Thursday, November 6, 2014

We Moved and We May Never Move Again!

This post is a long time coming.  I've been waiting to blog about our first home until it was more "complete".  I finally gave up on that happening any time soon.  It's a lot of work and we have a long list of projects on the to do list.  We still want to paint, do flooring downstairs, a back yard, blinds, curtains, dining room table, back splash etc.  This doesn't even touch the list of things we have already done.  I guess that's the problem when you are married to a general contractor.  When you can do it yourself, you end up doing it yourself.  Add into the equation all the other things that life demands and it's taking longer than we thought.  What I had hoped would happen in a couple of months, I've now concluded will take closer to a year!!!  So rather than have everything completely done before I post pictures, I figured that these can serve as some before and afters.  I've had too many requests to see the house so here we go. 
First off the move started with a lot of head aches.  Number one being that our move in date got pushed back 3 days.  This meant packing up and moving since we had to be out of the rental (cleaned and all) 2 hours before we could be into the new house.  For three nights we slept on an air mattress and lived in a house with almost nothing.  I was worried the kids would go crazy.  I was wrong.  They ran around that empty room again, and again, and again.  Who knew that nothing but space could be so much fun?  They also loved that we set up a fort for them to sleep in as well as had a movie and popcorn night.  This stuff is kid heaven I tell ya.
I was also concerned about packing and unpacking with such young kids.  Once again, not a problem.  Who knew that boxes could be so much fun?  They played in boxes for hours and days.  So if they don't want furniture and they like empty boxes, why have we spent so much money on stuff for the kids???
Unpacking went well and much quicker than I thought.  I was unpacked in two days and ready to start the before mentioned to do list.  As Adam went to instal our RO water filter, he noticed a leak under the kitchen sink.  Cue the beginning of the nightmare!  Apparently a staple had been shot into one of the pipes during the dry wall process.  The leak was in the wall and had spread throughout the entire backside of the kitchen.  They started tearing things out and putting holes in my brand new house!  What started out as a 3 day repair, turned into 5, turned into through the weekend, then a few more days...It ended up being 13 days total.  13 days in my brand new, non-working kitchen.  We had no sink, no dishwasher, no cabinets (that I had already unpacked into and had to pack back up), no counter space and several repair men in my house several times a day putting us on house arrest.  It was a long process.  The home builders certainly softened the blow though when they said they would give us $75-$100 a day to go out to eat until it was done.  Bring on the pounds because we used that money.  Yes please to the Cheesecake Factory with appetizers, meals, and dessert.  We hit up all of our favorite (and pricey-er) restaurants during those 13 days and spent a lot of money that wasn't ours.  I was very grateful because washing sippy cups and random dishes in the bathtub got old real fast.
Finally, the leak was repaired and they began putting my kitchen back together.  When they installed my cabinets again, I had to remind them that I would please like doors that matched...add another day onto this whole saga before we would be done.
I could never work construction.  You rely on way too many people that run into problems and hiccups pushing everyone's schedule out.  Nope, couldn't live like that.  Alas, all headaches come to an end and after 13 days, I had my kitchen again.  And I love it I might add.
Now for some shots of the house.  Ignore the blah-ness of the house with no window treatments, pictures, and color.  We didn't buy the house for any of that anyways.  We bought it because we loved the floor plan.  Plus, I love that it's 1000 square feet bigger, 5 bedrooms, a loft/toy room/my sanity, a laundry room right next to the bedrooms, tons of storage (for not having a basement), in the same neighborhood/ward that we've lived in for 3 years now, and that it's MINE.  Adam doesn't love that last part too much.  He likes being a renter.  I like that I can actually do something to the house without permission.  Anyway, we are happy with it and that's a good thing because it's a big enough pain to move that I don't want to do it again for a long time.
Entry way from upstairs and the only pictures that have been hung
Loft/Toy Room
Master Bedroom
Mariah's room and the only finished room in the house--the boys rooms are basically the same but not pink :)

Living room looking into dining room with kitchen on the right--and my new couches :)

So there ya have it--Our first home

Happy Halloween...FOUR TIMES

When I was a kid you went trick or treating on Halloween night.  That was it.  Oh, and the costume parade at school that same day.  Now things are a little different.  Halloween came for us on 4 separate occasions.  This means a lot of candy and a lot of pictures in costumes.  However, this also means that come Halloween, mom and kids are a little burned out, making the actual holiday slightly anti-climatic.  Needless to say we have a dentist appointment for next week and we are glad to see 365 days between some holidays.  Actually, that's kind of a lie.  I really do like Halloween.  I love the decor, I love the costumes, I love the food and weather.  I just was ready to be done with it all the day before it came.

It all started with our HOA trunk or treat the week before Halloween as well as a "Boos and Booze" (you can imagine how that went) costume party for Adam and I at the neighbors.  Candy, games, and costumes nearly 7 days before it begins.  Sugar overload and no will power on my part came exceptionally early.  Then there was the trick or treating at Adam's work where the kids made the biggest haul.  When all you have to do is walk from one cubicle to the next, you can get a lot of candy pretty dang quick.  After that we had a ward trunk or treat and then finally Halloween where we hosted a block party potluck in our drive way.  Let's just say that by the time I pulled out Clayton's costume on the 31st, he may have burst into tears and I wasn't even trying to get him to wear the hat yet!  He's hated the thing from day one.  Granted it's way to big (although it's 12-24 months) so he tends to trip on it and I think he loathes the collar.  He was a great sport and put up with it 3 times with minimal complaints.  The 4th was apparently asking too much.  But it was Halloween, so I forced it on him anyways and he only last about 30 minutes before we let him strip it off forever.

Clayton made me laugh at Adam's work.  He was getting so frustrated that he was collecting all of this candy.  He didn't want to COLLECT it, he wanted to EAT it!  I think he pulled out the same sucker a dozen times and we kept telling him to put it back in the bucket.  Finally, he sat down right in the middle of the aisle and stuck it in his mouth, wrapper and all.  He'd given up on trying to get us to do what he wanted!

Mariah and Zach were happy to have multiple days to dress up because then they didn't have to decide on just one costume.  Mariah could be Elsa AND Anna and Zach Superman AND Spider-man.  Just like that, all of their dreams came true...Well almost all, what Mariah really wanted was a sister to be Elsa so she could be Anna...thank heavens a friend showed up as Elsa and they could pretend for the night to be sisters.

At the work trick or treat instead of candy a few teams set up games and crafts.  Here they are bowling, making Olaf snowmen out of Styrofoam, and playing in the gingerbread house.

Of course with the ward trunk or treat you've gotta go big or go home.  I tried and tried to come up with a costume that Mariah and Zach would agree to so that we could have a family theme.  NO GO!  I finally gave up and decided to enjoy my one year old who couldn't say how he felt.  Adam, Clayton and I were thus clowns in the circus.  Personally, I think Clay may have been the cutest of the three.

Isn't Adam a good sport.  I couldn't find him a clown costume since they are all 'one size fits all'.  That usually doesn't mean 6 foot plus and 200 lbs plus.  After all, my costume was a 'one size fits all' MALE costume and even I had a little bit of crotch riddin goin on :)  Thus, he had to do with my make shift costume and he went with it.  Women suspenders and all...This way we could both experience the crotch riddin part together.  It was more romantic that way :)

Now what to do with all this candy that I can't seem to stop eating.  My kids got way too much of the good stuff.  What ever happened to buckets full of suckers and tootsie rolls?  It's almost all chocolate!

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Pancake and Pajamas Birthday

Mariah and Zach are both "one year older and wiser too!"  Mariah turned 5 and Zach turned 3 last week.  The night before Zach's birthday I asked if he wanted to say prayer for the last time as a two year old.  He started off normal but then said "thank Thee that tomorrow is my birthday, thank Thee that everyone is going to sing 'happy birthday to you, happy birthday..." and he proceeded to sing the ENTIRE SONG before saying 'amen'!  Adam and I were cracking up and it may be the most adorable prayer I've heard.  The next morning he woke up and Mariah said "Zach it's your birthday!  Stand up"  Zach stands and Mariah gasps as she says "you really do look taller today!"  Zach grinned from ear to ear and once again, I couldn't help but laugh.
We didn't make him wait long to open his presents.  Mariah got dress-ups at 3 years old.  There haven't been too many days in the past 2 years that those dress-ups haven't been used.  When friends come over they are pulled out every time and she is often seen wearing one around the house (even before 7:00 a.m.).  Zach has started to be the same with his super hero capes.  Every day, at some point, he's got them on.  I figured it was time to add to his collection.  They have already proven to be money well spent.  
In fact, even Mariah has enjoyed being Superman or Spider-man this past week.  Zach is also holding his bat and baseball which he has been wanting for months!  It came with a tee-ball but sometimes they opt to not use it.  Watching them try to pitch it to each other and swing is priceless.  Zach usually swings about the same time the ball is on it's second bounce behind him.  He doesn't care.  He's totally content and non-frustrated. 
Later that day we had a birthday ice cream cake from Dairy Queen (amazing by the way).  I made him and Mariah share.  They were totally fine with this as long as they both got to blow out their own set of candles. 

Two days later we celebrated again for Mariah.  She's been waiting soooo long to be 5.  The day finally arrived.  She got Elsa and Anna everything (dress-ups included) and was giddy about it. 

Adam and I bought her roller skates per her request.  After about 10 minutes I thought they would sit in a closet for the next year until she was older.  I was glad I bought ones that changed sizes and that she could grow into because she was not liking them one bit.  Way too nervous and wobbly.  Then we let her practice on the carpet where she didn't roll much and wasn't afraid of falling.  She basically didn't take them off the rest of the day that we were home.  She still isn't close to "skating" but boy is she having fun...If you hold her hand.  We've only ventured outside in them one time and she didn't last long.  I'll have to take a picture and post it tomorrow because she's way to cute with her pads and helmet (which she doesn't wear around the house but is sure going to need outside). 
The following Saturday we had a 'Pancake and Pajama Party'.  The entire idea was Mariah's.  We got on Pinterest and my little party planner put together the entire thing with very few tweaks (and a lot of 'no's') from me.  I started off making her pick a gender neutral theme for a joint party.  Then I asked Zach who he wanted to invite.  I first suggested Vance and he said 'no, what about Grayson' (Vance's older brother and MARIAH'S friend).  Me: What about Sawyer? Zach:  Maybe Saidy (the older sibling and MARIAH'S friend).  Me: Graham?  Zach: Maera? (older sister) get the point.  Basically all the kids his age are still pushing, hitting, and taking toys and he has much more fun with the older kids who, well, play better.  The only name he came up with was Josh who is still older but has no older sibling.  At this point I decided it was dumb to do a joint party if all he wanted was Mariah's friends so to make it easier I just stated "no presents" on the invitations so that he wasn't left out and we proceeded to have an all girls party despite the "gender neutral" theme...Maybe next year it wont look like I have a favorite child this time of year. 
Onto the Party:

Fruit Loop necklaces
Painting pillow cases
The party favors
The birthday cake pancakes (made with cake batter and frosting)
Making pancakes and being an awesome dad with his "real" pj's and all
See what I mean about being awesome?  This produced A LOT of giggles
They both loved it and I loved how simple it was
 Happy Birthday to my two kiddos.  They seriously are the best and make my life so much better and a lot harder all at the same time.  I wouldn't change it.  Not even for a second.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Family of 6!!!

Coming mid-March we will officially be a family of 6!  (I secretly hope it's on 3.14 so we can celebrate "pie day" in style each year...yep I'm a math nerd like that.)  I can hardly believe it myself.  I mean after all, just 6 years ago I was still single...barely.  I was technically engaged at this point but I was only a family of 1.  Simple math says that means I added a lot of pretty important people to my life in not a lot of years.  Four kids!  Seriously, I don't think I fully comprehend it yet but we are excited for the little one to arrive and I love that my kids will be so close in age and enjoying the same stage of life together. 
When I had recently found out I was pregnant a friend asked if I would be interested in watching her son while she works.  I confessed to her that I was basically treading water because I was very nauseous and tired.  I could hardly keep up with my own life and was not even going to think of taking on more as my house was probably growing mold in the toilets as we chatted (confession: I didn't tell her that part).  The next day she showed up to my house with a gift basket of bubble bath, lotions, scented candles etc to help me feel better and say congrats.  While at the door her daughter said "congrats on your new baby".  Mariah laughed and said "there's no baby".  The mom gave me wide eyes and quickly left my doorstep.  Afterward, Mariah explained how silly that was that they said congrats and proceeded to ask why they thought their was a baby in my belly.  I danced around answering with vagueness like "I don't know why do you think?" but eventually Mariah recognized my technique and got to the point and in all seriousness asked "Mom, are having a baby?"  Well I gave her the honest answer and she freaked with excitement!  I pulled out my camera and snapped a few shots of her face.  Classic I tell ya. 

The nervous part is most of these smiles came from squeals followed by "I'm going to have a sister?!!!"  I kept warning that maybe and maybe not but she just KNEW it was a girl.  That night she prayed for a girl and upon saying "amen" said "God answers prayers ya know, I learned that in the Book of Mormon!"  This wasn't the only prayer for a girl she said.  No matter what we said, Mariah had no doubts. 
So with Mariah knowing our "secret" I was convinced the whole world would know by the end of the week.  Can you believe a four year old actually kept a lid on it and didn't tell?  Shocking, I know.  In fact, she even said she wouldn't tell Dad until I let her know he already knew the secret :)   
When we delivered the news to Zach the reaction was a little different. 

His response was "but I love Clay!"  I explained that we could still love Clayton and the new baby but he said "we already have a baby!"  Wise boy I tell ya.  If only Mom realized this very important truth her life may be a little easier.  We do have a baby and now we get to have two.  Breathe!  Just kidding, they will be nearly 2 years apart by due date. 
Fast forward to the gender reveal.  My appointment was during preschool so we got our news sans Mariah.  It's another BOY!!!  Not going to lie, my heart broke a little and it took me 3 days to get up the courage to break the news to Mariah.  When I finally did, her reaction made me cry.  I said "Mariah we went to the doctor and found out if we are having a boy or a girl."  She interrupted and said with an elated face "it's a girl!!!" I said, "no, it's a boy" and immediately her face dropped.  I explained how that means that she will be the ONLY PRINCESS and she didn't buy it.  In fact she ran from the room to be by herself and I could hear her say to herself, "I just really wanted a sister".  Seriously heart wrenching.  Especially because I really like having my sisters in my life but I also realize that she's not the only one to have to deal with this [not so big] trial in her life. 
She actually got over it pretty quickly and something tells me she will be just fine.  In fact, one of my best friends, Danielle, just had a baby boy and I took Mariah over to meet him with me.  She was in seventh heaven...boy and all. 
So there ya have it.  I'm glad that first 3 months of torture are over.  I swear my "all day" sickness gets worse every time...Or I just forget how things really are but I don't like that first trimester at all!  We are back to feeling 100% and getting more excited by the way. 

Monday, September 22, 2014

The Happiest Place on Earth

When we walked into Disneyland a sign said "The Happiest Place on Earth Just Got Happier".  Upon walking through the park for a bit Mariah said, "I know why the sign said it got happier.  It's because they added SO much stuff since the last time we came!"  No Mariah, you just must not remember the last time as well as you think.  But it is a pretty happy place.  Zach and Mariah both made it 12 hours in the park with no naps and no resting.  We packed in a lot for 2 little kids (Clayton stayed with Adam's sister, Penny).
Before we started our adventures, I painted Mariah's toes to look like Minnie.  She showed them off a lot, including showing Minnie Mouse herself and I'm pretty sure Mariah got the reaction that she wanted.  

The day before we went to Disneyland, we actually scheduled a "character breakfast" at the Paradise Pier Hotel.  We had heard they were a lot of fun and then we figured we wouldn't need to spend so much of our time in the park waiting in a line to see Mickey etc.  Totally worth it!  The kids got to really interact with the characters and spend some time.  I am in love with our pictures from the breakfast.  Each child's face tells the story so well.  Mariah in seventh heaven, Zach timid and refusing to take his eyes off a potential danger, and Clayton terrified beyond belief.

How can you put a price (and yes it is way over priced) on those smiles?  Having kids is sooo worth it, just in case you were wondering.  And I needed to remember this the morning after a long day at Disneyland.  Why do they have to wake up at 6:00 am no matter what???
The next day we woke up and said we were going to Disneyland.  Zach said "it's my birthday?"  He was so confused!  We kept saying we were going for his birthday which isn't until next month.  However, October is a lot more crowded so we went early.  He doesn't get why he's not 3.  We even got the happy birthday pins that they pass out and people kept asking how old he was.  He didn't know what to say.  If you ask him right now, he may not know how old he is.  You may get two answers.

Of course, the first thing we had to do was to head to Dumbo.  It was what Zach was most excited to see.  And he did love it.  He even got a blue one.  Heaven right there. 
 His other favorite ride may have been Mariah's favorite as well.  They both loved driving the cars at Autotopia.  In fact, they are convinced they did such a good job that they are
ready for the real thing.

After being on several rides and hitting the "must do's" we asked Mariah what she wanted.  Her response was "all you've wanted to do is ride rides the whole time!  I don't want any more rides!"  Granted this was after Pirates of the Caribbean, which scared the pants off of both of them.  What did she want to do then?  Walk around and take pictures.  Seriously?  I had to laugh but that's exactly what we did.  When she saw something she thought was cool, we stopped and took a picture.  I will save you from seeing a bunch of nothing but post a few of my favorites. 

Other highlights included Fantasmic and the parade.  Especially the Frozen float.  By especially, I don't think you can begin to grasp the excitement that came from seeing the REAL ONES.  
And to meet the real Tinkerbell.  Mariah even asked if she can REALLY fly and guess what?  She can! Cue wide eyes:  
One of my highlights was Splash Mountain with Mariah.  Soooo funny.  I wish she wasn't ducking in the picture because I would have loved to see her face.  She was all talk until we started going up that big hill.  When we go to the bottom she was freaked!  By the time we were off, it was awesome.  So of course, we asked if she wanted to go again....NEVER.  But if she tells you the story, it will be told like she was so very brave.

We also took the kids to the beach while we were there since the water was so great. Zach was running as far away as he could and Clayton running right for the water.  Add this to Mariah loving it but rough waves knocking her over = Adam and I having a very hard time with 3 kids by ourselves.  We didn't make it long.  Mariah and Clay cried when we left and Zach cried until we did.  My blissful life.   
We also went to Griffith Park with Nana and Pappy where we rode the train and carousel with a picnic on the blanket.  Loved the beautiful weather after a long AZ summer. 
Clayton had a blast playing with Nana.  How can you not love that face?  It's the simple pleasures for this little kid. 
And all 3 were spoiled with presents.  "Mom, take a picture of my new Elsa dress" then she proceeds to pose differently until I take a half dozen pictures and told her that's enough.
We ended our trip by attending the baptism of my nephew Calvin.  It's a terrible picture but the only one I have so there you go.

A very fun filled 4 days and a vacation they will remember.  I'm tired :)