Today was Wednesday and We Did…

Wednesday. Mid week. Kinda blah, right?
I took the little kids to the library and we also went out for lunch. Just because.

I bought baby gates this week and already they have changed my life. I function really well in a clean house. I just do and the baby gates keep my little two out of all the places they should never be in the first place! Like, my kitchen. I hate kids getting into my kitchen and wrecking it!! Well, no more 🙂 🙂

So today at lunch my kids were being adorable and sweet and everything lovely. They usually are when we go out. So Payson is talking to me while eating his pizza and for some reason I could really, really see him right then. I felt like the wind was knocked out of me. He was just adorable and sweet and mine. I was so happy to be sitting there with him. I feel lucky to be his mom.

I’ve been feeling that way from time to time about one kid or the other over the past few months. I don’t know if it’s their ages, the fact that they’re all growing up so fast and seeming to change every single day, or something else completely, but falling in love with your own family members, over and over again, is an amazing joy. It buoys me during this stormy time of uncertainty in my life.

My kids are pretty darn well behaved these days. They do kid things, daily. For sure. But it’s so different. There are almost never ever major freakouts or big tantrums (minus the 2 year old, naturally) or really anything dramatic. Is this me being a better mom with age or my kids being more even keeled with age? haha, I don’t even know. It’s awesome though. I have loved the baby/toddler phase (despite it’s crazy intense workload) SO much and have felt really confused and freaked out by the older-kid phase fast approaching me. Seeing little bits of how that may be, what that will look like… I think it’s going to be a pretty awesome time. PhotobucketPhotobucket

In the next picture she was showing the camera a pepperoni. Photobucket

They spent quite some time giggling together over wiping each others faces off with napkins. PhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucket

I stopped at Sally’s for some hair stuff. I didn’t buy anything though. Photobucket

He pulled out a rocking Spiderman move. Photobucket

Jumping with joy at the library. PhotobucketPhotobucket

“Oh mom, we’re stuck up here and there are no stairs.” He says. Ember breaks into a fast run towards the stairs to point them out and prove him wrong. PhotobucketPhotobucket

Two very tuckered out little kids. Photobucket

The little kids were sleeping when I pulled into our neighborhood. They really needed that nap so I pulled over and sat there staring outside for twenty minutes waiting for the girls’ bus to come. Photobucket

I got bored so I took some fifty bazillion pictures. Photobucket

We all got home and I put my camera away. I made the girls a snack (Payson got one, too. Ember was still asleep) and then we did homework and then sat down to watch Africa together. I have been kicking myself for not taking enough pictures of the older girls so I ran and got my camera and snapped this: PhotobucketIt’s hard to photograph the girls because by the time they’ve done their homework and had a snack it’s fairly dark and I just don’t think about taking pictures once it’s dark!

Bumming Around

Sometimes we go fun places. Maybe you noticed that recently I’ve been getting out of the house a lot more than I had been? Allan and I had a long talk about how depressed I was getting (very) and we decided to open up our budget for outings for me and the little kids. I’m sorry, life, but I can’t function at all trapped in a house all day. It wasn’t my decision to move out into the middle of nowhere into this great big house, so isolated. So it’s not exactly fair that I suffer so much. If I could I’d go back to college and finish and get a job. I will do all that when my kids are all in school in a few years… I need something outside of just being mom. And anyway, our financial situation isn’t looking so grim thanks to the housing market being on the rise. We’re pretty hopeful that we won’t take a major hit when we sell this year.

So anyway, as much as I LOVE and NEED to get out of the house, I obviously can’t do that every single day, we’re not swimming in money. So on days when I’m stuck indoors I try to do crafts with, do preschool with, play games with, and also just totally bum around and do nothing with, my kids.
This day was a do nothing day. We watched TV together while Ember had a milky snack. We ate a lot of apples that day. And with the exception of taking a walk later that afternoon, that was about it! PhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucketPS: For my own future benefit, (I read back on my blog to remember things!) part of the reason I can afford to go places now is: two or three days a week when Allan carpools he leaves his car at home. His car gets double the gas mileage mine does so I started using his car to go places. It’s costing me half of what it used to now. yay 🙂

Gas Station

Sierra wanted to use her quarters from the tooth fairy to play the claw machine at the gas station. She won a unicorn! Photobucket

Brooklyn was jealous so I nicely gave her some quarters to try. When she couldn’t get anything she cried and cried. I tried to comfort her but she decided I was the bad guy in all of this. Ember pouted for her poor crying sister. Photobucket

And while Payson used his quarter to get something out of the quarter machines, Ember ran around… Photobucket

giggling the whole time. Photobucket

Second Hand

We don’t have very many board games. I tend to stop in the game section at WalMart or Target every month or so and look around. But the price tags just aren’t fitting in our budget. So I had the brilliant idea to go to some thrift stores to look for games. While there my kids fell in love with every single toy in the entire building. Broken, not age appropriate, dirty, stupid, whatever, it did not matter at all to them, they wanted them all 😛 PhotobucketPhotobucket

In between two thrift stores in Mesa there is a pet supply store. Petco? I think that’s the name. We stopped in there to look at some little pets. I want to get the kids a pet one day, it’s just hard to commit to something like that. I have enough stress dealing with my kids’ messes, I don’t particularly care to add an animal to my list of tasks. But I think it’s really important for kids to be around animals growing up, so… one day soon… Photobucket

My kids had a lot of fun seeing all the options. They begged and begged for a hamster, a gerbil, a guinea pig, a mouse, a lizard, a frog, some fish… haha. Then we got to the giant tarantula and black scorpion section! Photobucket

The girls squealed and couldn’t believe people kept those as pets. Payson said, “I’d have a scorpion as a pet!” And you know, I believe the kid! ha Photobucket

We went to the second thrift store and Ember immediately set her eyes on this doll stroller. She pushed it around the entire store while we shopped.
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So I had to buy it. haha. The kids picked out some toys, too. Our cart may have been overflowing (with ten board games and two huge packs of legos!) when we left. But all in all I only spent $40 so, I don’t feel guilty about it. PhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucket

Ember wouldn’t let me help her, she wanted to push her stroller all the way to the car. And then she insisted on putting it into the trunk by herself as well. In the end she couldn’t though, and she did let me do it. Photobucket

We got home and I had the kids dump all their new toys in their sink to wash them. While they did that in the bathroom I wiped down all the games and books and legos with antibacterial wipes. Just because yes, I’m a bit of a germophobe. Photobucket

When I was done Ember ran over to play. And for the next hour she was entertained. All the way until it was bedtime. Photobucket

Draw

I got the kids some draw erase boards from Target’s dollar spot. They sat drawing and writing for quite some time. When I turned around (I had been sewing two feet away with my back to them) their boards were wiped cleaned but the table and their entire bodies were covered in black marker. Fun times, kids. Fun times. Photobucket

PhotobucketPictures taken before they started coloring, obviously.

Great Arizona Puppet Theater + Five Guys

After spending so much time inside and sick I really needed a fun outing. I found out about the Great Arizona Puppet Theater while google searching one night. I thought that sounded like a whole lot of fun so called and reserved tickets. I was disappointed that the show started at 10am because they told me I needed to get there by 9:50am at the latest and since the theater is in Phoenix, it would take me a while to drive there. And getting all four kids ready for the day (and myself) and making it out there that early… whew, I wasn’t excited about that busy morning!

So the morning of the show I got the older girls ready for school and took them to school and then drove home to get myself and the younger two ready. It was already almost 9am at this point and I really should’ve left right at 9am to have plenty of time. I managed to make it out of the house at about 9:05am! I figured it was a 45 minute drive to Phoenix from where we lived but I forgot to give myself at extra 5 or 10 minutes to stop through McDonald’s drive thru for breakfast for the little kids. They’d eaten a granola bar but that would last them maybe a half hour before they’d be squawking about hunger again.

I called Allan just to ask him exactly how long he thought it would take to get there and if I’d make it. He was adamant about me definitely not having enough time to get there! He said it’d take 45 minutes to an hour! And insisted I turn around and go home or maybe go somewhere else like the library. (He only insisted because he didn’t want me to waste my time and gas; my SUV is a major gas sucker, which… sucks)

All I was thinking as he told me I wouldn’t be able to make it was, “Challenge Accepted!!” I told him I’d go somewhere else with no intention of doing so. haha. And sure enough I made it right on time. I did run to the front door (carrying my bag and Ember with Payson running alongside me!) to make sure I got there right at 9:50 and not a second later. I got up to the counter and rang up for our tickets and it’s then I realized my wallet wasn’t in my purse.

Before getting out of the car I’d made sure to check my wallet and toss it in my purse so I knew it’d fallen out of my purse as we ran in! I told the cashier that and ran outside to find my wallet! Sure enough it had fallen out outside! We made it back inside a minute later, paid, and went and found seats. There weren’t too many people there and it was another ten minutes before the show started. Wheeeew! (Payson thought this entire ordeal was hilarious and a lot of fun, btw! I’m glad that kid loves going on errands!) Photobucket

The show was a lot of fun. Payson was cracking up all through it! Ember enjoyed it too, and giggled a few times when the mice would fall. Photobucket

Two little kids are chosen from the audience to name the dolls in the show and Payson got picked. He’d been raising his hand hopefully but when he was called on he froze and got shy and couldn’t think of a name for the doll. I suggested some family names (just to hurry him along and not hold up the show for longer) and he picked Sierra. It was fun watching the show and hearing Sierra’s name. She would’ve loved that if she’d been there. Photobucket

The pink doll was the one named Sierra. Photobucket

We spent a long time in the gift shop/store part of the theater. Like always *sigh*
Payson and Ember asked for pretty much every puppet, coloring book, and toy in the place. lol. They each got a set of these little peepers things. Eyes that you put on your hand. They were SO cute playing with them! PhotobucketPhotobucket

We took our time walking back to the car. It was rainy and cool and just like the most amazing weather ever! PhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucket

I like the building the theater is in. I took a few pictures of it while the kids ran around playing. PhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucket

I needed to stop at the mall on the way home but by then the kids were hungry so we went to Five Guys for lunch first. Photobucket

Payson loved it there.
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Both kids were in the best moods having lunch. It was a lot of fun. Photobucket

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I don’t normally take a lot of pictures in a restaurant but they were being so cute I couldn’t resist! PhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucket

After Five Guys we went to the mall and shopped around. I didn’t find what I was looking for (bummer) but we did buy some candies at See’s and I did agree to let them ride the carousel. The carousel used to only accept cash for tickets but they got a brand new machine that accepts cards. I put my debit card in and it got stuck! I was trying as hard as I could to pull it out but I couldn’t! Only a small part of my card was sticking out and I just couldn’t get a good enough grip on it. I asked the employee working there if she was able to open the machine but she wasn’t. She called her manager to ask but from the sound of her side of the conversation the manager wasn’t interested in coming over to fix the problem. haha.

In a moment of brilliance I asked to use her hole punch (I’d noticed it on her table) and using the hole punch I could grab my card and pull it right out. After my card was free I tried again to pay with my card (but not pushing it in this time like an idiot! ha) and it just wouldn’t work! She said that machine has a lot of problems and said, “Just come ride” I thanked her but said, let me just try again. (Because I felt wrong just going for free!) so I tried a couple more times with my card but it wouldn’t work at all. She offered again and this time I just thanked her a lot and we went on! Photobucket

I think you can tell by their faces, it was a lot of fun! Photobucket

I told the kids as they were climbing off to thank the employee as we were leaving. They didn’t disappoint, smiling and saying, “Thank you!!” as we left.

I gave them each a lollipop as we were leaving to avoid any fits Ember might throw about not spending a million hours at the water fountain there. haha! I was ready to go home at this point 😉 PhotobucketPhotobucket

Payson wouldn’t stop rubbing his sucker all over his mouth and nose! I told him not to because he was going to be a sticky mess but he ignored me. Photobucket

Subway, Eat Fresh! and… Basha’s

Is it just me or can you not say or think “Subway” without adding Eat Fresh to the end? Photobucket

The guy making sandwiches looked at me funny when I said I wanted a 6 inch sandwich with no bread. Ordering for Payson always initiates the most interesting conversations in restaurants. Just once I’d like to order and just have them say, “okay.” haha. Really it’s not that bad, it’s just funny that I can’t even remember the last time I ordered and didn’t have it be a thing. I’d love to go back in time to when I just ordered and that’s it, no conversation about what I was ordering and why and raised eyebrows. haha Photobucket

Ember was being so adorable while I ordered. She kept walking up to the counter and pretending to eat all the veggies in the picture. She’d either put her face right up to it and make little gobbling sounds or she pretend to grab a veggie and put it in her mouth. Payson quickly started doing the same when he saw me and everyone else in the store reacting with smiles and giggles.
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Her favorite to pretend to eat was the apple. Which yes, was actually a tomato 🙂 Photobucket

We ate outside because it was full inside but mostly because the weather here has been perfection. Photobucket

Payson never even bats an eye at the “weird” food placed in front of him. Why/how could he? His entire life he’s known nothing but his modified dishes. Having a wrapper filled with meat, cheese, and veggies with no bread doesn’t seem at all weird to him! Not that it should, that’s a pretty good meal! (At home I’d add potatoes or rice to his meal) Photobucket

We walked just around the corner to Basha’s. I can’t even remember what I bought there… I remember something snacky and then some oranges. haha Photobucket

Ember caught sight of this inflated football player and started cheering and saying, “Go BYU!!” which I thought was just the cutest and so I took a picture to show and tell Allan about. When I snapped she was saying, “football!”
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The kids finished up their chips while I shopped. Photobucket

And on the way out we got toys from the quarter machines. Which we do every single time I have quarters because these two little kids are pretty dang good in every store we go to! Photobucket

As we left the store the little kids noticed an older man waiting outside with a little dog on a leash. This was the highlight of their day. Ember stayed at a distance (she both loves and fears dogs) yelling things to the dog. (BTW, do you love her stylish outfit? She insisted on dressing herself. haha) Photobucket

She wanted to stay there a lot longer squealing at the “puppy” and showing it her toys. The little dog was laying down and looked completely not interested in children, especially children yelling things at it, so I left pretty quickly. Ember was heartbroken over that. Photobucket

And that great big outing wore her right out. She was beyond cranky when we got home. Photobucket

Play Dough

Things to do indoors… always searching for something. Sometimes I get lucky and something as simple as playdough occupies us for the entire afternoon. Most times activities only hold interest for ten or twenty minutes. Photobucket

The other day in Walgreen’s Payson was running around like a goofball (which is his normal) and he ran straight into a display box. I was glad that this little cut on his eye wasn’t larger or more severe! PhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucket

In the Car

We are always in the car, car, car
Because we live far, far, far
from everything. Photobucket

Payson struggles with his seatbelt. I end up helping him with it at least half the time. He gets it all twisted and tangled and who’s with me on tangled seatbelts being oh so frustrating!? Photobucket

Ember’s to do list while driving in the car includes:
Pulling out her hair bows/barretts.
Taking off her shoes and socks.
Throwing any toys she brought with her onto the ground.
Whining.

I consider it a miracle if we arrive at our destination with hair intact, shoes still on, and in a good mood! Photobucket