Us

Bunch of unrelated pictures today.
Sierra and Brooklyn pick out their own clothes 95% of the time now. Sierra always puts together the most interesting outfits. It surprises me that she matches less than 10% of the time!
And she occasionally puts her clothes on backwards.
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Brooklyn’s favorite TV show is Scooby Doo. She’s been drawing pictures based on it.
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Ember wants to stand all day.
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Cute boy.
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Me and Ember. Oh how I love her!
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Ember’s been Allan and my sidekick, night and day, for so long now. When I was pregnant she’d be the most active in my belly when we talked at night. Ever since she was born she’d lay, nursing, listening intently to us talking in bed. And whenever we’re together still, she loves to watch us closely while we talk and she gets super excited when we turn our attention to her.
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One of Them is 8 Months Old

I was bored with my life this week. It kept me feeling reserved and quiet. Even with Allan for much of the week I didn’t have much to talk about. Rather than vent or complain about everything and nothing I just kept it silent, the tugging sadness.

I wonder at my body, if it’s maybe shifting hormonally at this 8 months post partum time. I wonder at the weather… the before-summer trapped feeling that encompasses me. The weeks of heat where I’m forced indoors- scrubbing at the same messes, rinsing the same dishes, changing endless diapers… the weeks of this are followed with the distractions of swimming lessons and gymnastics and dance classes, summer movies and storytimes, water play in the backyard. Lake trips, campouts: lots of fun.

Lots of fun temporarily just beyond my reach.

So for now I attack the dirt on my counters, my dishes, my toilets. I teach impatient children their school lessons, I change diapers… I change diapers… and I change more diapers; and I wait.

My camera has sat unloved much of the time. Being trapped indoors to escape the approaching heat (and mostly the critters; scorpions and spiders) seeing the same things every second of every day… doesn’t do much for photography inspiration.

But I forced myself to grab my camera the other day and take a picture of each child to blog.

Brooklyn
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She’s been begging and begging me to cut her hair so yes, I did cut her hair on Sunday. She loves it, I love it because it’s so much easier to take care of. She had the rattiest hair before and brushing through it every day was really frustrating.

She’s finally right “at home” in her second grade curriculum. She’ll finish by the end of this year and I’ll buy BJU 3rd grade to use in 2012. She’s liking BJU. She is getting 100% on her tests and retaining what she’s learned.
I haven’t used the video lessons for the past week. I’m teaching her straight out of the teacher’s manuals. It’s working for now.

Sierra
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She joins in with Brooklyn and Payson. We do school in a big group. She loves having her own reading time, though. She reads pretty well now. I need to buy her some more readers! She got a haircut, too, since she wants to do everything Brooklyn wants to do.

Payson
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Payson is actually so much better than ever before. Emotionally and physically! It’s really hard because I’m not much different when it comes to parenting him and I need to be. I got so worn out with his extreme neediness during the last almost-three years that every time he’s cranky or whiny I find myself tensing up and unreasonable. I get frustrated when he asks me for anything because I know it’ll be a huge act of patience as I deal with his new extreme pickiness with everything.
He wants a certain cup, a certain binky, a certain number of carrots on his plate that he won’t even eat (he does this with EVERY food), a certain song sung a certain way, a certain TV show, a certain outfit… it’s exhausting and annoying and makes me really moody.
He’s still attached to his elephant and his binky. He plays with elephant all the time now. He doesn’t just drag elephant around and rub his nose anymore, either, he actually plays games with elephant. It’s adorable! In the picture above he was giving elephant a piggy back ride all around the house. He talks to elephant like he’s really listening, too.

Ember
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Ember never went through that on-all-fours, rocking pre-crawl phase. She did a bit of scooting on her bum and lots of twisting and rolling to get where she wanted to go and then one day (the day I blogged last) she was sitting next to me, she got up on her hands and feet and she crawled to a toy. Just like that! Not a crawler, then a crawler!
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It seems like she started crawling, crawled all over the place for a few hours and is now attempting to stand and wanting to walk! She pulls up on everything she can, it’s fun to watch the determination of the fourth child.
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A child I thought might be a lazy one being the fourth and often carried and carted around by parents and siblings.
But no- she has motivation to be independent. She has a fiery personality. Not at all the sweet, mellow child I thought I was carrying.
Not to say she’s not sweet, she very much is, but she’s full of personality and she demands that her place in the family be acknowledged! She’ll scream, not a crying scream but an “I am here, hear me!” scream and her eyes get big with happiness when anyone responds. She grabs at her siblings’ toys as if she owns them. She stares them down with an expression that screams, “I am the center of your universe, you love me!”
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It’s amazing to watch her personality, such a strong one, emerge so fully at only 8 months old. She is Ember. So Ember. And our family was so very incomplete without her.
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I took a few pictures of her yesterday afternoon.
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I haven’t taken formal pictures of her every month. I wish I had done something significant like take a picture of her with a certain stuffed animal or on a certain blanket every month but I just didn’t 🙁
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Not that it matters that much.
The light coming through the window was so pretty that I took her outside for a couple more pictures.
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It’s so hard when I take pictures of Ember… I can never not post them all. I can’t seem to make myself narrow them down to just a few… she’s just so cute!
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She has her daddy’s brown eyes. It’s amazing to finally have a baby with something other than gray-blue! Her eyes, dare I say, are the prettiest eyes! They’re so dark and mysterious. When she stares at me as she nurses and her dark lashes flutter over that rich, soft brown, it’s mesmorizing. I’m sorta jealous!
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She was tired, ready for bed, and more into looking around than being photographed.
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I took the opportunity to get pictures of her profile. haha
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She was picking at the grass a lot. I ended up getting a huge rash all over my legs from laying in the grass to take these photos. I’m allergic to our grass 🙁
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I think Ember looks a bit elf-ish.
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A very pretty elf.
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Despite being tired she still giggled at mama. No matter how tired she is I can always get a smile and laugh 🙂
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We came inside and my legs were so itchy I decided to take a shower before putting her to bed.
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Lots to Do, Not Much to Say

I don’t really have a lot to say today. I think that’s why I’ve not been blogging. A lot is going on but it’s nothing out of the ordinary. Nothing I care to write down or type out or talk about. Same old homeschooling, cleaning, cooking, mothering…

Even at night when Allan gets home, he talks and talks and talks about work (lots going on at his job) and I just sit and listen.

I’ve been working out every other day. I feel good about that though it hasn’t done one thing to change my weight. In fact I’ve never felt worse about myself than I do now. Which is weird because I am only 15 pounds away from my goal weight.

I’m feeling really tired lately. Really bored with life. Just a phase, I’m sure. This next month will be really full of gymnastics/dance/summer movies/library story times/swimming lessons… I won’t have time to be bored. I’m pretty sure I won’t have time to clean my house either. haha

Here are the only pictures I took this week so far:
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Yoga has quickly become my favorite part of the day.
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Yoga interrupted.
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I didn’t get a chance to finish my yoga earlier in the day because Ember was fussy and then I had to cook dinner and wash the dishes. So when Allan got home and dinner was finally in the oven he wore Ember in the front pack while I did the last half of my yoga DVD. Ember fell asleep and was soooo cute.
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Front Yard

“Ariana, did you see the tree in the front yard?”
“No, why?”
“Part of it fell down.”

Fell down? There was no storm, no wind, no act of nature apparent to any of us for why it would fall down randomly Saturday morning.

But sure enough, a branch lay crooked, resting on the ground attached by a mere strip of bark to it’s former home on our mesquite tree.

Allan took the girls outside to help clean it all up. I joined them a bit later with the two little kids.
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Feathers are such special found treasures for my children. I was the same as a child. A feather, on the ground, free to pick up and play with? Joy.
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Payson’s favorite thing to do with mommy outside… play hide and go seek.
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Brooklyn having her own school time every day leaves the middle two kids lots of playtime together. Their relationship has changed a lot this month. They are good friends now. (Formerly very much enemies)
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My three daughters.
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I love Allan.
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Sierra usually does very little work. But on this day she tried very hard to get a lot done. We were proud of her 🙂
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Out of all my kids, I can tell Payson and Ember will be the closest. Their bond impresses/melts/inspires me every single day ♥
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More hide and go seek 🙂
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The smile he gets when I find him, the smile he gets when he finds me- it’s so much fun.
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These pictures were taken while I sat on a camping chair and nursed Ember.
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The rest of these pictures came from Sunday evening. Black and whites because as gorgeous as the orange-y sunset was at the time, it doesn’t translate as gorgeously in photos 😉

I fall asleep on the floor often. Very often. While nursing, while reading, while playing with the kids… I’m a very, very, very tired mama. lol
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Payson kept asking me to hold him and my back was aching (it’s always aching!) so I told him he could sit on the counter near me where I was working. That made him happy!
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Allan found a stuffed animal of Brooklyn’s in our bedroom and gave it to Brooklyn.
Sierra was super jealous of Brooklyn’s “new” toy. She pouted quite a bit.
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Allan and I teased her a lot. We’re kind like that.
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The white bear is the stuffed animal Sierra was jealous about. She has one somewhere, we just can’t find it.
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Ember was sleeping on my back this whole time.
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Payson was hanging on my legs. He does this a LOT lately and it’s really annoying. haha! Cute, but annoying because he intentionally tries to pull my skirts/shorts off. He thinks pantsing people is hilarious. (I certainly didn’t teach him that!)
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I put my hand behind me to hold Ember’s hand while I was doing something and felt rubber-ish something. Rubber-ish something? I pulled her hand to where I could see it and she had this binky (which she plays with, doesn’t suck) stuck to her thumb! It made me giggle. She’d been sleeping for quite a while with a binky on her thumb ♥
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She woke up shortly after that (when I tried to put her in the swing to finish her nap) and we all went outside to play and enjoy the great weather.
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Exercise with Kids

Ember was taking a nap.
The older girls were outside.
Payson was in a good mood.
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I’ve been dying to exercise more often. I rarely get a chance without children around, though.
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Payson joined me for yoga this afternoon.
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He thought yoga was super fun.
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He actually did a few poses and did them well 🙂
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When the girls came in and noticed the yoga they immediately wanted to join in. I took the yoga DVD out (too hard for them) and put in my pilates DVD instead.
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It wasn’t relaxing with the kids around…
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But it sure was fun to watch their adorable poses.
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Payson joined a bit and then got really, really upset when I wouldn’t give him a piggy back ride again. I desperately needed to do something just for me and today it was working out and I’d already spent the first half of the workout playing with him, so… I said, “No, wait until I’m done.” Which caused him to scream at the top of his lungs and stomp and throw things.

Which then got him an afternoon nap 😉
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The girls and I did another 20 minutes of pilates. At the end Brooklyn suggested we take a picture in front of the TV “just to show that we were watching it.”
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We took a picture and then Ember woke up.
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And we took a couple more before putting the camera away.
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As I was putting the pilates DVD away Brooklyn said, “I feel so good.”

Preventing me from Reading Out Loud

I love to read to my kids. It’s one of all of our favorite things to do every day. Which makes it all the harder for me to be sick and have a sore throat and not be able to read and read.
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I asked the three older kids what their favorite books were. I figured I’d read one book to each child (with all four listening at the same time) and that’d be good for the day’s reading while I’m sick. They ran and got their books. I got Payson’s. He told me a couple minutes later that he actually wanted Llama Llama Mad at Mama. He loves that one. He tells me he’s the baby llama and I’m, naturally, the mama 🙂
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Ember doesn’t care about which book she’s reading, as long as she can chew on it, it’s all good.

Mommy’s Makeup

I didn’t like today. I don’t want to complain so I’ll just leave it at: I’m very sick, the kids are very needy.

Today I was blow drying Brooklyn’s hair after her bath and Sierra decided to help herself to my makeup.
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I was laughing so hard because she really did a number on her face. I should have taken a picture of the end result. She looks like she was in a fight. She put brown eyeshadow all over her eyes and she put on enough blush and lipstick to look like a clown. It was probably my favorite part of the day watching her put all that makeup on.
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Brooklyn has an “It’s Great to be Eight” tea party at the church tonight. It’s for all the girls turning eight this year and getting baptised. We waited outside for Allan to pick her up after work. I desperately wanted to go and watch her at the tea party but I sneeze about fifty times every half hour (no joke) and can you imagine, me and the three sick little kids hanging around church sneezing and coughing on everyone with our snotty faces and red eyes and noses. What a sight that would be!

So I had to do the typical “mom thing” and miss out on something I really wanted to be a part of 🙁
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And this baby on my lap is freaking out cranky so I’m going to go attempt to get her to bed.

Mom is taken down next!

I shouldn’t be surprised by how fast I’ve gone from “ok” to “feel like crap.” Late Saturday morning I was thinking, “Oh darn Ember is getting Brooklyn’s cold.” By late Saturday afternoon I thinking, “My gosh should I take her to urgent care?”

Yesterday my head started hurting and my glands felt swollen and my throat was feeling like it was thinking about starting to hurt. Today I woke up with a bit of a sore throat. Right now at 2pm my throat hurts a lot, I’m sneezing like crazy, and basically my entire face and head feels like it was stuffed full of massive amounts of cotton balls. Cotton balls coated with microscopic razors.

I’m pretty moody at being sick. There is no rest for the mom and after taking care of a sick (still sick) Brooklyn and a sick Ember all week I’m so worn out.

And even worse, Payson is getting it. And I’m pretty sure it’s starting for Sierra too, she’s just not the type to ever complain about being sick.

I am trying to focus on the positive- Ember doesn’t have a fever, never lost her appetite, is in a much better mood today, and is currently taking her second nap of the day.

Yesterday I was napping with Ember during Payson’s usual naptime. So I didn’t put him to bed for his nap. Around 5pm he was pretty tired.
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I hadn’t heard him for a while so went looking to see what he was up to. I melted when I spotted him sprawled out on the floor. Elephant leaning on his face. I just know he had been rubbing elephant’s trunk on his nose as he fell asleep ♥
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I read Payson Green Eggs and Ham. He loves it.
Later I had Sierra read it. She read the entire book! Allan and I were really proud 🙂
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And today… oh miserable day.
Though hey, ignore me saying that universe! I’m perfectly fine with today because I know that tomorrow, when this cold is sure to peak, will really suck.
Yes, I’m just fine with being this sick, I don’t want to be sicker!
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And how can one be unhappy, sick or not, when one is reading such a great book as is Jane Austen’s Persuasion? I loved Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility and I dare say I’m loving Persuasion even more! Maybe not, maybe just as much. Because I could live in Pride and Prejudice and be a happy woman.
But no matter the comparison, it’s awesome and I’m happily reading a page or two (or a chapter!) whenever I can steal a few minutes to sit down with this giant book.
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The book is so massive because it is the collection of all of Jane Austen’s novels.