Friday, October 17, 2014

Dance Recital 2014

 During dress rehearsal I missed snapping a shot of Zoey in her hip hop costume.  Fortunately I remembered during the recital.  This was her least favorite class this year.  She didn't love the costume, thought the moves were too fast, and most of all felt uncomfortable dancing to an inappropriate song.  I am proud of her for standing up for her standards this year!  It was a tough and stressful experience for her but, I am grateful she is continually striving to be her purest and best self.  She is a great example to me and all those around her. 

 Here are my 3 little ones at the end of the long recital night.  They were excited to receive their flowers after a year of hard work.

Judy, our next door neighbor, came to see the performance and bought each of the girls a special flower too.  We were so blessed to live by this lady for the past 3 years!  She is the best neighbor ever!!!  

Father's Day 2014

Although Father's Day occurred days before our move this last year we knew we needed to do something special for our daddy!   The girls were thrilled when they were given the task to wrap and prepare Dave's gifts (using random paper bags like that baby gap and coldstone bag shown in the picture below).
 I love the fact that each of these pictures shows just how much these kids love their daddy.
 They all want to be right up there with him, sharing in the action of his special day!  Dave is a great dad!  He works hard to spend time building relationships with each one of the girls, making sure they feel loved.  
We recently were able to here the prophet President Thomas S. Monson and the apostles speak a few weeks ago during general conference.  Tad R. Callister was one of my favorites this time around.  He talked about the divine role of husband and wife and mother and father in this earth life and throughout all eternity.  The part of his address that stuck with me was when he pointed out that -- after this life titles such as Bishop and Relief Society President may not be present but, husband, wife, mother, and father are eternal callings.  These titles will be with us in the eternity and it is these titles that we need to perfect and focus on while here in mortality.  He talked about giving our best self to these titles rather than what was left over at the end of the day.  I loved the talk!  With 5 little ones in the home life can and does get pretty hectic.  I am grateful to be married to a husband who values his role as both a husband and father.  I appreciate the way he works to perfect this art in this mortal life as we strive to raise our little ones in righteousness. 
 My little Rex is happy to be in on the action!

Color Run with Zoey :)

The week before we left Ohio Zoey and I ran a 5k color run together.  It was so much fun.  I am in the midst of raising my future best friends!  I love to run myself and therefore an working hard to find ways to instill this same passion into my little ones.
 In the picture above we are just leaving for Zoey's first race.  In the picture below we had just returned home from the main event.  It was a success!
 My favorite part of the race was when Zoey decided to do cartwheels along the course!  She was clearly one of the  younger runners on the course.  It was fun to see the happiness on her face as she ran through the confetti filled finish line.  You could see on her face that she felt proud of her accomplishment.  It was a good moment to be a Mama!  Purple was one of the last colors we ran through.  As I was running through I yelled out that purple was my favorite color -- so they decided to cover me in purple...  When I got home Kinley was pretty happy to see me covered in our favorite color.
 Me loving on my little boy!
 We ran through the downtown street of Youngstown.  An area I would never be if we weren't in the middle of a race, I had to laugh inside when Zoey suggested we walk during the middle of the race to enjoy the moment and take in the scenery around us.  We were surrounded by creepy, abandoned buildings with graffiti all over the town... and police sirens sounding in the background.  Ha ha!  
It was a lot of fun.  I can't wait to do another race with Zoey (and the rest of my little ones) in the near future... Well, not too near - this race did not help my leg injury (stress fracture).  It has been 5 months since my initial injury and I am still working to repair the damage.  I was looking forward to a 12k this Christmas and another color race with Alexa and Zoey but, sadly need to wait a little longer for my leg to heal completely.  Hopefully next Spring we can get back into the swing of things.  I am keeping my fingers crossed!

Paisley turns 3!

 Forever ago my "sweetie kid" turned 3!  I adore this  little one and am so happy to have her as a part of our family.  Her birthday arrived in the thick of us packing and preparing our home for the big move... hence the reason her gifts are still all packaged up in the Amazon box!  I love how happy she looks in all these pictures.  She felt special on her big day.

 This is a kids who loves her stuffed animals.  She is often found with one of her special stuffed animals in hand and has lovingly given each a name.  Her current favorite is "Pinky", a sparkly pink pony.  She was thrilled with the new Minnie Mouse addition Grandma and Grandpa Zarkou sent her for her birthday.

I realize the picture above is kind of blurry but, i still love it.  I love how excited my three older girls are about the gifts but, my most favorite part is just how sweet the birthday girl looks here.  She is a little ray of sunshine everywhere she goes.  She loves being in the spotlight.  She loves to sing and dance!  Her favorite song is "Peanut Butter and Jelly" but, she also knows the way it melts my heart when she sings "I am a Child of God" and will often sing it for me, just to make me smile!  I love this little cutie.  I love her "tight squeezes" throughout the day and the way she quietly wakes up in the morning and peeks her head around the corner in the morning waiting for someone to acknowledge she is there with a big good morning hug.
She chose donuts from our favorite farm in town instead of a cake.  We sure miss White House Farms!  I was grateful that in the midst of preparing and packing for our move we were able to take a breather to celebrate this little ones special day.  She is such a joy to have in our family!

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Dance, Dance, and a little more Dance!

We have a great year of dance behind us!  The girls all did an exceptional job throughout the year.  Dave and I loved watching them at the end of year recital.  This is a real talent my little ones have and it brings me so much joy to watch them thrive and excel in this passion.
 Zoey is so graceful and precise in her movements.  Her absolute favorite class right now is lyrical.  She loves the clothing choice for the recital and loves the movements involved in this type of dance.  She is often found dancing throughout the house in her spare time.  I love watching her dance.  This year she danced to the song "Manhattan" and did a beautiful job!
 She is becoming such a beautiful young woman.  I love watching her mature and develop.  She tries her best at all she does.  Sometimes she is too hard on herself, as she really is an exceptional kid!

 For jazz Zoey danced to "Walk Like An Egyptian".  It was a fun dance for her to do.  I enjoyed watching her preform the different movements.

 This was Kinley's first year of dance.  She was thrilled to join her 2 older sisters in this experience.  She loved every minute of it!!!  She could hardly wait to put on her recital costumes.  She could have spent all day in the front yard having me take pictures of her in her many unique poses.  These were a couple of my favorite shots.  All the poses were her own idea, I just snapped the camera.
 For tap she danced to "Little Jack Frost"

 Alexa ended up with another sailor theme this year!  She really loved this costume.  Her favorite part was the skirt.  This year Alexa has really fine tuned her skills in dance.  She has developed a great love for dance and has become very good at it.  During the last month of dance she informed me multiple times that she would "never stop dancing because she loved it so much."  I smiled at these comments... as I LOVE watching her dance!
 Alexa chose tap over jazz this year.  She danced to the song "Sea Cruise".
 Kinley's ballet class danced to "You've Got a Friend in Me".  It was precious.
 Kinley did awesome with the recital, as she remembered all her parts and preformed with perfection!
 I love how excited she was about dance this year.  She would look forward to practice all week long.  As recital time came around you could just see the excitement radiating from her face!  It brought me so much joy to witness this.

 Alexa's ballet routine was to the music "I Feel Pretty" -- She did an awesome job!  Her picture above and below are of her favorite part of the dance.  She is in a circle with all the other girls at the time of this particular dance move.  Cute kid!
 This was her favorite dance for the season.  A lot of that had to do with her costume.  She loved this red dress!

We also signed Zoey and Lexa up for a tumbling class this year.  They LOVED it!  Throughout the year they were continually doing flips off the couch and cartwheels throughout the house.  Zoey perfected her walking bridge and Alexa was able to fine tune her cartwheel!

It was a really great year of dance!  Since our move we have struggled finding a dance studio that works out for us.  I know it isn't a part of this life that will have eternal significance... However, it has been such a big part of our family thus far.  A part that brings significant joy to our entire family -- We are praying something works out in our new town that will allow for this love of dance to continue for our girls!

The Big Move

 We have moved... and are still trying to recover from the side effects!!!  With three busy little ones still at home, end of school years programs, recitals, and extras all occurring... and a husband in the midst of preparing paper work for a new job and tying up everything from his old job, I about died from all that was on my plate... add a TERRIBLE stress fracture to the mix and that has been me for the last three months. Hands down this has been the most stressful thing I have ever experienced in my life.  Normally when I find myself in a stressful situation I am able to intensify my workouts and make it through until life balances out.  Unfortunately, I hurt my leg (on the tibia), tried to run through the pain causing a painful stress fracture on my tibia resulting in NO EXERCISE  the first 6 weeks and no running for the last few months!  Yes, you heard me right... months!!!  It has been very, very difficult to say the least.
 Any one out there tried packing and moving while in a cast?  It is extremely difficult... but, we did it!  We have officially been Arizona residents for almost 2 months now.  Wow!  Where did those 2 months go?!  We still have many boxes needing to be unpacked throughout our home.  It will take some time for us to get used to this town and new routine but, we are taking it one day at a time! 
 Rex is 8 months old in these pics!  I sure love this little guy.
 As moving day quickly approached my children began wearing pjs longer and longer throughout the day.  Some of the kids may or may not have worn the same pjs for a good 3 or 4 days in a row that last week of us living in Ohio.  I can't be sure, as I was too busy hauling my body (cast on my leg and all) throughout the house cleaning and packing everything in sight.
 We felt blessed with all the help from our ward... tons of movers to carry boxes, women in the ward cleaning our home among the movers, the Wagleys bringing over mattresses for us to sleep on, letting us use their laundry room all day, and providing lunch for everyone who was helping!  Also, a huge thanks to Sister Wait!  She came over the next day to help with more cleaning!!!  We could not have ever finished all that was required without everyone's help.
Unfortunately, in the chaos of the day, I failed to take a picture of the giant moving truck.  It was big... so big within hours of it sitting out front we had a knock on the door from our neighborhood council.  Apparently someone was complaining in the area -- thinking my "truck driver husband" was parking his new truck out front for good!  Um, really?!... We have lived here for 3 years and never once parked it there before.  

Anyway, after  a very busy summer, we made it!  We are looking forward to settling into our new area quickly.  I am tired of waking up every morning to a half unpacked house and trying to find a familiar routine that works for us among this new town.  I miss being a mom -- I am really looking forward to the day my house is unpacked and the routine of life is set in place and I get to spend the day doing regular cleaning, cooking, and playing with my babies.  After this move, I decided we are done moving!  This was (and still is) such a stressful experience on every member of the family!

So Long Snowflake

After a solid three months of craziness, I finally sat down today to peek in on my blog and realized I had this blog post I wrote almost 3 months ago but, never published it... My decisions and feelings have remained the same.  I do miss our little dog from time to time but, have yet to regret my decision of finding her a new home!  The general conference talk which discussed using our time for things that are good, better, or best was the main deciding factor on this decision.  I feel like my time and energy is already spread so thin, It is best to give what I have to cultivating and building an eternal family rather than the good choice of caring for our little dog...
 After analyzing and discussing every possible option of getting our beloved Snowflake out to Arizona with us, we came to the conclusion that it would be best for everyone if we found her a nice home here in Ohio.  We were sad to say good-bye and we all miss her but, I have not once regretted the decision.  I am pretty certain if we attempted bringing her to the airport we would be kicked off the plane... She has been banned from 2 groomers (technically 3 but, the third one had nothing to do with her personality).  Dave considered driving her out when he traveled out for the state boards in a few weeks but, the timing of that wasn't adding up either.  Our new house is on a busy road, right across from a park, she loves people and loves to squeeze her way out the front door when it opens.  I was afraid for her safety in the new area and my children's safety, as they have been known to run after her. Before Dave and I took her to her new home we had each of the girls take a picture with their little dog.  
Zoey with Snowflake
Lexa with Snowflake
By the time we got to Paisley, Snowflake decided she was done holding still... so we decided to snap a cute shot of Paisley the sweetie kid sitting on the couch by herself.

Judge if you must, many others already have but, I know this is the best possible choice for our family right now.  We miss you sweet Snowflake!