Friday, February 28, 2014


When I was a young girl, my family lived in France for 2.5 years. I have a lot of wonderful memories from there and fun stories to reminisce with my family about. Oh how I miss it and can't wait to go back!

One great memory is the games we would play during recess. There was quite a trend with marbles for a while. I remember wearing my hip-pack to school every day, full of marbles. I loved to hear them all rattling together and feel the weight of them bouncing against me as I walked around. The heavier they felt and the more noise they made, the better I felt about myself. Because it meant I had been winning more games on the playground :). I remember staring at each individual marble during my free time. I found them to be so beautiful and mesmerizing. And they were all different! I imagined that they looked similar to a sky full of planets.

Brynlee got some marbles at Christmas this past year. The other day I pulled them out and decided to teach Tyler the proper way to play. I showed him how to correctly "flick" it with his thumb, and the rules, etc. I realized I still haven't grown out of it! As I was crawling around on the floor flicking marbles with my boy, it brought so many memories flooding back and made me giddy all over again about this silly game. I had such a fun time passing on that part of my childhood to my own children, and hope it's fun for them too.

Plus, I still think they're so beautiful.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Morning Ballet

Before they even had a chance to get dressed in regular clothes or get their hair done, my two middle girls were already in their ballet outfits requesting "ballet music" in the living room. Brynlee is always the master mind behind their little activities every day. I turned on The Nutcracker on youtube so there would be some good "ballet music" in the background. Bryn was the instructor, of course, trying to tell and Madison what to do. There was a lot of leg crossing, twirling, curtsy-ing, and heaven knows what else and it was so cute to watch. I'm sure the dancing was much more smooth and graceful in their minds, than in reality. :) After dancing for quite a while (and being intruded on several times by their teasing brother) they sat down to watch parts of the ballet on the computer. They loved it, most especially Brynlee. I was glad to show her what real ballerinas look like without spending a fortune. They had some of the music stuck in their heads and were humming the tune well into the evening. Having little ballerinas dancing around my home is always welcome.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

"Everything is Awesome!"

If you haven't seen the new Lego movie, you will not get the title of this post. But look it up on youtube. It's one of the worst "stuck in your head" songs of all time, and my kids sing it all the time! :) Good thing it's a positive song!
Anyway, a few more things from this week...
Tuesday was New Beginnings. Part of my calling is to be in charge of it. All of it. I'm not a fan of planning parties/events. I am not very good at it, I don't have cute "style" and I don't really know what looks good. I guess I don't care too much about those things. But I got to work planning, and I was excited about doing tissue pom-poms. I saw a lot of pictures online, so I figured it must be a cute and cool thing to do. The theme was Come Unto Christ (since that's the mutual theme for 2014). I wish I had taken even one picture of the evening, but there was too much going on. But for part of the decorations we had hung up 7 white tissue pom poms from the ceiling. We used scotch tape because I read online that it held up just fine for lots of people. Well all throughout the evening as people were speaking and singing, etc. they would fall off one by one. It was rather embarrassing. I was so excited to have done something cute, and it didn't even work! Haha. Oh well. We were joking that they were like an hour glass, and when the last one fell, it meant everyone had to go home. We started with 7, and by the time we were cleaning up there was only one left. So don't use scotch tape on the ceiling of the Relief Society room, it won't work :). But the rest of the evening was a success, and I'm glad to have it over with.

 I'm not the only one who loves the sun. This morning when we went to church it was LIGHT outside. Things are looking up, folks.

Tyler got a Lego set from Grandma W. for his birthday too and put it all together the same day it arrived. He loves it!

 On Thursday I took the kids swimming at the Y. (Tyler was in the boys locker room, so not pictured) We used to go every week, but hadn't been in a while. I was worried my swim suit wouldn't fit. I still squeezed into it, but it wasn't pretty. Tyler's swimming has improved a lot, but they all really love it. Kelsey doesn't want me to hold onto her at all (she does wear a life jacket) but she really wants to be independent, and so it's like a battle the whole time. She loves to jump off the edge too, but she doesn't jump far enough, so I have to be right by her, and reach up very quickly to pull her in far enough at the last second. If I touch her too soon, she gets upset and goes away to another get the idea. Anyway I wish I could take pictures of them swimming because it's so much fun and great memories to capture, but it's pretty much impossible.

On Friday night, we were going to go to the temple and do a babysitting swap with the Sponsellers again. Well a few hours before the session, I picked Kelsey up by her wrist (which we've done a million times before) but it popped her elbow out. We didn't know what it was at first. She kept pointing to her wrist, saying her wrist hurt. Kenny thought I must have dislocated her shoulder. I called our pediatrician and was going to take her in half an hour later. But Kenny had me call and cancel it, saying that we could work it out on our own. I was very skeptical. I told Carmin I couldn't leave her when she was in so much pain. She has a brother who's an orthopedic surgeon so she called him, and he let us know it is referred to as "nurse's elbow". He said he could walk us through it on the phone, or we needed to take her in. Kenny said he wanted to look it up online (youtube is very helpful) so that he could SEE how it works. Unsure of how easy it would be to follow verbal directions over a phone. I was so nervous we were going to make it worse and just hurt her a lot, instead of fix it. But Kenny watched one video and very confidently went over to her. He took off her shirt and said, "Okay, you ready?" I said "No! Just let me call him and make sure we're going to do everything right!" But he went ahead and did it. Right as he said "I felt it pop" she started crying hard, and then stopped after a couple seconds. I was expecting it to be sore for a couple days or something. But she was immediately better and climbing around, picking things up with it, etc. ALL better. Just like that. It was a very easy fix, now that we know what to do. I'm surprised we've gotten this far in parenthood without it happening. It seems like everyone I talk to says it's happened to their kids multiple times. Anyway, we learned something new as parents that night. I was still able to go to the temple that night, too. I am always grateful for some "me time" and especially have some quiet time to think in the temple. I'm very grateful we live so close to one.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Pulling Out

I have been in quite a slump the last few months. Life has been weighing too heavily on me. I have felt dark, angry, sad, and hopeless. Not all day every day, but at least part of every day. I suppose I could try and attribute it to several different things. But whatever it was, I'm pulling out. Slowly but surely reclaiming me. My energy level is back up, and the days are getting longer. The sun  comes out and pokes through the gray, dreary sky at least for a few minutes every day. And I soak up those rays like they're my life line. 
Part of what helps me is actively looking for the beauty and joy in each day. It means I'm taking more pictures. And hopefully it means I will blog more. Not because I want to portray a perfect, idealistic life. And not because I expect anyone else to care what goes on in our little world. But because focusing on the things I love about my children helps me to love being a mom. And every mother really needs to love being a mother, or she will definitely drown.

We try to take advantage of the days I'm not babysitting. This past Tuesday we went to the Zoo. I have been to the zoo twice since we've been here, and been horribly disappointed both times. However, it wasn't so bad this time. Kelsey is walking (obviously) so I wasn't fussing over a stroller for anyone. We had it pretty much to ourselves because that's one of the perks of homeschooling, and it was 20 degrees (at most). Not only that, but a lot of the animals are arctic animals and very used to cold weather. So the polar bear was playing around, the otters and seals were showing off, the snow leopard and dall sheep were moving a lot was just cool to see them in their element. For some strange reason, Kelsey had a special connection to the animals that I've never seen before. It seemed like at 3 or 4 different animals they were giving her very special attention, holding eye contact, etc. It was really cute, and she was loving the attention. She really loves animals, and doesn't know to fear any of them yet. My favorite was the river otters, but the beauty of the tigers really won me over. We spotted them far away, long before we got up to the cage because their beautiful orange fur contrasted so well with the white snow. We only lasted about 1.5 hr and then our toes were so cold it hurt to walk. Plus we had seen all the animals and went home happy.

 These girls are getting too big to fit in here all together. And Brynlee wasn't supposed to get in (I specifically told her not to several times. But you see how much good that did.) They have too much fun together.

The rest of these pictures are from today (2/20). This morning I pulled out my bin of scrap fabrics and the girls had a hay-day cutting them up to their heart's content. Brynlee made a little skirt for one of her dolls. Kelsey is actually cutting paper, but still felt like she was in on it.

While they busied themselves cutting, Tyler and I hung up his collection of snowflakes. He loves to make snowflakes. He had quite a stash built up in his blue folder where he keeps all the artwork he doesn't want me to throw away. (It's bursting full.) We decided to hang up all his creations and it makes him so happy to have them displayed. Brynlee was begging him to make more because she loved it too.

We've gotten a lot more snow the last few days. We tried to go sledding, but it was a total flop and didn't work at all. It is still fun to get out, and it sure looked beautiful. The snow fell lightly all day, it was very pretty.

One of Brynlee's b-day presents arrived in the mail today from Grandma W. She spent literally hours playing with her new lego set. It's as if we didn't already have a bin of legos in our play room! ;)

Tyler's favorite game to play against me is this matching/memory game. It has beautiful pictures of polar bears, it's a really nice game. But he whoops me every single time. I am not kidding, I never win against him, which is probably why he likes it so much. I think it is extremely unfair to expect a pregnant mother of four to excel at memory games. My mind was lost long ago.

This little munchkin is definitely almost 2. Agh!! She makes me want to pull my hair out, but I love her so stinkin much it kills me. Speaking of pulling hair out, she will NOT leave an elastic or bow or anything else in her hair, even if her life depended on it. That is why she always looks like a rag-a-muffin. Btw, she's not in time out here (though I'm sure she deserved one...) she just really likes hanging out on the stairs. Her cute little bum fits perfectly :)

Of all my children, Madison enjoys cooking in the kitchen with me the very most. Everything I make, she wants to be by my side, standing on her plastic bucket, helping any way she can. I love the one-on-one time with her. And if she learns anything in the process, it's all the better.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Scenes From Sunday

 A perfect (dirty) hand print from Kelsey on a balloon. We were deflating them slowly instead of popping them so as to not wake the kids, and we saw this. I thought it was super cute.

 Sweet Madison giving daddy a back rub as he tries to take a little Sunday snooze

 Caught her in mid-air with static-y hair 

Puppy Love

Finish each day and be done with it

Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; begin it well and serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense." ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Valentine's Day

Happy Lover's Day!! For breakfast I ran and grabbed some cinnamon rolls from Great Harvest Bread, and balanced it out with a little green smoothie :). We had a fun Valentine's party with a bunch of little kids at the Swift's house. We love her traditional v-day party. That night we had heart shaped pizzas for dinner. A plain cheese for kids, and an extra-topping one for adults :). Kenny kept up our tradition of bringing me home a single red rose, which I love. And we ended the night with a romantic night on our couch watching Ender's Game :). Yeah, we're one of those crazy cool couples who go all out for Valentine's lol. I sure am lucky to be loved by this man, and have so many wonderful people to love in my life. What a great thing to celebrate!

watching their pizza bake

Try not to be jealous of my awesome culinary skills :)
My kids were making valentine cards that morning and this one is my favorite. It's from Tyler, to uncle Tim (my brother on a mission). I'm not sure which part I like more, the fact that he asked him if he's made any friends, or that they're holding hands and dreaming about soccer together haha. He really loves his uncle. 14 more months bud!

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Happy 7th Birthday Tyler!

Tuesday, February 11th, my oldest child turned 7 years old!! Agh! I wish he would slow down a little bit. But he is growing into quite a great boy so I can't complain. He requested waffles with nutella, strawberries, and whip cream. He even got to enjoy it with just mom and dad because the girls slept in and daddy had to go to work. So he liked the one on one (or two) time with us. That morning he said, "I really do feel bigger!"

 We tried to go to a fun indoor bounce house place called Pump it Up (we also went there for his b-day last year! he loves it). And although they should have been open, nobody was at work that day...I've heard other similar mysterious stories about that place. I think they might be going out of business or something. Anyway he was super bummed and there's really not much else to do. So we came home and opened his presents.
 His favorite present that day was from Grandma--his very own science microscope, with a kit to make your own slides. He had to sport the nerdy safety goggles for a pic. :) He really loves science.
Also, one of his other presents was a date with me to see The Piano Guys perform on Saturday (the 8th). He loved the music and we had fun, even though we didn't get to sit together!! I barely got tickets (it was completely sold out) and there were none left together. So we were two rows apart, but both on the ends so it wasn't hard to see him.

 He pleaded with me to decorate his own birthday cake, and of course I'm not going to say no to that! He is really into monsters, and is very creative with all the different ways he draws monsters every day. He had so much fun decorating it, and I think he did a great job!

That night after dinner we went to see the new Lego movie which he really loved. We came home and had cake and ice cream late. Once they were good and sugared up, we sent them to bed :).

We sure love our Ty man. He is such a great example to his sisters (and his parents!). I love his pure heart and desire to always do what's right. We are so blessed to have you in our family Ty! Happy Birthday bud.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Brynlee Turns 5!!

On Saturday, February 8th, we went to Chuck E Cheese for Brynlee's birthday celebration. That's where she requested, so we went. Even though I think it's always so much better in theory than it ever is in real life (even for the kids!) But we still had a fun time and Bryn enjoyed the attention and fun. 

On Sunday was her for real birthday. Kenny was kind enough to cancel his EQ mtg. that they normally have every Sunday at our house at 7 a.m. This enabled us to have a family breakfast. She requested scrambled eggs and toast, which was probably a good thing because we never have much time for breakfast with a 9 a.m. church.
After we got home (in the 20 minutes we had before Kenny left again for another mtg.) she opened her presents. Look at this smile! She loves opening presents :)

 Her sisters were so excited and happy for her. Kelsey went over and hugged Bryn, and Madison couldn't help but get in there too. :) Sweet sisters.
 Her favorite outfit (from Grandma) on her most favorite present--a brand new bike! She is just dying to get outside and ride it--we can't wait for the ice and snow to melt! The next day I found her outside in the backyard with a pair of scissors. I asked her why she needed scissors in the backyard. She told me she was trying to chop up all the ice and bring back summer. Tyler told her that it was going to be A LOT of work for one little pair of scissors and she may need something bigger. :)

Always a ham--conducting the family chorus of "Happy Birthday"

Brynlee is such a happy girl with a love of life and a beautiful light about her. We are so blessed to have her in our family and hope she always knows how very loved she is! Happy Birthday Sweetheart!

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Pregnancy, Birthday, and Life in General

Here's some little bits of what's been happening at our house

A beautiful sunrise

Kelsey showing interest in potty training. She likes to wear her sisters' underwear over top of her clothes and every single time one Bryn or Madi goes to the bathroom, she runs in there with them and sits on her potty. It's pretty cute. I'm just trying to follow her lead.

Funny story about of our favorite family games is hide and seek, and this large cupboard under their bathroom sink is one of the little girls' favorite places to hide. One day I had a basket of clean laundry (all our whites) sitting outside the laundry room waiting for me to fold it. I came upstairs and found a bunch of clothes strewn across the hallway, and leading into the bathroom. I picked up what was there and thought, hmm...I could've sworn this was a much bigger load! Then the kids started saying they were out of clean underwear, which I didn't understand as I had just washed them all! A couple days later I went to clean the bathroom and found the rest of my laundry shoved inside, making a nice bed for Curious George. I just had to laugh, picturing Kelsey taking trip after another back and forth from the basket to shoving it under here. At least we solved the mystery of the missing underwear!!

Another Kelsey shot :) We had a huge heat wave come through and we were consistently in the high 30's and even 40's for a week or two. Well it melted a lot of snow, and turned Anchorage into a giant sheet of ice. We really wanted to go outside because it was so warm, but it was like ice skating around, and pretty dangerous, especially on our driveway! The kids slipped and fell almost every day getting in and out of the car. One day we decided to go for a walk anyway to get out of the house. Here's Kelsey on the ice, wearing MY hat, and MY gloves--just because she wanted to. She couldn't see anything it was so funny.

A recent project I did. Some of our favorite pictures or favorite memories from the year 2013 up on our kitchen wall.

The kids play this hilarious game where they string all their animals upside down in the soccer goal and pretend they're roasting them!! Hahaha I think it's so morbid and funny. They call this game "Sweet Meat!" Which I'm sure was Tyler's idea.

Tyler draws some pretty cool stuff every day, and has even gotten creative with the Etch A Sketch. 

This was the picture I used to announce my pregnancy on social media (facebook and instagram). I am 14 1/2 weeks along right now, due around August 7th. I'm feeling better now and feel like we survived the worst of it. Although I must admit, this pregnancy was not nearly as bad as my others have been. I don't know why. I like to think it's because it's a boy, but I threw up a lot with Tyler too, so I'm not sure what was going on, but I was spared of the daily puking this time around. (As long as I didn't take my prenatal vitamin...) I certainly wasn't feeling great for many many weeks, but knowing how much worse it normally is we were extremely grateful. Kenny's a huge help to me during those rough times. He is good at encouraging me to do things simpler. He would come home from Costco with frozen meals, and never balked once when I would call him from work and ask him to please pick up something on the way home because I just couldn't do dinner (again) that night. We were thrilled to go to the ultrasound at 9 weeks and see that little tiny baby with a strong heart beat, alive and healthy. I was so super nervous and couldn't sleep the night before for worry at what we would see. I never used to get worried, but the miscarriage really shocked me and made me so unsure. But we are very excited to be having another baby join our loud and crazy family:).

Yet another funny Kelsey. She has perfected the art of pouting/sulking. It really is hard not to laugh at her because it's so darn cute. I must say, I prefer this to the screaming and hitting. Pout all you want, it's much quieter and cuter :)
Kenny and I went on a date the weekend before my birthday. We had a lovely time listening to the Anchorage Symphony perform Vivaldi's Four Seasons. It was a great evening, and always nice to hear music performed that I'm familiar with.

My birthday was on Tuesday, the 4th. I turned 27!! (Yes, that is the only picture we have, but that's okay.) It was a fairly uneventful day. We did pick up dinner at Olive Garden (I don't feel as bad about having 4 kids share 1 entree if we eat at home). But it wasn't until after soccer, so we didn't eat dinner till almost 8:00 p.m., which is normally when the kids are in bed! It was probably the first time we've ever eaten that late haha.

 I woke up that morning feeling so overwhelmed with gratitude. Nobody ever really knows how life is going to play out and what will happen to them. But I am so so happy! I just have such a beautiful, blessed life (even though it's obviously not perfect and easy) and feel like the luckiest girl in the world. I know the Lord blesses me with so much more than I deserve, and while I realize how very undeserving I am, it also is humbling and makes me want to be better to be worthy of it all. 

Here's Kelsey enjoying my Costco cake :)