Monday, June 15, 2015

Play Time

We had several visitors and with that always comes the opportunity to get out and P-L-A-Y!  As I mentioned, both our parents and my sister came to stay for Benson's blessing.  My dad's birthday was just a few days before they arrived so for his "gift" we treated everybody to a round at Top Golf that was just built.  Top Golf is a 'driving range meets bowling' kind of idea.  There are all sorts of games and challenges where each player gets 10 balls and you aim for different targets throughout the game.  Much more fun than a regular driving range...unless you have a bunch of little kids wanting turns...which we did. 
When Nana and Pappy come to visit it means three things; a trip to Shar's for cooking classes, 'Pappy Popcorn', and a lot of time on the piano. 
Ava wasn't feeling well but she loved feeding popcorn to her new BFF
I love this picture because it's just cute, and because we have one so similar of Mariah
 I love how much they love listening to their Grandpa play and that he includes them.
 A few weeks after the blessing, Adam's sister and family came to visit as they are scoping out the area for a potential move to Phoenix.  Fingers crossed!!!  Heidi visiting = girl time.  The woman is starved for more girls in her life.  It's a good thing her prayers were finally answered and she will get her own daughter in just another month!
We also tried a new restaurant while they were here called San Tan Flats.  It's a country feel with live music, dancing and fire pits for roasting marshmallows at each table.  A super fun ambiance.
Our ward also had a Fathers/Sons camp out a couple weeks ago.  Of course the first words out of Zach's mouth when they arrived were "There are pine cones everywhere!"  He came home with a whole grocery bag full.  He also found him a little "broom" and swept the tent with it for quite awhile (the broom is pictured below)
Adam packed individual flashlights for the boys.  They were a mega hit.  I still don't understand why kids don't care that it's shining right in their eyes.  ??? 
When they got home Zach had to tell me about all of the sugar dad let them have.  Pine cones and sugar...Heaven! They had a ball and apparently slept great.  Mariah and I enjoyed girl time with our friends, painting nails, going out to eat, and watching movies.  A pretty good weekend for everyone.

With the visitors gone and our house projects done, we had our first family outing with just the 6 of us in a while.  Adam won tickets to the Musical Instrument Museum.  It was Family Day, so they had crafts and story time etc in addition to the regular museum stuff.  It was a lot of fun but without the family day it would have been a huge BORE!  I'm not a fan of museums.  I would have been in and out of that place in 10 minutes if it weren't for the other activities.
The kids loved the headsets you wore as you walked around for an audio tour
One of the activities was face painting.  We opted to do arm painting instead hoping it would be less messy and get smeared less.  We were wrong but they loved it nonetheless.
My favorite may have been the photo booth.  Zach and Clay still don't get it and that's the best part.  I also had to laugh how Adam looks the exact same in each shot.  Um, they take four pictures for a reason!
Now today is Monday and it's going to be a pretty boring day...Off I go, the toilets need a scrubbin'. 

Monday, June 8, 2015

Bonding Leave

Intel started a new policy that if your wife has a baby you get 8 weeks of "bonding leave" that you can use any time within the first year that the child is born.  Eight weeks!!!  And that's in addition to vacation time!  It was a glorious day when Adam came home and told me.  If only they had it when he first started.  I would be up to a total of 6 months in just 4 years.  Something tells me his bosses may not be very pleased with his baby making choices but man it would have been sweet :)

Adam was able to take his first 4 weeks in the month of May.  Needless to say, I did a lot of sleeping in and running of errands without children.  Ahhhh!  Can you believe I have a 2 month old and feel rested.  Who knew those two things could be said in the same sentence.

As far a bonding goes...well Adam has done a lot of bonding.  Just bonding of tiles to walls, and wood planks to floors.  Basically he's used most of his time to knock off the last of our housing projects.  I think he was really ready to go back to work because a desk job is much more relaxing than 4 kids and hard labor.  That being said, I love the finished projects and now we may actually have a free Saturday for the first time since we moved in.  Hooray for bonding!!!

The first project he completed was our built in bookshelves and plate display.  I'm in love!  With the shelves and the man who made them for me.  I've been dreaming of these for a long time since I've wanted to be able to display my travel plates and memories in a way that they look like decor and not souvenirs.  He's had more compliments on these than you can believe.  The best comment was when our neighbor asked what he was doing in the driveway and Adam replied "building bookshelves".  He looked in the garage and said "Oh, you mean actually building bookshelves, not IKEA building bookshelves". 
He also finished the back yard.  It's basically been done since December but there was one part that was lacking and we weren't too antsy to take care of it since it was functional.  He just needed to blend the seam and so it wasn't high on the priority list.  The reason for the picture is Zach.  With every project, the boy wants to be right by his dad's side with his "tools".  He has a play set with goggles and all and jumps right in to help.  He may have only hammered 1 nail in the time Adam did 40 but he was soooo happy to work along side his dad.  He loves to build and if he can't build you better believe you will find him watching. 
See what I mean. He stood on that stool for a long time and asked 101 questions.  Unless you count all the "why's" as only one question.  In which case there were only 3. 
My back-splash is installed for a grand total hovering right around $100.  Just goes to show that labor is most of your cost.  And after watching Adam work for 2 days straight to install it, I can see why.
Next came the shade and cover for our water barrels.  All the work we go to for food storage better be worth it.  On second thought, I hope I never have to use it.  I'd gladly waste the time and money if that means that we never see scarcity. 
I wouldn't include the next project because I frankly could care less if it was ever done, however, it's Adam's favorite of them all.  It doesn't deserve more explanation than that :)  His tool bench...
Then the final project that really sucked our lives and time away.  The floor.  The demolition alone overwhelmed me.  The dust!  Oh, the dust!  It's going to take me a week to get it off of everything!  If only we could have convinced the builders to carpet everything!
Speaking of carpet.  These kids can entertain themselves with anything.  Here they are in their car.  Oodles of fun I tell ya.
And when that gets old, you can actually color and draw on the floor without getting in trouble!
And after that, you can just build a boat and set to sea.
When it came to gluing the boards down, the were kicked to the upstairs.  That still didn't stop them from being entertained by the work going on.  P.S. I was watching a friends kids that day if you are wondering where the strangers came from.

Now for the finished project...faulting an area rug
 But I have found a rug for my now completed entry way

Feels so good to be done.  For me and for Adam.  Oh, and lest you think that no bonding went on, here's proof.  No matter how full your lap is, there is always room for one more. 
Thanks for all your hard work Adam!  Here's the proof it really was hard.  These are his "work shorts" after they went through the wash.  We love you!  Next time we hire it out!!!

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Baby Blessing

This post is several weeks in the making. I finally got around to getting Benson's blessing pictures so it's time to finally tell about his blessing.  On May 10th, we celebrated Mother's Day in the best way possible.  I got to celebrate becoming a mom of four with Benson's blessing as well as spend the day with BOTH of the mom's in my life.  That will probably never happen again.  What a treat!  So grateful they could be at the blessing and for both Benson's grandfathers who were able to stand in the circle as well as 2 of our closest friends (Rob Konieczny and Barr Huefner), bishop and good friend Ryan Anderson, and our Arizona Grandpa, Nile Davis.  Kelsy and Ava were also able to make it.  The only thing missing was our 8 other siblings!  Ha!  It's always hard living far away on special occasions.
Ava is missing from the picture as she came down sick during their visit and was napping :(
Adam of course gave a beautiful blessing.  I'm so grateful for a husband who's worthy to give these blessings.  It just wouldn't be the same if there was any sort of "substitute".  Some of the parts that I particularly liked were when Benson was blessed to 'have his eyes opened that he may know the truth as he gets older' and be able to 'discern between truth and error'.  He will also realize the importance of holding the Priesthood in his life and see it as a privilege as well as to learn to love service.  That's all we really need right?  Oh, and that he will honor his mother and treat her as the queen that she is!  Glad Adam never seems to forget adding that part!  However, my very favorite part of the blessing was when Adam blessed that Benson would have a happy disposition.  He truly is a happy baby.  Undoubtedly my easiest baby yet.  With his smiles, he has given the rest of us so much to smile about too.  We absolutely adore the kid!   

With no further adieu, here are some of the pictures.  I had to include the first one because I see so much of Zach in it!  Something about their faces in this particular shot look similar to me.
There's his happy disposition shining through
 While we were getting pictures, I decided to throw the other kids in for a few sibling ones.  I'm kinda sad that you can't tell all three of their ties match.  We may just be the cutest family in church each Sunday!
 I love how Clayton is stroking his cheek and looking so tenderly.  Now that he's officially a "terrible two", I have to cherish the moments like this! 
Notice Mariah's pearls.  She HAD to wear a necklace.  Upon putting it on she said "Mom, when you die can I have all your jewelry?"  Well gee!  Sure, why not?
 Thanks again to those who traveled to be here on Benson's special day.  And as always a special thanks to Nancy for making these outfits such a precious possession of mine for so many reasons.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

She Danced!

How could we not be proud as punch?  This little girl danced and could hardly contain her smile on stage.  It was such a relief after being the "ice pop" that she was the last recital.  Earlier that day we had a lot of talks about nerves and how to deal with them.  She kept going back and forth trying to decide if she thought she would be brave enough.  At times she was confident and at times not so sure.  She even played "eenie meenie miney mo" trying to determine what was going to happen.  When she walked on stage and immediately got into position, my heart was going to explode.  I may have gotten a little choked up when she started.  I think it was a relief for ALL of us to see her having fun.  When it was over Mariah exclaimed "that was awesome!".  And it was!  My little girl is growing up and figuring this whole life thing out. 
With Adam as your dad she naturally got flowers again.  He said she will never finish a recital without flowers.  It's just not right.  Right or wrong, when you see how much she loves flowers, it makes you want to buy them.  
I mush post her class pictures because they are cute and because I paid for them so I might as well get my money worth :) 
 The first dance was to a song from Rapunzel. 
 The second was from The Little Mermaid.  The fish headbands are too cute for words.
 There she is.  Taking her bow for the finale.  Way to go Mariah!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Happy Birthday Clayton

My little man turned two and I don't think he understood what it meant in the least.  Mariah and Zach tried to prep him for weeks talking about his birthday and trying to get him to say "I'm 2".  Most of their efforts just resulted in blank stares from the kid.  However, he didn't seem to complain when he got presents and cake and he definitely knew how to blow out his candles. 
Clayton LOVES bubbles.  All during sacrament meeting he asks to blow bubbles and can't wait for nursery.  Thus, you can only imagine how much he loves his new lawn mower that blows bubbles.  P.S. you know you have fake grass when my kids don't know what a lawn mower is and they keep calling it a truck.
He also got a plush bowling set that gets pretty good reactions. 
Being the exciting parents that we are, Adam and I gave Clayton sheets for his new bed for his birthday (the toys all came from grandparents).  My mom made the darling quilt top to coordinate with Zach's and on his birthday we decided to give it a go and let him try it out.  He was very excited to sleep in the "big boy bed" and we were optimistic when he went down fairly easily.  We then gave up the next night when we realized that a real bed means Clayton can get up at 5:30 am and make us all start our day.  He wakes up that early most days but we usually leave him there and many mornings he will fall back to sleep.  On the mornings he doesn't, it still means we can stay in bed a bit longer.  I'm not willing to give that up yet but Benson will need that crib soon.  Help!
For Clay's birthday the kids picked to go miniature golfing.  They all enjoyed it but Clay was cracking me up.  He quickly learned that he could get the ball to go where he wanted a lot better by ditching the club and using his hands.  Here he is dropping it in the door after a few failed attempted to get it up the ramp.  When he succeeded, boy would he be proud of himself.  
Just a few things about Clayton:  My favorite phrase that he says is "What that name?"  And he asks it constantly.  Always wanting to learn new words and say new things.  He ADORES Mariah.  In fact, when he wakes up from his nap you usually hear him calling out for "Riah" instead of Mom.  Same for when he gets hurt.  He runs to her with open arms knowing she will cuddle him as long as he needs and give all the sympathy he wants.  Not sure what that says about me as a mom except that I've raised an awesome daughter :)  Zach and Clay butt heads a little more but overall, they still play together well most of the time.  Clayton seems to be a coordinated little boy with a passion for playing basketball and soccer and throwing objects...any object.  He warms up to strangers quickly and loves to sit on other peoples laps.  His favorite book is Go, Dog, Go and he loves blueberries.  Unfortunately, blueberries do not love his diapers :/  
We can't wait to see what this year holds for our favorite little two year old!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Family Outings

With no thanks to me we had a wonderful Easter.  I'm grateful that family and friends were able to step it up this year since I had little to no motivation to plan any sort of fun things to do with the kids in my sleep deprived state.  My mom bought the book "A Christ Centered Easter" and while she was here, she did crafts and activities with the kids every single day with ideas from the book to help them remember the reason that we celebrate.  I should have taken pictures of all of the fun things they did.  From Enchanted eggs, to planting wheat grass, testimony eggs, to empty tomb rolls and the list goes on.  They loved it.
Then Adam's mom brought additional magic to the holiday by sending magic jelly beans for the kids to plant and have blossom into lollipops!  
Luckily, I don't just have great family but great friends too. One of my good friends planned a 'bunny brunch' that included a spiritual message and golden eggs.  She went all out and I did nothing but show up
Our HOA also had their annual hunt.  Clayton was too funny.  He was so distracted with all the kids that he simply would not pick up an egg and put it in his basket.  Luckily by Sunday morning when the Easter Bunny had arrived, he was in his comfort zone and knew just what to do!  Zach on the other hand went running for the field the second he hopped out of the car.  We had to halt him and tell him it hadn't even started yet.
After they got all their eggs we grabbed a picture with the Easter Bunny.  This was as good as we could do considering the before mentioned distractions and a long line on our tail.
We also talked about how Easter and Christmas are related and played a few Christmas songs one Sunday afternoon.  Seriously cracked up at Clayton singing "Mary Did You Know".

We had another great week a short while later, no thanks to me again but this time the credit goes to Adam and his hard work at Intel.  He won a bonus but rather than give him cash they gave him the company credit card and said it HAD to be spent doing something fun.  We chose to buy tickets for the whole family to attend Disney on Ice.
We actually had seats that weren't in the nose bleeds plus we let each kid pick an overpriced souvenir.  They were over the moon happy about it.  Afterwords, we hit up Outback Steakhouse to top off the day of complete indulgence. 
Then Intel came through again with a company party at the one and only Macayos!  You can only imagine how happy I was about that.  They even provided my pina colada, face painting, and the best balloon artist I've ever seen. Each child was quite content when he accepted their request for Elsa, Spider-Man, and Olaf. 
It was nice to have some things to look forward to that required nothing more than getting everyone ready (not that that's a small feat these days).  Now just a random picture of story time before bed because it's cute and I had to share.