Boyce Thompson Arboretum pt. 4

I brought the ergo with us to the arboretum so that we could finally attempt the high trail hike just east of the suspension bridge. It’s far too steep to allow Ember to walk but not steep enough to prohibit Payson from trying it, while holding my hand of course!

We started up the trail and it was a lot of fun and Payson was loving it (which is a 180 turn around from his view of hiking last year!) and then… Photobucket

Ember’s shoe fell off and down the side of the mountain a ways. It was super sandy and steep (though it’s hard to tell from the picture) and I had to decide:
a) leave the $14 shoes there
b) wait for someone to hike up and ask them to retrieve it (haha, yeah right)
c) leave Ember with Payson on the trail and climb down there and get it
d) leave Ember in the ergo and climb down there and get it.

I decided to leave Ember in the ergo and start climbing down. If it seemed at all dangerous I’d stop and leave the shoe there. It wasn’t easy but it wasn’t really dangerous either so I went ahead and got the shoe! The hardest part was climbing back up because I kept sliding back down in the sand. The best part was I told Payson to wait in a certain spot and not move while I was getting the boot and he did, perfectly 🙂
After getting her shoe we kept on going. Payson and I were having a great conversation and a good time. I remembered to take my camera out of my bag and snap some pictures… this first one was because I’d noticed him crossing his fingers a couple times that day. I don’t know why, but it was cute. Photobucket

Overhead view of Ember in the ergo. These are hard to take, I end up with ten photos of the ground or a closeup of my shoulder or the top of my head. haha Photobucket

But mixed in with the throw away pictures from this angle is always at least one gem: Photobucket

Because it was HOT here in Arizona for SO long (duh, haha) we haven’t hiked for months and months. The last time we hiked Payson did ok but wasn’t really motivated to hike. He mostly liked just wandering through nature looking at stuff. This time he was really into the hike and getting up that mountain and didn’t stop or whine at all! In fact I was the one who eventually suggested going back (because we needed to go grocery shopping before picking the older girls up after school) and he was disappointed to stop! PhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucket

We did stop a few times for water breaks 🙂 He drank all of his really fast. Next time I’ll bring two sippies for him. Photobucket

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Oh boy was it hard holding my arm out to snap this. Getting both kids in the picture was challenging. PhotobucketPhotobucket

Payson kept wanting to touch the cactus. Photobucket

Remember when Ember’s shoe fell off down the mountainside a ways? Her other shoe met the same fate! This one was both easier and more difficult to retrieve! Easier because it fell only half as far down. Harder because this area of the mountain was more sandy and I was sliding like crazy climbing back up. Photobucket

After retrieving her boot (and putting both in my purse to avoid future losses) we headed back the way we’d come!

Boyce Thompson Arboretum pt. 1

Multiple blog posts about one trip to the arboretum?? We spent half the day there and I ended up taking a bunch of pictures, so yeah.
This first set of pictures are the ones I took of the little kids by the truck and the old shack.
Payson and Ember were so excited when we got to the arboretum. So so so excited!! PhotobucketPhotobucket

I kinda thought it’d be cool to take pictures of them by the truck again but didn’t want to make them if they didn’t want to. Well, I didn’t have to worry about that because when Payson saw the truck he begged me to take his picture by it and Ember got a huge kick out of it as well! PhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucket

They’re such good buddies and have always, since day one, had such a good relationship. He is the best big brother and she adores him! PhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucket

I love the way Ember is looking at Payson. Photobucket

She was climbing down off the truck and he was making her a smiley face out of a stick. PhotobucketPhotobucket

Payson loves that I have pictures of him on this stump from when he was two. He was eager for a new picture there. Photobucket

Ember wants to do everything her siblings do. Photobucket

Payson had found a curved stick just like his for Ember to “Have a smiley face.” PhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucket

I love how in these next ones Payson looks so pensive while Ember is tasting that stick. PhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucket

I asked him what he was thinking about and I think he said monsters. He talked about monsters and bad guys a couple times when we were by the old shack. Photobucket

Photography Coincidence

For fun I went back and found the original arboretum image that I modeled the newest header photo after.
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And out of curiousity I checked the date I took that first one, to see how long it’d been since.

And the date was 3/8/10.

Then I checked the date of the new image and it was 3/7/12.

Crazy, almost two years to the day later I took the same image!! I didn’t plan that at all either. How freaking cool crazy would it have been if I’d taken the second image a day later?!

Arboretum Photoshoot Attempt

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Took the kids to the arboretum. Sierra wanted to take Clifford somewhere fun. While there we had a little photoshoot.
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I bought them each a Jones soda moreso to keep Ember busy and hopefully in one place than for the treat itself!
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After taking some photos at the cool old truck we moved onto the old building. I got a new header picture 🙂
And these…
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We headed over to the children’s center. I got some cute shots of Sierra with Clifford.
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Just a Couple More

It’s midnight. I had no idea it was getting so late! Allan was reading online and I was hanging some pictures I had printed today and boom, I’m going to be dead tomorrow 🙁
Since I already have these uploaded I’ll just post them. I have a million more from this trip but I have zeeeeero energy left for editing pictures. I get SO bored of editing pictures after the first couple.
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I printed this next one.
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I printed this next one, too.
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I adore this boy of mine. There’s a cute story about the word “adore” with me and Payson that I’ll have to share sometime. We tell each other we adore each other all the time 🙂
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I really love this one of Sierra. I want to go back and re edit her skin because I forgot to turn the opacity of the skin retouching layer down (she had orange soda allll over her face) but I still like it and probably won’t remember to post the re-edited version.
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I printed that one two posts down and it’s even cuter on my wall. I super love it!

I have a few more of Sierra and Payson together like this next photo. They’re smiling in one and it’s soooo cute! And then I have some with Ember in them as well. SO MANY! I love this location!
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Ugh, my brain hurts.

The Life I Want

The lack of hurry. Glancing up at the sound of giggles, feeling warm soapy water, dirty dishes in my hand, while watching a baby and toddler become friends amidst a pile of baby toys on the living room floor.

Noticing the rustling in the bushes, stopping to search for the lizard running through the leaves, pointing out the lizard to eager, excited children.

Laughing fully along with small voices to the silly song about frogs blaring from the car speakers.

Laying on the ground in the afternoon; soaking in the image of my little boy, nose to nose with his stuffed elephant, staring off into space, consumed with toddler thoughts. That elephant nose, rubbing back and forth.

The load of laundry on my hip abandoned on the couch while I kneel to tickle the baby. The sound of her giggles filling the room with happiness.

The life I want.

My mind is a lot clearer now. I am not depressed. I’m not overly stressed. Things are balanced. Within the balance are stressful moments. There are also lots of busy moments. Those don’t consume me anymore.

Oh man is life full right now. When not cleaning, cooking or homeschooling we’re outside or we’re inside playing lots of games or reading books. I love playing games and reading books! I love that my mind isn’t elsewhere, on uncompleted to dos, while being with my kids!

Switching gears… because the pictures are in this order and I don’t feel like rearranging them… my Ember baby loves being up on her toes.
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What’s wrong with standing on my toes?
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It’s true, she is currently fully a toe walker. It brings me back to Sierra’s babyhood and makes me fearful and yet it is so cute.
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I don’t know if her toe walking will “stick around” like Sierra’s did. I really hope not. But I guess toe walking is genetic. I used to walk on the tops of my toes as a kid (not constantly like Sierra) and Payson does that often, too. So somewhere in my genetics I’m setting my kids up for physical therapy. Great 😛
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A couple of pictures not needing captions.
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Payson decided to rip apart a scrapbook page I had on the table. He threw a sheet of vellum on the floor. It landed near Ember. Who happily gobbled up her treat. The ink from the printed journaling made quite the mess. Where was I? Sitting right next to her oblivious until she’d chewed for a few seconds. Brooklyn was sitting a few feet away and said, “Mom, Ember has paper!”
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After Sierra’s school time that morning we went to the arboretum to experience nature with our five senses.
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Every time we’re close to a cactus now Brooklyn wants to take a picture while touching it for me to post on my blog.
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Sierra and her toe-walking forced lean.
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Payson was running happily through the arboretum. So fast that he tripped. I comforted him and asked if he wanted a picture of his owie (my kids love pictures of their owies) and he did.
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Then he wanted a picture of how dirty elephant got when he fell.
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Ember loves the arboretum.
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I always bring diapers and wipes when we go places (obviously they’re needed) but I also always leave them in the car. Because I change the kids a lot in the car and am stupid and don’t put the stuff back in my diaper bag. I don’t know why I do that.
So Ember had a very full (leaked through) diaper and I had no wipes. Luckily I did have a diaper. I used my water bottle and her shorts to clean her up. So she went pantless the rest of the trip. Luckily it was hot so it worked out.
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We sat in this area for a while. The kids colored in their art books while I nursed Ember.
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I took a picture of elephant. I think Payson will like to have it on his wall 🙂
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Ember was happy to watch everything from the stroller once her belly was full.
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The kids had some fruit for a little snack and Brooklyn glared at Sierra because Sierra accidentally bumped Brooklyn’s knee.
Yes, this glare was for that. Brooklyn’s pretty dramatic.
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Ember is old enough to enjoy the aboriginal music now. She giggled a lot over it and all of us dancing around.
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I asked the kids who could do the silliest dance. Brooklyn wins hands down.
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It’s gotten into the 90s this week. We were all hot from the arboretum trip so we went home and played in the sprinkler.
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And then had popsicles.
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Since the popsicles were just organic apple juice I let the kids give Ember a taste.
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And then it was time for school! School in a swimsuit.
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Sierra had already done her school in the morning so she played with puzzle pieces and pattern cards with Payson.
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The next day I didn’t take any pictures until the evening during our shopping trip to Target.
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Payson got this new little truck for $1.99. He spotted it and begged me in the cutest way for it and I couldn’t resist.
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All three kids were so excited at the end when I said we should get icees.
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And they were so cute sharing the different flavors they got ♥
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I don’t usually get an icee for myself. And I usually hate everything flavored orange. I can’t stand orange candy or soda or popsicles or anything. I was surprised when I tasted the girls’ orange cream icee by how much I loved it! I went and bought one for myself!
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Payson and I were giving each other tastes. It was so fun sitting with him (the girls were at another table, which was adorable that they went and sat on their own at a little table) and sharing. He’s a very sweet little boy. He was so happy that he could have an icee 🙂
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So that icee I loved? I drank four or five sips and got sick of it. haha!

And now, I really have to go get some stuff clean and then set up Payson’s preschool stuff! I’m so excited. It came in the mail this week and there are posters and a calendar that are supposed to be hung on the wall. I bought some large whiteboards to hang them up on instead. I’m sick of poking holes in my wall to have the poster ripped down by Payson anyway!

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.

It is Fall, It is Fall

The leaves are falling everywhere.
It is fall!
(That little song is sung constantly in our house, it’s a little diddy from nickjr)
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Arizona went and stole my heart again this week. 70 degree weather. Heavens do I love this.

Allan’s parents came over Saturday. We decided to go the arboretum. Allan’s parents are the ones who bought us our yearly pass and they’ve never been!

The arboretum is a rocking good time.
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And we most certainly found our fall there.
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Ember got to spend some time with cuddling with grandpa.
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And lots of time with daddy. Who she missed SO MUCH while he was away for three weeks! She was filled up with endless smiles for him when he got back last week.
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Grandpa taught Brooklyn a bit about baseball.
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Allan took this one of Sierra hanging out in the stroller. Sierra loves hanging out in the stroller. If it was up to her she’d be treated like Ember… carried in a carrier or stroller, held all day… she would love it if she was babied more.
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Ember had a snack.
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While Allan was in South America he still talked to Ember every few days. I’d hold the phone near her ear and he’d start talking to her and she’d break out into huge grins and coo and giggle like crazy! It was literally the cutest thing I’ve ever seen in my life!
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We took some family pictures there. The ones in my header and here’s an outtake:
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We’d brought the double stroller with us since Brooklyn was feeling sick that day. I’d wanted to stay at home with her (and Ember of course) while everyone else went but decided she’d be ok if she rested in the stroller the whole time.
But did she rest? Nope! She ended up walking and running and climbing quite a bit and it really wore her out!
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Monday or Tuesday (geez, days are flying by!) I gave Ember some tummy time in the morning and she pushed her face into the carpet and cried.
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So I rolled her over onto her back and sang her some songs instead.
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And couldn’t resist the urge to take a couple shots of her adorable feet!
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And that cute little belly button!
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She was getting really sleepy so it was time for some milk before bed.
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I brought her over by her siblings so I could read to them while they played.
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We had a lot of fun spending the morning there on the floor.

Ember fell asleep while nursing.
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And there are so many more pictures but it’s getting late fast so I’m going to stop.
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Good night.