Organized Bedroom, Park, New Curriculum!

I did it! I sat myself down and uploaded, edited and resized this week’s pictures! It took 2 hours worth of five or ten minute “sessions.” 😛
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The week I had my surgery Allan took everything out of the girls’ rooms and brought it all into our bedroom. He was going to go through it all with me and figure out what to keep and what to give away. The girls’ rooms were so messy all the time it was just too much.

The problem with Allan taking on that huge project was I was not able to do the organizational work because I was recovering from surgery! So, all that crap sat in our room for two weeks! Two miserable weeks of a horribly messy bedroom.

A few days ago I was feeling pretty good (I’ve felt pretty much fully recovered for a week now) so I tackled the project!
I started early in the morning when only Ember was up. She sat in there with me playing with dominoes.
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After cleaning for a couple hours I remembered to get some pictures of the massive mess.
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It wasn’t long before Payson was up and joining the fun.
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Followed very shortly by the older girls.
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I think I worked on the room for four hours total. Not all at once, it was a half hour here and there all through the day.
I was so excited when I was vaccuuming.
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Done.
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Ember was glad it was done because she was so ready for a nap and wanted mommy to lay down with her.
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I need to get some baby clippies for her hair. It’s just long enough to pull to the side.
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When Allan got home I didn’t say anything but was really excited for his reaction to walking in a completely clean bedroom after the mess we’d lived in for all that time.

He didn’t disappoint. He walked in and was like, “What the ?!?” and I don’t know how else to describe it, it was mostly nonverbal, just a very happy face. haha

We decided to walk down to the park since dinner wasn’t ready for another hour (crockpot potroast) and because the weather is so amazing right now.
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Ember was in a really good mood. She loves being outside.
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I can’t believe how huge Ember is getting. She doesn’t look itty bitty in Allan’s arms anymore 🙁
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Payson had a lot of fun at the park.
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After a while we headed back home.
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Brooklyn is growing up so much.
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I loved that there were flowers left in Brooklyn’s hair after she’d laid on the ground.
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I’m going to print this picture out for Sierra’s room.
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We stopped for a little while for some reason and Sierra got impatient and sat down. She gets really tired because of her toe walking. (She has an appointment next month about that!)
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The next morning I snapped a couple pictures of Ember because she’s just so cute.
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She always hangs out with me when I blog.
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I snapped this next picture because she was kicking her feet so happily. I only put her in this bouncy chair when I go potty because she likes to be in the same room as me at all times. I can see her from the toilet room and every time I peek out I say, “peek-a-boo” and she laughs a lot and kicks her feet so hard. It’s really funny. Who knew going pee could be such an entertaining part of the day?
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And then… Brooklyn’s new 2nd grade curriculum came in the mail!
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I haven’t talked about it on my blog because I was doing so much internal thinking about it, but I have been struggling a LOT with balance in my life lately. Four kids, homeschooling, and a myriad of other things thrown in and it’s all been WAY too much for me to handle. WAY WAY WAY too much.

Daily I felt overwhelmed and overworked. I would work my butt off and still not come even close to doing enough. I felt helpless and confused at how to catch up.
I was so busy I felt like I couldn’t breathe.

I talked with Allan and prayed a lot about what to do with homeschooling. Second grade takes a lot more time and effort than first grade. And Brooklyn was ready for a full school day. She needs it. She gets too bored if she has more than an hour or two of freetime. Which is totally understandable but I often don’t have a solid hour or two of time to devote to sitting there teaching her. I have ten minutes here, twenty minutes there, occasionally I do have one full hour but an hour isn’t enough.

The rest of the time there is a toddler crying by my side or a baby nursing (hard to teach while breastfeeding an older, active baby) or a baby in my lap grabbing at all the school supplies! It was ROUGH.

So, I told Allan we needed to look into public or private schools in our area because I just couldn’t do it. I wanted to homeschool, I just honest to goodness did not have the time. I just didn’t. At all. Not even close to enough time.

Brooklyn isn’t an easy going child when it comes to school work. And I don’t mean that as an insult to her or a negative remark… she needs quiet and calm to concentrate and there’s nothing wrong with that. It was this loud and crazy environment that was limiting our school time, not just my to do list. I can easily put off certain household work to get school done but I can’t put off tending to little kids! haha

All of this long boring stuff to say…….

We got a video curriculum. It has teachers recorded teaching all of the lessons for an entire year.

It’s a really awesome program. The teachers are sweet and Brooklyn loves them. They have puppets and special guests and they use a lot of fun props and stuff.

What I love so far most about this whole thing is I start the day teaching her out of the teacher’s manuals and when things start to get crazy and I’m desperately needed elsewhere (like at the changing table, haha) I can sit her down at the computer with the video on and she goes right on with her school day! There is no sitting and doing busy work or randomly coloring while waiting for mommy to come back and pick up where we left off. She can go on and do a few subjects with the video lessons until I come back!

I spend 80% of the school day with her still. A lot of time I’m sitting right next to her while she watches and I’m nursing the wiggly baby (and not worrying about my train of thought being affected!) or am cuddling with Sierra and Payson while we all watch together, or am doing puzzles on the floor next to Brooklyn with the two middle kids.

It’s just the best thing that’s ever happened to me. haha!

The curriculum is very expensive. $1,000 for one child every year. There is no reusing it; you have to return the hard drive (the videos are all on one hard drive). I don’t know about you but I don’t have $1,000 lying around so it is a sacrifice. I’ve been spending very little for months and months now (haven’t blogged about that either!) so I feel totally ok spending money on it. We can afford it, it just means sacrificing something else… like bedroom furniture. haha

So the boxes came in the mail and Brooklyn was practically passing out with joy.
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But I felt so bad for poor Sierra. She was soooo jealous. And not in a bad way, she just felt so left out 🙁
I’ve been researching curriculum for her and can’t decide what to use for her. I want something all put together for me (I do NOT have time this year for ANY planning) but she is way, way too advanced for kindergarten for most subjects but there are some subjects she isn’t ready for first grade in. History, for one.

I will be ordering her curriculum later today, though. I feel pressured to make a decision but I have to. She has finished every single kindergarten thing I’ve bought her and really needs to start first grade like, yesterday. haha!
And not because I care that much about her advancing a lot, but because she cares. She has been chomping at the bit for more and more school for a year now! It is time to take Sierra’s educational wants more seriously! 🙂
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Back to Brooklyn and her new curriculum. It is BJU distance learning. I bought the second grade package from christianbook.com. Which had FREE shipping and fast service. I would highly recommend them! I’d never heard of them but when I was checking out at BJU’s website and saw the $120!!! price tag for shipping I about passed out! I cancelled the order and went googling for free shipping and stumbled upon christianbook!
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The BJU curriculum is a christian curriculum. God is talked about in every subject. A lot. Even math. I like that! I didn’t know that I cared about that! haha. But I really love it.
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Brooklyn is so adorable while she does school. She takes it very seriously and listens carefully and uses her best handwriting. It’s really, really cute.
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Teaching her and watching her watch her lessons… it’s one of my favorite things 🙂
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Sierra watches with Brooklyn. At first Sierra was calling out the answers before Brooklyn could and it was really upsetting Brooklyn. I took Sierra into the other room and told her that she wasn’t allowed to answer Brooklyn’s questions any more. She’ll have her own questions next week.
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One reason I can’t give my full attention to homeschooling for more than a couple hours a day:
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The other reason:
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I think he was crying because I took away the crayon he was using to color on Brooklyn’s workbook page.
Oh and he is wearing cut off pajamas with a safety pin because he’s been putting his hands down his pants constantly and I really don’t enjoy washing diarrhea hands.
They’re cut off because it’s a thousand degrees here.
Anyone know a place I can get very lightweight overalls??

Sierra played with legos a lot that day. They’ve been a favorite in our house for months now.
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And now I have to go because it’s the kids’ Brooklyn’s turn for the computer. And because I’m bored of blogging. haha
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Early Morning Bath

6:30am, I wake up to Ember squealing and baby talking. Then I hear her fill her diaper.
I get up to change her and notice she’s had a blow out. So my bedding (we cosleep) and her outfit get a wash and she gets a bath.

I have to say, holding and smelling a freshly bathed baby first thing in the morning is really nice.
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Today was so packed from the second I woke up at 6:30am until just now at 11:10pm, it was insane and so so good.
I have so much to talk about and I even have pictures! I just don’t have time! Well, I technically have time I’m just too pooped to stay up blogging. haha

I love you all, have a great day and hopefully I’ll blog very soon!

It Sure is a Bright Morning in the Desert

Good morning!
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How can one feel anything but happy with that bright sun shining?
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And even if there were no bright sun shining, there is this cute girl lighting up my days!
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Every morning Payson comes out of his dark room (he has black out shades on his window) and blinks and blinks into the morning light. I give him his sippy cup and he asks me, “Mommy, can you turn out the light?” I smile and tell him, “I can’t turn it off, it’s the sun, baby.” Photobucket

The kids have been spending a lot of time outside. I go and peek out at them often to see what they’re up to. I was surprised to find they’d taken all their bedding out there yesterday.
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I set Ember down to take some pictures of her. I went to get my camera and came back to this:
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I was interrupted again by a request for a yana. “Mommy, can I have anudder yana pwease?”
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Tomorrow this little girl will be 7 months old!
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She’s a happy baby.
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She totally has a sense of humor.
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She loves when we do something funny and laugh along with her.
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The more we laugh the more she laughs 🙂
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I’ve been meaning to take more school time pictures. Just haven’t.
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Last night I was reading to the kids while they finished eating. Ember is pretty whiny in the evenings, wanting to be held. Not just held though, she wanted me to be standing holding her. So I stood at the table and read.
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Payson took this next picture.
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And Sierra took the rest of these.
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I ended up using a carrier for Ember because I really needed my arms free for putting the older three kids to bed. Especially Payson, I hold him and rock him and sing to him before bed and holding two babies in my arms would pretty much ruin my back. haha
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I’m thinking about heading to the park with the kids now. I’m bored today and don’t feel like being indoors.
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Easter

Easter was great. Typical Easter- baskets, egg hunt, Allan’s parents came over and brought a delicious ham dinner.
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I’m so glad there is a lot of candy that Payson can have despite gluten and dairy allergies. Though our Easter is mostly non-edible treats, I can’t imagine an Easter without any candy! It’s sad for me to not be able to give him a chocolate Easter bunny. Thank goodness he was so in love with his marshmallow chick!
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Ember’s favorite part of Easter was pulling at the decorations on the kids’ Easter baskets.
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I printed off some fun color pages and games that were linked on The Crafty Crow.
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Payson really, really loved that marshmallow chick. He savored it for a long time. I was surprised because usually he shoves as much food in his mouth as possible. This time he licked it and took small bites and really took time to enjoy it 🙂
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I was making deviled eggs and then cleaning up in the kitchen and Payson was wanting to be near me so he spent the time laying on the ground with his elephant. I think he would have fallen asleep if I hadn’t been talking to him so much!
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In typical Ariana fashion, those were all the pictures I took! I’m so terrible at taking holiday pictures. I like to just experience holidays, not be the photographer.
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While the kids were coloring their Easter pages in the morning I told them the story of Christ’s resurrection. I cried, Brooklyn teared up, Sierra pouted over wanting a certain color of crayon Brooklyn was using, and Payson said, “yeah” after everything I said 🙂
And Ember was, of course, playing with baby toys next to us.

Right now she’s baby talking while chewing on a bath toy, it’s so cute I can barely stand it. I’m smiling at her while I type and she can’t help but laugh in response because she knows I think she’s the cutest, most clever, sweetest, best baby in the world.

Pictures

Allan and I did a lot of work around the house this weekend. We finally got around to putting up the curtains in the kids’ rooms. It feels great to finally cross that to do off the checklist!
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I cleand a ton today. My body got really mad about it. My stomach has hurt all evening. I’m not sure what the pain is exactly.

This evening we all got our swimsuits on and headed into the backyard for some sprinkler fun.
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Payson got cold and wanted a towel. But then he kept going in the sprinkler with the towel on.
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He cried when we took the towel up and hung it to dry.
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He cheered up once he was dried off and in warm clothes. Well, a warm shirt. I didn’t bother spending time getting his pants.
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Gosh I think he’s such a good looking kid.
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Allan bought all the kids’ swim stuff this year. Brooklyn really loves her swimsuit with board shorts.
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Ember’s hair is funny. I’m really not sure what to do with it besides let it just be a fuzzy mess. haha
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Follow Up

I saw my surgeon for my follow up appointment this morning. My kids were all really good, I got my bandages off, things are healing up perfectly. Good stuff.
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Payson is in this phase where he laughs every time he does something I just told him not to. It’s the type of laugh, and accomplaning smile, that says, “I know you told me not to, but it’s so funny!”
The sign on the door to the waiting room says to keep it closed. Naturally when I told Payson this he wanted nothing more in the world than to open that door.
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I was wise and brought hard candies to keep the kids mouths busy during my exam. During our little wait for the doctor I played a guessing game with them about what the candies looked like, what color, what shape, what flavor. I also asked them how many they think I brought with me and who I was going to give the first candy to and then who second and third.
Sounds boring but little things like that make outings great. Keeping their minds occupied, no matter with what lame tricks, is the key to behavorial success with this bunch 🙂
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We stopped at Sprouts since it’s in the same area of town. I needed coconut oil and diapers. I use cloth about 80% of the time but when on errands and at bedtime I put Ember in disposables.
I like this picture even though it’s blurry.
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And I like this one because of how cute Payson is peeping out.
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I attempted some pictures to show my haircut but wasn’t very successful.

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Sierra was watching me so I had her be in one with me.
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I asked my doctor about exercising and he said I could start doing cardio! Yay! I’m ten pounds from my goal weight and hopeful I can lose the last of this weight by June.
Just gotta pay attention to what my body is telling me as far as how much I push it. I know starting off will be mild because I do still get sore when I do too much (which is daily with four kids! ha) so nothing that requires too much use of my core. Probably just long walks pushing the stroller and wearing Ember for now. In two weeks he said I could start trying weight stuff if I want. Again, gotta pay attention to my body and how it’s healing.

As soon as Ember wakes up from her nap we’re all going to go take a walk. I’ve been desperate to get out of the house as much as possible lately.
I went yesterday and signed the kids up for swimming, dance, and gymnastics classes and bought summer movie passes for all of us. I’m so excited for this summer and all the activities! I’ve been bored out of my mind home bound this month!

Blogging at 1am

I really should go to bed right now. But I’ve had such a full week and tomorrow will be equally as full and I know I won’t get around to blogging and if I don’t blog tomorrow I won’t blog until like, Monday because Allan has Friday off and I want to go camping and if I don’t blog until Monday…

Well, that’s just a long time and I’d feel an anxiety attack coming on knowing you are checking in and seeing no new posts for days and days.

I am up this late (1:26am right now) because I just took a shower and blew dry my hair and then instead of going to sleep decided to come in here and upload the pictures I edited earlier today!

I have a weird favorite lunch right now. Bean burritos. Super easy, healthy, cheap. I make this lunch four times a week!
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Perhaps one with a book buying addiction should stay far from Costco’s book section. The low prices make me feel like I’m dancing in air and before I know it books are flying into the cart left and right.
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I took the kids to the arboretum today because it was so very nice out. And it was one of the funnest arboretum trips we’ve ever had. I was so relaxed and spent the entire two hours we were there soaking in every single little moment. I watched all four of my kids and felt like this is it, this is life, right here, right now. Nowhere else I’d rather be.
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I love this girl and am so thankful, every single second, for her in my life.

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I was very “let go” with the kids today. I stood back and they wandered and played. I stopped and smelled the flowers (really, they were so so yummy smelling!) while they explored and imagined and did all those great kid things.

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I wish I hadn’t been so laid back when Payson licked this nasty water, though.
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I love that there’s this entire children’s section and yet my kids are just as interested in exploring the rest of the arboretum. They don’t need the paint and statues and fountains and “fun” things to have a good time. They love looking at all the different kinds of trees and plants and playing pretend.
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Ember likes to baby talk while munching on her toes lately. Cutest child ever.

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I think we’d been there for an hour when we stopped to take these pictures together. We were laughing and goofing off during the “photoshoot.”
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When posing got old we headed off again towards the river!
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Sierra and Payson shared a seat on the double stroller with a swaddling blanket of Ember’s as their shade.
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There were lots and lots of critters out today! We saw tons of lizards, birds, bugs, and squirrels. (There’s a second squirrel in the top right of this picture)
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Brooklyn took quite a few pictures of me today. She’s pretty good at nailing the focus. It’s nice having shots of me that I wouldn’t normally get since I’m the one behind the camera.
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Brooklyn climbed things (trees, rocks, walls) every time we stopped.

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Payson was in a really good mood all day. He had a smile on his face for the entire two hours we were there. I found myself smiling big at seeing him smiling big. It was the best time.
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We had stopped so I could nurse Ember.
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Brooklyn took a lot of pictures while waiting for Ember to finish nursing. I love this one she got of Sierra.
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And I begged her for a minute to take these next ones of Payson. He was cracking me up standing there making faces at me. Brooklyn was really into taking pictures of a (ugly, haha) bush nearby and I was like, please just take one picture of your brother really fast??? And then she took three and I loooove them.
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And she took a whole lot of me and Ember. Some were blurry, some were of the bench close up with only my arm in them. haha
But a few were really sweet 🙂
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I nursed Ember while she was sitting up in hopes that she’d stop arching her back and pulling away to see what was going on and just drink already. She spends 90% of the time at my breast turning to look at what’s going on. This age of curiousity is difficult for a nursing mama!!
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Payson was still being super sweet and silly. I took these of him with my free hand.
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After what seems like a long time but was only maybe ten minutes, we walked on. We stopped at this little stage area to play for a bit.
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And finally we made it to the river! We looked out at the water from the bridge.
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Payson laughed a lot whenever he’d sprint towards the other end of the bridge because I’d told him not to go over there. There is a bit of a cliff (5-10 feet high) and he’s such a daredevil I didn’t want him randomly jumping off it!
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And, I got this super cute picture of the four of them!
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We walked back to the entrance of the arboretum where there’s a little shop. The girls got some stuffed little javelina’s (we’ve been really into learning about javelina’s lately!) and all three kids got lollipops. Prickly pear (fruit from a cactus here in AZ) lollipops!
And on the walk back Ember fell asleep.
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And didn’t stir when I moved her to her carseat!
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When I got home I started to change into my pajamas (haha!) but stopped to take pictures of my bandages and some other things about my recovery and then I figured I’d hold the camera out and take a couple self portraits since I was wearing makeup for a change!

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I need a wider lens!
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Then I picked up Ember who was in the bathroom in her bouncy chair baby talking to me the whole time and she immediately grabbed my necklace for a snack.
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I will have to tell you about my necklace sometime and how it took a bazillion years to get here after I ordered it weeks ago.
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It’s a Mommy Necklace brand nursing necklace and I loooove it.
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After my shower tonight I cut off 6 inches of my hair. I kinda regret it after seeing my hair in the pictures in this post. Though I don’t think anyone will really notice since my hair was so long. Oh well, hair grows back.

And now it’s 2am and I have to leave my house in 6 short, short, short hours to go to a doctor follow up appointment. I’m going to be one very tired mom.

Drawing

I think I’d call this little picture of a boy Payson’s first recognizable drawing.
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He’s been really into coloring, drawing, and writing lately. He can write a few letters and he does pretty well with shapes when I’m showing him how. It’s surprising to me how the littlest things like a child’s first recognizable drawing are still so exciting and special even when it’s the third time experiencing this.
Watching him look at his little boy and clearly see that it was a little boy and knowing that he just drew it and the happiness on his face, it was adorable.
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He told me he wanted to draw another person. There was limited space on the paper so his circle for the head went a litle long. When he pulled the pencil back to look at it he laughed and said, “No, that’s not a good head.” (You can kinda see the second circle in that last picture)

Quiet

Yesterday afternoon I wondered if I should attempt to give Payson a nap. He hasn’t napped in over a month. I came into the living room a few minutes after pondering the possibility of his actually going to sleep rather than screaming and found this:
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I thought it might scare him to wake up on the floor so I sat down next to him and read the rest of my book (The Help; loved every single page of that book!) and of course Ember came with me.
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She loves being near mommy and Payson. She likes to grab his face and hair and binky and anything else he has.
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Like in this next picture. Her face says very clearly, “I really want that!” She kept lunging forward for his sippy cup.
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Ember and I hung out in my room for a while.
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All that stuff stacked behind her is from the girls’ rooms. We’re reorganizing several rooms in our house. It’s a lot of work.
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I am so happy I caught this picture! TOTALLY Ember! She’ll often be sitting with me and, hungry or not, she’ll randomly catch site of my chest and stare and stare and then grab me and then pull at my shirt to drink. It CRACKS me up!
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I laughed and talked to her about it. She thought I was funny.
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I took a few pictures while she was nursing and have three that I absolutely LOVE. I can’t post them because there’s a lot of boob showing but I really treasure them.
Here are a couple I took to show Ember all snug up against me ♥
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