Our 4th of July!

Guess what Costco had this year! Fireworks! I was so dang excited when I saw them because for a huge box it was “only” $50! Normally when we buy fireworks at the fireworks stand it’s twice that! So I got a big box of fireworks from there and then we went to a stand to get sparklers and pop its! We got a variety of sparklers to try out!

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Brooklyn had stayed home, she doesn’t like to go on most errands. Once home I painted nails… anyone who wanted them painted got them painted. Me, Sierra, Ember, Everett, and Lyla.

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I had bought 4th of July themed shirts the second I saw them in WalMart probably a month or more ago! The kids finally got a chance to wear them!

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We packed up our fireworks and lightweight camping chairs in the back of the van and I noticed someone had thrown an applesauce pouch into the back and it spilled everywhere! Luckily I keep baby wipes in the van and was able to wipe it up but sheesh.

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One more sad part of getting divorced and moving into an apartment is we don’t have a yard and legally you can’t set off fireworks unless you have private property and I looked up the laws and you can’t set off fireworks at parking lots or parks or on streets that aren’t yours… luckily there is a special parking lot set up for people to set off fireworks! It wasn’t close to where we were going to watch the fireworks in the sky so I was a little worried about making it back in time to see the big fireworks but it all worked out and I was so thankful for this area to do personal fireworks!

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The kids’ dad was there, we share holidays, and I have pictures of him with the kids but I’m not posting them because ya know, I keep him off my social media, but in case you were curious, he was there and so far we’ve decided on sharing custody on all holidays and birthdays.

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Payson and Ember doing peace signs â™Ĩ174efbblog198efbblog

And now… fireworks!

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Lyla was thrilled. She kept trying to run up close to them so keeping an eye on her was a full time job. Like with every second of every other day. haha!

I told the kids that I think once they’re 10 years old they could light fireworks as long as they light it and then immediately hurry back toward the van. So Sierra lit her first fireworks!

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These are tightly cropped photos from larger versions since her dad was with her. The originals (which is what I’ll use for our scrapbooks) are so cool! I think cropping up close like this is better than blurring faces though! Do you?245ecropfbblog

I didn’t get pictures of the other kids lighting fireworks because I was also filming parts of our day…I vlogged a lot. So as soon as I edit that I’ll add the video to the end of this post.

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After we set off our last fireworks we drove back to our city to see the fireworks in the sky. Our city does a really good job and we always get “front row” seats. Literally as close as you can get, we get. It’s AMAZING! It’s like we’re sitting right under the fireworks!

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Several of the kids wanted to sit right between me and their dad to be close to both of us during the fireworks. That was tricky setting up chairs. We were basically bunched together in a big group. It worked well and was touching that they were so concerned with being next to both of us.

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Lyla liked the fireworks, she sat on her dad’s lap through most of it and Everett sat on my lap. But you can bet that she also wanted mom and mom’s boobs a few times throughout the night. haha

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After the fireworks ended the kids’ dad went home since it was late. We went and did sparklers over by where we’d parked our van.

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It was awesome having three different types of sparklers! We liked each one for totally different reasons. It was a blast. Such a perfect day.

Going to See Toy Story 4!

I was 12 when the first Toy Story came out and I loved it. I’ve seen each movie since. We went on the opening day of Toy Story 3 back in 2010!

So when I heard about the fourth Toy Story of course I planned on going opening day! Unfortunately we couldn’t but we did go a few days later!

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I actually didn’t even get that excited from the trailer, it didn’t look all that funny, weirdly enough. But my whole family was laughing the entire time! I hated the ending and my kids really hated the ending (Woody LEAVING his child?!?!) but whatever. It’s a movie. haha

Oh my gosh Forky: my kids were roaring with laughter.

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After all that laughing and good endorphins my kids had so much energy. They wanted to run around and play outside the theater for a while before heading home.

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They always want to have pictures here:048efbbblog059efbblog

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Back to the van.083efbblog091efbblog

We needed to go to Costco for some groceries and Lyla fell asleep on the drive over so I put her in the ergo while we shopped!

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She woke up in the store and wanted to breastfeed before heading home!

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It was such a great day! 🙂

Family Movie Night

We watched Matilda together 🙂129efbblog133efbblog134efbblog

I set up my camera on the TV stand to take a family photo before starting the movie and Lyla got really excited and wanted to run over and take a few dozen more! You can see her in that last photo about to jump off my lap to push the button again! haha136efbblog

Look at her in all of these! Trying to run back to push the button again. haha! So cute!137efbblog139efb2blog143efbblog

Eric and Jeena Come to Visit!

Jeena’s due October 30th with her first baby. She and Eric decided to take a babymoon to our area and stay in a resort. One of the days they were here they stayed with us. Lucky us!

I cleaned the house up before they came. I am not usually so picky about the house being super clean but for the first visit by someone, I want it really clean! I swept and mopped all the floors and when lunch time rolled around I fed everyone outside! No crumbs on this floor, people. lol!

Everett is really shy. Really, really shy. When people are around who aren’t a part of his immediate family he just quietly sits in my or Allan’s arms. He was so shy this day that he just leaned on Allan’s shoulder and fell asleep while we were talking to Eric and Jeena!

We all went to get ice cream at Shenanigan’s. We were slightly bummed that they didn’t have strawberry cheesecake or brownie ice cream flavors this time but they did have huckleberry, birthday cake, and pumpkin pie so that was good! Ember stuck with what she typically sticks with- chocolate!

We walked over to the marina. Stopping to see Mudgie and Millie at the insistence of the kids.

How beautiful was the lake that evening?!

Heading over to the marina!

Jeena and Eric were taking that dinner cruise the next night so we got a picture of them on the chair. Clearly Payson and Ember decided they needed a niece and nephew to join in 😛

I took a few pictures of Eric and Jeena with Jeena’s camera so I don’t have many of them but I have this that Jeena took of Allan and me!

We went the right way around the marina this time and crossed a bridge. It was nice to look out over the lake. It was busy that day so a lot of people had to squeeze by (it’s a narrow bridge!) but it was still fun!

The next day we got to prepare some of the delicious, and huge, veggies Jeena brought from their garden!! We made some typical foods and we also made zucchini bread for the first time! It was delicious!!

Jeena works at a dentist office and brought the kids each a new toothbrush. I don’t even know if she knew how much my kids like toothbrushes but they were about as thrilled as if she’d brought them a puppy! haha! Everett carried his around for days! In fact, this last weekend when we were leaving on the road trip he was really upset when I took the toothbrush from him to leave home! I could’ve brought it but, I didn’t want it to get lost on the trip!
Oh and yes, sometimes he brushes his hair with it!

Thanks for coming to visit us Eric and Jeena!

Church!

Everett does pretty well at church for the most part but sometimes he loudly hollers at my boobs, “NA NA!!” in the middle of Sunday school. And he doesn’t stop yelling na na at my boobs until I give in and take him to the mother’s lounge to breastfeed. He nurses for a minute and then hops off my lap, excited to explore this brand new room!

This was taken when we got home from church. Can you believe how mature Brooke looks?!

Going to the Temple and Setting Off Fireworks on July 5th!

We had planned on setting off the fireworks we bought the night of the 4th but it was super late by the time we got home from seeing the fireworks in Coeur d’Alene (the traffic was INSANE) that we ended up waiting until the next night. My mom and Milo went back to Washington that morning and since we didn’t get ready for church in time we decided to go see the Spokane temple that morning instead.

We took some family pictures. We had intended the whole experience to be spiritual and bonding as a family. Allan and I thought we’d say a prayer together with the kids in the grass by the temple and it’d be this special thing. Turns out there were a lot of wasps, it was really hot, there were people around, and it wasn’t that special. lol! I mean, it was fine. Just not magical by any stretch of the imagination. Maybe we’ll come back some day when it’s cooler outside!

We took some pictures of our oldest daughters by the temple. I took this one of Brooklyn and Allan took the one of Sierra. At the same time actually 🙂

It was a challenge getting Ember to not pick the flowers! She only ended up picking one part of one before I told her that we couldn’t, luckily!

Once we got home we had lunch. Burritos. Payson and Everett just had the inside of the burritos since I don’t have gluten-free tortillas. I haven’t been able to find them here in Idaho.

Then it was time to set up for our personal fireworks show! The Utes didn’t stand a chance!

We did poppers and sparklers first.

And now the moment Allan was waiting for! Using the tanks to attack the Utes! (The Utes are the BYU cougars’ rivals)

I ended up having to buckle Everett into his chair because he wouldn’t stay sitting. He kept running to the fireworks! :/


One thing Everett will do when he’s upset about being buckled anywhere is throw his binky repeatedly. He did that a couple times that night. I usually don’t let him suck on it after it hits the ground but Payson was there to quickly save his baby brother. Gross. There’s been tons of bird poop on that driveway. *sigh*

Sometimes when my kids are all lined up together I think, I made all those humans.

Everett had LOVED the fireworks we’d seen the night before in Coeur d’Alene so I figured he’d like these too. He did! But the funniest thing happened each time a noisier firework went off, he’d reflexively close his eyes. He did it each time! It was so cute and made the rest of us giggle.

I typically don’t have as many photos of the older girls because I don’t want to pester them but I told them to smile for a picture but they had a better idea!

Ember was scared of the fireworks! She refused to come any closer than this chair set up by the car on the driveway! It was so cute and yet sad because I wanted to sit with her but had to hold Everett instead! She had fun, she just wanted to be at a safe distance! 😉

All five kids had a really hard time staying in their chairs. They really wanted to be close. Ember always waited until the fireworks were dead or not burning because she was scared.

Lots of tank wars were had. Each kid got one and chose a partner to aim their tanks toward. I don’t remember who won each battle, I’m sure my kids do. lol

By this point Everett was pissed being locked in a chair.

So I took him out and tried to hold him but he just squirmed and squirmed and whined and cried. Fun times with toddler.

When there were no lit fireworks I’d let Everett wander a little bit in hopes that he’d stop screaming. Payson was sitting right next to me during the fireworks and having the time of his life. He LOVES fireworks.



Brooke was nice enough to hold Everett for a little while and walk around with him to try to entertain him without letting him run wild.

And that’s it. It was a really fun day!!

Visiting My Family in Washington!

Want to know the saddest thing in the whole wide world? Payson, Ember, and Everett had never ever met my dad and Brooklyn and Sierra only met him once when Brooke was 3 and Sierra was 11 months old for about thirty minutes.
It hurt my heart so deeply that the man I loved most in the entire universe for all of my life didn’t even know his own grandchildren 🙁

I talked to my kids about my dad and showed them pictures and hoped they’d fall in love with their grandpa even just a fraction as much as I love my dad but figured with all the people at the BBQ that day it might not be as impactful. There are some loud personalities in my family (and by some I mean most, haha!) so I thought my very quiet dad might get missed in the crowd.

Imagine my surprise and sheer delight when Payson and Ember met my dad and decided he was the best person they’d ever met. They followed him like puppies and when he sat down to eat off to the side on this porch swing they followed him away from the crowd of family to sit next to him to eat! I was near bawling, you guys. I was in the middle of reconnecting with my family who I rarely see, overwhelmed with seeing EVERYone again and wanting to talk and visit with each person but here I was standing watching my babies go and sit with their grandpa. These new relationships forming without my causing them (besides having been born to my dad and birthing those kids, anyway) watching this family bond just exist and flourish from the first second they all met.

It was as close to magical as life can get. I don’t think I will ever, ever forget it.

I interrupted their moment to take this picture. I had to!

And as I look at it, I tear up every time. For my kids finally meeting their grandpa and loving him so much and also remembering when me and my brother were those ages and how much my dad was my super hero. He was a rock and anchor is a very troubling world for me. My childhood sucked pretty much a lot but my dad was a safe place for me. We are a lot alike and we get along so well and he always made me feel loved and accepted and happy even in my hardest times.

Okay that’s probably enough of my inner feelings about that. Moving on to the BBQ. We were finding out Jeena’s baby’s gender that day!! I was SO excited!! As close to, maybe even more, excited than finding out my own babies’ genders. I have just been SO happy for Jeena. She’s wanted a baby so much and to watch her pregnant and hear about the things she’s going through has been really emotional for me. I want the very best for her and I’m just giddy and relieved and completely thankful she’s finally going to be a mom!

So after everyone ate Jeena brought out a bunch of cute cupcakes she made. The frosting inside was…

Pink! A girl!! I’m SO excited for her to have a daughter! She’s going to be such a great mom and that baby is going to be SOOOO loved!!!

Next my grandma wanted a picture of everyone together so we started to get everyone to come back over to the chairs. I snapped this of Allan and my brother Chris chatting. They didn’t know I took it 🙂

As people were gathering Kyle took off his shirt and hat and was doing something silly. I don’t even remember what but we were all laughing really hard.

This is probably just an Ariana thing but the pictures taken before the one with everyone gathered and smiling are often my favorite. I love seeing everyone just there without posing or smiling for a camera.

Everyone! The only ones missing were my sister Kelly and her family. I wish they could’ve come 🙁

I pulled Jeena and Eric aside with a cupcake to take some pictures.

Grandma finally gets a chance to hold Everett! Papa Milo had held him all up to this point!

It was Payson’s birthday so we had him open presents.

Can you believe this kid is 7?! I truly can’t! I can’t remember life without Payson in the slightest but I also can’t believe it’s been 7 years since he was born! He’s growing up SO fast! Where’d the last 5 years go?!

Everett loved Payson’s stack of presents! He kept trying to play with them!

I had to include all these pictures of Payson opening his favorite present from me and Allan. A snap dragon stuffed animal from Plants vs. Zombies 2!

I don’t have any pictures of him opening presents from grandma and papa Milo and Aunt Jeena and Uncle Eric because I video taped that part but I do have pictures of him playing with those toys that I’ll do another post of!

One thing I LOVE about my family is that pictures aren’t an awkward thing! Everyone asks for pictures and smiles for pictures and it makes my life as a camera addict so much easier! I am pretty shy and reserved and practically never ask if I can take a picture of people because I don’t want to annoy them so when ANYone asks me to take a picture I jump at the chance!! I LOVE this picture of me and Jeena! I’ve missed my sister SO much 🙁 and am so happy to live near enough that I can see her more often 🙂

Then my mom asked for pictures of us together! Yay!

This one’s my favorite:

Then Papa Milo was holding the little kids and my mom was singing trot, trot to Boston. It brought back memories from when I was a kid and she used to do that to us. I remember her doing it to Jeena ALL the time 🙂
My kids were busting up in giggles.

You know, we’ve been so spoiled with warm weather that when packing for this trip I didn’t bring sweaters for my kids! It got a little chilly in the evening so Allan gave Ember his jacket and Everett got his shirt! haha

Grandparents and grandkids! We have this blown up on a canvas in our hallway!

Next we went to Dairy Queen to get sundaes for Payson’s birthday!

Thumb wars!

It was pretty late by the time we got to our hotel that night. We stayed in a really nice hotel in Bellingham. The breakfast at that hotel was good!

Payson loves this plush turtle he got for his birthday.

Ember had worn her boots with no socks (unbeknown to us) and the night before we’d noticed her feet were quite stinky! We let her boots air out and we washed her feet in the hotel sink (it was just too late for a bath, though) and the next morning we let her go barefoot until we bought her some new socks from Target!

I don’t know why Ember was playing the iPad in the car. We usually don’t do that. She must’ve been super tired and cranky.

We were supposed to head straight to my dad’s restaurant and then get headed back to Idaho so we didn’t arrive back at our house super late but we decided to just visit with my mom and Milo and Jeena and Eric a bit more first. It hadn’t been enough time seeing them the day before! 🙂

Jeena’s belly looked so cute that day, I loved how much more she showed while holding Everett, I had to take some pictures! (You other moms know how holding a toddler while pregnant makes your belly show so much more! I think Jeena was 20 weeks along here?)

Poor Everett was traumatized 😉
Ha, not really but his way of coping meeting new people was so different to me and Allan. We’ve had babies act one of two ways: either they are super social and go to a new person and smile and are fine or they are shy but scream or cry when being handed to a new person. Everett was different, he was shy but he’d just get quiet and not make eye contact with anyone. Not even me!

The kids got to taste carrots straight from Jeena and Eric’s garden! They loved that!

It was funny when Eric was holding Everett. Everett doesn’t look anything like me or Allan but everyone agreed he looked like he could’ve been Eric and Jeena’s kid! I loved this moment of Jeena taking a picture of Eric holding Everett so I had to take a picture of my own 🙂

Papa Milo got more time hanging out with Everett. Everett warmed up to Milo and they had fun practicing walking and playing with Jeena’s dogs and picking flowers… lots of fun!

My kids were in love with Eric and Jeena’s dogs. IN LOVE. They begged for pets, they always do, and I just said… no. haha! If I go for a whole year without cleaning someone else’s poop, vomit, pee, or diarrhea maybe I’ll start consider bringing another creature into my home who’s bodily waste I’ll be in charge of. Considering the amount of waste I’m cleaning these days, that’s nowhere near happening :/

The kids were excited to bring grandma flowers.

After hanging out for a couple hours it was time to go. Everyone was sad 🙁

But, remember how I said my kids have never even seen my dad? My dad never gets time with us so I HAD to make time to go see him at his restaurant. We ended up being two hours (or three?!) later than when we’d said we’d get there. But he was happy when we showed up. We were quite the crowd but luckily the kids were pretty well behaved!

My dad had to greet people at the front desk and answer the phone but he’d come back and sit with us any time he could.

You know what’s fun is when I was a kid my dad was a cook in a restaurant (Frontier Pies in Utah) and I remember my mom taking us to visit him at work and he’d let us each get a sucker. So in his restaurant he has a jar of suckers out front, too, and he let the kids come up and pick one out.

Everett had had enough of this big, scary adventure by this point in our Washington trip. During lunch he kept begging for “Na Na.” It wasn’t a good time for that, though, so I kept trying to distract him. I did nurse him in the car as soon as we left.

Allan had our point and shoot and was super awesome about getting some pictures with me in them while at the restaurant. I’m thankful for these 🙂

My brother Kyle is going to welding school and works as a cook at my dad’s restaurant. He came out to visit with us before we left.

And then Allan took this picture which is one of my favorites! I have only a couple pictures with my dad (of my entire life) so each one means a LOT!

And then it was time to do the 6 hour road trip home!

Diaper change stop.

The kids got a bunch of treats from the gas station.

And THAT is THAT! WHEEEEW!

From the Mini Photoshoot

I’ve been wanting to print a big canvas for our living room for years and never have. I didn’t want to spend $200 on a canvas so I never have, and I’m never on the ball enough to get the canvas sales when they happen.

One day I noticed photobucket had canvases for 75% off. I told Allan about it and we decided right then and there to go take a family picture and have it printed! We wanted a new family picture in Idaho anyway, it felt silly to us to put our family picture from Colorado above our fireplace mantel. So I rummaged through the kids’ clothes trying to find things that went together. It was rough! We finally settled on the outfits we are wearing and ran out to literally catch the last ten minutes of light of the day. It was crazy and there was a moment when we first arrived to this area by the lake where I thought for sure it would be impossible to catch the light and we’d have to try again some other time. But we got this one shot that we liked a lot so all worked out!  photo 388e2sharpresized_zpsnggozajp.jpg

I took these of the kids after but guess what I forgot to do! Take one of Everett!! So when I went to print pictures for the wall I had these beautiful pictures of the four oldest and none of Everett. I took him out in the field across from our house one evening and quickly snapped a few and used one of those. That’s why his picture on the wall is slightly different than the others’.  photo 395eresized_zpsohyiqptj.jpg photo 427e2resized_zpsuytbphk1.jpg photo 393eresized_zpstlgdrglp.jpg photo 491eresized_zpskk78err1.jpg photo 461eresized_zpso7viz6ch.jpg