Friday, October 2, 2015

Summer Trip to Utah!

This past summer we spent some time in Utah and Idaho visiting family.  Once again, my camera stayed in its case during the vacation and I ended up using my phone to document everything!  Here are the pictures from Utah.
 My family loves the Pizza Pie Cafe.  It's an all you can eat pizza place with some of the most delicious pizza you will ever taste.  My kids went for the first time during our trip and loved it.  The picture above is of Paisley chowing down on my kids favorite dessert pizza -- Oreo!
 The girls and I spent an afternoon getting our hair done by Tyson's talented sister (and fingernails painted by the students downstairs).  She added a small cluster of hot pink highlights to each of the girl's hair.  They have been begging me to get their hair colored pink and were thrilled that I let them each have a few pink streaks along the back.
 ... because of the highlights, my kids got to wear these cool swim caps everyday during swim lessons.  I didn't know how they would react.  I tried to explain that these are what the swimmers wear in the Olympics and it helps them swim faster.  Thankfully my pep talk worked because 3 of my 4 girls were very happy to wear these caps each day.

 I love my sisters (and brothers).  The picture above is of my older sister and I.  She is such a great example to me.  She is a talented mom, amazing wife, and has a solid and unshakable testimony of the gospel.  I feel so blessed God gave me her (and each of my other siblings) as a sister to help me successfully navigate my way through this life!
 My kids, as always, had a fabulous time with cousins.  Playing with each other from sun up to sun down and shoving their faces full of every sugary treat they could get their hands on.
 I love this little baby of mine!
My kids are adorable!

Despite the lack of pictures, our time at Grandma and Grandpa's was filled with adventure.  We went to the zoo, played at the park, had a picnic with delicious donuts from the "best doughnut shop in the world" (aka Dicks market), had a firework show out front on the street, as well as watched big ones filling the sky all around us, shopped for some new clothes (Zoey is convinced Utah is the fashion capital of the world.  :)), spent way too much money at Claire's in a successful attempt to accessorize their boring school uniforms, watched Kyle's creepy pet spider (which ended up giving me nightmares half the nights I was there), went to the movie theater to watch "Inside Out" (adorable show, can't wait to buy it), and let each of the kids choose some rentals for the week... we played and played all day long.  It was so much fun!  I love being a part of this family!

Zoey's Stitches

More phone camera pictures!  One of the days this summer, while the girls were taking an afternoon break from the pool, Zoey was unloading the dishwasher for me.  She tried putting one of our glass dishes away and missed the shelf.  It fell to the counter and shattered.  While it fell, she tried to catch it, resulting a a yucky cut across her arm!  Dave was at work and told me to keep her out of the pool until her got home.
 He came home from work that day with all kinds of supplies, ready to stitch this little one's arm back together.  My husband is so smoking hot when he works!  I had to grab my camera and snap a picture of him!  There is something incredibly attractive about him when he is teaching, playing with, and caring for our kids in ways that are out of my ability.  In these situations, I am reminded of how crucial a mother and father are to the success of a family.  I love being married to this talented man. 
 Zoey was brave.  She doesn't usually do too well with needles but, Dave was able to help her in a way that calmed her nerves and allowed her to be chill during the whole process.
While Zoey was getting all the attention, Rex thought he needed some type of medical treatment too.  He was thrilled when his Dada wrapped a red bandage around his arm for him.

It was tough to keep the stitches safe and dry during swim season here.  This summer we were swimming at least once (sometimes twice) a day.  The first few days Zoey stayed out of the pool but, by day 3 she couldn't take it any more.  Some days she swam with her arm out of the water, other days she swam with a special water proof wrap that Dave made for her.  Most days the stitches ended up getting wet. :(  Despite the lack of care, her arm healed up nicely!

Moving Day!

 I have gotten in a bad habit of taking pictures on my phone during important events instead of using the real camera.  As a result, my pictures are much lower quality and they stay locked away in my phone for months and months.  These pictures were taken way back in April/ May.  The end of April we officially became home owners!  These top two pictures were at the end of an incredibly long day of packing, managing life, and signing a million papers.  It was also the day we were given the keys to our new home and the stress of buying a house was finally over! Yay!  Look how happy we are standing at our front door! 

The bigger my family gets, the more chaotic moving seems to be.  This particular move was challenging in the fact that, Dave didn't have a break in life like he did with each of our other moves (end of residency, end of medical school, end of undergrad...).  This round Dave had an ongoing job which required him to work through this move, leaving me with a lot of packing and unpacking to do.  Most days Paisley and Rex stayed in their pajamas all day while I tried to pack (and unpack) as much as I could while my three older girls were finishing up the year of school.  It is nice to have the majority of our house unpacked.  Our Casita still has some unpacking work for me to do but, for the most part, we are moved in and comfortable!
 With the surplus of boxes around our house, we had to take some packing breaks here and there to bust out some "Party Rock Anthem" moves with this box on our head.  It is much harder than it looks in the music video.
 The picture below is of my sweetie, clean and fresh out of the bath, snuggling with me before bedtime after one of our many long days of packing.  Sure love these kids!

 Little by little we moved stuff from our old house to our new house.  Toward the end of May, we set aside one day to move all our big stuff.  Rex loved getting into everything as we loaded it into the truck.
 Just like all our other moves, the kids had a blast getting pushed around the house on this dolly!

The girls were so excited to get into our new house.  Most of their morning was spent sitting in the front of the moving truck.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Rex and Paisley

 For the past 6 (I think, if I'm doing the math correct) years I have always had at least 2 kids home and been sickly pregnant with a 3rd (or had 3 kids home, one being a newborn) while my older children are at school.  This year is the 1st time in a very long time that it is just me and my 2 cuties.  It is a very odd feeling and I am continually being reminded of just how fast these kids will all be in school and I will be left alone in a quiet home all morning long.  Although it has been nice having a cleaner home and getting caught up on so many things (like this blog), I really don't like the idea of not having a group of little people home with me throughout the morning/ afternoon hours.  I am trying to soak in the last few years I have with babies at home as much as I possibly can!  The end of this era is coming on way too quickly for me.
 Paisley is such a happy bug!  I love this kid so much.

Rex and Paisley -- Love these two cuties!  I am hoping by the end of the school year these two will grow to be great friends.  Because of Rex's limited communication (He doesn't talk yet), it has been hard for them to play with one another for very long periods of time.

Paisley's 1st day of dance

 After 4 long years of seeing her sisters preform in dance recitals and watching them practice from the door of the dance studio, this little one's turn for her own dance lessons has finally arrived and she could not be more thrilled!
 These pictures were taken right before her 1st day of dance.  She was so excited to go.  She changed into her dance clothes 1st thing in the morning and was practicing her moves all her morning.  She kept saying the cutest things like -- "I am so excited to go to dance.",  "This is going to be fabulous.", and "I am going to have so much fun!".
 When we arrived at the studio she walked in and said "I am here!".  I love this girl's confidence.  Her teacher had to come out and tell me how adorable she was at the end of practice.  On our way out, she couldn't stop talking about how much fun she had and had to tell me all about what they did.  She was listening very closely to each rule and walked me through every part of the warm ups.  It was adorable and I am so happy to see her excitement in this new adventure.
 Rex was happy to wait patiently for his sister during practice.  I sure do have some great kids.

1st Day of School!

School starts early around here!  August 10th was my girls 1st day of school.  There was excitement and nervousness that morning as the girls prepared to navigate their way through yet another new school.  My girls are exceptionally close due to our family's move after move but, I have noticed the older they get the harder it is for them to say good-bye to one area and start new in another.  I hope this is it for awhile but, life is unpredictable.  I have stopped trying to determine what is around the next corner for our family's future.  For now we are here and loving our new area!
Zoey is in 5th grade this year.  Because she is in the district's gifted class, there is a mix of 5th and 6th graders in her class.  It has been really fun for her to make good friends with both grades.  She has an amazing teacher!  Here teacher has a very "think outside the box" approach to teaching.  She doesn't send home pointless homework and is all about teaching the kids in a very hands on type way.  In a few weeks Zoey's class will get to go on a field trip to the lake where they are holding a world wide wave runner tournament.  Trust me, I saw some of it last year, it is not as safe as it sounds.  Zoey is really excited and I am keeping my fingers crossed the participants on the water stay safe while the class is watching!  She is gearing up for the district math Olympics she will be completing in at the beginning of November.  Her class (because it's the gifted class) has a reputation of being the best in the district.  They are training hard to maintain that title!  She is so excited to know this school is still one of the few in the nation that has managed to maintain its art program!  Art is one of her favorite parts of the school year.  We were sad to not have it offered at our school last year.

I recently asked Zoey how she liked her new school.  Her response was that it was so much harder than her previous school but, she is very happy about that because at her last school she was bored everyday.  She said the last school didn't keep her interest because she already knew everything being taught, where this year she is actually learning stuff and having fun.  She also said the kids at school are nicer here!  It makes me happy to see how much she enjoys this new school year.

Alexa is in 3rd grade this year.  Her teacher is a perfect fit for her.  Her teacher is very soft spoken and works hard to create a very low chaos type classroom -- just the environment my Alexa needs to thrive in her academics.  Alexa's passion for reading is still going strong.  She is currently reading a Harry Potter book and loving every page of it.  Her favorite thing about school is the class pet. "Leonardo".  She gives me updates about this little guy every day.  She was thrilled a week or two ago when the teacher let her (and only her) hold the class lizard at the end of the day.  I sent the teacher a "thank you" note that night, and the next thing I knew, Leonardo will be staying the week with us during Fall break!  I am hoping we don't lose or accidentally kill him during the week he is visiting us.  Alexa is so excited to bring him home, so I agreed to let his come stay.

Alexa is doing great in school so far.  She comes right home and gets started on her homework each night.  It sounds like she is making some nice friends at school and getting more comfortable each day with her environment.  She prides herself in being a "nature girl".  She explained that title to me like this -- "I am not a girly girl but, I am not a tom boy.  I am kind of in the middle.  Like I don't like wearing lip gloss and makeup but, I do like looking cute and wearing skirts!".  

She is really happy with this new school and tells me often that she doesn't want to move again for a long time because she has a lot of friends here and a very nice teacher.  I am happy to hear she is enjoying the school year.

Kinley is a first grader!  She is loving school, not so much the homework part but, for sure the social part.  It's funny, the different perspective each of my girls have about school.  From what I can tell, Kinley is purely there for the friend factor.  She comes home telling me all about her friends -- what they all did at recess, who likes who, which kids were stinkers, and who was wearing a cute outfit.  She makes me smile!

Yesterday she had a substitute.  She was so worried it would be Viola Swamp -- like really worried!  During morning prayer she prayed it wouldn't be Viola and was relieved to arrive at school and realize it was just a regular old substitute.  Her teacher this year is also in our ward.  This teacher is very musical and therefore it sounds like a lot of the learning is done through music.  Kinley is loving this aspect of the day.  She has been singing the "fifty nifty" song all week long.  I love that this year she is already learning so much.  When we do sit down for homework she is able to finish it (correctly) in a matter of seconds.  I am glad that despite her lack of emphasis on the academics, she is still able to excel in that department.

For the 1st few weeks of school she was continually asking me when we were moving again.  I finally asked her why she kept asking me that question.  I found out it was because she LOVES this new school and her new friends and is afraid we will be moving again too soon.  It made me happy to know she is loving her school this year.  I am so happy we moved.  It was a stressful decision for a very long time but, living here, it has been easy to see how much happier we all are because of this choice.  I am so grateful for a husband willing to commute 40 minutes each way for the happiness and comfort of the rest of his family.  Thanks Dave (and Dad for being willing to make the same sacrifice for me all those years to Provo, while I was growing up). 
In case you are wondering why each of my kids are wearing the same dorky white t-shirt -- that would be because our kids are now going to a school that requires a uniform.  Apparently this town has a very distinct rich and poor community with very little in between incomes.  Having uniforms throughout the district, the town is hoping to bridge that gap.  The girls can wear whatever else they want (including a jacket for the one month it is cold enough here) as long as they are wearing this school shirt.  At first I didn't know how I felt about this.  My kids love their clothes and I love getting them all dolled up in cute clothes everyday.  However, I have been really happy about this assigned shirt thing.  It has made for a much smoother morning at our house.  The girls are quick to pick out a bottom and then we are able to spend the rest of the time working to accessorize their outfit with fun jewelry, cute bows, and fancy shoes.
... and this is typically what the two little ones are doing each morning while the rest of us are running around the house getting ourselves ready for school.  Love these sweet kids of mine!

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Zoey turned 10!

 My baby girl is 10 years old!!!  This cutie is maturing into a beautiful little lady (both inside and out) before my very eyes!
 Zoey woke bright and early on her big day but, didn't get out of bed.  We have a fairly new birthday tradition at our house of breakfast in bed.  This is a part of her birthday she really was looking forward to and therefore was content reading a book in bed while the rest of us rushed around to get a yummy breakfast ready for her.  Her sisters even made some fancy cards for the tray.
The majority of Zoey's gifts were american girl stuff.  She also recieved a fun cook book and glitter eye shadow from claires (her favorite gift was the makeup).
That afternoon we did a little swimming while Rex napped.  I love the fact that this was the activity request for each of my girls birthdays this year!  I am amazed at what great swimmers they have all become in the short time that we have owned this pool.  My very favorite thing about living in Arizona is the amount of swimming time my family is getting.  It is the perfect "wholesome recreational activity" for our family right now.  Not only are my kids learning a valuable life skill but, we are all getting some excellent exercise while bonding and having fun together as a family.  I love having a swimming pool!
The matching AG apron with her dolls was a big hit.  She loves cooking with me and loves fashion.  Therefore, she had been eyeing this apron for a couple long months now.
The picture above is of Zoey doing her signature move.  I love that she is teaching it to the little guy!
Chocolate cake with peanut butter frosting and Reese's candy sprinkled along the top was the request.  Zoey was excited to help me make it this year (in her adorable new apron).
It was the perfect ending to a great summer!  Zoey was very appreciative of all that we did and was continually thanking me for each gift and event that took place.
Zoey is such a great kid.  I am constantly having people tell me what a perfect kid she is!  She loves to be involved in  things.  This year she is taking all the dance classes offered for her age, signed up for the school play, and just qualified to be one of 5 5th graders to represent their school in a district wide math tournament.  She loves being in the gifted class at school, all the extra homework in the class is a welcomed challenge for this kid.

Zoey prides herself in being a fashionable girl!  She loves to dress up and is most often found in a fancy skirt or nice dress with flashy shoes, sparkly earrings, possibly a necklace to match, and a beautifully coordinated bow.  She enjoys wearing makeup and has already requested a few special makeup items for Christmas this year.  She has made a great group of friends this year at school.  The other day she told me her and 6 or 7 of her friends choreograph dances and practice dancing to them at recess.  She was also excited to let me know that her friends and her are all planning the same Halloween costume and wanted me to get started on making it. :) I am glad she found some nice friends that share her same interests. 

Dance and reading are her two favorite hobbies right now.  Pink, white, and aquamarine are currently her favorite colors.  She loves to swim and is counting down the days she turns 12 and gets to be in young womens with me.  I am really proud of this sweet girl and happy with the choices she is making.  I love being her mama.