems cool.  For the last two years I tried to prevent this from happening by asking Liz if she had any extra costumes, which she spent $30 to send me in the mail, but I was happy since I was "recycling" something that a lot of times gets used once.  Also I am not a seamstress so Adam would be beyond disappointed that I couldn't fancy up some of the outfits Liz sent...
 So this year!  I asked early, and Costco had them early, so we had a vampire (Lily wanted to have blood running down her chin), the Hulk, Wolverine, and of course our customary baby monkey.  Success!  For the first time ever.  Matt and Jana came down and went trick or treating with us, which was really nice.  I really liked being up north with them and getting together every so often.

 On another October note, here are the kids on their first day of school, at a school picnic I met them at.  What a great pair.
 And their first time off the bus!  Lily has been wanting to ride the bus ever since Jackson did for preschool; once she heard that Brooklyn and Zack ride their bikes that is her goal, but the bus suffices for now and gives me 1 1/2 hours more a day with the little babies.  :)

Saturday, December 27, 2014

there went the year

So quickly!  Christmas was two days ago.  The six weeks or so were quite painful as I worked through cutting the Ogden ties at the same time as sending large amounts of never-to-be-seen again money towards our still-for-sale home up there.  Needless to say, I was a much more pleasant person to be around once I woke up and realized that I could look forward to the future with hope and optimism instead of despair and longing for my old life.  So that was nice, and the counseling fees not terribly expensive. :)
 I love these pictures even though my heart still hurts to think of the time they were taken - the last few weeks in Ogden.  When I think about this year I don't feel like Ada's first year went by quickly - just the year in general.  Even with all of the craziness of moving twice I still had lots of quiet times to enjoy this cutie.
 One of her favorite things to do was get in the fireplace.  Super annoying and dirty!
 Waiting for Daddy to come home from St. George and our final week apart.
 Jackson waiting for Matt and Jana (with Carson) to come get him for a sleepover.  Lily went as well and it was nice to just have the two little ones to worry about for those last few hours of cleaning up the house.
 This kid.  His 2nd birthday was a waffle with a candle, and here he is with a crepe.  Hopefully his 4th birthday won't be so hectic.  Although this was just his birthday celebration with Adam before he left; we did have cupcakes and presents with Grandma (who was the other lifesaver this move) later on in the day.  Now that he is almost 3 years and 3 months old I can say I liked 2 a heck of a lot better.  Man he can wear me down, some days by about 8:05 a.m.  But time passes, and we all love Isaac so much, as what family doesn't need a real live firecracker as a child/sibling???

Sunday, November 9, 2014

we're back

*Adam took this on one of his weekend visits to Ogden.  I sure do miss being up close to those mountains!
These past few weeks I have thought a lot about when we moved away from St. George - 10 years ago this month! - and remembered how for so long I thought we would come back.  To be honest, after the first little while I wasn't a huge fan of the idea, even though it was SO HARD to leave some weekends after being with family.  But when I remind myself that I actually live here now and am not going back to Ogden, it has begun to feel a lot more natural.  So strange to think that we are back.
Comparing this move with our initial move to Ogden, it is crazy how much easier this has been.  Living with Mom and Dad so not having to unpack certainly is a huge factor.....but also being familiar with the town and already having a lot of support is so crazy.  We were far away for a long time.  The kids started at the neighborhood school (our first pick and where there's a good chance we'll end up buying a home was 'full') and were such champs about the whole thing.  They love taking the bus and having cousins close.  It's like they didn't really move, it seemed so easy.  We are still working on getting some friends though - this area has a lot of older families and our particular bus stop only has one other boy.
I am so grateful that we are able to be here.  Because of the time of year, our Ogden home probably won't sell until the spring (but we're still crossing our fingers), so to not have to worry about rent AND a mortgage is wonderful.  Mom makes things so easy.  She is always willing to watch the kids if I need to go somewhere, and does so many dishes.  Not to mention the company!  It is so fun to be able to have a friend to do errands with.  Isaac follows her around the house pretty constantly asking her to put on a show or a computer game, or to make him popcorn.  Hopefully he won't wear her down too fast.
Amanda was here the first week after I came down.  What a blessing!  She did all of the cooking and the kids always had something to do and Liz came around since it was Fall Break for us too and it just felt like a big party.  Very nice little breather before routines and schedules started filling up, AND a sorely needed break after a stressful move (has anyone ever had a non-stressful move, probably not).
This picture epitomizes why I didn't have a mini-breakdown and spend the entire week in my room having a pity party and wishing I was back in Ogden.  Just Mom is missing from the picture.
The next weekend, even though I hadn't exercised for 2 weeks straight, Liz and I did the SHAC Triathlon that I signed up for before I knew I would be living here.  It was weird looking at my calendar and seeing my note that we would be traveling to SG for the event.  Anyways, my time was 12 minutes slower than last time, not as bad as I expected since Liz pushed me a lot.  It was so fun to talk with her, and Ethan joined us the last 1.5 mile running loop, and was pretty funny.  Here are the stats: Swim (8:29), T1 (4:24), Bike (48:53), T2 (1:12), Run (34:16).  Total: 1:37:15
We took these family pictures the day before we moved.  I was pretty desperate to get them with my neighbor's foliage!  This year's fall colors were amazing up there.  This is my favorite of Lily, and I love Isaac's cute little smile as well. Lily has been quite the character; once she was with Amanda who asked her how she knew something.  Lily quickly replied "Because I am an expert and I know how to communicate and I can read minds."  Ha!  She was commenting last week on what she would do differently with Grandma's house: "The patio needs to be bigger.  Do you know that when I am out there I sometimes look down and it feels like I rule the city."  She went out and came back in a few minutes later, "I was just talking to my people."  Dad and Amanda said she should probably go into politics.  I am just happy that she is my daughter, and that she forgives me for a lot.  Wish I could handle our struggles better.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

numbers one and three

This post was started a while ago - before the St. George move was in the works!  So even though I talked a bunch about Isaac and Lily in the last post I couldn't pass up talking about this daughter of mine.  She was pretty amazing this year - against her requests to stay in her school in North Ogden, I was done with that distance and not being more involved in her classroom, and had heard good things about the neighborhood school.  So we put her in ANOTHER school.  3 for 3!  And so in St. George it will be 4 different schools in 3 school years...this girl is up to the challenge though.
Her first day of school she was quite worked up and nervous, and so by the time I found her after school she was sobbing and so upset.  She didn't like the school, her teacher was mean, she never wanted to go back, etc etc.  I met her teacher at a Parent Teacher Conference a few hours later and she said Lily had been quite nervous and worried at lunch (of course - one thing I have bestowed upon my children is a fear of unfamiliar food) and it just seemed to escalate throughout the day.  She went to bed and ended up with a fever.  Missed the next day and was back at it the next day after a few pep talks.  So brave!  It is pretty neat to see kids being so resilient and strong.
Our move is pretty imminent and so free time won't be so plentiful next week - Isaac's 3rd birthday.  So I want to list a few things here that bring a smile to my face.  *"Sing Star Wars!  Sing Darth Vadar!"  (cue him putting serious face on and stomping around the house).  When he is play fighting with a sword or light saber he will say "I'm Skywalker!  I'm Darth Vadar!  I'm the emperor!  I'm yoda!"  He loves all things Star Wars!  *He loves candy, and includes it in his prayers often.  When we visited Grandma and Grandpa in August, Mom and I were sitting at the table and Isaac came and asked Mom something but we couldn't understand, and I said "What did you say?"  And he looked at me and furrowed his brows, then looked back at Mom and said "Grandma, can I have a chocolate drink?"  After the chocolate drink "Can I have an otter pop?"  Then "Can I watch a movie?"  He knows the goods at Grandma's house!  Mom said that he will ask why so much that she started asking "why not?" and Isaac would say "Why you say why not?"  So cute.  And although he loves the sweet stuff, he will also eat the most fruits and veggies of the 3 oldest kids.  Lily was sitting on the couch with me once and Isaac came up while eating a plum, and got a drop of juice on her leg.  She started freaking out and he looked at her with this serious face and said "Lily.  It's a plum."  Like 'you are crazy.'  Toddlers are so awesome in retrospect!  haha!  Today was the Primary Program and I had to set up chairs in the Primary room and we were late, so I rushed out the car and after a few minutes came to the pew where Adam was and couldn't see Isaac - he had been left in the car!  Poor boy.  I blamed Adam who forgot during his week away how much work it is to get 4 kids ready in the morning.  :)  Busy busy.

a lot of stuff

We went up Waterfall Canyon the day before everything changed.  This is one tough hike, and except for a handful of times that I picked him up to get over a big boulder, Isaac went the ENTIRE way up by himself.  Crazy!  He wanted to be held most of the way down, but I couldn't believe what a trooper he was!  A bunch of people remarked as well who saw him.  He stayed with me, chatting up a little storm and asking lots of questions.  Such a cute boy.
Here we are at the top.  I love this shot of Lily even though I look kind of goofy.  The next morning I had finished doing homework with Jackson, the house was semi-clean, and I had the thought that finally - finally! - we were settling in after the move.
No more crazy big house projects for a while.  No more rushing around like crazy trying to get a million things done post-move.  School was going well, the kids happy, good teachers, settled in at church with our callings, etc etc....and that's when the phone rang.  Adam had gotten a call from his Dad asking if he wanted to go to St. George to work.  Things fell into place quite quickly and that was that.  Here we go again!
 We have been trying to keep things as normal as possible, not that it is working that well, but a lot better than throughout the first move.  I almost think that move prepared me for this one to go a lot smoother than it would have had I not had the practice.
Homework would be 139% easier if Isaac didn't constantly ask Jackson if he wants to "play x-box?"  "watch Star Wars?"  "play the Wii?" When I say no Isaac whines and screams and throws a fit, even though Jackson is fine.  Ha!  Little stinker.  He fell asleep one day like this he was so worn out.
Saturdays start early with Lily's game at 8 a.m.  Jack's are later.  Soccer season with the mountains are a big tug on the heart strings for me.  Adam played 2 weeks of JD Clark softball but we missed those games.  Love that crisp autumn air!
 Ada is still growing.  Four kids definitely has killed some brain cells and made me feel like I am a piece of taffy needing to be pulled in five different directions, but man oh man.  This little girl is a little chunk of sunshine and happiness in my life every day.
If I ask Isaac if he is my little cuddle buddy he will say yes.  Don't know if it is just his personality, or the fact he was the first kid I didn't leave weekly to go to work, but this kid likes to be around me.  Which is pretty awesome after having two super independent kids.  He will always ask if I am going to stay and sit down at a friend's house (instead of drop him off).  If unknown kids come to close to him he gets a nervous look on his face and points to me and says "This is my mom!"  He has such a sweet heart and is always looking out for his siblings, and says 'tank you' and 'good job!' when necessary.  I can't believe he will be 3 in a week!
One of Lily's favorite things is to get a camera or a phone and take pictures or videos of herself.  The crazier the better - this girl loves to laugh!  For a while she had an obsession with snorting, and was always trying to laugh so hard she would snort.  Which of course would make her laugh harder and snort more.  Lots of goofy videos from her and various friends when she confiscates Adam's phone to play!
 Jackson loves to tell everyone he sees that we are moving to St. George because his Dad got a job there.  This stems from us telling them the past year or so that we weren't moving to St. George because Dad's job is in Ogden, and we live where Dad works!  So Jack took the camera one day to capture a few shots of what he would miss in the house.  Number 1 being the chalk wall I painted for him, even though I haven't let them play with chalk besides this one time.
And the hallway.  Love these vaulted ceilings.  This was such a neat house to be in for a few months.  It is a lot of fun to see how much we improved the space from what it was.  A lot of hard work paid off in the end, even though we're not going to be around to enjoy it.
Adam let his work know he would be leaving and just gave 2 weeks notice - super fast!  On his first weekend back we packed up the van to drive up to Logan for our yearly visit.  It was rainy so we didn't get our nature hike in, but we enjoyed ice cream and a drive up the canyon, and lunch at the Bluebird on Main Street.  Next year we will be staying in a hotel, and will go later - the leaves were just barely beginning to turn so there was still a lot of green.  Gorgeous in the rain though.