Red Mountain Park

The girls had a day off school a few weeks ago so we went to Red Mountain Park for a picnic, some playing, and some fishing!
We stopped at WalMart for some food.  photo 389eresized_zps4f81bf0b.jpg

My kids would eat lunchables every day if I let them.  photo 393eresized_zpsed744991.jpg

We hadn’t been to that park in a year and were surprised to get there and find all of the playground equipment replaced with new stuff! The kids were really excited over the new stuff!  photo 406eresized_zps0ffb768a.jpg

There was this rope web thing that Ember was especially fond of.  photo 429eresized_zps165e4f8b.jpg photo 455eresized_zpsd6b247c8.jpg

After playing on the spinning toy with the older girls, Payson came over and joined Ember on the ropes.  photo 461eresized_zps19f24241.jpg

Brooklyn and Sierra stayed on that spinning thing almost the entire time. There were lots of parents there, tons of dads and grandpas, who kept it spinning near constantly!  photo 469eresized_zpsdf368a14.jpg photo 478eresized_zps50ba4bac.jpg photo 491eresized_zps6117b3b1.jpg photo 523bwresized_zps047f83ad.jpg

Payson was somewhat fearful of climbing too high but little Ember climbed as far up as possible!  photo 527eresized_zps3939bda7.jpg

Eventually the big girls joined the little kids.
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The bars holding up the ropes were interesting to the kids, too.  photo 557eresized_zps44f87562.jpg photo 558eresized_zpsf5ede7e8.jpg photo 562eresized_zps672ccc7c.jpg photo 571eresized_zps1475f139.jpg

We headed over to the lake to feed the birds.  photo 577ereized_zps81162b14.jpg photo 580eresized_zpsc2fb03ea.jpg photo 590eresized_zps3b8f6bba.jpg photo 598eresized_zps4898c1a9.jpg

After using up our bread we walked around to a different part of the lake to fish.  photo 621resized_zps721dbeb3.jpg photo 625resized_zpsfc96c95b.jpg photo 632eresized_zpsa3e0aa6c.jpg photo 639eresized_zps4a3b3974.jpg

My kids kept walking in front of people and blocking everyone’s way (they do this 100% of the time) so I had them walk in a line. I heard somewhere online or maybe on TV about a mom who’d tell her kids to “walk like ducks” in a line. I tell my kids that now all the time so that they stay single file. Keeping them in line no longer has me calling out for so and so to get out of the way or walk beside me, I only need to say, “Someone’s not being a duck!” and whoever was walking in front of someone or blocking the way falls back in line. Whew. (Just to clarify, they only walk in line when on paths or at a store, not everywhere we go! lol!)  photo 649eresized_zps4e5a3e80.jpg

Fishing didn’t go well at all. My kids were whining and fighting with each other… I think we lasted about ten or fifteen minutes tops before I decided it was time to leave.  photo 653eresized_zpsf053b54e.jpg

Before going home we stopped at Sprouts for groceries.  photo 661eresized_zpsd69d05af.jpg photo 666eresized_zps9c93cc46.jpg

Stylish Son

I’ve blogged about how I let my kids dress themselves 95%+ of the time now. So the other day I needed to go grocery shopping (with all four kids, oy) and told Payson to run and get dressed. This is the outfit he picked and put on. Photobucket
Yes, complete with backward shirt. lol! I told him, “Thank you for getting dressed so fast, you look awesome!” I literally had to clench my teeth not to laugh out loud. I went in my room for my shoes and giggled in there. He was so proud!
Sierra noticed me taking pictures of Payson and insisted on me taking more of all of them. (Brooklyn was inside ignoring my command to get ready to go and come outside, instead playing video games without permission.) PhotobucketPhotobucket

I didn’t tell them to do a thing, just stood there with my camera, they did the rest. Photobucket

Ember and I were talking a lot about a flock of birds that was flying around above our house. She is fairly obsessed with birds these days. I taught her the baby sign language sign for birds and she does it excitedly while saying, “cheap, cheap, cheap, cheap!” And I’m sure everyone agrees, a toddler doing any animal sound is just delightful. PhotobucketPhotobucket

Oh Sierra, I love you girl! Photobucket

Victory

I barely snapped myself out of the depressed ship I was sailing this week. I knew I needed to get out of the house but I didn’t want to go far and spend a boatload of money. Since Allan left me with his small car while he took my SUV to the lake with Brooklyn I was able to get out of the house without guilt! His car gets twice the gas mileage mine does!! My SUV only gets 13 mpg. When we bought this SUV is when a lot of my depression symptoms started because I could no longer go out as much. I was spending a *fortune* on gas.

So today having a car with such great gas mileage I had no guilt driving 20 miles. I only went to the gas station (it’s the only thing relatively close to us) but it was fun. I really, really need to just get out of the house often. I can’t stand being stuck inside all the time. Especially after the hellish summer we had stuck indoors for months!! And being sick all the time when it is nice (my biggest complaint about AZ, when it’s nice in the winter- we’re sick!!) just makes me feel like I’m always stuck indoors. And I’m a nature lover. Like, the biggest outdoors girl you could imagine. So, life doesn’t work for me if I’m trapped inside for 90% of it! haha

Today during a time when Payson was exceptionally cranky and whiny I noticed that Ember was nowhere in sight. I went looking for her (because we were about to leave) and found her in her closet with an Easter basket and Easter eggs. She was taking the eggs out of the basket one by one and putting them in this shoe organizer. I also love that she’s wearing a necklace in this picture because she’s almost always wearing a piece of jewelry of some sort!
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Once everyone had shoes on we piled into Allan’s car. Ember insisted on bringing her Easter basket with a couple of eggs. Photobucket

Sometimes when I smile I feel like the following lyrics are the exact description of my thoughts:
So take a good look at my face
You’ll see my smile looks out of place
If you look closer, it’s easy to trace
The tracks of my tears
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I had my kids share happy meals. Because three happy meals? I don’t have dough to throw around like that. Photobucket

We didn’t stop to get them full. They’d actually just eaten! We just needed to get out! Photobucket

Sierra played this claw game. Such a waste of money, but I bit my tongue about such things. I freaking loved claw games as a kid! Still do, if they were free anyway. We had a giant pile of won claw-game stuffed animals when I was a kid! Photobucket

I was driving home, the kids in the back happy and jittery with excitement over their gas station treats, when I remembered all the times (twice) we’d stopped and taken pictures on the sidewalk by the park. For old time’s sake we stopped to play and we took some pictures. Though Brooklyn was sorely missed. Photobucket

Like every time, the kids took turns sprinting to the camera to press the shutter button. They were giggling like crazy over it. I need a tripod so that I can safely set up my camera in a place that the kids can press the shutter button. It makes them so happy I bet I’d get some nice family pictures that way! Photobucket

I didn’t mean to buy two beef jerky sticks. I didn’t realize that after I grabbed one for him he took it upon himself to grab one as well. I did pay for both (I checked my receipt) but just didn’t realize it until we were driving home. Payson wasn’t too happy once we got home and I didn’t let him eat both. haha Photobucket

I was breastfeeding Ember in this one. Photobucket

Silly faces! Photobucket

I was surprised by how much Sierra wanted to take these pictures. She was having fun and looking so adorable!! Photobucket

Sierra and I were laughing so hard because mid run back to the rest of us after pushing the button Ember stopped and starts shaking her butt and wiggling like crazy and she laughingly tells us all, “I’m dancing! Ember dancing!” Maybe you had to be there but it was darn funny with the expression on her face like she was making a big joke by stopping to dance instead of running back to sit with us. Photobucket

Ok, that’s probably enough! Photobucket

Ember got quite a few laughs walking around the store with her Easter basket. Of course that girl gets comments, looks, smiles, and laughs wherever she goes. People like Ember a lot. (Sierra dressed Ember today for the first time!) PhotobucketPeople also like Payson. Sometimes I feel embarrassed because he is by FAR my most social child and will stop to talk to every single person we pass by in the store. He will just stop and start up a random conversation with them about whatever it was he was thinking about just then. Most of the time I try to judge the person’s interest level and help out; if they seem like they don’t want to talk to him I’ll get his attention so he leaves them alone, if they seem like they’re happy talking to him (laughing and smiling) I let him talk his little heart out. haha! Today in line at the gas station he was talking to a young guy behind us and the guy and his buddy were cracking up at Payson’s conversation. I wish I could remember exactly how he started that particular conversation… it was something like, “Hey, I’m Payson, I’m four, I was watching Ninja Turtles and Ralphael was mean so I like Michelangelo better. I like to call him Mikey. My mom got me this treat because I really love beef jerky. Do you like Ninja Turtles? Do you like beef jerky?”
That kid needs school. He LOVES people!

PS: I’m SO glad photobucket is letting me use the original site. I really hope it never changes.

Allan and Sierra’s Camping Trip

Before I post those pictures I just wanted to say, I’m kinda proud of myself for blogging 7 days in a row! I made a personal goal to blog every day of 2013 and this week has really kick started that!

I don’t have a lot to say about Allan and Sierra’s campout because I wasn’t there! They left Sunday night and got home Christmas Eve day. Allan has told me a bit about it that I could type out but instead I’m just going to post the pictures and then when he has some time I’ll have him come back in here and add captions and tell the story of it. I will say they both said they had a blast! Photobucket

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Family Picture Fail

A week ago I told my family that I wanted to go out Sunday afternoon to take our family pictures. I didn’t have high expectations as my family hates having their picture taken and always has. The short time we were out there was terrible. I won’t go into details (for the sake of those involved) but it was awful.

I got a couple pictures that are cute but… it was such a bad experience it’s hard to really like them at all. haha! Maybe in a few months when the memory is fuzzy. Photobucket

I’m including this next one to show how their faces looked in between shots. Can you tell Allan was telling me to hurry? haha! Photobucket

The last picture I took before calling it quits and heading home. Photobucket

Sierra’s New Bike!

There was a coloring contest held by Allan’s company last month. My kids all entered their drawings and we found out a week or two later that Sierra had won for her age group! The prize was a bike! We gathered the kids outside. Photobucket

We’d told the kids that Sierra was getting something. (we told them it was an early birthday present for her because we didn’t want them to know that Sierra had won the coloring contest and they hadn’t, but we did tell Sierra seperately that she’d won) Sierra wanted to close her eyes. She was so excited! Ember closed her eyes too! Photobucket

Allan rolled the bike out of the garage where it had been hidden this last week. Photobucket

We told Sierra to open her eyes and when she caught sight of her bike for the first time she was speechless. Photobucket

She was grinning and was really happy when we told her she could hop right on to tr it out! Photobucket

She’s been wanting a bike for a few years and we really wanted to get her one. It’s a huge blessing that she won this one 🙂 PhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucket

Peralta Trail Hiking

Another hike in Peralta Trail Canyon. We love that place! Allan started off wearing Ember in the ergo. PhotobucketPhotobucket

But Ember didn’t want to be carried, she wanted to run free. PhotobucketPhotobucket

Actually she wanted to stand in place playing with dirt. That’s a fun activity (not for me) but we really wanted to hike so, back in the carrier she went. Photobucket

She’s been really clingy to only me lately. She used to be happy hanging out with Allan but now pretty much every time he’s holding her she’s reaching for me. Photobucket

I passed the camera off to Allan and he took the next four pictures. PhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucket

My kids love this giant rock with a hole in the top. PhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucket

Brooklyn climbed to the top and through the hole. PhotobucketPhotobucket

Allan hopped in there to add perspective. Photobucket

Cute! Photobucket

It’s surprising to me how old she is now. She’s growing up. PhotobucketPhotobucket

Watching Brooklyn with interest. Photobucket

Sierra wanted to give it a try next. Photobucket

My boys! PhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucket

We hiked on a little ways further until we got to this shady spot with a big rock. The kids really wanted to stop and play there, so we did. Photobucket

Ember tried her hardest to climb up there. Photobucket

This is where Ember was dancing in that other post. Photobucket

Ember’s dancing style is to bend her arms and pump them and squat a bit and shake her booty. It’s so cute, I have several videos of her doing it but my movie editing software isn’t working so I can’t share them. But anyway, the other kids always copy her. Photobucket

She then takes her booty shaking seriously. So seriously she needs to hold on. Photobucket

I just can’t get enough of this little girl!! I am so thankful every single day for her in my life! PhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucket

Payson was climbing this rock and Brooklyn came over and grabbed him and pulled him off so that she could climb up. And that sentence pretty much sums up Brooklyn’s personality and the way she treats her brother 🙁 Photobucket

Poor Payson. I feel like I’m constantly telling his sisters to be nice to him. PhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucket

There were a few stumbles during our hike. Photobucket

Sierra had the worst. She fell twice and got pretty scuffed up 🙁 Photobucket

There are a lot of butterflies flying around here in Arizona this time of year. Brooklyn loves catching them and she does it really well. She’s very gentle so she doesn’t harm them, then she holds them a bit and sets them free. Photobucket

Allan took these of Brooklyn and all the pictures in the rest of this post. PhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucket

Yard Work

Our yard has been looking pretty awful with the hot weather keeping us indoors and Allan’s long hours at work. Photobucket

So the other day when Allan got home at a decent hour he went outside to work on it. The kids and I went with him. Photobucket

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Allan trimmed the tree down quite a bit. And it didn’t fit too well in our trash can so he had to climb in to smash it down. He wasn’t happy with me photographing that. Photobucket

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Checking out the trimmed tree. Photobucket

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The kids were walking through the chopped tree branches and calling it a jungle. They were pretending they were Bear Grylls. Photobucket

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I sure do love my husband. I wish he was home more. Photobucket

I sure do love my son. Photobucket

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I asked the kids if I could get a picture of them together. Brooklyn stormed off when the younger kids came over on their little bikes and trikes. Because her bike was in the garage and she wanted them to get off theirs for the picture. Photobucket

So I took a couple snaps of just the younger three. Photobucket

And then had them move their wheeled things so that Brooklyn would come back 😛 Photobucket

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Desert Walk

One day last week when the high was “only” 95 degrees, we went for a walk. Photobucket

My kids have cabin fever. Photobucket

I have cabin fever. Photobucket

But, fall is coming. Photobucket

Next month the weather will go from the 100s and 90s to the 90s and 80s. Maybe the 70s by the very end? Photobucket

We can hope. Photobucket

Until then… Photobucket

Short walks in the desert during the day, Photobucket

and longer walks in the early morning or evenings, will have to do. Photobucket