Friday, November 20, 2015

Morning Routine

 Getting these kids ready for school in the morning is always an adventure!  Most of the time the morning will start out slow with Dave leaving for work and everyone still waking up as they eat their breakfast but, by the end of the hour the house is hopping as we are running around looking for shoes, signing last minute permission slips, and rushing to carry two sleeping babies out to the car (each with a giant pile of blankets they insist come along too). -- as an added bonus for the last week, the garage door is not shutting (or opening) with the remote.  So, part of our current morning routine involves me parking the car in our steep driveway while I jump out of the car, run into the garage and manually push the button and then come running to the car (in my pjs or workout clothes -- depending on whether or not I was able to wake up at 5 am that day to exercise) and make sure I jump over the beam on my way out.  Awesome!
 These kids are fun.  I love the age they are and the stage of life I am in.
 Babies really do come to this earth with their own unique gifts and talents.  It is fun to see their special and unique personalities develop.  
 These pictures were taken this morning just before leaving for school.  It's just dipping under the 70 degree weather in the morning here... time to bust out the boots and jackets.  My kids have been asking me for a few days now to get our hats and mittens out too.  They are also eager to let me know we need some hot cocoa in the house for this cold, winter season.  Sometimes living in Arizona cracks me up!

 Rex has learned a new word... "No!".  He has said it way too much lately.  When I was taking the pictures of sisters he came out to see what was going on.  So, I turned the camera to him and asked if he wanted a picture.  He said "No!" and ran into his sister's bedroom... and I decided to take a picture of him anyway. :)  I love the pjs he picked out for himself last night.  He likes them because they have balls on them.  He brought them to me and said "Ball" and pointed out all the balls. Notice he is wearing pants and shorts.  That's because the shorts have balls on them too.  He wanted to wear both and seemed happy when I decided to slip them over top of each other.

He has an appointment with a speech therapist next week.  I am eager to hear the results of her assessment.  We are also going to be taking this little guy into a specialist at the end of December to take a detailed hearing test.  His delayed speech makes me slightly anxious.  The 1st week of Rex's life, he was given gentamyacin -- this drugs has a well known side effect of causing permanent hearing loss.  Although this might be the case, I am confident giving him this medicine at his birth was the best plan!  Rex was very sick when he was born.  If this drug wasn't pumped into his system during his 1st week of life he would not be here today!  I am so grateful we had such talented and trained professionals ready and willing to save my little baby's life (One more reason I think this annoying trend of "birth centers" is one of the stupidest ideas a pregnant mama can choose!).  I am keeping my fingers crossed both his assessments go well.  I know God is watching out for him and whatever the results show, it is how things were meant to be.
This picture below was taken last week.  Kinley watched closely as her sister got dressed and worked hard to match the look perfectly... you can't see it in the picture but, even their earrings match!  Thank you clip ins.
 If you can't tell in the pictures, Kinley was so happy to be twinnsies for the day.
 Zoey was a good sport about it -- and I think secretly flattered that her sister wants to be just like her.

I can't wait to pick up the kids this afternoon.  Alexa spent 50 "starbucks" (reward system at the school) to help out in a different classroom.  She chose Zoey's class!  She has been so excited for Friday to come.  She will be the assistant for Zoey's class science experiments.  It made me smile to know my 3rd grader was confident enough to spend the morning with a group of 5th and 6th graders.  She is already working hard to earn 50 more starbucks to pay towards helping out in Kinley's class.  I love the sibling love these cuties show towards one another.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

The Switch Witch 2015 Promise

Halloween night my girls came home from the ward party so excited about all the candy they gathered.  I always find it interesting the different styles each of our towns we have lived in seem to approach the trick or treating tradition... I don't think I will ever find a town with a more unique tradition than I did in Iowa -- "Beggar's Night!" The entire town sends the kids trick or treating the night before Halloween.  I still don't know why but, most commonly was told the reason behind it was so the parents can hold Halloween parties for all their adult friends on Halloween night.  Umm, makes no sense!

Anyway, this new town we live in has a few odd festivities of its own as well.  All of main street is shut down and opened for costume goers to get together with one another... It is NOT a kid friendly atmosphere and one we were warned to steer clear of on that night.  Most of the local church's will put on a family friendly Halloween party.  Our church was no exception.  We had dinner and trunk or treating for all the kids.  They loved it!  We saw some great costumes.  

There is only a small designated group of neighborhoods that the entire town of kids trick or treat in (the golf course.) -- We live close to the golf course and had to pass it on our way home from the ward party.  Wow!  It did not look fun at all -- cars and kids everywhere!.
My kids were excited with the stash of candy they came home with and were quick to try all kinds of new yummy flavors.
 I loved seeing how generous and sweet they were with one another.  They knew their sister's favorite candy and were sure to give them away when they spotted them in their pile.
 Within minutes of arriving home, the girls began talking about the Switch Witch and asking where they should put all the candy before bed, for the Switch Witch to pick up while they were sleeping.
 After helping the kids choose a couple "favorite" pieces of candy to set aside, we helped them put their candy out on the the table and sent them to bed... and then Dave and I looked at each, like a deer in headlights, wondering what the heck we were going to leave out on the counter for my excited little sweeties!  I dug through the crafts box and "mom's store" with no success.  We were in panic mode until Dave came up with a brilliant plan -- a pet!  Perfect!  We wrote up a little letter about how the Switch Witch was going to leave a pet but, thought they would rather choose it themselves.  It was an IOU but, one the kids would be excited about.

I woke up the next morning kind of regretting that promise but, knew we needed to keep to our word.  We took the kids to the pet store for FHE Monday night with little luck (We were able to rule out the idea of a cat.  We played with a huge cat that was up for adoption.  Dave left the store with his allergies in full force.)  

Earlier that day, I took a few of the kids to the pound,  We found a cute (so ugly it was cute) chihuahua we loving named "Snaggle" because of it's nasty over bite.  However, Dave threatened to make us return her if we brought her home.  Walking  through the pound was plain old freaky.  I have a serious fear of big dogs.  I have noticed the older I get, the more intense my fear becomes.  Walking (with my tiny children) through a room of caged big dogs (90% of whom were clearly pit bulls) was super stressful.  My anxiety level was through the roof.  I had to make a conscious effort to avoid the intense urge I had to grab my kids and run out the building as fast as I could.  Scariest part -- When I turned my back for a second and a pit bull mix (who we recognized from their website -- which read in his description "aggressive towards children and will not be available for adoption to anyone with children under the age of 12 due to his aggressive behavior") came, in stealth mode, quietly out of a hiding spot running full force towards me and jumped against his door when I was standing next to it (I thought the cage was empty because he was hiding while all the other dogs in the room were at their doors barking at me.).  There was a whole other kennel on the other side of the pound with more dogs.  After walking through the 1st side, I decided to send Zoey in alone while I stayed at the door with Rex and Paisley.  No luck of finding our new pet at the pound.

Last week Dave sent me a text of some adorable 8 week old mystery breed puppies from the pound he was wanting to get.  They were cute but, clearly would end up being big dogs (and, although Dave disagrees, I think the mom looks like she might be a pit bull mix).  Dave wanted them but, I said "no".

Over the past few weeks Dave and I have looked and discussed every dog breed available on this earth.  It is obvious that our idea of the ideal dog is drastically different.  Dave wants a dog to take on runs with (although he currently doesn't enjoy running (and has a bad knee), so that would most likely end up being my job) and play catch with.  He wants a big dog! -- Keep in mind we live in Arizona.  Due to the extreme heat and amount of wild animals, there is no such thing as "outside dogs".  All dogs here live indoors all the time, meaning we would have a big dog walking around our house, jumping up on our counters, and taking up the whole couch.  Ugh.  I want a dog that is small (makes smaller messes and much more manageable), no shedding, and cute!  After many, many discussions with one another, I have come to the conclusion that a perfect Zarkou dog doesn't exist (no wonder I went and bought our last dog without telling anyone!).

I think we will be getting some Jersey Wooly bunnies instead.  The kids and I are pretty excited about these cute little guys.  We have found a breeder and are currently waiting for the next batch of babies to arrive.  It has been a little stressful getting to this point but, I think we have come to a happy conclusion... I think! 

 What is it about toddlers and suckers.  At this age, everyone of my kids favorite candy was the suckers.  They are such a sticky mess!
 Rex and his candy stash! -- In case you are wondering where the Switch Witch takes all of this delicious candy... to Dave's work!  You're welcome all of Dave's co-workers.  I hope they enjoy each and every bite of my kid's hard earned candy stash!

Friday, November 13, 2015

Halloween Costumes 2015

 Halloween is one of my most favorite holidays all year.  I love the parties and activities that go along with the October festivities, The flavor of pumpkin is my favorite -- smoothies, cookies, bread.  Yum, so many option to add pumpkin and spices too.  I also love being able to dress my kids up in costumes and watch their inner self come to life in whatever character they have chosen.  It is such a magical time of year!

Because I love this time of year so much, I usually have costumes decided and planned a good 3 or 4 weeks in advance.  This year, not so much!  I pulled out the box the afternoon of Halloween.  I am so happy there were some costumes in there that each of my kids were happy about and we were able to quickly throw together.
 Kinley chose to be a black cat.  I love that she chose this particular costume this year.  Not only does she look adorable but, now each of the girls (and myself) have been a black cat at least one in their life.  I would say we got our moneys worth on this particular costume.  She had a lot of options to choose from that fit her this year.  After seeing what Alexa was going to be,she chose the black cat... for the sole purpose of being her sister's accessory!  I love that my kids love their siblings so much.  I hope that never,ever changes.
 Her favorite part of the outfit was the purple glitter I added to her cheeks.

Zoey wanted to be my shoulder angel.  I thought this was the perfect costume for her.  It fits her personality perfectly!  This costume was a little trickier to put together.  I ended up making the halo while the kids were getting dressed into their  costumes and figured out a way to wire it into Zoey's hair to keep it looking like it was floating.  Zoey was so appreciative of her costume and told me "thank you!" multiple times throughout the night.  I was happy to see her excited to dress up this year.  I love that she has such a cute group of friends at school.  They had been talking about Halloween for weeks and were all eager to know what each other was dressing up as.

 Alexa was an adorable little witch!  She was pretty excited about this particular costume... and even more excited to see her little sister (Kinley) would be dressing as her black cat pet.
 I absolutely love this picture of Alexa!  Her personality is so fun to be around.  I am constantly trying to remind myself, as her mother, to let some things go and allow her to cultivate and develop the spunky and unique personality that she came to this earth with!  When I sit back and let her be herself, I am often in awe at just what a special little spirit I have been blessed with in this family.  The picture above is a clear example of this point.  I said "1,2,3" and she would pose.  Again, I would say "1,2,3" and another pose.  The pose above is adorable and one I never would have thought of -- She is such a special gift to me!

 Paisley was a "mermaid princess" this year!  She insisted that she wear a crown with her costume.  She didn't want to be a boring old mermaid but, instead a mermaid princess!  She rocked the look and was so happy to strut her stuff at the ward trunk or treat.
 She felt like a princess in that puffy skirt and was so happy to wear it all night long.

 Rex's costume was the most challenging of all!  He refused to wear the traditional candy corn costume that all my kids wear for their two year old Halloween experience.  He would not allow me to get that thing anywhere near him.  Fortunately, I was able to throw together, an all too over used, pinterest costume for the night.  He was happy to put it on (mostly, he did not like the fact that I left the buttons undone on his shirt).  This year I learned that boys costumes are hard... A few years back Dave told me he dressed as a football player every year.  I was shocked that he chose not to be more creative as a kid.  Now I get it.  All I could find available was yucky, scary costumes or super hero costumes -- lame and lame!  I am glad I have a year to keep my eyes open for the perfect costume -- that is, if he lets me put it on him, when I finally do find the perfect costume.

It was a fun night to be a mom.  The kids all went to bed happy!

The Kid's Pumpkins

 Every year we give the kids a choice of carving or painting their pumpkins.  Most years they will choose the painting option, which makes me happy.  At our house, the carving is usually to advanced for their age and I end up carving way too many pumpkins myself. This year each of the kids took charge of their pumpkins creation and came up with some beautiful masterpieces.
 Paisley was so proud of her pumpkin.  I loved watching her create it!  She closely watched what each of the other kids were doing and added a little bit of everyone else's design to hers.  Alexa's pumpkin had decoupaged tissue paper on it.  Paisley cut out triangles and decoupaged them to the back side of hers.  Kinley added a variety of colors to her pumpkin and finished it off with sprinkling purple glitter over the entire thing... Paisley did the same.  Zoey put a face on her pumpkin and added a purple tulle bow to the top... Paisley thought that was another great idea, and did the same to her pumpkin.  It was so fun to watch her design and decorate her pumpkin.  My favorite part is the face she did on the front.  Can you see the eyes, nose, and mouth?   Adorable!
Rex knows how to say "blue".  It is clearly his favorite color these days (He even has the big toes of his feet painted in a shiny blue right now -- He saw the girls painting nails yesterday and insisted his be painted too.  He picked out the blue and handed it to me -- and was  thrilled when I painted his big toe his favorite shade of blue.)  He started by painting his pumpkin in all blue but, eventually wanted to branch out with some bright green too.  He was so happy with the end result.  Every time we go out the front door he has to pick up his pumpkin and examine it.  He is sure proud of it!
 I love the picture above.  Lately I have been noticing just how blessed my kids are to have one another.  They are such an example to one another,whether they realize it or not.  I love dropping my older girls off in the morning and watching them walk up to the school together.  I know God sent each of my kids to my home, not only for me, as a parent, to help them get to Heaven successfully but, for each of them to help each other navigate their way through this life successfully as well.  I love the way Rex is looking to his older sister in this picture above.  He loves following her lead. 
 More pictures of my little guy and his pumpkin!

 He set his pumpkin down for this picture (because he noticed the dirt in our plant pot and wanted to play in it for a minute or two).
 Alexa's pumpkin turned out fun.  Earlier in the month the girls received their amerincan girl doll magazine subscription.  There were a handful of creative and cute ideas for decorating pumpkins.  One of the ideas involved decoupage and tissue paper.  Alexa decided to test the idea out this year.  It worked out really well.  After the pumpkin dried, she spayed it with glitter.

Zoey made a cat.  The back had a cute little tail on it.  Each of the girls entered a school pumpkin contest.  They were excited with the results.  Zoey's pumpkin took 3rd place in all the school (the other girls got 15th and 17th place.  Not bad considering how many Kindergarten - 6th graders attend their school).

 Kinley's pumpkin turned out really cute too.  She wanted it to look like a present.  1st she painted it blue and purple.  Then she covered it with purple glitter.  After it dried, we wrapped it in purple tulle.  She was so happy to see her purplelicious vision all come together so perfectly.
 The girls go to a school where they have to wear a uniform (not really, just a specific school shirt).  The day before Halloween the principle let everyone dress in orange and black instead.  My kids were so excited to show up all decked out in Halloween themed clothes.  Here is what Kinley chose.  Her Halloween bow was a perfect touch to the outfit (you can't see it in the picture.).  She felt like a rock star and wanted me to take a picture of her before she left for school.
 I love this time of year!  Fall is my most favorite season of all!