Hike

It’s our favorite family activity. The weather is perfect this month. So despite all of battling seemingly nonstop sickness, we’re doing small hikes every weekend.
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I love it. I live for our little hikes. I can’t wait until we’re all healthy and can do a much longer hike!
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Ember loves hiking, too. She talks and giggles along with the rest of the family the whole time. It’s the cutest. She’s the cutest. I know I’ve said that too many times, but Ember is the definition of cute!
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The first few minutes of our hikes always start out poorly. Brooklyn has a fiercely competitive spirit and races Sierra up. Sierra and Payson try to keep up by running along. This is bad for two reasons. One- the kids go too far along the trail to where we can’t see them. Two- one of the middle two kids always, always falls because they’re running along rocky trails.
So every single hike we have to remind Brooklyn not to race and to make sure she’s not encouraging her siblings to run along the trail. But usually once she’s reminded she falls in line and turns on her best attitude and is a hugely sweet and helpful big sister the rest of the time!
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Finding little spots for family pictures along the way is tough. Mostly because sprinting over to the rest of the family after I press the shutter is tough with Ember on my back and giant rocks in my path.
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The Peralta Canyon Trail is such a gorgeous place to hike.
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There was a hole in this rock. The kids thought it was really neat.
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Some shots of the “hiking kids” by a big rock.
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Looking back at where we came from.
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Unfortunately we didn’t get much further than this. I started coughing really hard (I’ve had a really, really bad cold) and the sun was getting pretty low. Because this place is so wild and rugged, being on the trail after dark was a bad idea.
So we turned around and headed back.
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Payson checking out his battle wound. (From when he’d tripped while running up the trail after Brooklyn, like I mentioned at the beginning of our hike!)
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I told Allan to get a shot of all four kids. I leaned back to try to get Ember in the frame but she was much more interested in watching Brooklyn than looking at the camera.
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It occured to me that I would like a picture of me with the kids. So I asked Allan to take some 🙂
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We started hiking back down again.
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But Allan noticed something was missing!
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Thank goodness he noticed when he did because when he ran back to find the shoe along the trail it was at the very highest place we’d stopped before deciding to head back!
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Brooklyn tried to give Payson a piggy back ride.
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We stopped her right away because it was way too dangerous. A rocky trail to climb down? Not safe. And Payson didn’t want to be carried. This was his very first hike that he did the entire thing by himself.

It was the first time Payson did the hike all on his own, it was the last time Sierra will be hiking as a toe walker! She’s getting her braces in the mail this week.
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Allan and Sierra were laughing when I started going the wrong way down! Sierra had picked the right trail! Funny.
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At the end we “interviewd” each kid for a minute about the experience. Brooklyn was so freaking adorable during her interview. I love that girl!
Allan liked it and says we should do it every time. We basically asked them if they had fun and what their favorite part was. We called this rock the interview rock. haha
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Boring Update

I’ve just been not so interested in photographing the every day lately. Because it’s boring. I’m sick of the same old same old.
We might move soon (6 months, one year, two years, who knows…) so I’m on a super strict budget. That makes life pretty darn boring. I live far from town, in the middle of a desert, with three kids home all day, nothing to do, nothing to do…
Gas is crazy expensive so even library trips and the like are super limited. All my gas money is spent driving an hour a day for Brooklyn’s school! 15 minutes there, 15 minutes back. Then in the afternoon- 15 minutes there, 15 minutes back. Gas is eating all of my money!

Anyway, yeah, totally not much to share because the only things happening around here are the same exact things that happened the day before and the day before and the day before…

You know how I talk a lot about cosleeping with Ember and how she keeps me up all night? Well, I realized a couple days ago that I have like ZERO pictures of us cosleeping! WHAT?!?!? In 16 months I’ve slept with her for EVERY night and I have ZERO pictures of that?! I mean, YES, I have to ask Allan to take them and that’s why they’ve not been taken, but still… how sad 🙁

So the other day she happened to stay asleep when I snuck out of bed to go get Brooklyn ready for school, so I snapped a couple pictures.
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We actually sleep on a bed in Sierra’s old room now but this night I just happened to be SO sick of that crappy mattress so I climbed into my bed. I sleep in Sierra’s old room on a twin bed for one reason… Allan. He can’t sleep with Ember climbing all over him during the night and my opinion is that there is no reason both of us should be up because of it, so I suffer in Sierra’s room.
For how long?
Oh geez, I don’t know. Considering I will do whatever Ember wants whenever she wants it… probably forever. She very well may be 4 and sleeping with us because I’m that wrapped around her tiny, adorable little finger.

In this next picture you can see her favorite position to sleep in on the rare nights that we go into my bed. She’ll cuddle up to me (nursing most of the time) and then with her other arm reach back to touch Allan. SO SWEET! How could I possibly kick her out of my bed?! Aaack, she’s the cutest thing EVEERRR!
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You all probably saw these on facebook already. The kids were all dressed up so cute so I wanted to snap just one picture of them before church. But Ember was in a WEIRD mood. Nothing was apparently wrong yet she cried as if her entire world was falling apart.
But look at the three older kids! Aren’t they so adorable?! Oh my gosh I love them so much! (Well, I love all of them even when they’re whiny but those smiles, they sure do light up my life!)
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I gave her a cracker and toy and let her nurse for about half a minute and she perked up. But as soon as she was on that bench the tears came back. Allan came in and did some funny stuff with toys and I managed this one picture of them all looking!
But my white balance was off and no matter what I do in editing it looks funky. Oh well, they’re cute.
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Allan is seriously talented at making the kids laugh during pictures. He should be a photographer!

Speaking of making laugh…
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Brooklyn in these goofy glasses…
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With her goofy half-grown in teeth…
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A couple days ago I finished cooking dinner and came into the front room to tell the kids to come eat…
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Aww, my baby boy fell asleep. He got what everyone else had and was plum tuckered out. He had a fever that night. Poor boy.
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I don’t remember when this was but I painted the kids’ feet and had them walk across paper. We did some other crafts on days where nobody was too sick but I didn’t take pictures because I’m super lazy with my camera these days.
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The Week Ember was Sick

So my baby girl had roseola. I wrote a super long detailed account of the entire horrible week in my journal and won’t bore you with the details. Lets just say, being up literally ALL night several days of this week, high high fevers, and so much crying and misery and me holding her or wearing her in a carrier nonstop for so many hours it was like she lived in my arms.
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This was Saturday morning. I think Friday night, the night before, was the very worst one of the whole week but I can’t remember clearly anymore. I just remember Allan was home and I was SOOOO relieved because I’d been taking care of all the kids and making all the food and cleaning and keeping up with everything totally alone and was just so so so exhausted!
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Allan took the older three kids outside and had them weed the yard while he washed the windows. Ember and I stayed inside. I didn’t want Ember running around just yet while she had been so sick.
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She really wasn’t happy about being stuck inside.
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We had some really late nights with Ember. She didn’t go to sleep most nights until midnight no matter what I tried. We ended up turning all the lights off in the house and having only the light of the TV on as we watched Dual Survival. haha. She’d play on the couch by us or on the floor in front of us and then eventually pass out in my lap or on the couch and I’d take her to bed. (With me, she doesn’t ever sleep on her own, though I try!)
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Once in a while I’d take pictures of the other kids playing.
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Ember’s two favorite things, I’ve said before, are ripping paper and helping with laundry. Those two things will keep her busy for hours. (When she’s not sick)
So when Allan put a load of laundry in on Saturday, she was right there.
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Payson’s hair has gotten pretty darn long. Allan gave him a trim.
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To get a natural smile Allan told Payson to do a mean pose and then we’d do a startled sound when he did. He’d crack up.
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More playing outside that evening.
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Sunday I stayed home from church with Ember. She was SO cranky that day. She cried pretty much nonstop the whole day so finally I put some shoes on and went for a run with her. I looked a freaking mess, hadn’t showered in a week and wore the same clothes pretty much that entire week! But it felt amaaaazing to get out of the house. And Ember looked around happily the entire hour and a half we were out!
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I gained weight over the holidays (gain and lose, gain and lose, the same 15 pounds are gained and then lost every month!) so am exercising and eating better. I was down only one pound when I took this before shot. I’m down five now 🙂
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When we very first moved to Arizona in 2008 I took pictures are my three older kids on this little hill. When I walked past it on the way back home I couldn’t resist taking Ember out of the stroller and snapping one of her there as well.
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It’s such a bummer I have Sierra and Payson home all day. I’d LOVE to take runs with her during the day when it’s warm, and she’d love it too.
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Sunday night, Ember was still feeling exceptionally clingy and would not let us put her down or in bed for anything. So Allan helped out by putting her in the carrier. It was heaven to cook dinner with free arms!
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Monday Ember was a lot happier. Still not happy, but happier. We spent a little bit of time outside because the week before she’d been so devastated by not being able to.
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And that brings us, finally!, to today! This morning actually. Just took some snaps before taking Brooklyn to school.
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Ember is back to her cheerful self for the most part but as she always did before, freaks out if I put her down when she wants to be held! (Which is at least half the day)
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Brooklyn’s teeth are coming in. It’s so strange to see her with adult teeth. I don’t think of her as a baby or toddler anymore but it still throws me off when she hits new milestones or just looks so big. Her childhood is flying by. I still vividly remember every bit of her life so far. The days of her as my only baby, her toddler years, all of it. I would do it all again in a second, too.
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This was the first time I put makeup on in well over a week. Or did my hair. Or washed my hair. haha! So when I came out of the bathroom Sierra’s eyes got huge and she complimented my lipstick and then told me to kiss her. She was meaning on the lips so she could have lipstick, too. But at the last minute I turned and planted a nice kiss on her cheek. She liked the kiss mark left 🙂
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A Bunch of Sickies

Ember has it the worst by far, but the whole family is sick this week.

Wednesday Brooklyn had a half day at school. It made for a really long day with all four kids. At one point I told them they all had to go play outside for an hour. Ember desperately wanted to go outside but she was so sick that day, I made her stay inside with me and rest. She was sad. I felt sad for her 🙁
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Each kid came over at some point or another to smile and knock to Ember. Which Ember loved.
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After watching from inside for a couple minutes I went to sit on the couch with her. And she stole my cracker.
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When she is sick and therefore cranky, I let her do whatever the heck she wants as long as it’s not dangerous. She’s ripped up so much paper and played with every phone and remote in the house… whatever it takes to make her happy. This moment it was a simple box of granola bars.
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Allan got home and was like, “Why are all of these granola bars mashed up?” And I said, because I got ten blissfully quiet minutes. haha
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The first day her fever made her really uncomfortable I gave her a dose of ibuprofen and she was all about playing with the medicine bottle. She held onto it for most of the day.
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Brooklyn’s had some insanely late nights lately. It’s aggravating for me so I’m not going to talk about it. But I will say, she is one very tired 8 year old.
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She thought Brooklyn laying down was pretty amusing.
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These last pictures were taken yesterday morning. Ember’s gotten more moody as the days have gone on. I’m taking her to the doctor in about an hour. Anyway, yesterday she was really cranky so out of desperation I turned the TV on for the other two kids so I could focus my attention on only her. But she ended up sitting and watching TV for ten minutes.
And can I say, when baby is sick, ten minutes is a long time, so I’ll take it!
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She’s had periods of lethargy, but not for too long. She brightens up after a rest and plays. But for her to have any down time is extremely odd. She is always on the go.
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She’s also had a handful of moments where she cries and cries and nothing calms her down. That’s so unlike her. I don’t know what it is bothering her, my guess is an ear infection. If that’s true, it’s the first time a child of mine has had one. My other three kids were lucky enough to never get one.
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She doesn’t have any coughing at all but a lot of the sites I read pointed to pneumonia. Sometimes toddlers get it and they don’t have coughing or wheezing. If she has that, I’ll be so sad. She does get really rapid breathing when her fever is at its highest, just before her next dose of medicine.
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Anyway, better go pack the diaper bag for the doctor visit. Doctor’s office with four kids… wish me luck.

Lost Tooth, New Tooth

Brooklyn lost her fifth tooth.
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The funny part is that Ember cut her fifth tooth that same day. And it was the same exact tooth! A super fun coincidence.
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Allan was taking Brooklyn to activity days. I stayed home with Ember since she was sick. I told Allan to please take Sierra too because I needed a break from all the kids. I would have had him take Payson as well but I put Payson to bed early that night, because he’s sick too.
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Evening Hike

Sunday we drove over to Crosscut trail at the base of the Superstition mountains for an evening hike.
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All I want to do anymore is hike. I wish we could go for a hike every single day. I really wish that. I might start taking the kids by myself sometimes. I get nervous though heading into the desert alone with so many little ones.
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Remember our Christmas eve hike and how Sierra sat on a cactus? She thought it was funny that we would randomly tell her to not sit on a cactus (we’d sing it because it’s a song we have) and she’d smile and roll her eyes.
Now if I say it she says, “I hate when you say that! I’m bored of that!” haha
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Allan brought the red backpack just in case Payson got too slow. Payson tends to like to stop and look at every single rock and stick he finds. Which is great if we’re at a park. Not great when we’re trying to have a nice hike.
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The kids were on their best behavior. They like hiking a lot.
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Because we didn’t decide to go on a hike until somewhat late we only got to hike for about 45 minutes. That was a bummer for me. We really need to plan better and leave early next time. I’d love to do a two hour hike.
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That Ember Silly

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She likes to play with her siblings toys. Her siblings don’t like this. So when they’re not around (they were at church) she is pretty happy to steal the goods.
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I’m convinced Ember is just about the best thing that has ever happened to our world.
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I cannot get enough of her. She is hilarious. Entertaining. So smart and sweet and fiery.
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It’s funny having a child so sweet and affectionate and loving and social and smart and basically everything great.
And to love her so much.
Even though she can be so dang needy.
Even though she refuses to sleep,
I can’t help but to love her. She’s hil-ar-ious. She cracks me the heck up. I am laughing all day long over everything she does. I think I see Ember through rose colored glasses. She could do the worst thing imaginable and I think it’s about the cutest thing I’ve ever seen.
Spilled something on carpet? haha, so cute.
Got into the toilet? Gross! haha, but so cute!
Ripped up my entire dayplanner? She is smiling ear to ear doing it, so cute!
Ate a piece of banana out of the trash? Aww, she was hungry and helped herself! Genius! And so cute!

Etc.
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She loves Payson’s scooter.
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When he’s not using it I’ll have her climb on and I push her around and around and around our house. She giggles the whole time and I melt. Mellllt.
We turn a corner and her head leans to the side to see around it quicker to try to spot one of her siblings. When they happen to glance at her coming towards them her smile spreads from ear to ear and she giggles as if everything in life is perfect because not only is she riding a scooter and having a blast but her big sister saw her! Attention and a good time? Her favorites.
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When I said she does things and no matter how bad or yucky or horrible it is I think she’s the cutest thing, I meant it.
She is the cutest thing!
I find her with my purse and end up sitting down by her and watching her destroy things for another minute or so because it’s just that cute.
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I love this child.

Allan and His Children

Today we had a day full of infinite possibilities for fun and adventure. The house was mostly clean and the kids were all rested and we’re all healthy and Allan and I talked about all the things we could do today. A whole Saturday of potential.

We ended up spending it at home doing the usual. I cooked and cleaned a bit, I took care of kids. Allan did similar. We just hung out. It wasn’t exciting but lately exciting with the children in tow is hard to come by. It wasn’t painful or overly stressful and in my stay-at-home-mom opinion that is a successful day.
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It was so nice not being the only adult in the home. I hate being the center of the universe for four people day in and day out. It’s exhausting. It was nice to see them buzz around their dad while I was off almost alone (Payson and Ember wouldn’t leave me alone) cooking in the kitchen. I felt annoyed and not talkative and not mommyish today after a long, very long, week.
To have daddy there to step in and take a little of the pressure off… is priceless.
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I read The Hunger Games today. Finally checked it out from the library yesterday. I liked it a lot. I’m going to look for the second book next week.