Nothing Like an Arizona Sunset

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It’s cruel timing of the universe that we’re moving out of Arizona during the nicest part of the year. I think after suffering through that miserable summer we should get to enjoy nice weather until April. But, instead we’re moving to the snow right after Christmas! I suppose I’ll just be thankful Arizona is seeing us off with gorgeous sunsets (and perfect weather) the last week we’re residents here 🙂  photo 530eresized_zps0cb6d9fd.jpg

Hieroglyphic Trail Hike

It’s November and the weather has finally made it to where it drops below 80 degrees in the evenings.
Which for our family means one thing…
Hiking season!!

I wasn’t too sure how my uterus would take this hike but it turned out to be easy peasy. I wasn’t crampy at all (until the drive home when I had a few strong contractions) but since I’m still fighting off a wretched cold I felt really horrible. Not like, I wanted to stop hiking… I just wanted my nose to stop running and my throat to stop hurting and to stop coughing!! lol

But besides that it was SO much fun and every single one of my kids was on their best behavior and we’re planning on hiking every weekend from now until the end of the year! haha (well, not the weekend after I have Everett, obviously!)  photo 103eresized_zps11df1240.jpg photo 119eresized_zpscbd1cd7d.jpg photo 122eresized_zpsda7c17c5.jpg photo 138eresized_zps0c41984e.jpg

We made it up to this flat area, which is our only goal when hiking with the littler kids, just in time for the sunset. It was gorgeous!  photo 141eresized_zpsc1982929.jpg photo 148e2resized_zps1f062a49.jpg

Ember had hiked the entire way there by herself but Allan was holding and cuddling her because just before arriving at this stop she’d stumbled and bonked her knee on a rock.  photo 160eresized_zps3af4c873.jpg

Daddy and his hiking buddies.  photo 164eresized_zps06483307.jpg photo 165eresized_zps664019a2.jpg

Mommy and kids. Minus Brooklyn who didn’t feel like having another picture taken right then! (I think she was mad at one of her siblings right then)
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Funny how my entire pregnancy was spent in the desert but only two of my pregnant pictures were taken out in the desert.  photo 173eresized_zpse5f2a806.jpg photo 176eresized_zpse551cb82.jpg

The oldest and youngest. For another two weeks 😉  photo 186eresized_zps83ac204b.jpg

All my daughters! ♥♥♥  photo 190eresized_zps93e9977f.jpg photo 193eresized_zps2e028df3.jpg

Mommy’s funny!  photo 204eresized_zpsdde0d302.jpg

The two that look like Allan! (I hope Everett gets Allan’s brown eyes! It’d be cool to have another brown eyed baby in this family!)  photo 218eresized_zps6384dd2b.jpg

I try to take some zoomed out shots each hike… Allan was getting a cactus off Payson’s pants in this picture.  photo 235eresized_zps98a0f063.jpg

We’ve been having some major, major bullying issues in our home. I typed up an entire post about it last Friday but then deleted it for Brooklyn’s sake 😉
Allan had this genius idea to make it a special project of Brooklyn’s to be Payson’s buddy and be nice to him. If we notice Brooklyn being nice to Payson we’ll keep track of it on a chart and every week or so Allan will do something special with her. Maybe not a prize or treat but just extra time together or a campout (she LOVES camping) or something.
He’d just talked in depth with her about it that day so right before the hike he told her that she could be Payson’s hiking buddy and lead the family on the hike. Since both she and Payson love being in front of everyone else it worked out really well! Payson was SOOOO happy that Brooklyn was being nice to him!  photo 249eresized_zps34e2233f.jpg photo 259eresized_zpsd9ff613f.jpg

Allan carried Ember all the way back to the car. She was loving cuddling into his shoulder and being able to leisurely look all around on the way back 🙂  photo 262eresized_zps0a5e75b3.jpg photo 263eresized_zps9285bb95.jpg

Mega iPod Dump!

I should add my iPod pictures to my regular posts more often. I do instagram a lot. My instagram username is Ariana_Tiffany. If you have instagram you should find me on there and we can be instagram friends!
Sorry in advance for the hodge podge nature of this post.

First up is a meal that Sierra loved. This was several weeks or a month ago. Spinach and cheese ravioli, chicken, and salad.  photo IMG_3645resized_zpsa779eacb.jpg

We’re stuck inside a lot from the heat so we play video games and watch TV a bunch. This day it was so hot outside (118) that even though our A/C was set to 70 (!) we were all sweaty and miserable. Video games that day were played a lot!
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I bought some awesome books at Costco. They’re $7.99 each and they have grooved lines and shapes for little kids to trace with their fingers. This is pre-handwriting skill development. Ember loves these books. Loves, loves, loves them!!  photo IMG_4167eresized_zpsfd96ecf6.jpg photo IMG_4183eresized_zps700c42f0.jpg photo IMG_4193eresized_zps89173684.jpg

I also bought two boxes of learning cards. One for Ember and one for Payson. They look pretty simple (they teach letters and numbers) but when I opened up the box they were even better than I imagined!  photo IMG_4195resized_zps421d5264.jpg

They have cards (shown below) with a different thing to learn about on each and on the back of the card are little things to teach kids along with activities or small projects you can do to reinforce what they just learned!  photo IMG_4196resized_zpsd4c6493f.jpg

The activity on one of the cards (the big, bigger, biggest one) was to trace different family members’ hands and compare the size difference 🙂  photo IMG_4198resized_zps36bdbeb9.jpg

Ember using her tracing book again. I bring one of these books with us everywhere we go and she loves to trace the lines in the car.
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I don’t know why I took this?
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My older girls fight a lot but really are best friends. I’m so glad they have each other to play with.  photo IMG_4259eresized_zps08d9efe2.jpg

Arts & crafts time!  photo IMG_4266eresized_zps8892313b.jpg

Spiderman poses.
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Brooklyn’s personality summed up in one picture.
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The little kids’ craft was making a lei.
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The older girls were coloring pages from a coloring book we got at Costco.  photo IMG_4301resized_zpsfeda8611.jpg photo IMG_4302resized_zpsa55979b0.jpg

The little kids and their finished leis. (These were from our Mother Goose Time monthly kit)
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Ember took her lei apart and put it back together a handful of times.
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Brooklyn’s been reading the Hobbit with Allan. She drew Gollum and Bilbo one day and I loved seeing her interpretation of them.
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I’ve tried dozens of brands/flavors of yogurt to try to get Ember to eat some and she’s adamantly refused all. She spotted this yogurt with Dora (her favorite) on the package and wanted it. And she ate it all!!!
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The older girls’ craft was this kit with pom pom animals. Brooklyn got really pissed and attempted to ruin the supplies. She can’t do crafts aimed at her age range (she is a couple years behind other kids her age when it comes to motor skills) and this was was targeted for 8+. I really thought it’d be okay for her but I was dead wrong. She threw all the supplies around the room when I refused to let her cut them up with scissors. Back to simpler crafts we go!  photo IMG_4355resized_zps799d8474.jpg

And in the same time frame Ember ripped a few pages out of a library book. Thanks, Ember! I just love paying full price for a book! Especially one that’s old and has been flipped through and worn out by hundreds of kids for who knows how many years!  photo IMG_4356resized_zps432b7077.jpg

I made banana bread and it was super yummy. (If you google banana bread it’s the recipe from allrecipes that is called banana banana bread)  photo IMG_4357resized_zps6f5fe8d5.jpg

While I was cooking dinner Ember was playing with toys on the counter.
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Lately the older girls ask me often to take pictures of them so that they can play with the different photo apps I have on my iPod. Their favorite is LensLight.  photo IMG_4373eresized_zps13c3381b.jpg

I’m 22 weeks along. Measuring 24 weeks along! I have measured two weeks larger with all five of my pregnancies! (this is a flattering picture, I’m really much larger than I appear here, as you’ll see in the picture after the one below! lol)  photo IMG_4394eresized_zps005dfa93.jpg

iPod pictures are not accurate; which is awesome if you’re overweight like I am! lol. I always find it interesting when women only take pictures of their pregnant selves with an iphone/ipod/camera phone. I’ve never taken an iPod picture that accurately shows my size!  photo 127eresized_zps20db51d5.jpg

I gave Ember pigtails one day and Sierra asked if I could do the same to her hair. She even wanted to use Ember’s hair barrettes.  photo IMG_4411resized_zps71ac2f05.jpg

There was a major storm here Friday. We didn’t realize how big the storm would get so I let the kids play in the rain for a couple minutes. In that time it went from zero rain to pouring BUCKETS. Full on storm, really not okay for kids playing in!!! I had them all come inside right away.  photo IMG_4425eresized_zps5440ac69.jpg

Sierra slipped on the wet garage floor (our floor is slippery because it’s sealed with… something?) and smacked her head on the tire of our SUV. She immediately had the biggest goose egg I’ve ever seen and it freaked me out. I got her frozen veggies right away and had her sit down while I inwardly freaked out and thought about taking her to the ER. My kids’ heads have been bumped so many times though that I know the drill… you check for the “bad” signs and if they don’t have them then you just ice it every few hours. Her pupils were dilating, she wasn’t dizzy or confused or anything, she wasn’t tired or lethargic or ill in any other way. Her headache went away fairly shortly afterwards. To this day (two days later) it hurts if you touch her goose egg but besides that, she’s fine. Thank goodness! Regardless, I felt so sorry for her. The goose egg is on the back of her head (under her hair) and you can see it sticking out 🙁  photo IMG_4429resized_zpse2dbce03.jpg

We waited quite a while for the storm to die off. When it stopped raining I let the kids go outside and play in the fantastic puddles left behind!  photo IMG_4437eresized_zps9f1ab3cc.jpg photo IMG_4444eresized_zps6f08473b.jpg
And that wraps up my insanely jumbled, long iPod photos post!

Payson Cut His Hair

I noticed Payson’s hair looked funky one afternoon while we were at the store. I looked a little more closely and discovered quite a few chunks of hair missing. I was surprised and asked him if he cut his hair. He happily responded, “Yeah, I got a haircut!”  photo 006eresized_zps5923bdc3.jpg

I sure was bummed. The chunks he cut were to his scalp and I didn’t want to buzz his head.  photo 011eresized_zps361c23e1.jpg

I cut it short but not too short. If you looked closely you could still see dents and grooves on the top of his head but I figured that was better than shaving it closely.
After his haircut he asked if we could go outside to photograph it.  photo 019eresized_zps8dc5a1e7.jpg

It was a beautiful day out so we brought toys so that we could play out there, too. (These pictures were taken weeks ago)  photo 027eresized_zps04aa03a5.jpg photo 039eresized_zps7523dfdf.jpg

I later found a chunk of hair cut out from the very front of Ember’s hair, too. It’s so hard to grow out her bangs so I was totally bummed about that. I couldn’t get a straight answer out of Payson so I’m not sure if it was he or Ember who did the cutting. It doesn’t really matter, I suppose. I did have a long talk with him about only moms and dads cutting hair and how scissors are only for paper and only when mom is in the room and gave them to you! (he’d climbed our tall bookshelf, after breaking down the baby gate to that room, to get the scissors from the top shelf)  photo 045eresized_zps3b2deb4e.jpg photo 047eresized_zpsa4d392dc.jpg

Several months ago Payson started hanging on my legs as I walked. Like, wrapping his arms and legs around my leg and clinging on for dear life. I really, really hate when kids do that. Ember saw that and thought it looked like the greatest thing ever and does it all the time now, too. It really annoys the crap out of me. They both also LOVE to pull on my dresses or skirts or pants when we’re out. I tell them not to but it still happens. We’ll be out and suddenly my skirt is inches away from exposing my undies. Haaaate it.  photo 050eresized_zps6f1a39d9.jpg

This was before the scorpions and rattlesnakes came back, we used to take daily walks in the desert.  photo 070eresized_zps5b82eec9.jpg

If you ever see a picture of my kids pretending to breastfeed their babies, that’s all their doing. I don’t ever tell them to but I’m glad they do because it’s adorable.  photo 088eresized_zps2797ece7.jpg photo 096eresized_zps6291610c.jpg photo 124eresized_zps3f47b5fc.jpg photo 126eresized_zps39d44b97.jpg

Lastly, I had originally planned on writing about the kids’ reactions to us telling them about the new baby but I don’t have enough brain power to do it justice. Instead I sat them down and asked them to share what they felt about having a new sister or brother.

More of that Rain!

It was raining, which you know, is my favorite thing ever. Payson asked if we could go outside which I said ‘of course!’ to.
But. It was cold. The wind chill was crazy that day. Buuurrrr. Not too cold to be outside for me, but definitely for the little kids. They were hilarious while outside though. Ember kept getting that little kid face when the wind blowed on her… where they catch their breath and their eyes open up huge? Haha, so cute!  photo 388eresized_zps749516e4.jpg photo 389eresized_zpscc1d1ea1.jpg photo 400eresized_zps5f1a74b3.jpg photo 401eresized_zpsd8ad4e0d.jpg

It was soooo windy and cold I decided to pick the girls up from the bus stop. I prefer picking them up anyway (because I’m overprotective) but they loooove when I let them walk home. I figured they wouldn’t enjoy walking in the cold. So off we went.  photo 407eresized_zpsa8728420.jpg photo 409eresized_zps031075ea.jpg photo 420eresized_zps0bf30879.jpg

When I spotted the girls getting off the bus I was glad I drove down. Sierra wasn’t wearing her sweater. Crazy girl. She said it’s because she just didn’t want to get it out of her backpack and she was really glad we picked them up!  photo 426eresized_zpse2957c65.jpg

We drove past a flooded area of the desert as we drove home.  photo 444eresized_zps11350cb5.jpg

Haircut for Payson!

I don’t know if you noticed in the last few posts that Payson was in desperate need of a trim. This had been the very longest he’d ever gone without a haircut in the four years he’s been alive.
His hair grows crazy fast and has since he was an infant. The last time I gave him a haircut and messed it up so dramatically I vowed I was never cutting his hair again! I don’t have a lot of faith in hair dressers, either, after a hundred botched haircuts from my lifetime… so I made the only logical choice I could. Payson would have long hair. lol!

The problem is, I really, really can’t stand long hair on boys. I know some women like it or even *gasp* prefer it, but not me. I LOVE short hair on boys. But, I’m not good at cutting hair and I don’t want to spend $20 for someone else to do it every month!

All that to say, it was finally time to just get it over with. And, I didn’t do too bad.  photo 325eresized_zps7ca85a54.jpg

He loves attention. He had a skip in his step on the way outside to take these photos of his new haircut. lol  photo 334eresized_zpsd36cc1d8.jpg photo 340eresized_zps073a8735.jpg photo 365eresized_zpsfdd4c101.jpg photo 370eresized_zps99a20360.jpg photo 393eresized_zpsbca960c0.jpg

I’m sorry there are so many but, he’s just so cute!!  photo 400eresized_zps204dc8d2.jpg

Ember was out there, too. Having a good time.  photo 429eresized_zps3c51bb6d.jpg photo 442eresized_zps27103980.jpg

Payson was talking about how snakes would come out and gobble up their nose, and toes, and head, and mouth! Ember guarded her head.  photo 495eresized_zpsce25a120.jpg

And guarded her knees.  photo 497eresized_zpsd326945e.jpg

And said, “Nake, no eat my mouf!”  photo 506eresized_zps405ca8a1.jpg photo 526eresized_zps3220a07e.jpg

Can’t Resist That Glorious February Weather! Desert Dreamy

As much as I’ve wanted to get the heck out of the desert already, I can’t deny that the weather last month was amazing! It was just cool enough that the scorpions hadn’t come back and just warm enough to not need a jacket or sweater. The sun was always shining and all the desert foliage was starting to come to life. It is actually pretty green here in Arizona these days. As green as it gets here anyway! (And just this week I’ve seen flowers started to blossom, yay for Spring in the desert!)  photo 211eresized_zps8b515b7c.jpg photo 216eresized_zps62e108f9.jpg

Using the pond water to wash off the caked on mud!  photo 226eresized_zps37ad8bfb.jpg

We walked behind the pond we’d been playing in into some trees and cactus to find some new, cool little spots.  photo 067eresized_zpsa6e1b533.jpg

The kids each found a little area, usually near a tree, that they called their forts. This was Sierra’s.  photo 082eresized_zpsaae50c97.jpg

After watching the older girls climb the tress Ember wanted up as well.  photo 103eeresized_zps0e1c518f.jpg photo 106eresized_zpsdf1c2b46.jpg photo 114eresized_zpsd890087c.jpg

Payson is afraid of heights so at first he didn’t want to join in but seeing Ember up there he was tempted to try it.  photo 119eresized_zps6a577888.jpg photo 121eresized_zpseb4eb57d.jpg photo 134eeresized_zpsa1091ca3.jpg photo 138eresized_zps9d960ac3.jpg photo 141eresized_zpsfc31134e.jpg photo 149eresized_zpsb19db1fa.jpg photo 161e2resized_zps05b9bc5a.jpg photo 166eresized_zps31cd0019.jpg

Allan tried to stay just out of the way for those pictures but then I wanted some of him with the kids.
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The girls during this were running around playing all sorts of other things. They’re best friends and don’t care to have the little kids joining their games.  photo 210eresized_zps58de22b8.jpg

It Snowed in Arizona!!

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This was on a Tuesday, February 19th.
I didn’t think I’d ever be so lucky as to see it snow in Arizona! I’m so happy that though we’re moving, this was the year it snowed, the last year we’ll ever live here! Allan spent most of his life here and he says this is the first time he’s seen it snow in Arizona! Just so so cool!  photo 224eresized_zps3810a6e0.jpg

It was chilly that day early in the morning. It also rained. When I noticed the rain I got really excited about taking the little kids outside to splash around. We were busy doing something or other (can’t remember) and couldn’t get outside just then. Allan was home from work that day (so rare!!) because we had a repair guy coming. He and I both kept looking out the window at the rain, just enjoying the cloudy skies and comforting feeling of it all. One minute I was looking outside and noticed these giant white dots. At first I thought it must be hail but, they were larger and fluffier. I almost couldn’t imagine that they could possibly be snowflakes. Just as I was about to comment on them to Allan he spoke up, “Ariana, it’s snowing!” He asked me if I was going to go outside and I said, “Of course! Yeah, I’m going to take the kids out!”
And that’s exactly what I did!  photo 019eresized_zps26c4d7f9.jpg photo 026eresized_zps677dc5c0.jpg photo 033eresized_zps78d2ee6c.jpg photo 064eresized_zps0555ce68.jpg

I was excited and having an awesome time outside, the kids were having a good time but the snow didn’t make any more impact on them than rain would. Snowflakes, raindrops- the craziness of snow in Arizona was lost on them. lol  photo 068eresized_zpsf6806cbe.jpg photo 076e3resized_zps4b3904a6.jpg photo 080eresized_zps7b8ffb08.jpg photo 086eresized_zpsc2915a05.jpg photo 090eresized_zps970712fd.jpg

The kids’ toys floated down the gutter to the desert into this rock area set up at the end of our street. Once last summer I told Payson not to go on the rocks because snakes hide out there (because legit we get rattle snakes over there, mostly during summer) and ever since he’s been terrified of that area. He asks me each and every time he wants to walk out on the rocks if it’s ok and most of the time he insists I walk out there and check for snakes first. Despite that area being flooded with rain water he still was skeptical and almost wouldn’t go retrieve his toy. I don’t mind, while we live in the desert, that he has a fear of snakes and is careful about where he steps!  photo 092eresized_zpsb42d5571.jpg photo 102eresized_zpsa6c3c52f.jpg

Thanks to getting his toy out of the icey water, Payson started screaming about his freezing hands. I told him to run over to Allan (who’d been watching from the porch) and that daddy would take him inside to get warm. Payson ignored me, choosing instead to stand there and scream and cry some more.  photo 111eresized_zps38e0f3ab.jpg

I said okay, okay, and we headed back towards our house. Ember wanted to stop and send her ball down the water one more time. (She did NOT want to go inside yet!)  photo 116eresized_zpsd5b907e2.jpg photo 127eresized_zps5d0500e7.jpg

Inside I put the kids in a very warm bath to thaw and I sat near them but staring out the window at the snow, wishing I was back outside to experience it!!  photo 164e2resized_zpsba298cc0.jpg

I bundled the kids up in towels and took a picture from the porch as the snow kept falling.  photo 174eresized_zps83d5cc78.jpg

I got the kids dressed up warmly and stuck them in front of the TV and told Allan I was going to run outside for just five minutes to take a few more pictures. I mean, it is sooo not every day you see snow in the desert for crying out loud!  photo 191e2resized_zps3c8af9e1.jpg photo 187eresized_zps087e8787.jpg

Despite being into photography for 15 years, I have never photographed falling snow! I was momentarily stumped on how to capture it. Slow shutter speed to have the blurry flakes falling down? Quick shutter speed to freeze the flakes mid fall? In the end I did some of both.  photo 199eresized_zps2ccde430.jpg photo 200eresized_zps7291ac8c.jpg photo 204eresized_zpsef7a2140.jpg photo 212eresized_zpscbd2cb49.jpg photo 213eresized_zps55473dee.jpg photo 214eresized_zps9ca48f78.jpg photo 216eresized_zpsca550768.jpg

Forgive me for posting so many, a landscape/nature photographer I am most definitely not, but I couldn’t resist snapping away. It all looked so foreign. Snow on cactus!  photo 221eresized_zps41233612.jpg photo 222eresized_zps4200622b.jpg photo 224e2resized_zps77146558.jpg photo 229eresized_zps1a4814fb.jpg photo 233eresized_zpse6757527.jpg photo 238eresized_zpsbbd907fd.jpg photo 240eresized_zpsc880666e.jpg photo 246eresized_zps3d899502.jpg photo 252eresized_zpsa942f0b7.jpg photo 256eresized_zps74dff095.jpgOkay, that’s it! Thanks for “experiencing” my snowy desert day with me 🙂