Thursday, October 24, 2013


The Millie May will be 6 months old next week.  I can't believe it!  Brynn went outside and found a flower to put in her hair.

"Are you texting Grandma?  Let me make a silly face...."

Yes, we are still working through the no-naps thing.  This is not the only time he has fallen asleep at dinner. Two nights ago I found him asleep, standing up, on the bunkbed ladder.  You heard me.

Having a rough day, we escaped to the park.  This was around 10:00.
That afternoon I gave up.  I threw in the towel at around 3:30 and we went BACK to the park.  I mean, I really just QUIT.  And there's no happy-ending-and-sweet-realization about it.  I put the kids to bed early and completely checked out.  Left the dishes, the toys, the homework, everything.  The next day was much better.  Anyway, this is a picture at the second park trip.  At least someone was happy.

This picture was taken to make Marty jealous.  It has been years since we pulled out the quesadilla maker.  When we were first married, we were both in our senior year of college, had really hard classes, and multiple jobs.  So dinner usually ended up really late and I am too embarrassed to say how often we used this baby.  (No, I didn't gain 15 pounds that semester, why do you ask?)  I don't know why I got a craving for one of these the other day, but Bryce thought it was the coolest thing ever.

Here we are on a little adventure to find the house that fell on the wicked witch of the...what one is it?  Anyway, it's a cute Halloween decoration that Bryce and Grandma discovered and he has been dying to show me. We found it!

Just little days that make up our life. :)

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

too fast

Today Brynn had one of her best little buddies on our street over to play.  This friend is a doll and so sweet to all my kids.  This friend is also a couple years older and has considerably more freedom at home, I think.  She has taught Brynn a number of new words ("sexy" being one I can recall right now).  She is a good girl and very receptive to "we don't say that in our house," and the like.  But today I just about had a full-blown anxiety attack over something inconsequential that I just felt was a foreshadow of something bigger.  While in the loft with them, I overheard, "Hey, wanna see something really funny?"  And I looked over to see that this friend was searching for something on Youtube.  I'm sure it was nothing.  But since it hasn't always been nothing with this friend, I asked them to turn off the computer and go outside to play.  It just hit me how fast my kids are getting older and how hard it is going to be keep them unspotted from the world.  Things happen just that fast.  In less than a minute, my 6 and 4 year old can view something they aren't ready for and that might never leave their mind.  This probably makes me sound really over-protective, but I'm already thinking forward to pre-teen or teenage years where I raise them in a world that is SO unlike the one I knew growing up.  I didn't even have an e-mail account until I was a sophomore.  And I think that's about all I did with the internet.  I didn't have a cell phone until college, and that was mainly for emergencies.  Suddenly I feel like a vulnerable and unprepared mom who is beginning to lose the option of just keeping kids sheltered in our home.  I am so thankful for the personal revelation that I am entitled to as a mom.  That's what brings me peace after anxious moments like that.  I have so much to rely on.  I have a modern-day prophet who gives modern-day revelation, personal revelation, an equal partner in marriage and parent-hood, supportive friends and family with similar goals and awesome advice, and a sharp mind to research and hopefully keep me in the know about what I need to be actively doing to keep my kids on the strait and narrow.  I'm really lucky.  It's still stressful, though. :)

And I have to laugh over what I just heard.  Brynn's response to, "Do you want to play Barbies?"  was something like this:  "Sure!  But sometimes you make all the Barbies be in love with Ken and fight over him and I think that's kind of weird.  Can you not do that?"  Just the reminder I needed right now that I need to give Brynn a little more credit. :)

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Last of the phone

Going back to the beginning of my phone...and finishing it!!

This was one of my first times bringing all the kids to pick Brynn up from school (still in pm kindergarten).  I love Brynn's charter school and can post more about it later, but it's not terribly convenient.  It's a 7 to 10 minute drive (depending on time of day), and there is no bus system.  Anyway, although this picture isn't real clear I can see all three of my younger kiddos snoozing in the back, waiting to be carried inside to blissfully finish their naps.  I know I probably shouldn't indulge them, but if they have to wake up to walk to their rooms, often they just won't go back to sleep and Mommy's quiet time goes out the window.  And Mommy's quiet time is NON-negotiable.  It's how I stay sane the rest of the day.  Carrying these kids in from the car and all upstairs has been a work-out, though. :)

My Mother's Day request was 20 minutes uninterrupted with each kid alone.  Being pulled a million different directions these days, I try not to get too stressed over whether each kid is getting enough (or too much - yes, there is such a thing) Mommy Time.  Bryce seems to require more than anyone, but I don't want to miss out on the babies, and I don't want to take too much advantage of Brynn being so good at entertaining herself.  I swear, sometimes balance seems completely unattainable.  Anyway, Bryce wanted to play dragons in his bed, Gabe and I played a whole lot of catch, Camille got mauled, and Brynn decided we needed to give each other make-overs.

While I was pregnant with Camille, I seriously worked my children to the bone.  I pushed and pushed and pushed, because there were just so many things I really and truly could not do.  In my head I know it's really good for them to learn how to step up and work.  But in my heart I feel a little guilty when I think about not being able to put dinner on the table for my kids and having to ask my 6 year old to do it.  Or having to ask my 4 year old to drag the baby inside because I can't lift him.  They were such little troopers about the whole thing, and I felt such overwhelming gratitude to them and their Daddy for making this pregnancy a team effort, that I wanted to do something special for them.  So after Camille was born, we had a Family Home Evening lesson on gratitude and I made a candy poster for them to pick apart.  I hope I don't take my kids for granted.  I know they're not perfect, but they really are such amazing kids.

For the first 5 Sundays of Baby Camille's life, I dressed her up while everyone went to church and took pictures.  And the saddest news ever is that I lost my camera with all those pictures on it.  Tears.  I'm grateful that at week 4, I took a couple with my phone also to send to my mom.

Ready for this year's swim lessons!  Goobers, haha!

Another little tender mercy with my lost camera:  This is Camille's first on-camera smile.  It was so so so hard to get her to smile in pictures.  I wanted so badly to text one one to my mom, but after failing over and over to get a smile from her on my phone, I finally gave up and took a phone pic of the screen of my camera of Camille's first smile and texted that to my mom instead.  Even though the quality is terrible, I'm grateful I have it.  And yes, that is her baby acne.  She was born with such perfect skin and then very suddenly at three weeks broke out with the worst infant acne of any of my kids!!  After two or three weeks it cleared up just as suddenly as it started.

Building Radiator Springs on the beloved little red table.

After lots of hot days cooped up inside, we had a cold spell (so probably...low hundreds?) and after we came out of the library the kids started rolling around on the grass.  Kids bring so much sweetness to life.

Trying to keep the house messes managed, I stuck Gabe's books up on this high shelf.  Mean.  Gabe is trying so hard to reach them.  I started keeping a few in his crib with him, I just didn't want "scatter the books all over the upstairs" to continue to be the name of game for him, since he was having more fun chucking them down the stairs and such, than reading them.

Beginning to find her thumb.

Waiting at the airport to pick up cousin Gabby!

I snapped this to text to Corey, who gave him a "Palmer Station, Antarctica" onesie.  Fits perfectly, Corey. ;)

Now switching to these two fingers.

Thanks so much to some friends for letting us use their pool on a particularly long day with all the kids and our pleasant little Arizona heat wave.  Plus, I couldn't let Gabby come all the way to AZ in the summer and not take her swimming!

Escaping to Chipotle during a home showing.

Disney Apples to Apples for kids - our absolute favorite game to play together!  We like it so much better than Chutes and Ladders or Candyland - it really is so fun to play all together!

Visiting Daddy at lunch.  Right now ALA's seminary building isn't completed, so they are busing the students to a nearby church building.

First day of school tradition - baking cookies!  I do it to manipulate them into SITTING DOWN long enough to tell me everything about their day. :)  Besides flat out having fun with Gabby and loving her company, there were so many times I was just so so glad she was here.  She baked most of these herself as I was dealing with...whatever it was, I forget now, and running out the door to grab Brynn.  It was so nice those first couple of weeks to leave kids home with Gabby for a few minutes while I chauffeured Brynn.  These days Marty takes her in the morning and I bring her home.  It's early enough that it usually works out for him.

After seeing how hard this girl was trying to find her thumb, I made a valiant and last-ditch effort to convert her to the binkie.

I tried different kinds of binkies.  I would even rock her to sleep with the binkie in her mouth (and rocking the babies to sleep very often is kind of a no-no around here)...

Only to get her from her nap and see that she'd found her thumb again.

So I gave up!  I apologize to your teeth in advance, Chameleon.

Horsing around.

Tsk, tsk, naughty baby.  At least it's only my eye-liner.  I'd say he missed the target just slightly.

Off to the park (VERY early - the only way I can agree to it in the summer).

First day of preschool!!!!  Oh, my little buddy!  How you have WAITED and WAITED for this day to come!  After two full years of watching Big Sister (who you are convinced is NOT bigger than you) go off to school without you, it is finally your turn!!  This was the best day I'd had in such a long time.  Bryce was exploding with excitement, it was a rainy day (which always puts me in  great mood!), I dropped off Gabe for his first baby play group swap, and then brought Camille with me to a hair cut.  The whole thing was strange.  I haven't been emotional like I was taking Brynn to preschool, for a couple of reasons.  First, I felt like taking Brynn to preschool was kind of the end of a phase for me.  That whole phase of waking up with my babies and doing whatever we wanted, which may include a whole day in Mesa or may be spending our whole day in jammies and reading books, that phase was SO short.  And second, I was just kind of thinking of myself and not her.  After seeing how happy my social girl was at school and seeing how much she was learning and growing, I realized it was not so tragic after all.  Oh, plus I still have plenty of babies at home to keep me busy. :)  So this year it's been different sending them both off and having them come home and tell me how great their day was.

I love Bryce's preschool.  Mrs. Hatch is totally amazing and knows just how to push him.  He has really taken off there.  I feel like she has a great handle on his personality.  He is already reading the second set of BOB books she has and I'm really proud of him.  He really wants to get this reading thing down.  Bryce's theme song could be, "Anything Brynn can do, I can do betterrrrr, I can do anything better than Brynn!" (You know, from Annie, Get Your Gun?) So if Brynn can read, he wants to be reading.  If Brynn can ride without training wheels, he thinks he should be riding without them, too.  That mentality might give me a run for my money sometimes when he is a four-year-old, but I think it's going to take him places in life.

Things that are surreal:  Looking at my fridge to see my child's spelling test. WHAT??  Of course this pic was taken to brag to Grandma. :)

Hanging out at Grandma's house during a home showing, before new renters moved in. I will be in so much trouble with her that close to sonic.  I've never been the type to go through drive-thrus for drinks, and I've never been a caffeine drinker.  But there is something about that sonic root beer that gets me!!!

Trying to get the kids all into a routine after school started was so. hard.  They'd fall asleep in the car, and not go back to sleep at home.  Or one of them would and one of them wouldn't, so I'd never have a "quiet time."  Have I mentioned before how fussy I am without one?  At the same time I was trying to transition Gabe from two naps to one, and somehow he ended up with none!  After about a week of this I was not a sane mommy, so I put the B&C down for a nap, grabbed Gabe, and refused to give up rocking until he was asleep.  He never sleeps in my arms, but I was so determined.  It took a veryveryvery long time, but I finally got him.  He was so much happier that afternoon (we all were!).  Since this never happens and it felt so cute to me, I snapped a quick phone pic.  :)

Here is a day when Gabe must not have slept, or he wouldn't be helping the kids with their homework.  I usually spend the first half of his nap to myself and the second half with the kids doing reading/homework/piano.  Generally we don't get to all of it while he sleeps, but we do what we can and finish the rest with him as an all-too-active participant.

This picture is just because he asked me to. :)

Camille was giving us the sweetest smiles so Bryce was my big helper snapping pictures of her.

So often I think she looks just like Brynn, but in these pictures this smile is her own.

Next surreal moment:  My kids at the school book fair.  WHAT??

Poor Buddy struggling without naps.

I hate decorating.  Honestly.  I like to have my house decorated, but I don't understand people who are always re-decorating.  I just want to get the chore done, and then keep it done.  The one thing I actually like is to set up just a few things on our entertainment center.  We go all out for Christmas and have a cute kitchen display for Valentine's Day, but that's about it.  Boring mom, right?  I promise we have lots of other cute traditions, but decorating is so just not my thing.

Next surreal moment: teaching Brynn to ride without training wheels.  WHAT??  She did amazing!  We made her a little balance bike out of her old one that broke anyway.  We took off the pedals and training wheels and everything and then I took her out to the park not really knowing what I was doing.  I told her to push around on it until she could go fast.  The first few minutes I thought this whole thing was going to be a disaster.  But just after that she seemed to totally have it and be balancing.  So a day or two later we took her out on her new two-wheeler and she just did it!   She'd get nervous if she got too far and would stop herself, but after just that one outing her confidence was up so much.  The next day she learned to stay strait on the sidewalk, and after that it was all over.  She wanted to be out on it all day.  She rode past me saying, "This riding-the-bike thing is SO AWESOME!!!!"  She probably could have done it earlier I suppose.  Sometimes I honestly forget about these things I'm supposed to be teaching.

The basketball hoop is from G&G.  Bryce likes it, but Gabe could spend all day with it.  And since there wasn't a lot of room for it in the loft, it went to Gabe's room!  He was so excited and spent the day trying out different balls and stools.  When he misses he says, "Oh, man!"  And when he makes it, he claps for himself and says, "Whoo!" and then demands a high-five.  I'm excited about his "new room."  The very generous friends who loaned us a crib for Camille needed it back, so ready or not, it was time to move him to a big boy bed!  He has always been such a good sleeper and such an adaptable baby.  I suspected he would be just fine, and he totally was.  Which I am so grateful for, because I have VERY painful memories of B&B's transitions to toddler beds.  We just put a safety on the inside doorknob and taught him to knock if he needs us or if he is done with his nap.  At first I tried to get there as soon as I could after hearing him knock so he'd feel secure about the whole situation, and he didn't really abuse that.  Now I usually let Bryce, who has always had a super-sensitive sensor for when Gabe is awake, go in and get him.  And they snuggle and play, and half the time end up crying. :)

Poor kid.  I moved him right after the picture, I promise.  He was hysterically trying to explain to me the importance of having a snack from the freezer, and I had absolutely no idea what he was talking about (I'm pretty sure he was already half asleep).  He eventually gave up.

Hooray, more moments recorded!