Tuesday, March 20, 2018

My Baby is Three

Benson did not disappoint in the excitement he had for his birthday.  I swear that Christmas wasn't that long ago, but his reactions were so different!  It's like something clicked the last few months and he knew exactly what was coming and could hardly contain himself!  For days he talked about his party (that we weren't having), and the firetruck he wanted (but didn't get) and his cake (which he didn't have).  He asked each day when he would be three and when it came time to open his gifts he knew just what to do.  With each present opened, he squealed and grinned.  I should have videoed it, but sometimes it's also nice to snap a quick picture and just enjoy the moment.

I mentioned that he didn't have a party but we did invite my family over for dinner and bowling which totally counts for Benson.  My other kids may have wanted the whole "friends" deal but at 3, family are your friends (and for that matter at 4, 6, and 8 when you've just moved and have yet to make new friends.  LOL).  I also mentioned that he didn't get a firetruck but only because he got one for Christmas.  The obsession still continues so instead we got him a fire fighter dress-up which was a major hit.  Both grandparents then gave him Paw Patrol gifts with the character Marshall who is a firefighter.
Then came time for the "cake".  Benson doesn't even like cake (or most other foods for that matter) but he does like frosting so he thinks he likes cake.  I'm smarter than that.  I instead made a fruit pizza since he likes cookies with frosting even better than cake with frosting and it still holds the all too important candles.
Afterwards we headed out bowling.  Watching him try to carry the heavy bowling ball all by himself was a crack up.
But he loved every second.  After all, whats better than bowling, pizza, and a fire fighter costume at the same time?  There wasn't a chance he was taking it off and we didn't try to make him.  It's his birthday; he can do whatever he wants!
I interviewed Benson to record a little of his personality at 3.
Sometimes, I think he can be described as class clown.  He is always trying to get his siblings to laugh.  Hence the response of Captain Underpants as his favorite movie, purposefully being goofy while I tried to get him to sing, and his constant "shaking of the booty".  He's my little turkey who does what it takes to get attention.  Even if it's negative-like his most recent use of profanity just to spite us (he picked it up from Adam...Joke joke!)  Benson's loves loves loves to cuddle.  He crawls in bed with us every morning at about 6:30 and will lay perfectly still for a long time just so that we will hold him.  The other night as the sun was beginning to set he said "Mommy, I'm sad right now".  When I asked why he said "because it's almost bedtime and you are going to make me sleep in my own bed and I don't like to sleep in my bed, I like to cuddle with you!"  Melt and break my heart all in one sentence.  He's going to have a hard time when him and Mariah no longer share a room because you can often find him next to her, on her mattress fast asleep.  Lastly, the kid still HATES nursery.  He no longer cries but as we near the end of sacrament meeting he mentions every single week that he's tired (which is his excuse to try and get out of everything) and that he DOES NOT want to go to nursery.   Then he whines the entire way there.  The teachers say he does great but he doesn't like the good-bye.  All of my other kids by three absolutely loved nursery.  Benson, just loves his momma and daddy.  I let him stay with me one time and he literally did not make a peep for 2 hours as he sat through my meetings, just thrilled to be on my lap.  I have a love/hate relationship with it all.  In fact, that's how our relationship is in general.  He's either my #1 for the day or my #4.  There is no in between.  But one things for sure, he's worth the ride in every way.  Good-bye terrible twos, hello opinionated and demanding threes.

Friday, March 2, 2018

One Month Down

It's been SO cold the last few weeks.  Of course Utah was having an extremely mild winter and then we arrived and everything changed.  Zach made an announcement to Adam the other day that "you wouldn't believe it!  Mom hasn't sat on the heater once all day!"  We may or may not have consumed our weight in hot chocolate but I have missed hot chocolate so it's all good.  All that being said, if we are going to have freezing temps, we are glad it brought some snow with it.  The first time that my kids have ever seen the snow fall real hard was magic to them.  Envision a fire work show with all the "ooo's and ahh's".
I then went on a wild goose chase trying to find snow clothes to get us out sledding.  The lady trying to help me at Walmart said "we would have totally judged you behind your back for waiting this long to find snow gear if you hadn't mentioned that you just moved here".  Well, thanks for not, I guess ;)  That being said I was having no luck and the kids were frozen solid after playing with no gloves and boots as they waited for an online order to come (that was also almost sold out of everything).  However, to say they loved sledding was an understatement.  Hopefully getting out a couple of times this season was enough for them until next year because I think hope the snow is done.
The only video I took just happened to be the best run of the day.  At least the funniest.  But don't tell Mariah because she will get mad if you laugh at her and Zach's crash.  Zach on the other hand, is very proud of it.  I bet you can't guess which one got hurt and which one didn't.
We also got a membership to Thanksgiving Point and I think it's already proven to be well worth it.  That place is pretty amazing and big!  For Presidents day they were doing fossil carving and cast molds.  Zach in particular eats that sort of thing up.
 And Clay just likes when you tell him he can use a drill.
Kelsy joined us one day at the curiosity museum.  I have no pictures of that because once we entered, I never saw my kids again, but I did run into my niece, Priscilla, while we were there.  She's in Spanish Fork but also has a membership so future play dates are in the making!
We went to the dinosaur museum one night as a family and on the way out, I saw this Valentine's photo booth.  I had Mariah take a picture of Adam and I kissing in it (I'll spare you the picture) and the next thing I know, when I turn around Clay and Benson had jumped in too.  Benson of course, figured kissing is just what you do.
Speaking of Valentine's, I don't often wake up laughing like crazy but when your kid wakes you up dressed as Cupid and shooting sock arrows, it's pretty funny.  Especially when he says "I tried to keep the whole underwear part appropriate".
One day while Mele was up, I let the kids make the sugar cookies from Mariah's Christmas cooking subscription.  They loved decorating them but I think Benson licked each knife more than once so eat at your own risk.
 Little by little, I'm trying to learn this art with limited artistic ability
We also took the kids to their first Monster Truck show.  Zach and Clay loved every minute, Mariah was bored, and Benson will take any opportunity to snuggle.
The kids have adjusted well and seem to be making friends.  More than anything they have loved, loved, loved spending more time with family.  Clay said to me yesterday that he misses Emerson and Gavin but quickly added "but I don't want to move back to Arizona!"  When I asked why not (as we were sitting on the heater with a blanket watching the rain pound the windows), he said "Well Grandma and Grandpa duh!"  I'm so grateful they love it and that they have so many people to love...including Stuart (who is apparently Clay's new best friend aka his great uncle).

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Moving Day

In case you haven't moved in awhile and need reminded, it's A LOT OF WORK!  I hope we love our new area because I'd be happy to not move for a long, long, long time.  By the end of my packing journey I asked myself why we have so much stuff and was ready to chuck it all!  Adam kept telling me to slow down on the Goodwill bin but I argued that although we may use all of it, do we need all of it?  When we had to play a serious game of Tetris to get it all loaded in two different trucks, he finally started to agree with me.  The kids on the other hand, think packing is a blast and couldn't stay our of the way for the life of them because the fascination was far too tempting to turn away from.
A dad offering rides, didn't help.  Nor did having an empty house with no toys inside help either.  It was a long two days and my body reminded me I'm not in my 20's anymore :(
Packing up everything we own, one box at a time isn't the only reason I don't like moving.  Once again, in case it's been awhile for you, good-byes are NO FUN!  I told the kids I would bring treats to their class the last day of school to say bye to all of their friends.  Zach said he "wanted to cry but was holding it in".  Mariah's classroom on the other hand was a painful experience.  Her teacher told me to snap a picture of all the little girls in tears.
Mariah gathered her class for a group picture
It was not fun to watch and we all came home from school that day crying...and then our friends started to stop by for their last good-byes as well.  Seriously?  Next time I'm lying when people ask when we are moving to just avoid all of that.  I appreciate the demonstrations of love but I'd rather skip the whole thing and save myself a bunch of heart break.  We loved our Gilbert family and they won't be easily replaced.
Adam with bishopric
The next day started our long car ride journey all by myself with four little kiddos while Adam and my dad drove the moving trucks (going 35 mph at times!).  I tried to be well prepared for the trip since I was solo but when 45 minutes into the car Clay announced he was going to throw up, I realized I was not prepared!  The other 5 times is threw-up during the drive, I was better equipped with a barf bag.
Outside of the sick kid (which is no small hiccup) the trip went super smoothly.  The kids traveled better than they ever have and didn't complain much at all or ask "how many more minutes?" 1,257 times.  When we stopped for dinner in Nephi you couldn't believe how excited they were to play in the snow.  In fact, the next morning Zach was begging me to unpack his snow clothes.  I told him I didn't know where they were but it didn't matter because there wasn't snow anyway.  Zach, "Are you kidding me? Look at all of that snow!!!  It's totally enough to make a snow angel!!!" There was about as much snow as you see in the picture from the rest stop in Nephi.  When we finally found his mittens he was inside 5 minutes later, disappointed and showing me that they were all muddy from his attempted snow ball.  Nevertheless, it was a moment of shear magic for these Desert Rats.  Who knew that I would ever find myself hoping for some snow this winter?
I got to our new home at about 5:30 and Derek met me there with keys.  My dad got in at about 7:30 and they immediately started unloading a truck although we hadn't planned on doing much before morning.  If you know my dad, he doesn't sit much.  Poor Adam didn't arrive until 8:45!  He had to go soooo slow as he pulled his trailer behind the moving truck.  However, he was pleased to see that most of the big truck was already unpacked!  It made for a pretty easy Saturday and we made so much progress not just unloading but boxes emptied!  By Monday I had pictures on the wall! 
While we got settled my mom and Kelsy took all the kids to Superhero Saturday so they were out of the way.  It was a great welcome to Utah for them as they got to meet Cosmo, play with cousins, and dress up all in one afternoon.
By the end of the night we were all tired and everyone slept like a rock.  Feels good to get settled and start on a new adventure although with an unfinished basement and yard, it may be awhile until that "settled" part.  Until then, kids are back in school, making friends, and adjusting well. We are happy to be in this beUTAHful state and to call it home once again.

Saturday, January 6, 2018

The Magic of Christmas

Somehow Christmas waves it's little wand and everything becomes magical.  It's kind of sad that I will never have an 8, 6, 4, and 2 year old on Christmas morning again.  Although, I know our years of magical Christmas' isn't quite over, I see the end.  Mariah already isn't a believer but she still loves everything about the pretend.  I can't think of better ages than now.  I wanted to soak in every minute.  Unfortunately, I was busy staging a house!  We did however, find time to celebrate.  With our second annual Shepard Dinner on the floor, a Lego advent calendar that was a huge hit, Jingle Bell (the Elf) visiting each day, gingerbread houses, tamale dinner, and some fun movies.  The favorite movie of the year was Home Alone.  They laughed SO HARD at those robbers.
I'm not sure where Benson's arm disappeared to and that shirt looks a lot bigger in this picture than it does in real life but on Christmas Eve we were able to attend church and worship our Savior.  Mariah and Zach had a special musical number with a small children's choir, I sang a solo Breath of Heaven, and then Adam and I both participated in the choir.  It was a great way to begin our celebration of the birth of baby Jesus.  I always love that Christmas brings some close friends to church that we don't see regularly.  The Spirit of Christmas can't be denied.
From Santa Mariah requested stuff for her American Girl doll.  She got an armoire closet to hold all her accessories.  It's darling.  Cuter than her own dresser actually.  My favorite gift however, was the cooking subscription she got.  Each month will be delivered (by me) a box with two recipes and a cooking tool to help her learn to work in the kitchen.  Her first box included a new apron for her and her doll as well as a recipe for Grinch Popcorn and Polar Express Hot Chocolate.  We had some hot chocolate as part of our breakfast.  She's been so excited for it and even cooked Taco Soup for dinner from her January box.  Win for me!
Zach requested a surprise.  He got this cotton candy maker and later that day said that he thought Santa must have messed up because he didn't really want it but then as we were making the cotton candy he said "this is cool!"  Made me laugh.  He also got some Ghostbuster Legos to feed his new obsession with Ghostbusters.  His biggest, most difficult Lego set to date.  THIS gift was love at first sight.
Clayton wanted "Hungry Hippos".  We had him pretty concerned before Christmas came that he didn't tell Santa he wanted the GAME Hungry Hungry Hippos.  He just said he wanted hungry hippos.  What if he got a hippo for Christmas?  Hippos are mean!  It didn't help Clayton's anxiety when Zach said more people are killed by hippos each year than lions!  Clay: "Can Santa's workshop make hippos?!"  So we played the song "I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas".  Such mean parents, I know.  Needless to say he was relieved when he ran down the stairs to find the game and no real hippo.  In fact he got several games and puzzles as gifts.  They are by far his favorite thing to do.
Playing games with best friend Emerson
Benson wanted a fire truck.  Santa brought the cutest little fire station you've ever seen.  It reminds me of a wooden dollhouse with all the furniture accessories but of course, it's for boys.  He loves it!  He even loves stuffing all of the Tsum Tsums he got in it.

Adam surprised me with a fancy schmancy wheat grinder which was at the top of my wish list and I gave him a bug gun...Adam may have got the funnest toy out of everyone!  Nothing beats shooting flies with salt.  Somehow my husband becomes a little boy all over again.
And just like that, Christmas is 12 months away again but luckily we can hold our memories forever.

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Christmas in the Desert

Christmas always looks a little different in Arizona than it did growing up.  People put lights on cacti and run around looking at them wearing flip flops.  It's perfection!  However, you watch movies of snow and sledding and hot chocolate and somehow it feels like the two just don't jive.  The beauty of the whole thing, is that somehow, people have figured out how to bring winter to us without the bitter cold. 
Our HOA has a Christmas party each year for the community and this year they brought in 20 tons of snow!  We didn't have any gloves that fit kids but they didn't seem to care that their fingers were flopping all over the place.  They had the time of their lives...and by they, Adam included.

Something tells me they will handle Utah winters just fine.  Except for Zach.  He wasn't all to happy when his friend got him in the face with that snowball.  I was happy that I caught it on camera. 
After the snowball fight we were able to go on a ride by a horse drawn carriage.

We then waited in a LONG line with Santa who took too long per child but of course, once it was our turn we were grateful for that since they got such an intimate experience. Walking away from Santa Benson started getting super mad!  He wanted his fire truck that he asked for and didn't understand that he didn't get it right then.  While I tried to explain he was not buying it because he could see that there were presents under the tree and a candy cane was no consolation!  The next day we ran into Santa again while at Walmart and he looked right at him, stuck his finger out and said, "you gunna bring me a firetruck!"  Looks like we already have a little entitled brat. 

A few days later the activity days and scouts did a sock drive for the Light the World campaign.  However, before they donated the socks they had a giant snow ball fight and invited families.  I feel bad for the leaders who afterwards had to go and match all the socks together again.

The most fun we had was Christmas at the Princess (a hotel in Scottsdale).  They have a sledding hill that we went on again and again and again.  We went after Christmas so the lines were gone and the kids couldn't get enough of it.  Zach didn't want to try so I picked him up and pushed him down screaming and crying.  The worker looks at me and says "that's one way to do it".  After the first run, he begged to keep going.  Mamma knows best!

In addition the the sledding they had several other activities.  A favorite was the Polar Express train ride through all sorts of amazing light displays.

 As well as the light show that played on the face of the hotel.  Super creative and fun.
 We roasted marshmallows, rode on the rides and got to meet several Winter Wonderland characters.
 I was cracking up at "Graham".  Poor Clay was getting stuffed in the face!
 Selfie the Elfie
 The Snow Princess and several others. 

I'm so glad we heard about this before we move because it was so much fun and a great deal since we have 4 kids and they charge by the family.  Needless to say, you can have the best of both worlds.  We got our time in the "snow" and sunshine all at the same time.  Plus, it's just chilly enough in the evenings that you enjoy your blanket and cup of hot chocolate.