Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Kinley's Stitches

 Kinley's favorite color is purple!!!  She loves everything purple -- Yesterday we were shopping at the grocery store.  She knows when we enter the produce section that anything and everything is available for her to add to our cart.  It didn't take her long to spot the purple cabbage and request it!  She decided to open a "Purple Store" at the house.  She had one very loyal customer...
 Paisley was thrilled to purchase this purple dress, purple head band, and purple fan (Paisley is obsessed with making paper fans these days).  She is purplicious!
 Here is the sign Kinley posted outside her store -- "Kinley purple store"!
 ... and here is my Kinley waiting behind her purple register for her very faithful costumer!  I love watching my babies lovingly interact with one another.  Over the recent months Paisley and Kinley's relationship has really blossomed.  Paisley adores her older sister and Kinley is so careful to include Paisley in her activities throughout our day!
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Yesterday was a perfect day!  Kinley and I spent the day together!!! We had lunch at Panera (I am loving the new "B Green" smoothie they are offering right now), bought new swim suits at target (Kinley chose an adorable purple tutu one with a twin pink one for Paisley), and rode bikes as a family at the bike trail for Family Home Evening.  Zoey and I started day one of our "training" for the color run we are signed up for this June.  Kinley rode her bike next to us while Rex was safely tucked in his ergo and  Zoey and I jogged the path.  It was a fun day!... Until bedtime came, that's when things went downhill quick!  After multiple times of telling our little monkeys to settle down and go to bed... one fell off and broke her head!!!  I am getting mixed stories but, I think the just of it was instead of laying down and going to bed they were playing with their Frozen pollies, a sister kneed another in the mouth resulting in a trip to the ER!... again (Remember we were just there a few weeks ago).  Kinley ended up getting two stitches on her lip... again (Remember just a few weeks ago our other little girl had two stitches on her head!  Seriously!
 Dave took this picture during their ER visit!  Apparently things didn't go as smoothly as they have with our other 3 experiences with stitches.  The numbing cream can't be applied to the lip because she will swallow it... so it had to be injected!  Ouch!  Dave said she was strapped down to the body board for the stitching period of the procedure and she really, really struggled with calming down during the whole experience!  Poor little thing!  Despite the unpleasant experience, she walked into the home around 11 p.m. very excited!
The doctor gave her a purple Popsicle and let her pick out a toy!  She chose this Cinderella barbie!!!  She was so excited about it and could not wait to show her sisters the next morning!

5 month old baby boy and sick kids!

 A couple weeks back my baby turned 5 months old!!!  These months are flying by.  He is such a joy to have in our family.  At least once or twice a week Dave and I express to one another just how blessed we are to have him here in our family.  The picture above was on his official 5 month mark.  He was sick that day and not a happy boy.  He was in the ergo carrier literally all - day - long!  Dave didn't get home until late that night after everyone was already in bed.  Before laying my boy down for the night, I had Dave hold him for his 5 month picture. 
 The next day Rex was feeling a little better.  The picture above was taken that day (5 months and 1 day!).  We are loving this little guy.  He is still right on the verge of crawling.  He is in constant motion and always on the look out for a nice head of hair to reach out and snatch!  He loves the ergo carrier!!!  His good sleeping nights are long gone -- Day or night, he will wake up minutes after laying him down.  He is the happiest in his mama's arms, in my bed, snacking all night long!

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Just as Rex started feeling better, my Paisley caught the bug!  It was sad to have her wake up crying every morning and say to me "Mommy, I'm still really, really sick!".  Poor little girl!  She spent most of the week sleeping.  When Dave was home she would cry for her Daddy to "come sit by her and make her feel better." -- My little one does have a bed of her own but, she prefers sleeping on a fold out mattress next to her bed, with he Dada next to her (notice the blue pillow, that is reserved for her Dada).
 Someday I hope Dave and I will get back to our usual sleeping routine.  I miss my husband :)... for now we seem to be in survival mode -- Dave falling asleep on the floor of Paisley's room snuggled up to a sweet kid and me in my bed with a handsome, little boy waking up six or seven times throughout the night for a late night snack! -- Despite Dave and I both waking up exhausted with sore backs and kinked necks we LOVE our life.  Little ones in the home fill the house with so much joy.  They seem to grow up way too fast!  

My girls love drawing on the glass doors in our living room!  The other day I took a picture of Kinley and Paisley hard at work creating a masterpiece full of scenes from the movie Frozen -- my favorite was the snow monster that guards Elsa's castle.  After watching the 30 second scene at the very end of the Frozen credits, this snow monster has become a new favorite character from the movie... Now that my girls are convinced she is a girl (and has turned good!).  It is such a blessing being surrounded daily by the innocence of my children!  I love being a Mama!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Saint Patrick's Day 2014

Rex chillin in his swing!
 We sure love this boy.

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Happy Saint Patrick's Day!!!
The day before Saint Patrick's Day, when Kinley realized the next day would be the long anticipated day -- she ran into her room and changed into her green shirt and skirt.  Then she quickly headed for the bathroom to do her hair by adding as many new, green bows (from Grandma Zarkou)  into her hair.  She begged me to let her sleep in this look so she would be ready for the celebration when she woke up!  She was thrilled when I said "yes"!
 The girls loved their green fingernails and shamrocks painted cheeks.  A few years back a leprechaun living behind our house left notes and gifts for the girls throughout the month of March.  Every year following that event girls are eager to keep this tradition alive.  They anticipate hearing from Clover (the Leprechaun) and wonder what kind of gift she will leave for them.  This year the girls woke up to a big box of Lucky Charms on the table waiting for them.  It doesn't sound like much but, at our house this is a real treat.  Aside from Cracklin Oat Bran (because my family and I love it so much), we try to stick with cereal containing less than 10 grams of sugar per serving.  Lucky Charms is close but, I just can't get past those brightly colored marshmallows.  Those can't be good for the body!
 Rex tried to be a happy boy throughout the day.  He is sick!  Sick kids always make for a long, busy day around here!!!
 Sure love this little boy.
 He is getting so close to crawling.  He's started pushing himself up on all fours --He has become really good at going backwards but, just can't figure out how to get himself moving forward yet.  He is in constant motion both when I am holding him and when he is laying on the ground.

 Paisley is getting potty trained this week!  She is doing awesome!!!  In the picture above her and Kinley are standing next to her "Potty Chart"!  Look at all those stickers.  I love how proud of this accomplishment my little one is.  "Paisley, the sweetie kid" (this is the name she insists her family call her these days) is growing so fast.  She is such a joyful and happy kid.  She loves wearing her new my little pony big girl panties and thinks her "travel panties" (pull-ups) are pretty cool too.  The success of this round of potty training has truly been a tender mercy. 
 After taking a picture of Paisley and her chart, the girls thought they also needed a picture by Kinley's chart.  A couple weeks back I found this unique "I ate a rainbow!" chart on pinterest.  It encourages kids to eat more fruits and vegetables.  I thought this chart was just what my Kinley needed in her life... it has worked like a charm!  For the past few weeks she was using the star magnets, this week she chose the circles!  I love walking into the kitchen to find another magnet placed on the chart.  I can see that she is feeling successful with this new chart as well.  Keep up the great work Kinley.
 It was a busy day full of sick kids and unexpected schedule changes but, we did manage squeeze in some festive fun here and there.  Paisley and Kinley were excited to make some green noodle necklaces for themselves.
 For dinner we used green spinach tortillas for fajitas and few other green foods to accessorize.  For Family Home Evening we talked about Saint Patrick and the dedicated missionary he was.  We related him to other valiant missionaries, with similar stories found in the Bible and Book of Mormon.   I was shocked when both Alexa and Zoey were able to explain the details of his mission and importance of the clover in the story before I told them.  Apparently they were given this discussion at school that day!  I loved hearing that!!!  I love that we live in a town where people are not afraid to talk about Jesus Christ.  I love how neighbors will openly ask questions about our church and voluntarily share the teachings of their church.
To end the night we ate thin mint ice cream from our favorite ice cream shop here in town.  We are sure going to miss Handles when we move!

Friday, March 7, 2014

Busy Week in March

 Zoey loves to learn!  She is a sponge in the classroom and is able to soak up all that the teacher is telling her.  Reading and Math are her favorite subjects.  Her classroom is doing book reports in the setting of a "cafe reading" -- you know... like "Wo-man, Woah man!  You broke my heart..." -- fun, right!  Anyway, she loves it.  Her first cafe reading was a huge hit!  She chose one of the Harry Potter books (the one with Serious Black and Peter Petigrew).  The teacher brought a bunch of Harry Potter items from her recent trip to the wizarding world in Florida.  One of the items was Dumbledore's wand.  Zoey was stoked and could not wait for the day to arrive.  It went so well she asked the teacher if she could do another cafe reading (just for fun).  This time she chose Raining Cupcakes.  We baked mini cupcakes for her to pass out to her class chums.  I enjoyed spending the time preparing the cupcakes with my sweetie.  She is growing so fast.  Zoey also has been excited about the multiplication math in a minute tests they are working on at school.  Each day, as soon as she would walk in the door, I was given a report on her math in a minute progress.  She REALLY wanted to reach the highest level possible.  She had her eye on this amazing pencil rewarded to anyone who passed every one of the levels.  The pencil contained all the multiplications up to 12 (which was the top level).  I knew the day arrived when she walked through the door with a HUGE smile on her face!  She was so proud of her hard earned pencil.  In the picture above is her with her multiplication pencil.  I love the passion she has for her schooling!  She is one smart kid!
 70% of the time our couches are being used as some kind of gymnastics prop.  Kinley wanted me to snap a few shots of her posing while jumping off the couch.

Everyone of my girls loves art!!!  Above and below is some art work of Paisley's.  She called it her "purple baby".  Not bad for a two year old.  The one below is not just her  purple baby but, her "purple baby rock".  She was proud of her work and thrilled when I pointed out the eyes, mouth, and arms without her first explaining them.
 Sunday the girls were all gathered around the table working on art projects when I heard a loud bump onto the floor.  It sounded like someone hit the tile hard.  I rushed in and noticed it was my sweet Paisley. She had fallen off the chair and was now crying hard while walking towards me.  I quickly noticed blood dripping onto the floor, down her clothes, and across her hand.  I had a hard time locating the source of the wound.  Finally, I noticed in the back of her head, her hair was covered with blood, and then we found the cut.  I have see a cut like that before on my babies -- two times before actually!  I immediately knew she would need stitches.  I called Dave to see how much longer until he would be home from church.  He left immediately (remember church is an hour away) while I got my little one ready for a visit to the ER.  She just kept saying "My head hurts really, really bad mommy!" 
 Because Alexa had experienced all this before she begged Dave to take her with him to the hospital with plans to comfort her sister during this experience.  Paisley and Alexa were given popsicles while they waited for the numbing cream to take effect, they were pretty happy about this.  The doctor said her cut was clear down to the bone but, he didn't notice any fractures on the bone (thank goodness).  She received 3 stitches.  Dave said she did great through it all and was the perfect patient.  Later on I asked her if she had fun at the doctor's... without hesitation she firmly shook her head "no!".  Dave took the picture above of her in the ER while they waited for the stitches.

This week Zoey's 3rd grade put on a gym performance for family and friends.  My favorite part was seeing how happy she was to see her family there.  She kept a close watch on us and continually waved and smiled at us throughout the entire event.  It was a great day to be her mama!  Although she REALLY wanted to participate in the gymnastic segment of the performance (and even shed a couple tears throughout the week for not getting picked for that part), she was assigned to the basketball group.  One of the tallest girls in the grade, perfect fit right?!  Although, she was a good sport and willingly did her part in the basketball pass, she made sure I knew basketball was not her thing... ever!  The end of the program the grade did a choreographed dance to "What Does a Fox Say" -- Zoey did awesome!  She has such a talent for dancing.  It was fun to watch her.

Other happenings this week, Paisley ended up buying and downloading an entire season of Dora the Explorer without us knowing (thank you Amazon for refunding us the money!), Rex has decided he no longer wants to be the perfect sleeper, and Alexa lost her 3rd and 4th teeth.  Two days in a row Alexa came home from school with a tooth necklace from the school nurse and a cute new smile.  The morning after Alexa lost her tooth I asked her if the tooth fairy came.  She said yes and let me know that we have a new tooth fairy.  Recently our tooth fairy has been much more punctual.  Thanks to a husband who noticed I was slacking and decided to step in.  I figured this is why Alexa thought we had a new tooth fairy assigned to our house.  Nope!  The tooth fairy left a note which read:
"Alexa,
Wow!  This is my first time visiting you!  Congratulations of losing your first tooth!
Love, the tooth fairy"
... Um!  It is her 3rd tooth.  Yup!  Looks like we've got a new tooth fairy.  I told her that must explain why they have been getting their money the first night they put the tooth under the pillow.  Alexa agreed that the old one must have been fired.  Alexa was happy to lose another tooth the very next day.  Apparently the tooth fairy took not only her tooth but, also the necklace the school nurse gave he as well.  She let me know on night two she would be putting her tooth in a ziplock bag and hiding the necklace in a spot the tooth fairy wouldn't be able to find it!
  
Most days around here life is busy but steady!  I generally feel like I am keeping on top of life and able to manage my tasks at hand pretty well... This week was not one of those weeks!!!  This week was full of unexpected events and me only able to accomplish about half of what I needed to in the day.  I have only managed to make one dinner all week.  The rest of the week my family and I lived on Panera.  Life is coming at me pretty fast and I am having a hard time keeping up. Tomorrow and the next day are equally as busy as the rest of the week has been... hopefully Monday we can get back to our typical busy here!  

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

The Future President

A couple posts back I mentioned how much I loved the confidence my Alexa has in her life.  While sorting through her backpack this week I found an assignment that demonstrates exactly what I mean --

The paper read " Before I am 100 I will..." -- Here is what my sweetie wrote (in this order):
1. Get a Job
2. Be President
3. Get Married
4. Drive a car
5. Go on a vacation

-- And yes, she was talking about becoming President of the United States!  When I asked her what she plans to do when she becomes the President, she responded "Make everyone be kind to each other!"...  Sounds like a great plan to me.  Way to reach for the stars baby girl!


Saturday, February 22, 2014

We are moving!!!

It's official!  Our family is moving to (drum roll please)... 

Parker, Arizona!!!

It still seems like a dream but, as time gets closer and more planning takes place, the reality of it all is setting in.  Here are a few of the details of how we got to this point...

Dave wanted to work for a multi-specialty group or a hospital.  We wanted a place that our family would be happy!  Great schools were important to us, as well as active extracurricular activities (one being dance).  We were open to anywhere in the nation and ended up looking all over the nation... However, ideally I wanted to be somewhere within driving distance of our family.  A few added bonuses would be missionaries assigned specifically to our ward and a local recreational center close by for our family to join.  Honestly, the job hunt stressed me out... my coping method was to ignore it as best as I could.  I put it in Dave's hands.

Dave researched, prayed, and applied to jobs often (most of the time without telling me which ones he was applying to -- and I was totally okay with that, the less involved I was at this point the better).  One in Idaho flew Dave and I out to see the area.  I didn't love the place, Dave did.  For a long time I felt very strongly we would be staying here in Ohio.  Although Dave looked into a few possible job options here in town, none felt right to him -- and others didn't work out the way he had hoped.  During all of this searching and praying my pregnant belly was getting bigger and bigger as my baby's due date was approaching.  Dave continued searching for a job as my attention turned more towards welcoming my expected baby home.  Finally Rex was born.  A day or two after his birth (I was still in the hospital) Dave heard back from a hospital job in Arizona he had applied to a few weeks prior.  They wanted to fly us out for an interview.  At this point my baby had just made his traumatic entrance into the world.  His life was still very fragile and there was much unknown of what the next few days would bring for his recovery.  There was absolutely no way I would be bringing my sick two or three week old baby on a plane across the nation.  When the news of this job option came into our life, my baby's life hung in the balance and I didn't care about anything other than getting my baby home, healthy, in my arms (leaving him at the hospital each night was so painful on my mommy heart).

Three weeks after Rex was born Dave left for an interview in Arizona by himself.  I was eager to hear the details of the area as he called home each night.  He loved the place and said I would too!  We were shocked and a little discouraged to find out 80 people had applied for this one spot!  Dave came home from the trip.  He was sold on the place and really wanted this dream job.  It was a great day when the offer from the hospital was given to Dave!!!  This job really seemed too good to be true.  A sense of relief came over us. Within a few days another offer fell into our laps.  One equally as appealing but, vastly different.  It was only 30 minutes from my parents and right central to all our family.  It was a tough choice -- They both offered a great life for our family but, depending on the one we chose, our life -- the life of our children -- would be very different!  It took a lot of praying.  Ultimately we went with Arizona.  I couldn't push aside this continual whisper in my head telling me that "This is right.".  I felt that firm assurance multiple times while deciding what to do... "This is Right!" --  I do know that God is guiding our family in this decision.  It still makes me uneasy knowing we have signed with a job that I have not even been to the town to see the place yet!!!  I am going on faith here.  The hospital was gracious and offered multiple times to fly me out to see the place before signing but, in my gut it felt right.  I didn't see a need to fly out to see it... I already had that confirmation that this is where our family needs to be.  It truly has been interesting seeing the way God has lined everything up for our family in regards to this job.

So, let me tell you about this city of Parker.  From what I can see, Parker (and its neighbor city of Lake Havasu City) run along the border of California.  The Colorado River runs through the town making it an extremely popular Spring Break/ Vacation town.  I would be lying if I said this doesn't concern me... it does concern me, very much so!  But, on the plus side, because it is a party town there is lots of fun "active" things to do there.  Lots of boating, firework displays on the lake, Christmas light parade on boats up the river, unique races for the family, and lots of outdoor hiking.  The  idea of a swimming pool in the back yard sounds fabulous.   Swimming offers such a great full body workout and to have this available at our fingertips sounds amazing.  Parker versus Havasu is the big question these days.  Although they are relatively close to one another, they sound very different.  Both offering their unique pros and cons.  Parker's schools are not the greatest but, the small town atmosphere sounds like the ultimate dream living for our family.  Lake Havasu City has top rated schools with beautiful homes but the longer commute for Dave would be rough... and it seems to be the central spot for hard core spring breakers.  I am confident God is guiding our decisions in this process.  Sometimes our Father in Heaven knows what is better for me and my family than I do.  That has been the case in this situation.  In the three years of residency Arizona was never on the radar of job options until this one particular job opportunity came up.  Now that this option is here, it just feels right.  Also,  I LOVE the fact that it is only a day drive to my parents house... and only two hours away from the Las Vegas airport (which is only an additional hour flight home!).  Dave and I are planning a trip to Parker in the next month or two.  I am eager to see the area and form my own opinions of the place.  Although there is much planning and researching that will be taking place in the next few months as we prepare for this big move, I feel a big sigh of relief in knowing where life will take us after the completion of residency.  I am looking forward to this next phase in our family's life! 

The Perfect Snow Day

 This winter school has been delayed or canceled so many times I have lost count!  It has been so much fun!!!  Last week school was cancelled yet again.  However, instead of the typical bitter cold temperatures we have been enduring, this day it warmed up to the mid - 30s by early afternoon!  Score!  The girls were so eager to get out there and build a snowman, have a snowball fight, make snow angels, and slide down the hill -- they accomplished everyone of those activities.
 Paisley immediately climbed to the top of this dirty pile of snow and did not come down until it was time to go in.
 The snow was perfect "packing snow".  Dave and the girls were able to put this snowman together in less than 5 minutes.  Serious!  I was still getting clothes picked up and out of the way when Dave poked his head in the front door asking for the snowman kit... When I looked out the window and saw  this snowman (named Olaf) I couldn't believe it!
 Alexa relaxing with a giant snowball after making a snow angel.
 Paisley licking the dirty snow!
Kinley with a giant snowball
 It was so warm outside I decided to bring my little guy outside for a bit of snow fun too.  He was bundled, warm and happy just chillin with the  rest of the family.
Me and my boy!
Zoey and Kinley climbing the snow pile.
Rex and I didn't stay outside too long.  After a few minutes he was ready to come back in.  I had to snap a few more pictures of him in his snowsuit.  I love his little finger peeking out of the right mitten pocket.  Such a cutie!
 It was a great day!  During the dinner prayer that night Alexa thanked God for "the perfect snow day".  Zoey decided to write her final school paper about our snow day.  It was a great day.