Another Adventure

Once again, I don’t know where this was. In the mountains somewhere. ha  photo 019eresized_zps02c05785.jpg photo 025eresized_zps60bbac4b.jpg photo 071eresized_zps3f2b76b7.jpg photo 124eresized_zps69fb2d5f.jpg photo 133eresized_zpsce2ebf1a.jpg photo 137eresized_zps588a7bb2.jpg photo 142eresized_zps5ef3a768.jpg photo 150eresized_zps52f1ca7c.jpg photo 161eresized_zps91a6ae0b.jpg photo 175eresized_zps3b21516d.jpg photo 178e2resized_zps151f6dcd.jpg photo 193eresized_zpsbb77e488.jpg photo 197eresized_zps82f632cc.jpg photo 201e2resized_zps54d0abe2.jpg

I love this picture of Brooke.
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Allan is in charge of making the fire and cooking the hotdogs for those who can’t cook them well enough on their own. I’m in charge of keeping an eye on the other kids and holding Everett. Mostly holding Everett. Holding Everett is a full time job!
Allan got things done effectively by cooking three hotdogs at once.  photo 205eresized_zps3c3a6b81.jpg

I always attempt to put Everett down at least once during our trips. I’d like to experience nature for just a little bit without holding that sack of potatoes! 😉  photo 210eresized_zps49a88509.jpg photo 212eresized_zpsc4a2fb76.jpg

My big girls. Isn’t it an odd thought that once upon a time they were my babies. My only babies! And now they’re the big girls.  photo 217eresized_zps698d5e2a.jpg

And we mostly refer to Payson and Ember as the little kids or the little ones. Everett is just the one we call “the baby.” haha  photo 220eresized_zpsaecf811a.jpg photo 227eresized_zpsc35751d3.jpg

Speaking of the baby, Allan held him for me while I ate my hotdog… just to give me a little break. Everett saw Allan drinking from his water bottle and about had a heart attack from the joy of it all.  photo 240eresized_zps5cb97ea7.jpg

This is Everett’s “I want that!” face:  photo 253eresized_zps77777660.jpg

He seriously was so funny, he just kept staring at it and whenever Allan would take a drink he’d open his mouth wide with full expectation that Allan would eventually pass it over for him to have a turn!  photo 254eresized_zpsb8ff4ae4.jpg photo 262eresized_zps6116e357.jpg photo 266eresized_zpsaaa03596.jpg photo 273eresized_zps713dafef.jpg photo 275eresized_zps6bd98212.jpg

This was the day after Ember’s fourth birthday so I took some pictures of her in attempt to… take some pictures of her.  photo 334eresized_zps7064c84b.jpg

She was more in the mood to run around pretending she was a bunny so I didn’t get more than these.  photo 370bwresized_zpsecd1ca01.jpg

Once home we had extra birthday cake and then went to bed.  photo 385eresized_zps0cdfc224.jpg photo 387eresized_zpsbecf5873.jpg

Two Pairs

So Brooke and Sierra hang out together mostly and then Payson and Ember. They sometimes all play together but mostly it’s those two pairs separated. Same goes for mealtimes. I got this little picnic table on clearance for like $19 at Wal-Mart and Payson and Ember decided they want to eat all their meals there. So mostly they do.  photo 013eresized_zps66f2823c.jpg

And Ember Anya Turns 4 Years Old!

My amazing daughter. Four years on this earth. She is pure happiness and love, that Ember. She is so smart, so funny, so clever, so creative, so loving, so kind, so loyal, so compassionate, so giving, and just basically the epitome of perfection. Ember’s only flaws are that she is a picky eater and she doesn’t like to sleep. Practically ever. haha

Ember loves puzzles, she loves games, she loves toys (all toys!), she loves her siblings, she loves her parents, she loves writing letters and words and coloring pictures, she loves being read to and reading to others, she loves pizza and salad, she loves cookies and nutella, she loves cereal and waffles, she loves apples and grapes and carrots, she loves playing outside, she loves going on adventures and exploring, she is brave and wants to do everything herself, she’s independent, she is a touch shy sometimes but mostly social, she is forgiving and accepting, she points her finger in the air when she’s telling you something, she taps a finger to her chin when she’s thinking, she loves to dance and has a bunch of favorite songs, she plays with her hair when she dances, she can buckle herself into her carseat- has been able to forever- but can’t unbuckle, she can get herself fully dress and 99.99% of the time picks out her own outfits- from her head (and hair bows) to her feet, she likes to bring toys on errands but throws them on the ground as we drive, she still takes her shoes off in the car as we drive places, she stopped breastfeeding a week after her birthday!, she likes Sofia the First- Doc McStuffins- Dora- Paw Patrol- and pretty much all of the shows geared to her age group, she loves when I make up stories to tell her and she really loves when I tell her stories from our family’s past- whether or not she’s in the stories doesn’t matter but she does like those ones in particular, she comes up with creative names for all her babies and stuffed animals really quickly, she pronounces vanilla ‘navilla’ and nutella ‘mutella’ and cold ‘toad,’ she loves to pretend she’s a baby animal- bunny and kitty are her favorites, she gets scared really easily- if a person in her family is pretending to be scary she will stop and tell them firmly, “Guess what! I love you! I love you. I love you!” thinking it will soften them up, she is obsessed with picking Everett up or- because he’s heavy for her- dragging him around by his feet! She loves coloring on herself, she still likes to be held a lot, she still loves the color purple but now also likes pink and if you ask her she’ll tell you she likes ALL the colors- but if she gets to choose something by color it’s always purple, she loves to help and very much thinks of herself as an adult in her capabilities, she is confident and capable and responsible. She is just so much fun to raise! I love this little girl with my whole heart!

I went the easy route this year and bought one of those wall display things from Amazon. They’re super cheap and make it look like you did a lot when really you did almost nothing! haha
Ember LOVED this setup. She gasped when she saw it and couldn’t stop smiling!  photo 363eresized_zps61e6bf27.jpg photo 381eresized_zps524b5ac2.jpg photo 388eresized_zps3770a1fd.jpg

We were waiting for Allan to finish something or to get home (I can’t remember now) so we just snapped a few dozen pictures while waiting!  photo 401eresized_zpsd2991a4b.jpg

I just let her go with her own poses. She’s so funny!  photo 405eresized_zps14659357.jpg photo 418eresized_zps5e422e5e.jpg photo 428eresized_zpsb7886ebc.jpg photo 433eresized_zps5d5d33f0.jpg photo 443eresized_zpscfcb9f3e.jpg photo 446eresized_zps4def9b6d.jpg photo 451eresized_zps6941ca4a.jpg photo 459eresized_zps38370597.jpg photo 482eresized_zpsac6f7ab4.jpg photo 481eresized_zpsc7e10b11.jpg photo 523eresized_zps127cd217.jpg

And then Allan came in and we were ready to start the birthday celebration!!  photo 529eresized_zps944b3aaa.jpg photo 536eresized_zps23068dd4.jpg photo 541eresized_zpsae0b788c.jpg

She had so much fun showing that she was four all day.  photo 548eresized_zps346926bc.jpg photo 549eresized_zps4456ef37.jpg

I decided to film her opening her presents and I’m glad I did because she was so precious. I’ll try to upload that (but probably never will, knowing me!) because she was SOOOO adorable.  photo 551eresized_zps29e650c0.jpg

She was genuinely happy about each thing ♥  photo 554eresized_zpsd379a302.jpg photo 560eresized_zps2dbd8bc4.jpg photo 569eresized_zps56db93e5.jpg photo 572eresized_zpsa3fe1e51.jpg photo 575eresized_zps178bda3c.jpg photo 578eresized_zpsa65d60b7.jpg photo 579eresized_zps42e334cd.jpg photo 580eresized_zps70329585.jpg photo 585eresized_zpse6215251.jpg photo 587eresized_zps8bb861cc.jpg photo 591eresized_zps44493fcb.jpg

The week before her birthday I asked her what kind of cake she wanted. She said chocolate with purple frosting. Then I showed her some ideas on google images… she spotted a cake covered in candy and instantly knew THAT’S what she wanted. I was pretty okay with that considering a bunch of candy on a cake is the easiest thing to do! haha  photo 592eresized_zps3b50f8ed.jpg photo 596eresized_zps851c0935.jpg

It looked crazy and like a big bunch of candy and she loved it so very much! She just sat there staring at it and smiling and then looking at it from different angles and pointing out the different parts.  photo 604eresized_zps338f35f9.jpg photo 606eresized_zpsfec0d75f.jpg photo 613eresized_zps0ccbba5d.jpg photo 618eresized_zps5af0d775.jpg

Happy Birthday to Ember, Happy Birthday to youuuuu!  photo 626eresized_zps852c31b2.jpg photo 628eresrized_zpse309653d.jpg photo 629eresized_zps1fefb1e0.jpg photo 632eresized_zps6a3ed563.jpg photo 636eresized_zpsb6139abb.jpg photo 645eresized_zps37c0e712.jpg

Things haven’t changed since her very first birthday where she didn’t want to eat her cake… she still doesn’t love cake. She likes a lot of sweets but cake isn’t one! She picked off and ate the candy and took some “bites” of frosting and then was done!  photo 669eresized_zps24958a01.jpg

The last photo I have is later in the evening I took this to set the exposure before recording her singing happy birthday to my mom, whose birthday is two days after Ember’s! (we have 5 family birthdays in five days at the end of September!) photo 862eresized_zpse676db95.jpg

The Eve of Her 4th Birthday

I’m an emotional wreck. My baby girl is turning 4. I don’t want to believe it, I don’t want it to happen, I don’t want to be sitting here watching the glorious years of raising Ember fly back at break neck speeds. All of it, all of raising her, has enriched my life in a way I didn’t know was even possible. She is my worst sleeper, 4 years worth of not sleeping for me… but I’d do it all over again, and again, and again, to just get to do it all over again. I love her so much is actually hurts. I can’t imagine a life where she grows up and leaves me. I can’t imagine a me without her. I can’t and refuse to think about the day when my baby is not a baby, is not mine to raise anymore. Lives in a different house! I can’t do it. How was I ever in this world without my Ember?

I took some point and shoot pictures of us together on her last night as a three year old. I may have cried more than a mom should have about the idea of her growing up. All when she wasn’t around, of course! I was nothing but excitement and happiness when talking to her about her fourth birthday.

So here we are. The very last time I got to hold my 3 year old. I STILL cry about it, about her growing up, if I stop and think about it. I love this child more than I ever thought I could love anything or anyone in the whole world!

I mean, obviously I should be used to this because I’ve fallen deeply in love with people 6 times now. Allan, and each of my 5 kids, but it still surprises me when I stop and realize my kids are growing up. It really sped up this year… time, it feels like it’s just flying by and I can’t catch it and stop it. I don’t want this phase of my life to end. As hard as it is I want to stay JUST RIGHT HERE forever!! I want my kids in my house, I want to mother them, I want to hear little voices, lots of laughing, and even crying… this can’t all be flying by so fast, can it?!
So I’ll take these birthdays that keep passing me on by… 6 people in this house growing and aging, and I’ll just reminisce and be so so so thankful that I get to experience it all.  photo 820eresized_zps2afd3662.jpg photo 821eresized_zpsdc9cffd2.jpg photo 833eresized_zps3edc1555.jpg photo 839eresized_zpsbf9d7cd7.jpg photo 841eresized_zpsf99a4faf.jpg photo 849edbresized_zps03e684f5.jpg

The Very Normal Little Parts of Life

DISHES. D I S H E S. Dishes, dishes, dishes, and more and more and more dishes.  photo 264eresized_zps6f893d3b.jpg

Baby playing. Baby toys.  photo 272eresized_zps11be6586.jpg photo 279eresized_zps7cbc87aa.jpg photo 281eresized_zpsf9e8bcf0.jpg

Paper, markers, crayons, scissors, tape, glue, scraps… all day every day.  photo 285eresized_zpsb37bb3f0.jpg photo 287eresized_zps1caf67b5.jpg

Binkies. Lots of binkies. Mostly giraffe Wubbunubs but also some lone binkies.  photo 304eresized_zps86b3afd7.jpg photo 318eresized_zps3db9f35a.jpg

Brooke’s school decides to start charging for bus rides. $1 each. So we now drop off and pick up exclusively. This day was a roooough day so we got Taco Bell before heading to the school. We got there early and Sierra and Payson sat on the grass outside the school eating their tacos.  photo 327eresized_zps1e92f42f.jpg photo 333eresized_zps1e9cdcb0.jpg

Grabby baby hands. Everett’s in the lunge-for-everything-he-sees phase. Doesn’t matter what it is, where it is, he wants it!  photo 344eresized_zpsa35d289e.jpg

Everett’s Follow Up Appointment for His Hands

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So we had quite the ordeal getting to Everett’s appointment on time. It’s a hassle getting four gets ready and then driving so far…

We did get there on time though! But when I was signing in the receptionist tells me my appointment was cancelled and that they called me the day before to let me know and left a message.
Problem was that was the week my phone was broken! I stood there having just spent an aboslutely insane morning getting four kids ready and out the door and driving all that way and I was like… um, okay? I guess I’ll go home then :/

But the receptionist said, wait what is your appointment? A follow up? That takes like five or ten minutes, we can squeeze you in! So she goes back and asks which doctor/PA is available with the easiest gap in their schedule to squeeze me in and I get this guy named Eric. I can’t remember his last name or title because everyone just called him Eric and he introduced himself as Eric! haha

Anyway, Eric was wonderful and so great with us and didn’t treat us like a squeezed in appointment at all. It really, truly was a super quick follow up, they just needed to see that Everett’s wounds were completely healed and tell me about follow up care. Mederma at least twice a day, massage the cream in as much as possible because the massage helps loosen up his scars which is just as important as the cream used to fade and flatten them. Eric also wanted to check out the curves in Everett’s fingers. We talked a bit about how they are pretty curved and right now it’s an obvious deformity and at this point there’s no way we can know exactly how curved his fingers will stay. They don’t want to do pins or anything else… it’s just wait and see at this point. So Everett might just have one pretty curved ring finger (on his right hand) or maybe even both his ring fingers will stay looking pretty curved or maybe as he grows they’ll straighten out enough to hardly tell they’re curved! I’m obviously hoping for the second option but I can’t imagine his fingers will just grow straight. His right hand ring finger especially is so curved.

Oh yeah, I also wanted to say that I really wanted to see Everett’s surgeon, Dr. Laurel Benson but she’d been in a bad car accident a few weeks after Everett had his surgery back in July and has been out of work ever since! She isn’t expected back to work this year at all! I was so worried about her when I heard that. I really love her and hope she has a full recovery. I’m still so sad for her 🙁  photo 225eresized_zps9013b92f.jpg photo 235bwresized_zps71dd34b4.jpg

Breastfeeding before the long drive home.  photo 242bwresized_zps6dce03a4.jpg

Official First Day of Homeschool Pictures

I really wanted a picture of them holding a paper with their grades this year. For the sake of their scrapbooks. haha  photo 375e2resized_zps28be512c.jpg photo 378bw2resized_zpsd1703b51.jpg

There are always less photos of Payson because he doesn’t like having his picture taken.  photo 391eresized_zps26e22647.jpg photo 349eresized_zpsfbd7eccc.jpg photo 354eresized_zps46cf326f.jpg photo 364bw2resized_zpsf0b8144a.jpg

This was the day Everett turned 10 months old so I took some pictures of him, too.  photo 428eresized_zpsb3aa6258.jpg

Group shot before heading back into the house.  photo 407eresized_zps646c3b2f.jpg

My office is pretty small. Originally I thought we’d do our home school stuff in our basement but when it’s time to print something I need the computer and don’t love running upstairs for that. And also, my kids play in the basement all the time and I really didn’t want them to have free access to all our craft/office/school supplies! I can only imagine the destruction! *shudder*
So we squeeze ourselves into the office and the fit’s cramped but oh well. And it gets messy hourly, disastrously messy, but oh well. Life is messy, I guess.  photo 014eresized_zps842c6822.jpg photo 022eresized_zpsdefc3632.jpg photo 027eresized_zpsc69d3e6d.jpg

In the afternoon we took a break to play on the playground in our backyard. We’d been out there for about an hour when Brooke came home.  photo 055eresized_zps3fc37900.jpg photo 061eresized_zps021e4e21.jpg photo 087eresized_zpsc2e75e97.jpg photo 104eresized_zpsf669591f.jpg photo 119eresized_zps18b5c00d.jpg photo 121eresized_zpsab636233.jpg photo 147eresized_zps83fbe40f.jpg

Back inside. I’d signed up for a trial of time4learning.com. We liked it for some reasons but in the end went with different curriculum.  photo 193eresized_zps9dead74a.jpg photo 194eresized_zps771fd590.jpg photo 200bwresized_zpsf0117135.jpg photo 210eresized_zps89f4bddd.jpg

Pretty Places, Photographed by my 50D!

A pretty place we visited! So, so pretty! We brought my 50d and the point and shoot and Allan even snapped pictures with his iphone. Fun times.  photo 083eresized_zps2c0132c8.jpg photo 085eresized_zps5951f516.jpg photo 088eresized_zps81bb42c6.jpg photo 100eresized_zps9ae56334.jpg

Everett was desperate for Allan to hold him once we got out of the car. Everett really, really loves his dad!  photo 111eresized_zpsb23878af.jpg photo 113e2resized_zps058a5ee2.jpg

Allan made a fire.  photo 119e2resized_zps0da487d7.jpg photo 119e3resized_zps588b2ed3.jpg

The kids love watching Allan make fires. I remember vividly being little and watching my dad make a fire. I was always so impressed with my dad and how it seemed like he could do anything! ♥  photo 121eresized_zps32b0c834.jpg photo 124eresized_zpsc7e40f2f.jpg photo 130eresized_zps5f26149d.jpg photo 131bwresized_zps93a4f09b.jpg photo 136e2resized_zpsc5dbf7f8.jpg photo 145bwresized_zps161dd46c.jpg photo 152bwresized_zps1a5ac4cb.jpg photo 154eresized_zpsfd555862.jpg

Oh hey, my husband! Just looking straight at the camera! I swear Allan and I barely see each other anymore. Our kids are always up late, Everett’s in our bed, Allan works late and has a long commute, and we haven’t had a date in over four years!
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Look at all those munchkins! They are so much work, more work than I can handle most days, but they’re adorable and I love them to death.  photo 164e2resized_zps4fe22e6f.jpg photo 169eresized_zps1e89833a.jpg photo 179eresized_zps3237ee39.jpg photo 192eresized_zps4ebf64f7.jpg

Allan and I always talk about how badly we want to buy a house with property and live off the land more. Have animals, a big garden… some day.  photo 202eresized_zps28b4c067.jpg photo 204eresized_zps4b7cf63b.jpg photo 205eresized_zps563d78ff.jpg photo 211eresized_zpsc50812c9.jpg

I noticed Ember’s shoes on the wrong feet and snapped a picture. For the last year she almost always puts her shoes on the wrong feet. And there’s a reason! She lines her shoes up in front of her with the soles facing her. She puts them together so they’re facing each other the right way… can you get a visual from my bad explanation? Imagine you sit and have the bottoms of your shoes facing you. If they are curved into each other you’re holding your right shoe with your left hand and your left shoe with your right. Therefore she’s lined them up right by looking at the bottoms but they’re technically in the wrong hands so she puts them on the wrong feet!  photo 219eresized_zps3f83e580.jpg photo 223eresized_zps89a16309.jpg photo 226eresized_zps2fbe71eb.jpg

I found these nitrate-free hotdogs at Wal-Mart! I think they’re a brand new product. I was excited about not having to go to Sprouts for hotdogs if I didn’t want to. Wal-Mart has an option!  photo 232eresized_zps20c2a1c3.jpg photo 240eresized_zpsd654dc35.jpg photo 254eresized_zps042fa9e0.jpg

Okay I have about twenty pictures to post right now which is an obscene amount but there’s a story! Payson’s marshmallow caught on fire and turned black. He didn’t want a burnt marshmallow so Allan said he’d eat it and give Payson a new one. Payson was unsure about this whole situation… probably worried about that burnt marshmallow and worried Allan wouldn’t give him another. His face during this entire exchange cracks me up!  photo 257eresized_zpsf19fa428.jpg photo 258eresized_zps8d05d35f.jpg photo 259eresized_zps5452e84e.jpg photo 260eresized_zpsd2272cba.jpg photo 261eresized_zps79385b0a.jpg photo 263eresized_zpsc6f3d42b.jpg photo 264eresized_zpsf4795e5f.jpg  photo 265eresized_zps567418a0.jpg photo 267eresized_zpsea947457.jpg photo 268eresized_zps490f9b12.jpg

He was really happy to get a “new” marshmallow but very serious about making sure not to burn this one!  photo 269eresized_zps5d55b57c.jpg photo 270eresized_zpse13c249f.jpg photo 271eresized_zps35ca80b4.jpg photo 272eresized_zps0571f1c3.jpg photo 275eresized_zps9ec0a967.jpg photo 287eresized_zpsf456d55a.jpg photo 291eresized_zpsbc93a04e.jpg photo 293eresized_zps666b6d1a.jpg photo 296eresized_zps26fc8dab.jpg

Sierra wanted some pictures of her with her marshmallow. She is just so adorable!  photo 303eresized_zps70cfa8ce.jpg

She loves to do a really great smile and then silly faces, too.  photo 306eresized_zpsb6d99957.jpg photo 308eresized_zps7c55190d.jpg photo 310eresized_zps3e618701.jpg

And of course Brooke has the silly face pictures nailed.  photo 312eresized_zps764e6e2d.jpg photo 313eresized_zpscf3c86c0.jpg photo 316eresized_zpsf2a768c2.jpg photo 322eresized_zpsd7176391.jpg photo 324eresized_zpsd7e8d285.jpg photo 329eresized_zpsa825af78.jpg photo 791eresized_zps3094569b.jpg

Allan and I traded off holding Everett. I mostly hold him while Allan does the fire/dinner thing but Everett wants his dad so much he does hold him, too.
We went on a small walk after this and then went home. This is the last picture I took 🙂  photo 336eresized_zps6cb54962.jpg

In the Office

The battery for my 5D runs out. I can’t find my charger anywhere! I figure I lost it in our move so I order a new (used) one from Amazon. Until I have my beloved back I use my old 50D. It doesn’t work well because it’s breaking (why I bought the 5D in the first place) but it works just enough for me to snap some photos.

A few days after ordering a new (used) battery charger Allan found my old one! It was buried under some clothes on our bedroom floor that we’d unpacked haphazardly while moving in. It’s too late to return the one I ordered, in fact it didn’t arrive until a few days after finding my old one, so I guess I now have two battery chargers!

So anyway, some 50d snaps:  photo 009eresized_zpsf653f2a2.jpg photo 017eresized_zps4ab5470a.jpg photo 018eresized_zps85144305.jpg

I can’t get enough of my baby girl’s sweet face. She is so pretty!  photo 020eresized_zps154b8d72.jpg photo 022eresized_zpscbb58e1c.jpg photo 026eresized_zps912b3755.jpg photo 028eresized_zpsf65436b3.jpg photo 029eresized_zps38b63d34.jpg photo 033eresized_zps713e45db.jpg photo 037eresized_zps58da28de.jpg photo 038eresized_zpscf4069c7.jpg photo 042eresized_zps20663105.jpg photo 046eresized_zpsdc32d0d7.jpg photo 047eresized_zps5cb5c71f.jpg photo 049eresized_zps11a89366.jpg photo 052eresized_zpsf24e02db.jpg photo 056eresized_zps35fd6ee1.jpg photo 061eresized_zpse8d6565d.jpg photo 067eresized_zps714b2211.jpg photo 072eresized_zps27fe3c33.jpg