Thursday, November 3, 2016

Halloween 2016 (Part 2)

Alexa dressed up as a vampire this year.  You can't tell in the pictures but, her hair was covered in black sparkles.  At the end of the night, she hopped into the bath to wash off.  By the time she got out, the tub was filled with black sparkly chalk.  She painted a unicorn pumpkin this year.  The back is striped with all the colors of the rainbow... and of course, glitter.
This girl makes a creepy looking vampire -- yikes!

What better costume to choose for halloween night than a witch!  This little cutie decided to be a witch this year.  She loves her stuffed animals and thought these two stuffed animals needed to hang out in her trick or treat bag while we were out.  I loved spending the afternoon helping out in her classroom.  I dressed as a cat (to be her accessory for the day).  I sure love my "jelly" -- about a month ago I started calling her my jelly (I am peanut butter).  The name instantly was a hit.  "Jelly" is now the ultimate compliment in our house (all my kids want to be my jelly).
I love this picture above.  She was very proud of her pumpkin this year!  Paisley worked hard to make her pumpkin vibrant with a mixture of pink, white, and purple -- and lots and lots of glitter.
Paisley and Rex all ready to go.
After thriller we picked up the girls from dance, picked up Dave from work (for a few hours, after trick or treating he had to go back and catch up on notes), and headed to the Bayfront for trick or treating along the shops.  This was a perfect spot for trick or treating -- not overly busy, we were able to walk along one of my favorite parts of this town, and a handful of the shops handed out special treats unique to their store (ice cream at the ice cream shop, candy crystals at the candy store, free hot cocoa coupon at a restaurant).  After we finished visiting the shops we decided to step into a local restaurant and get some dinner.  By the time we finished the streets were empty, the rain was coming down, and the kids were eager to get home and sort out their candy.  We made one more quick stop at the neighbors, dropped Dave off at work again and headed home.
Kinley with her second set of candy (the 1st was the week earlier at the ward trunk or treat)
Zoey immediately sorted out her "keep" pile and her pile to give to the sugar goblin (Michael)... and went upstairs to get ready for bed.
Paisley was so excited to try out all the varieties of candy she received throughout the night.
Lexa quickly sorted her candy, laid her pile out for the sugar goblin and headed up to wash her hair.
Rex was in heaven!  He couldn't get enough of his candy... and his sister's candy.  He immediately started unwrapping and eating everything he could get his little hands on.  Within 20 minutes of being home our sugar goblin began replacing candy for gifts (the older girls have been eagerly anticipating the sugar goblins presents for weeks now.  They look forward to this tradition all month long).  A ripple effect quickly occurred as the kids were able to see their siblings receiving gifts unique to their interests.  After an hour of being home the candy was all picked up and put away and each of the kids were content with their new gifts.  The sugar goblin is an expensive little tradition we have established at our house.  On the days leading up to Halloween (when I am buying the gifts), I kind of regret it.  However, on the actual night of Halloween, when my kids have a mountain of unhealthy junk at their fingertips, I remember that our little sugar goblin (used to be the switch witch) is worth every penny -- and possibly one of my best ideas yet.  The sugar rush only lasts for one night instead of being painfully drawn out for days and days.  We get back to being a healthy, happy family the next day (well, mostly -- it seems like my kids still come home with more candy than I would prefer from teachers and friends following the days after Halloween).

Wondering what the sugar goblin brought this year... I should get pictures but, incase I forget -- here is the rundown.  Zoey got a kickball (she has been requesting our family play it for friday family fun night all month now -- and we live right by the perfect spot for it!) and the new american girl cookbook.  It looks like a fun one!  I love that my girls are so into cooking right now and hope to cultivate this interest.  Alexa was given a cool lego and friends elf ship to build -- which is exactly what she was hoping Michael (sugar goblin) would bring her.  Kinley received a "design your own story book".  Lately she has been really into writing, which is awesome.  She immedialty sat at the table and started writing her fairytale (about a princess and a dragon), Paisley got a new stuffed animal (a purple pegasus -- her favorite color and animals).  She has carried it around ever since (it even hid in her backpack the next day while she was at school).  Rex got mini action figures (spiderman, green goblin, and captain america).  I was afraid he would wake up the next day asking where his candy was, not really understanding the sugar goblin concept.  Nope, he woke up asking where his new toys were... success!   

Halloween 2016 (Part 1)

We snapped the picture above just before heading to the church for trunk or treat.  Wondering why my umbrella is not covering my head?  It was for the beautiful peacock standing next to me.  That is one costume that works better in the dry, hot climate of Arizona.  It rained the rest of the evening.  Kinley was happy to use the umbrella throughout the night to keep her feathers dry.
Zoey originally chose to be a "woodland sprite" this year but, after seeing how adorable my costume was, she changed her mind and took my costume instead :) -- Looks like I will be a deer next year.  So, after wearing her "sprite" costume at school a few weeks before Halloween, she decided to rock the deer look for the rest of the month.  I agree, it does look pretty cute on her.

Rex was Captain America!  He gladly wore it multiple times throughout the month.
His favorite part of the day was going with me to help out in Paisley's kindergarten class party.  He was so excited to see all the boys dressed as superheroes.  He immediately spotted someone wearing a hulk costume and followed him around the rest of the party.  Watching Rex trick or treat that evening was pretty cute too.  He was in awe at all the creative costumes surrounding him.  He excitiedly pointed out every costume he could recognize.

Kinley made a beautiful peacock this year!  

She absolutely loved her costume -- She loved the colors, glitter and sparkles, rhinestones along her eyes, colorful makeup but -- hands down -- her favorite part was this snazzy mask she is wearing in the picture above.  She wasn't allowed to wear is to school.  However, the girls dance studio has a yearly tradition on Halloween.  All their dancers meet right after school for an hour of "thriller" -- where they come in costume and learn a choreographed dance to thriller!  The second we pulled into the driveway after school to drop off our school stuff and gather our dance supplies, she grabbed her mask and didn't take it off the rest the night.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Fall Fun 2016

It's hard not to wake up happy everyday when we are in the thick of my most favorite season -- Fall!  I LOVE this time of year!  A few leaves have turned a vibrant Fall color outside but, most of the town has stayed very green.  The weather has been in the mid 50s to 60s.  We have even managed to spend a bit of time at the ocean this month (between the rain) -- which has been beautiful.
Earlier this month Zoey took a giant step into teenage life and got her braces put on.  She was pretty excited about it... until after they were on.  Then, she relized how unfun braces actually are.  The picture above is her "before" picture.  When we took it we were sitting in the orthodontic parking lot.  An unexpected rainstorm started as we were driving over, leaving us totally unprepared for the weather change.  We ran into the office quickly -- I really need to start leaving an umbrella in the car. 
... and here is her "after" picture.  Is it just me or does it look like she aged about 2 years while sitting in that orthodontic chair?  She has been incredibly responsible about caring for her braces -- brushing her teeth after every meal, flossing each night, and not eating anything sticky (which is pretty hard around halloween).  Only 9 1/2ish more months to go -- we can do this!
For "Friday family fun night" on the Friday night before Halloween, we had a family halloween party. It started with our traditional dinner in a pumpkin.  It has been a few years since we have made this traditional meal at our house.  The kids were all really excited to help.  Paisley helped me draw the face on it (the pumpkin is a little flat in the above picture, after being in the oven for an hour and a half but, the face is still very cute on it) and Alexa helped get all the seeds out -- all the kids were excited and eagerly watched as I carved and prepared the pumpkin.  Zoey loved helping me make the meal and prepare the table.  I loved all the excitement and help as we prepared for the meal.  Each time we make this meal, the kids ask me to tell them the story of Kinley's infamous scar on her back. 7 years ago we made this meal, my excited 2 year old couldn't contain her curiosity and had to climb onto the table to peek inside the pumpkin, spilling her sisters hot plate full of dinner all over her 6 month baby skin -- resulting in a very bad burn over my baby's back, multiple ER trips over the next 3 months for wound care and burn treatments, and a handful of paperwork requested from the government to prove I am not an abusive parent.  It was traumatic to say the least... anyway, now we can laugh about it -- and even take a picture (above) of the 2 sweeties involved in this ingraned family memory. 
I am happy to say 7 years later, I am a smarter and more experienced mama than in days past... the pumpkin is admired from the oven and only the cold foods are available at the table (our Halloween pumpkin is not the only hot food not allowed at the table, for the last 7 years nothing hot is allowed at the table -- hard lesson learned!)

After dinner we played a handful of Halloween games and ended the night watching a Studio C hour long Halloween special. -- Love this time of year.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Happy 3rd Birthday Rex

 My baby turned 3 recently!  I can't even believe it.  This little boy waited very patiently all day long to open his gifts with the rest of the family (including our sugar goblin "Michael"-- that little green guy on Paisley's head.  Technically we aren't allowed to touch Michael.  He hangs around our house during the month of October waiting for candy, in exchange for gifts.  However, this little sugar goblin sleeps with the kids at night, rides in Rex's backpack anytime we leave the house, and sits on our kid's lap while reading books... Sure hope our little house elf will not find the same fate when she arrives in about a month for the Christmas season. 
 Paisley (along with Kinley and Alexa -- Zoey was at play practice, we missed her) were really excited to help Rex open all his gifts.  The book they are reading in the picture above has become one of Rex's new favorites.  He calls it "the baby one" but, I think it's called "Where do dump trucks sleep?".  It's about all sorts of specialized cars (and thier babies) going to sleep -- very cute.
 Kinley and Alexa also made him some fun birthday signs.  I love the excavator and front loader they added to the poster (yes, I have a boy who is very into cars and is constantly asking what certain cars are -- resulting in me learning the technical names of every vehicle on the planet).
 Rex LOVES trucks, cars, trains -- if it has wheels, this boy is into it.  Therefore, he opened a lot of toys along this line of interest and loved everyone of them.
 Rex testing out the cars on his new car mat.
 This was the gift he was most excited about -- a train set!  When we visited Grandma and Grandpa in Boise this past summer, he played with their train set every chance he got.  Apparently he couldn't get it out of his head ever since.  He knew exactly what he wanted for his birthday when we asked him a few weeks in advance "a train set like grandma's".
 Love the picture above!  Such a happy boy on his birthday.
Although we didn't open gifts and eat cake until way late into the night (by the time all of us were home from various activities and assignments -- except for Zoey, she was at play practice until very late.), Rex did have fun during the afternoon hours helping me get the construction cake ready -- especially playing with the construction cars until it was time to put them onto the cake.

I sure love this boy of mine!  I love the way he says "Missed you too, mommy!" after not seeing me for a little while.  I love how he gets excited when he is talking and breathes deep between words trying to figure out how to best articulate what he wants to say next.  It makes me smile, the way he can spot police cars, semis, and construction trucks from miles away.  I also love that he knows the correct names of each of these various vehicles (reminds me of my awesome nephew, Cameron ;)).  I adore the fact that he wants to dress up in his captain america costume daily, I love his deep voice laugh, and the way he looks in his skimpy boxer briefs.  Mostly I just love hanging out with him, seeing his sweet little face, and hearing his tiny voice talk and talk the night away.  He is such a joy to have around.  I love this 3 year old baby of mine!

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

1st Quarter of School Year 2016

 After 6 weeks of school, our morning routines seem to be in full swing.  My alarm goes off at 5:15 a.m., I get out of bed and start my workout.  I end my workout with some stretching, personal prayers, and scripture study... just as I am finishing up (6:40) Dave comes in to let me know the family is ready for morning scripture study (Dave wakes the girls all up and gets them breakfast while I finish my exercise -- such a great husband).  We read scriptures and discuss what we are reading while the girls are eating their breakfast.  Then, the girls and I head upstairs for hair and getting ready while Dave gets himself ready for work downstairs.  At 7:40ish Dave comes upstairs, we all say a morning prayer together and the older two (Zoey and Alexa) head to school with Dave -- he drops them off on his way to work.  I finish doing Paisley's hair, wake up Rex (and get him dressed because he thinks life is better to be lived in his underwear), and load everyone up into the stroller.  Rex and I walk the girls to school (unless it's raining too hard) as the four of us walk we talk about what they might be doing at school that day, trucks and cars driving by, and 2 annoying dogs that always have to run up to their fence and bark at us.

I don't consider myself a morning person -- However, with a house that no longer has babies waking up all throughout the night, my body has been popping out of bed much easier these days.  Mornings are genuinely my favorite time of day here!
 After doing these two girl's hair they decided to pick out their own headbands... We ended up with a unicorn and cat.  I love their confidence!  
 The girls love their keychains and hand sanitizers attached to the backs of their bags.  They all have a "boo eye" animal keychain, like the one in the picture above (that particular one is Paisley's).
 Alexa has had a handful of "spirit days" so far this year.  The picture above was taken in our driveway just before leaving for "crazy hair day".  Alexa is enjoying the school year so far.  She is making many friends easily and quickly becoming a favorite of the teachers.  Her confidence and bright personality make me smile.  She loves to sing and is continually gracing us with her beautiful vocal skills.
 Kinley is also enjoying the new school year.  She has a great teacher and a classroom of friends that all look out for each other.  Her classmates are constantly giving her gifts (mainly pokeman cards).  Her favorite class is science.  The science specialist often brings in fossilized items to show the class (Kinley's favorite to date -- fossilized poop).  Kinley looks forward to this part of school all week long.
 Rex and Kinley getting ready for school.  Rex fills that little backpack he is wearing to the brim each morning before leaving -- it is filled with cars, cars, and more cars, and an occasional stuffed animal if it will fit.
 This particular morning Paisley was having a rough time getting out the door.  We are still working on a smooth kindergarten morning with this one.  Mornings can be tough after staying awake to play way past your bedtime the night before.  She loves being at the same school as her older sister.

Having a kindergartener in the home is pure joy.  Paisley comes home with stories of boys that want to marry her (she said "no"), kids blowing booger bubbles, kids eating their boogers (not on purpose, having boogers run from their nose to their mouth), a boy that looks like an elf (the same one who wants to marry her), and all kinds of other wacky daily events told through the eyes of my 5 year old.  She also fills me in on facts she has been learning about -- germs, fire trucks (I loved her stop, drop, and roll demo), school rules, and everything else you could possibly think of.

When we send her to school with home lunch she will come home letting me know which of the kids in her class liked my zucchini bread (because she decided to share a bite with all her classmates) and the hand sanitizer on her bag was empty by week two because she was sharing it with everyone and anyone who she thought needed it.  She makes me smile.
Notice Rex's picture above, this is his new smile.  He is such a cute little thing in real life, then I say "smile" and he makes this crazy face, every stinking time.  Oh boy, hoping this phase is short lived... as in, by the time thanksgiving roles around and Michelle is taking his yearly pictures.

Zoey's year has been super eventful too.  I don't have any pictures of her on this post but, wanted to document her updates too.  Zoey, as usual Zoey fashion, is excelling at everything she dips her foot into.  She is taking an honors math class, currently the fastest girl in her PE class, has recently been selected as part of an exclusive writing club from her language arts teacher, and has been placed in the top science group of her class.  She tried out for a lead role (chitty chitty bang bang) in a local production and got the part (Jemima)!  This little town can't seem to get enough of this over-achiever!  Perhaps the biggest event of the month (and the one that made me most proud of her) was how she handled being asked out on her 1st official date.  Yup, you heard me right, my 11 year old was asked on a formal date to a school dance... one that the date and her were to dress alike and have his dad come pick the two of them up for the night.  Um, no!  Zoey tried to handle the situation politely at 1st.  Over the course of a few days, the situation quickly began to ravel out of control.  The situation stressed Zoey out, her main concern was unknowingly breaking a personal commitment she had made to God -- not dating until she was 16.  She was able to set the record straight with the boy who asked her and relieved to have a reply prepared for the next time someone asks her on a date.  I was proud of her for doing the right thing so willingly in a difficult situation.

... and so goes the events of the school year thus far, can't wait to see where the next quarter leads us!

Dave's Birthday (34)

 My handsome husband had a birthday this month!  The kids were pretty excited to celebrate Dave's special day.  Dave chose to have dinner at our new favorite restaurant (Georgies -- has a treasure chest for the kids to choose prizes from at the end of dinner and the view of the ocean is absolutely gorgeous while we eat our dinner).  Again, we had 2 strangers (and one of Dave's coworkers who was eating there too) come over and tell us what amazingly well behaved children we have. :) -- I love what a novelty our family of 7 (seriously not that big!) is in this small town.  While I was over by the treasure box waiting for the kids to make their choices, the waitress came over to ask if she could please  bring out a dessert for Dave and have them sing happy birthday.  Apparently she asked Dave but, he said that wasn't necessary (Alexa was sure to let them our waitress know it was Dave's birthday the second we arrived).  So, lucky for me, I knew exactly which dessert was Dave's favorite (marionberry cobbler with vanilla ice cream).  The kids were thrilled to have the waitresses come sing to our table (except Zoey, who was mortified at all the attention) and helped sing as loud as they possibly could while hugging Dave and crowding around the dessert.  After the song everyone in the restaurant clapped for Dave.  It was pretty great!  The girls (except Zoey) have decided they will be eating out on their next birthday too.
 After dinner it was time to come home for presents.  The kids had been adding gifts to his present pile for a few days prior -- wrapping paper made out of printer paper accessories with ribbons and hair bows.  There gift ideas were very thoughtful and they couldn't wait for Dave to open their gifts.  These gifts were  drawings they had made, a brightly colored (wet) leaf they found outside, a book Zoey wrote about our family in 3rd grade (almost 3 years ago), and -- my personal favorite -- an Anne of Green Gables book the kids found in our bookshelf.  I love how excited my girls get for birthdays around here.
We sure love this boy and are so blessed to have him in our family!

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Midnight and Baby Fluff

 These cuddly little bunnies are the perfect pet in my opinion.  This time last year we promised our kids a pet, after hours and hours of research we found the perfect option -- jersey wooly rabbits.  They are bred to be super snuggly and calm, they are incrediby low maintenance -- put them in a cage until you are ready to play with them and they are perfectly happy about it,  and they make no noise ever (it drove me nuts when I would just lay the baby down for a nap and the Fedex guy would knock on the door, which would cause the dog to bark, which in turn would wake up my very tired baby -- this seemed to happen way too often with our dog!  Anyway, for more reasons than one, jersey woolies are the perfect pet for our little family.
 Sadly, one of our little bunnies died last week.  We aren't sure what happened to her.  She had been losing weight for the past month or so, getting skinnier and skinnier each day.  As we all loaded into the car for church last Sunday we noticed our Midnight had died.  If was a sad drive to church with lots of talk about life after death and where bunnies go in the afterlife (I am so grateful for the knowledge of the plan of salvations!).  A few of my girls walked into sacrament meeting with tears in their eyes.
 This picture was taken the week before Midnight died.  Paisley thought Midnight looked adorable in her unicorn crown and begged me to take a picture.  Midnight was Paisley's favorite of the two.  On this particular day Midnight spent hours in Paisley's arms.  She even rode on her lap in the car while we ran the girls to and from lessons (either dance or piano, I can't remember).
 After church Zoey drew a picture of Midnight for the "art wall"
We will miss you and your cute little white belly, Midnight!