Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Sleep Baby Sleep

I consider myself a light sleeper.  That must mean all of my kids got their genes from their dad.  They can sleep in any position and don't wake up for anything.  Just like their dad--who can either sleep through me cleaning up throw up in our bedroom or pretends he's asleep to get out of the awful chore...last week was Puke Fest 2017 running through the whole family making for one of the worst nights Adam [mostly] slept.  But because nobody wants to read the details of children throwing up and not making it to the bathroom (minus Zach-- high five!), I'll blog about sleeping babies instead.  They make for much better images.

Lately when we get a babysitter we return home to Benson comfortabley sleeping in Mariah's room.  These two have a special bond and also know how to weasel babysitters into anything they want.
When we are home, they are usually told no because then they spend time goofing off instead of sleeping.  However, on many nights we still find that somehow, they end up together albeit with less space to themselves.
This is one of my favorite pictures ever.  Mariah had climbed into Benson's crib to calm him down one evening when she had more of a heart and more patience than me.  I hope they always love each other.  Speaking of cribs, we took the railing off of Benson's and he transitioned better than any of my children.  It was a breeze!
The rest are more pictures that make you say "how in the world could you possibly sleep like that?!"  This doesn't look comfortable at all but Clay probably could have stayed their all night long without a problem.
Or this one of Zach's bum in the air.  LOL.
Or Mariah staying up too late reading and crashing my bed!?

 Trying to block the sun?
Benson learned this one from his older sister...he may not be able to read but he can look at pictures until his eyes close.
That's a cowboy hat he wanted to sleep with after playing dress-ups all day.
And this one makes shopping a heck of a lot easier...and puts me on a budget since I can only fit what I REALLY need into the cart.
But the one that melts my heart is when Benson, not very often anymore, falls asleep while in my arms.  I use to think holding a sleeping baby was a waste of time.  Now that they only happen once in a blue moon, they become the highlight of my day.  I may only have a few of these naps left in my lifetime and there is nothing cuter than a sleeping baby on your shoulder.
At least one person in this family will wake up to a smoke-alarm or ringing phone or crying child.  I just wish that one person was the other responsible adult in the house while I caught endless zzzz's.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Adios August

August is a super busy month with my calling and I am SO GLAD that it's over.  Who knew planning a camp out for a bunch of scouts could be so much work!  It's a lot more work when nobody ever responds to emails or text messages too (cue annoyed face).  That being said, it ended up being hiccup free and everyone had a lot of fun.
One of my biggest stresses was finding a sitter for the kids so that both Adam and I could attend the camp out (since I didn't want to build a fire, figure out how to hoist a flag in a tree, and set up my own tent). After going through 4 options and none of them working out, we asked ourselves why we aren't just taking them?  Who loves to camp more than kids? They were so excited but I'm sure the other leaders who had to play UNO with Clayton and listen to Benson scream when he woke up too early from his nap were not.  However, they also brought some added entertainment like when no one could figure out why Clayton was singing at the top of his lungs in the outhouse and taking his dear old time (I swear kids have no sense of smell), or when he shouted out during the quite, reverent, flag ceremony to "make sure it doesn't touch the ground!".
Serious UNO game face

The kids loved, loved, loved the ropes course.  I was shocked that Zach was the first to try it.  Even Clay handled it with no problems.
Zach was by far our best camper.  I printed off a nature scavenger hunt and he spent HOURS searching for different things.  He especially loved collecting a giant bag of pine cones and exclaimed at one point that he was in a "Pine Cone Wonderland"!  Here he is with his pine cone gun.  When it was time to come home we had all sorts of souvenirs this kid had found and had grown attached to.
Mariah was assigned to go around and take pictures during all of the break outs.  Once hundreds of pictures had been taken and Adam had a dead phone battery, she considered herself successful in her assignment.

In addition to the scout camp, August is also the Stake Activity Days event that I'm on the board for.  It was a "Service is Sweet" theme with Candyland decor.  Seriously so cute!  I was in charge of Gumdrop Mountain and helping put together the balloon arch.  Thank you Pinterest...again!  That being said, several others put my Gumdrop Mountain to shame!  Like really, I shouldn't even claim it.

Our Stake numbers this year were a little low so they decided to invite all girls turning 8 this year.  Mariah was ecstatic to go to her first activity.  I was so proud of her missionary efforts too and how many friends she invited.  One of her inactive friends actually came!

We were able to celebrate President Monsons 90th birthday for Family Home Evening.  We all wrote letters or colored pictures for 2 widows in our neighborhood and explained how President Monson took care of the widows in his ward.  We then delivered them and of course they were offered treats at the old ladies houses which is why they love them!  We came home and blew out candles then ate cake.  It was one of those FHE's I'm pretty proud of and we may need to repeat next year.

The biggest news of the month though is that Clayton started preschool!!!  He hates it but I am giddy about the hours with only 1 kid!  I hope that it's just an adjustment period, but for now I'm having to drop him off upset each day.  He has the same teacher Zach had and in her words "I had no idea how different your two boys were.  Clayton is definitely more of a rascal".  I guess that's a kind way of explaining the difference.  LOL.  She also told me that he's the smartest in the class even though he's one of the youngest (proud mamma moment).  Oh, and apparently he wants to be a "super hero" when he grows up and his favorite subject is "toys".   Kinda ironic to type that after bragging about how smart he is huh?
He certainly misses his play buddy Zach all day (I knew deep down they liked each other) and Zach has certainly struggled to adjust to full day kinder too, but I'm hoping with August behind us and routines being established, that September will be awesome...assuming we drop below 110 degrees!

Friday, August 4, 2017

Back to School

I saw on Pinterest a tradition of having a Back to School Feast the night before school starts.  I thought it would be fun and hopefully something the kids will look forward to in the future.  I started off by picking a theme that we could have for the 2017 school year then asked a friend if she could design it for a printable that I could display on the fridge.  I found this talk by President Monson on Living an Abundant Life that included the ABC's.  I loved that the ABC's made it so appropriate for a new school year and felt like it was a great focus for our family as well.

We then had a special meal with my kids very favorite foods-- lasagna, caesar salad (yes they love it), and garlic bread.  I set the table with a school theme and even found a fun string of apple lights.
One idea I found was to have the theme engraved on these pretty glass stars.  It will take a few years but eventually we will have a collection that I can display on the wall.  Until then I need to find somewhere to put this thing where we will see it, it wont get broken, and it wont look lame all by itself on a big empty wall.  My hope is that these themes will be a true focus for our home in our FHE lessons and memories.  Something my kids memorize and remember to give them strength.  As they get older and older, this part of the tradition may make a big impact on them.
Afterwards they received Father's blessings.  Several weeks ago a friend of mine asked Zach if he was nervous for kindergarten and he said 'a little bit but mostly excited' then whispered to me that he was going to ask his dad to give him a blessing before school so he wouldn't be scared anymore.  Melt me heart!  Mariah on the other hand has never received a blessing.  She refuses.  The blessing is the part that scares her.  We've had lots of conversations but ultimately didn't want to force her.  This year was no different.  After all her brothers (yes even Benson wanted one) got their back to school blessing I was hoping she would change her mind but she didn't...until about 20 min later I saw her sitting on the chair in the middle of the living room.  When asked what she was doing she said she thought she was ready.  That alone was a small miracle.

To say they were excited for a new year is an understatement.  Up way too early and then twiddling their thumbs and bored waiting for the time to leave.  Oh well, it just left us with plenty of time for "Elsa hair" and pictures.  Now two portions of my heart leave each day!
I should have wrote in a different colored marker because you can't see :(  Apparently Zach wants to be a dentist now.  This was news to me but maybe it's because he's overheard how much the dentist is making off of Mariah's teeth these days (that's a story for another day).  His teacher is Mrs. Arnold which is the same teacher Mariah had and we loved her!
Mariah is "7 1/2" and wants to be a math teacher.  That's why she's my favorite daughter.  Her teacher is Mrs. Catalani.  She's transferring from Vegas so no one knows much about her but my first impressions (as well as Mariah's) have been great.  Adam on the other hand isn't a fan of her.  He says he saw books of Hilary Clinton and Martin Luther King Jr. in her classroom library but no George W. Bush!  Ha ha ha.
Clayton was beginning to feel left out so we included him for a final picture which turned out to be my favorite of all.  By the way, he was asking by 9:45 how many minutes until the bus comes.  Turns out they really do like each other.
Off we went to drop them off for their first day!  I wasn't quite sure how Zach would do.  He's pretty attached to me sometimes but he walked in like he owned the place.  You would think I would have been thrilled but it kinda broke my heart.  It's like he doesn't need me anymore (until later that week he turned down a play date after school because he missed me and wanted to stay home).
That afternoon I put Benson down for a nap and then this happened, Clayton fell asleep!!!  This almost never happens!  Maybe it's because there was nobody to play with he was able to stop and realize how tired he was!  My house was so quiet you could hear a pin drop.  It was the most amazing hour of the past 7 years!
I must say I love kindergartners.  They aren't concerned about being cool which was proven when Zach stepped off the bus wearing this.  Benson was a fan of his hard work.  Makes me smile!
Speaking of the bus, it was the one hiccup of the day.  The bus started pulling away when Mariah jumped up and told the bus driver her brother wasn't on the bus yet!  He had been sent to the parent-pick up line and although he knew he was in the wrong place he wasn't assertive enough to tell anybody nor did he know where the bus picked up so he just stood their waiting and said he was worried because he knew I wasn't ever going to come.  Luckily the bus driver stopped and they were able to find my sweet boy.  I can't imagine how freaked out I would have been if the bus came and he wasn't on it!

When I asked Zach how the first day went he was not optimistic.  Recess was cancelled because it was raining, they missed all of art class because on kid had to go to the bathroom and then everyone had to go and by the time they were done the hour was over, and his teacher has them dance too much!  I had to laugh.  After talking a little longer he had plenty of exciting things to say and seems to be enjoying it enough.

The second hiccup of the week came when the attendance office called asking me to excuse my students absence.  I freaked again because I had sent them to school!  Immediately my mind started to fear that Zach had somehow gotten lost and never made it to class.  Well it turns out it was a mix up.  Mariah was marked absent because the bus was late.  When the kids got home I learned the bus was late because it hit a construction sign causing the tire to pop so they had to wait for the emergency bus.  Hit a sign?  They thought it was the coolest thing ever.  I'm not so sure.  Zach is hoping each day that they can hit another sign.

The third hiccup was the call I got from the nurse saying Mariah had a head injury in P.E!  Turns out she was just bonked in the head with a basketball but she's going to be good at drama.  Ice solved all her problems and I said I was completely comfortable sending her back to class and didn't see a need to check it out myself.  She milked that one the rest of the day though!

Since the third time is a charm and we didn't have a fourth incidence to report, we celebrated ending the first week of school by hitting up the new Swig that just opened.  The kids feel privileged to have the only Swig outside of Utah and have hopes that it will help people to drink less beer because now they can go get yummy sodas instead.  There are so many reasons I love these four and their innocence in this crazy world is one!  Here's to a great year.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Take Me Home, Country Road

We just got back from a two week trip to Utah.  In other words, hunker down for a post full of pictures and journaling.  Just know that no matter how long this post gets, it is much much shorter than the 13 hour drive with cranky kids that it takes to get to Utah and NOTHING beats that misery!

The big event that took place during our visit was that we got to meet Nixon Talmage Call at 3 weeks old.  Mariah was so so excited and loved her snuggles.  I'm not even 100% sure Zach ever looked at the baby.  Kids can be such opposites.
Since all my family would be in town, Kelsy and Tally decided to bless Nixon so we could be there.  I'm sure hosting and feeding a crowd as well as having her house wrecked at 3 weeks postpartum wasn't Kelsy's first choice of activities but I am grateful I didn't miss the event.  P.S. She's already skinnier than me if you must know but don't worry, I'm over it.
For the 4th of July, we attended the Kaysville parade that the kids love for all the free candy.  Of course Utah had record highs so we got our sweat on but what's the Fourth without a parade?
I explained to the boys as the flag was passing that they should take off their hats and place them on their hearts.  Then throughout the entire parade, whenever Clay saw a flag he took his hat off again.  Kinda melted my heart.  Later that day we had a BBQ and burned money (aka fireworks) and Rob's family was able to join as well.  Mariah even got to have her first sleep over at Chloe's and you can't even believe how excited she was about it.  Makes me wish we lived closer.
Next up was my race.  Bragging moment coming up...6 months ago I joined a gym for the first time since having kids.  I'd only casually been working out and hadn't pushed myself in a long time.  The first week of heading back to the gym, I jumped on a treadmill and was shocked at how slow I'd become. I hadn't run with a clock in 7 years and it was ugly.  Over the last 6 months I worked HARD to take off minutes as well as add distance.  I set a goal to do a 10K in under an hour (9:30 miles).  A lofty goal at the time.  Long story short, I shattered that goal in the Farmington Festival Days race by just over 2.5 minutes.  It felt so good-- even though it's a pretty slow 10K for most runners.  Unfortunately, I pushed myself a little too hard and felt sick the rest of the day.  The hills nearly killed me since Gilbert is so flat and low elevation.
Air Punch incoming
Oh and that race was run at the ripe old age of 34--the day after my birthday!  I just get better with age!  I had a wonderful birthday where my grandparents treated my ENTIRE family to dinner at Maddox.  It's a nicer restaurant than my kids are behaved for but nothing beats their rolls with raspberry butter.  In fact, I probably could have shaved another 15 seconds off my race time without that delicious and large meal in my belly hours before :)

You will have to try to zoom in on this letter.  For my birthday I told Adam all I wanted was to go shopping at Called to Surf, my new favorite store selling modest, yet trendy clothing.  He created this cute spoof off of a mission call for "Called to Serve" with some cash for my gift.  He seriously is the best gift-giver which usually just leaves me feeling really lame around his birthday and holidays because I'm terrible at reciprocating.

A trip to Utah isn't complete without a stop in Provo (especially since that's where the clothing store is).  The kids needed new BYU attire and I needed a picture with Cosmo.
While in the bookstore, Benson found a copy of the Book of Mormon.  He was so excited and just had to sit down and "read".  Please don't change buddy.
We also hit the rec center for Mele's 8th birthday, which is Mariah's favorite place in the entire state.  No pictures of the water activities but Benson and Clayton loved those big slides.  I couldn't get over Benson's giggles as he rode on my lap.  We finished the party off with Derek's famous ribs.  I think Clay enjoyed them.
Our funnest adventure had to have been Lagoon.  The high for the day was 105 degrees (in Utah?!) but it did keep crowds down and my kids tolerate heat.  In fact while we were getting snow cones one day Clay was wondering why there was grass stuck to a lady's knee.  I said she must be sweating and he said "Is it hot right now?!"  Only an Arizonan.
If you've ever questioned whether or not Adam is a good dad, just look at this picture.  Pure joy on everyone's face including the big kid sitting in the back.
I didn't get a good picture of Clayton at Lagoon but he may be my only child that's a dare devil.  He went on everything he was tall enough for and loved it.

Most of the other activities we enjoyed were simpler.  My parents gave us their tickets to the PGA Tour at Oakridge Country Club that included a lunch.  It was a fun afternoon out with my sisters while my parents watched a lot of overly tired kids all by themselves.
My cousin Natalie joined us and we took a fun tour of Mrs. Cavanaugh's Chocolate Factory and then ate enough sugar to last us a week (although a few hours was what really happened.  What's vacation without yummy food and sweets?)
My dad has always been a little crazy but when he volunteered to take the kids "camping" in the backyard, I feared he had lost it!  I think he agreed it was a bad idea when we was up nearly every hour with a kid needing to use the bathroom and then for good with Clayton at 5:30 ready to go to the park.  However, it built memories and was one of the kids highlights.
On our first day the kids went out to meet the new chickens.  Benson got spooked and while he said prayers that night he requested that 'the door to the chickens doesn't get open again!'  Within a few days, he'd warmed up and the little boys loved chasing them around the yard.  The chickens may have learned to hate people this last week.
Grandma Great was a trooper and stayed at the house, despite the noise, so we would have plenty of time to visit.  Her and Clay bonded.  She did puzzle after puzzle with him.
But let's be honest, the real bonding came because she let him play on her tablet.  Which backfired since he's the first one up each day and woke her to start his games ;/  Clayton: Where's Sister Davis? (sister from church)  Me: Her name is Grandma Great...several minutes later when I told him he couldn't play games, Clayton: Sister Sumsion is in charge of the tablet! (who is the other Great Grandma. This one is Grandma Aston.  Poor kid is just a little confused.  Sister/Grandma/Sumsion/Aston/Davis, who knows!)
I love this picture. Next time Grandma needs to have more than one bag of candy for all those baby birds.  Grandma also hosted an "Itty Bitty Super Duper" party for the kids while we went to breakfast and Zach hasn't stopped talking about it!
But I may love this one even more.  So grateful that my kids have so many people to love.
It was dress like a cow day and who doesn't love free food.  Little did I know how upset 2 of my littlest cows would be about dressing up.  And how much crazier free places are with frugal Utahans that have a bazillion kids.  And how the next day I would be eating at Chick Fil A again with my childhood girlfriends.  Yes, this wasn't worth it.
As much as two weeks seemed like a long time away, the very next day all my kids were wanting to go back and were complaining about being bored!  They missed their cousins and sleepovers and non-stop play.  That being said, they also missed their routine and down time and bedrooms while we were away so until our next adventure we will be grateful for our home sweet home.