Monday, September 23, 2013

more phone pics

Here is the first cluster of pics from my phone, which is just a cheap basic phone, so the quality is terrible.  But hey, it's a moment recorded. :)

This is the story of a mommy who has her hands full of little ones.  It was the best decision she ever made.  This mommy thrives off of the chaos of these four little sweeties, and yet also thrives off of routines and working toward running a tight ship.  This mommy gets lots of laughs out of the craziness of everyday life and the ridiculous things her kiddos do.  Well, FIRST this mommy probably grumbled and smacked her head against a wall, and THEN this mommy DECIDED to get a laugh out of it.  To do that, this mommy, over the course of four or so months, sent HER mommy pictures of everyday things so they could laugh over them together.  And that is the story behind all these cell phone pics of nothing of great importance.  (And because this mommy has become completely unorganized, these pics are going backward in time, got it?)

A trip to the library. Bryce and Camille fell asleep on the way there, so I laid them down together in the stroller.  Bryce woke up, but insisted on staying right where he was to take care of Camille.  Typical Bryce.

That same day at the library, Bryce discovered the "Avengers" section of books.  Mind. Blown.  He gathered up pretty much the whole section and didn't move from that spot until I dragged him away (because, did you see the two babies in the stroller?  We don't last long at the library these days).

As I've mentioned, our house is on the market.  One day we had a home showing and we needed be out of the house, but stick pretty close to drop Bryce off for a play date later.  We started out at the park, but then got REALLY hot.  So we wound up parked at sonic with drinks, and OH MAN.  Gabe was so adorably delighted to be up in the front seat with Mommy like a big boy.

Every morning Gabe's first item of business is to dump out the bucket of cars.  It's seriously like he can't breathe or function until he's checked that off his to-do list.  Anyway, his new favorite game is "crush the cars with the dump truck."  Love love love little boys.

Bryce on September 11th.  He wanted to show Grandma his hand-print flag he made at preschool in front of our flag.  I didn't notice until I enlarged this just now that the picture is upside down. :)  It was bright outside.

 I got a laugh out of this.  Gabe has just started sitting up on the bar stools while I get stuff done in the kitchen.  This particular morning I got desperate to finish something and got out the big bag of dum-dum suckers to keep him entertained.  I opened the bag, took one out, gave it to him, and stopped paying attention.  After a while, I realized I had left the bag of suckers open next to him and he had helped himself.  He had about 8 suckers unwrapped, and all were different flavors - I wonder if that was intentional?  As a side note, I was baking some muffins.  I don't bake.  When I NEED cookies, I'd prefer to open some Tollhouse cookie dough and get the task over with and just enjoy the cookies.  But I have decided I would like to perfect the art of muffin-making.  It's easier to justify taking time for baking them because they aren't as unhealthy (depending on the muffin) and they make great snacks for school lunches and such.  They freeze great.  They are nice to take to neighbors.  I happen to love them.  Win-win.  We'll see if I actually manage it.  On another side note, after this picture was taken, I strapped a booster to a bar stool for Gabe so I won't have to worry about him as much and I love it.  When he's up there and I am busy, we are two little buddies, enjoying each other's company.  And I like finding little things to keep him entertained.  Today while I was making lunch, I stuck stickers all the way up his arm and showed him how to take them off and stick them to a paper plate.  It kept him busy, and it sure beats what he usually does while I am busy in the kitchen, which is to empty all the kid cups out of the cupboard, fill them with a skiff of water, take a sip, throw the cup, and move on to the next cup.  That, or hang on to my legs and cry to be held.

And here is where he decided to do a good deed and fill Bryce's cup with milk.  Bryce was NOT happy about having the milk dumped all over him.  And because I catch on so quickly, I took the milk carton out of his hands, set it on the table, and went to get a rag.  Silly mommy.  As soon as I turned around I realized he just picked it right back up and went on pouring.  I had JUST mopped the day before for a home showing.  Just when I had the impulse to bang my head against a wall, I decided to take a picture instead and my parents got a kick out of it.  I'm telling you, texting ridiculous pictures to someone who thinks everything your kids do is adorable, is very therapeutic.  

Having those two pictures back to back, I have to interject that I fully realize how lucky I am with Gabe.  He creates plenty of disasters, I mean he is almost two.  But I do believe he creates far less of them than the average baby his age.

Bryce is in a phase.  It took him a long time to reach this phase (Brynn reached it just after she turned two).  The name-of-the-game is "I'm out-growing nap-time."  He's four and a half, so if he just doesn't seem like he needs a nap, I'm willing to not force it.  Especially when he is bouncing around like a pin-ball machine at 10:00 at night because he slept too long that afternoon.  But some days I mis-judge whether he needs it, and this happens:

It's even more precious in person.

Ha!  I love this!  So when Brynn was first learning to use the computer, she got on one day by herself and typed "Brynn" into the search bar.  Wondering how on earth she'd gotten to the random page she was on, she explained that she had typed in her name and demanded to know where the princesses were.  That is such a typical mind-set for little kids!  The rest of the world revolves around them.  Well a couple weeks ago, Bryce tried the same stunt.  Only he typed in his name and actually got something completely relevant!  He started yelling to me from the other room, "Mom, it's my CANYON!!"  After he typed in his name, Bryce Canyon popped up (yes, he was named after that hallowed ground) and he recognized it right away.  Great.  Let's reinforce that "the world revolves around me" mind-set.  And by the way, I do monitor their computer usage pretty closely, this one just slipped past me.

A bragging moment sent to G&G - the first preschool student to start reading!  Good job, Brycer!

I didn't know Bryce had it in him to color.  I guess he just needed a fabulous pre-k teacher to show him he could.  We bumped heads about coloring worse than anything else in Mommy School because he HATES doing it.  It's such a tedious chore for him, so usually just ended up with a little scribble in the middle of whatever he was coloring and then he wouldn't do any more.  Honestly, I would have been fine with that method of coloring on the dog, but I think he knew he could and should do better but just didn't want to.  And so we ended up taking an hour on this picture - 45 minutes of crying to begin with and 15 minutes of coloring to end with.  This was definitely one of those things we needed to take a picture of to send to G&G.

Behold:  the almighty "Go and Do" Board.  Our family theme two years ago (that we chant every night after prayer) was "Stand for the right."  Last year it was "I can do hard things."  This year it is "I will go and do."  We are kind of building on principles.  Teaching what "right" actually is, and then teaching that they CAN do it and becoming their cheerleaders, then teaching the importance of actually DOING it.  (Oh, "Go & Do" comes from this scripture, by the way.)  Anyway, this is just some motivation for them to complete their routines, which have become more involved now that Brynn is doing piano more regularly and Bryce has regular homework.  Every chore that they have to do each day goes on a stick, and once the chore is done, the stick can go in the "Done" compartment.  Once their sticks are all done, they get their TV/Computer ticket for the day and a sucker.  The sticks include their morning routine (dressed, bed made, morning prayer), a chore, reading time, homework, piano practice for Brynn, and playtime.  I used the TV tickets a year or two ago, and the problem was that as soon as they got everything done and got their ticket, they went strait to the TV or computer and were whiny about playing after that.  So now they have to have some good play time under their belt and that problem has been a lot better.  The stars are extra stuff, but they need to be re-worked as they were a little complicated for four-year-olds.  I'd been formulating this in my mind and with my mom over the phone for a while, so of course I had to text her the finished product.  If I only get to see my mom a few times a year, I sure am thankful for technology making it not seem so much that way.

Is this a baby doll or a real baby?  We dressed Camille up in Brynn's baby doll's clothes and put her in the baby carrier.  Just for the fun of it.  Oh, yes, she is our second thumb-sucker in a row.  Best. Babies. Ever.

Sorry for the exposed baby.  Wait...actually, I'm not at all.  Gabe just HAD to be in the bath with Little Sister and couldn't wait long enough to get undressed.  He just plunged in head-first.

Lotion after bath time:  Next!...Next!...Next!

Millie woke up with a really red eye and very fussy.  I texted this to my mom to get her opinion.  In the end, I decided to wait on going to the peds office until the next day and by then it had cleared up.  Hm?

This girl LOVES her baths.  She never stops kicking and gets water everywhere and doesn't mind about that a bit.  I think I love her bath time almost as much as she does.

Brynn got to use some of my old hot-curlers.  She thought that was pretty special when I told her they were from back in my pageant days.

Beautiful at first, but they didn't last more than an hour.  My mom always put my curlers in for me, so I guess I need more practice.  My first attempt was a bit of a flop.  Oh well, it was just for fun because we had some extra time on a Sunday morning.

This is the park right by my parents' new house.  Perfect for a Gaber-Smacks.  I just texted this to my mom to make her jealous. :)

Catching smile after smile for Grandma!  I LOOOOVE that little dimple beneath her right eye.

Bryce suggested we take a pic of Camille's new hat. 

My ring is safe and sound after an extended absence.  Sorry, too embarrassed to say where it's been.

Marty bought me some really nice stone earrings from San Diego when he went with the young men.  I sent him this text at work to let him know they were being put to good use!

There we go, the first installment of "I texted this to so and so because...."

Tuesday, September 17, 2013


When I got pregnant with Camille, Gabe hadn't even started crawling yet (YES, that was part of the plan). After I started telling people, by far the comment I heard the most was: "You're going to have your hands full!" To which I replied, "That's the whole point!"  And it truly was.  I love being a mom, I wanted to have my hands full.

As you can see, I got what I wanted!  My hands are FULL!

I had just gotten done feeding Camille on the couch when Gabe, still my little bookworm, climbed up with a book about cars.  Then Brynn grabbed the princess encyclopedia she got from the library and was taking opinions on my favorite dresses in between turning the pages for Gabe.  Buddy came over asking if he could snuggle with me because he was cold.  And Marty snapped a picture. :)  See?  Full. I try to remind myself of that every time I become overwhelmed or think it's all too much work or wonder when the last time was that I had a second to think quiet thoughts.  I'll keep this picture around for those moments I forget how wonderful it is and how lucky I really am.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Summer in UT, 2013

Being able to go to Utah was a huge relief this summer.  It's so hot here in AZ, I never really feel like taking the kids anywhere.  It's especially tedious with a tiny one to nurse and I just feel so hot and thirsty I think I'll never get hydrated or cool off!  What I sometimes forget is, it gets really hot in Utah, too.  Only everyone just toughs it out and goes out to play anyway.  But at least there was plenty of fun to be had.  We went to a reservoir one day with the Johnsons and had lots of fun.  

It was hot and I felt bad for baby Camille, but every time I dipped her toes in the water she would scream bloody murder.  So I finally got her to sleep in the stroller and covered her with the cool, wet skirt from Brynn's swimsuit.  

 We also went to an outdoor concert Marty's brothers were playing in (Wasatch Winds - I wish Marty could be in it with them!).  They were playing at the amphitheater next to the Timpanogus Temple.  That box up there is where Marty and I got engaged eight and a half years ago!   His step-sisters helped him decorate with twinkle lights, a fancy table and settings, nice music, and even a keyboard where Marty sang me a song he wrote. :)

So anyway, we took the kids up there and told them the story.  They were cute and funny and acted like that spot was an ancient relic ("Maybe these marks on the railing are from the lights Daddy put up!!").

 Our family has changed a bit since then.

 My snuggle-buddy.

With cousin Reese, just a few months apart in age.

We got to stay at Greg and Nickelle's new beautiful home.  S'mores!!

A red white and blue breakfast on the 4th of July.

 Brynn lost her 3rd tooth!  She'd been wiggling it all morning and I'm not sure why it was annoying me, but I said, "Just PULL it out, already!"  So she did.  I was so proud of her!  I remember my teeth barely hanging on and refusing to touch it or let anyone else touch it.  And yes, I crimped her hair that morning with the same crimper my mom used on me when I was that age.  Only that was the 80s. :)

 And we blessed our sweet Camille while we were up there.  We had been determined to do it in our AZ ward, which we LOVE, but then Kris Anne started putting together a big family gathering for Georgia's baptism so we decided as long as everyone was there....

 We went to a cabin in Brian head with all the Johnsons and had a blast.  It was nuts - 14 kids ages 10 and under.  But they all did exactly what cousins should do; they played the day away with pretty much no conflicts.  They just disappeared together and let us grown-ups hang out.  They seemed to take really good care of each other, too.  Awe, I can see Grandpa Johnson holding Camille in this picture!

And of course we went to Bryce Canyon!  Grandpa's most hallowed place on Earth, and quickly becoming Buddy's favorite place, too.
 It was dreadful weather, cold and rainy, and we had to cancel our hike.  But we acted like true Utahns and spent the whole day there anyway.

 I'm not sure what silly thing Daddy was doing to get the kids to laugh in the above picture, but I'm pretty sure Bryce is imitating it in the one below. :)

 Big, full rainbow across Bryce Canyon - does it get any more beautiful?

 I'm starting to think Bryce has convinced himself that this actually is his canyon.  That's the only thing he ever refers to it as, "my canyon."  He's got a big poster of it in his room and talks about his canyon often.  Then when we went there this time, it made such a difference to him to actually know how to spell and recognize his name.  So of course the first time we saw this sign, he pretty much freaked out.

 We were there 5 days, four nights.  It worked out perfectly for everyone to pretty much take food duty for one day.  This was our breakfast - a yogurt parfait bar and toast!

 One afternoon I stayed home with the babies while Marty and most the other grown-ups took their older kids on the ski lift.

The last full day we all went to Zion's.  That day I dressed for cold weather and got hot weather instead.  We brought along the stroller and it was a total joke to get that thing folded out, babies in and then babies out, folded in.  Ridiculous.  Finally, Christy and I wished our husbands luck and took our babies back to the lodge to nurse.  There may or may not have been scandalously high-priced drinks and fries involved.  There were a lot of good moments, but it was just kind of a hard day with that many babies (four babies under a year).
 Here is weeping rock.  A perfect hike for little kids.  Not so much for a double stroller.  Marty and I took turns waiting around at the bottom.