Monday, June 1, 2015

All over the place (but mostly last fall)

What an exciting time to be an Arizonan!  When we moved to AZ there were just the Mesa and Snowflake temples.  Since we've moved here, we've been able to attend the open houses for the Gila Valley, Gilbert, Phoenix, and soon the Tuscon temple.  I'm so grateful our family could be a part of it!  

We attended the Phoenix temple open-house last October.  At the time we didn't know that Marty's brother would soon be living just a few minutes away from it!

Last summer our QC splash pad finally opened up and the "littles" and I made very good use of it.  It's right next to the library so we would spend the morning picking books (which was almost too stressful to be worth it thanks to a very energetic baby) and then we would run all the energy off at the splash pad after that.  Then we'd go get B&B from school and come home to give the babies a GOOD nap.  Well, right before it closed down for the winter I wanted to take the kids one last time and have Marty meet me there.  We ran into some friends there and were having a great time until Gabe face-planted on the cement.  He hobbled over, fell into my lap and I nervously watched as his eyes struggled to focus.  This is what he looked like immediately after:

Eventually he went back to play, but I spent the evening on "concussion watch" and even woke him up several times during the night to make sure he was ok.

That night...

The fact that the boys' personalities are so different and they have to work at getting along makes times like these that much sweeter.

You can't really tell what this picture is.  Brynn wanted to make pink popcorn out of her princess cookbook and Bryce wanted to make Deathstar popcorn balls out of his Star Wars cookbook so we compromised and combined them.  You can't see the depression in the side of the ball, but it's there...just trust me, it's a pink Deathstar.

Playgroup bunny masks.  I'm really going to miss having these kids.

We made better use of this grapefruit season then we ever have.  There is a guy who sells grapefruit from his truck just down the road from me and they are sooo good and sooo cheap.  I bought a bag pretty much every time I passed him.  Every one of us (but Gabe I think) gobbled them up at every opportunity.  Plus now I have some wonderful memories associated with them; buying them for Dad while he lived here in AZ all by his lonesome (before my mom got here), and Kelly making fun of me for how much sugar I dumped on them while he lived with us.

                                                   Starting out with a spoon...
Then figuring, "Awe, the heck with it...."

Whenever Kelly and Christy & Company come from UT to visit we stock up on soda.  I don't know, it's just a fun tradition.  Since I was worried about my toddlers getting it all over the house we kept it outside.  It took me a while to realize just how often all the kids were opening up cans.  We went through about a thousand boxes of soda in just a few days - all of them only half full when they were thrown away.  I think all the bees in the valley came to hang out with us and all of our open soda cans.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Brynn's Baptism

Brynn was baptized in January.  The day was pretty much like I expected it to be.  It was crazy and busy with people flying in and staying with us (we wouldn't have it any other way).  I forgot some things, had some panicky moments, savored what parts of the day I made myself calm down for. of my favorite parenting days I've ever had.

Brynn was so ready for this.  She is an intuitive girl who is spiritually mature.  She is playful and goofy, but she takes these things so seriously.  The year she was seven we would take one Sunday a month and let her stay up after her siblings had gone to bed to eat ice cream and talk about the gospel, covenants, and baptism.  She can focus for so long, go so deep, ask profound questions, and work to understand.  She is so enganged.

Her grandpa Johnson spoke and she sang a little duet with Bryce.

Marty posted this picture of the two of them on Facebook and I can't believe how many people said she looks just like me!

 There are so many people who love Brynn and we were so grateful that so many came to the baptism to show their support.  Afterword, we had some friends and family at our house for breakfast casserole and a hot chocolate bar.

She is a special girl.  She is always striving to be better.  She wants everyone around her to be happy and has a gift for lifting others.  She is social, smart, musical, sensitive, deep, obedient, empathetic, energetic, random, giggly, fun, beautiful, optimistic, delightful, a performer, and a ray of sunshine.  I call her my "ideas girl."  Her younger siblings adore her and she takes her role of "oldest kid" seriously.  Sometimes I worry I ask too much of her in taking care of the younger ones, but she seems to get so much joy out of it, too.  And she is just so, so good with all of them.  I don't know what any of us would do without her.  

Congratulations, Brynnie Pie.  We love you.  Keep your covenants, keep the commandments, and great peace and joy will follow you in your life.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

my phone again - just jumping right back in!

Brynnie joined a choir in Gilbert this semester which I will write more about later.  But one week I took her out on a date to Kneaders for a yummy dessert.  She picked the caramel apple that was about the same size as her head.

We are slowly but surely weaning Gabe off of his thumb.  As a mom, I have gained confidence in the hard tasks and I am not afraid of them (not that we are always successful), but this one has just been so SAD!

You can't see it very well, but Gabe decided to shave just like Daddy and wound up with a few really funny looking marks on his upper lip.

Texting a friend to let her know I was making the brownie recipe she wrote down for me...I think before I even had any kids yet??  (Note to self - she said they were really yummy with real butter).

I have a goal of making better lunches every day.  I do great sending my big kids to school with a healthy snack (fruit, sometimes veggies, something homemade-whole-grain).  And then I give the same snack to the little ones in the morning.  But by the time lunch rolls around I just slap out some PB&Js, like, every single day.  Often I just have all that stuff out on the counter and tell the big kids they can make it themselves while I go take a little quiet time!  Anyway, we are all sick of sandwiches.  So to pat myself on the back a little and to prove it has actually happened before, I snapped a pic of one of our better lunches (and by ONE of them, I mean...the ONLY one).  But I haven't given up!!

I sent pics of our decorations to by bro and sis-in-law since they are the ones who sent them.  Seriously incredible hand-cut snowflakes (because we have no snow!).  The kids were SO excited about this one that looks like the "official" Frozen snowflake - I'm sure Justin did that on purpose....

Because there always has to be a picture of Bryce in such an uncomfortable position that it makes you squirm in your seat.

A salad from our garden that lasted about a month until we went on a long vacation and didn't set up to have anyone come over and water it.

Marty fixing his phone - the tiny screws and big Marty fingers make me smile a bit.

Brynn's dinosaur diorama.  She had so much fun making it, that type of assignment is right up her creative little alley.
I texted my dad to see if his head was up too high to call it a diplodocus.  In the end we fixed up the poor guy with a strong pair of pliers.

A birthday date!

On the first cold (not cool) day of winter, you will find us snuggled up in the playhouse outside.

Certainly the most unusual nap I've ever taken.

Meet Jack-O-Lantern Sparrow!

Brynn made BANK at her lemonade stand over Fall Break (lots of bored kids at the park with change burning holes in their pockets).  Well...and I knew I'd have friends there that I didn't want to feel pressured so I may or may not have slipped them a little change here and there....

Loooove my Aprils.  They are just so much alike.

Just one of the reasons I love reading a book after Marty has had it.  This one was "The Infinite Atonement."

Marty took the older two with him to clean the church when our family had the assignment and I stayed home with the littles.

Trying to sort out my brain at a particularly crazy time.

Thumb-suckers.  Sigh.

Yep, rain is THAT exciting here in the desert.

Camille's little bff.  We have seen quite a bit of this girl while her mom's been in nursing school and they are so funny together!  They are just two or three months apart.

Texting a picture of the kids' library to my mom (a librarian - just thought she'd be interested).

Gabe with his weekly playgroup friends!  Here they are with a couple of sensory boxes - I think we were on a fish theme that week.  These four have been swapping houses together since they were just babies.  It's been so fun to watch them grow together, fight, bond, potty-train, play, learn.  And now it's time to go our separate ways a little more as a couple of them will be going to preschool.  But we are still hoping to get them together often for playdates and outings.

My first ever painted master bedroom.  I will never again leave my room to be the last priority, I can't believe how refreshing it is to have my own space be beautiful.

Ummm....I think this was in the covered wagon at the Mormon Battalion Museum in San Diego??

Bryce got to accompany me to the dollar store one day.