Thanksgiving Week

I didn’t want to celebrate Thanksgiving this year. It was a really difficult week. I was really tired taking care of cranky, sick kids night and day. Then I got really sick which made everything even more difficult! And then Allan got really sick!

It was Sierra who changed my mind about Thanksgiving. She’d sounded so excited about Thanksgiving when she came home from school Wednesday. I told her we were going to skip it and she looked sad but accepted it without a complaint, because she is such an easy going little girl. I stood there thinking, why not? Why not just up and DO Thanksgiving? For Sierra’s sake?

And that’s why, at the very last minute on the night before Thanksgiving, I went to the store to buy a feast. And it was a very delicious feast (thanks, Costco!) and all pretty much premade! I was still recovering from an almost sleepless week, after all! I’m no supermom!
Here are all the pictures I took this week so far.
Allan staying home sick from work. He almost never stays home sick from work. And not only did he stay home, he took some long naps! Photobucket

For a full 24 hours (when I was the most ill) I didn’t clean my house. And this is the result: Photobucket

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One of the turkeys Sierra made in school. Photobucket

And to be fair I photographed a picture Brooklyn drew, as well. ha Photobucket

There was a lot of TV viewing this week. Photobucket

WAY too much, truthfully. I’m not sure how I would’ve made it through without it, though! All the responsibility while so ill, as if motherhood isn’t challenging enough on a normal day! Ugh. Photobucket

Still sick as a dog, I couldn’t take it anymore and cleaned my house in between trips to the bathroom to be sick. (Payson putting together a puzzle on the kitchen floor is an everyday thing) Photobucket

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I’ve been meaning to set up these bookshelves for a week but haven’t been able to. Hopefully this weekend! Photobucket

This little girl deserves her very own post. But since there won’t be one I’ll just sum it all up with one sentence. She is very tired, very cranky, very clingy, and not in a very good mood these days! PhotobucketPhotobucket

But she has her happy moments 🙂 Photobucket

And when she does, it’s just about the most delightful thing. (She thought it hilarious that she was running around with her top down) Photobucket

Ember’s preferred napping place is the couch. She’ll now take at least a one hour nap there every single day. I try to give her her naps in her bed, but when she’s slept for two hours on the couch, I don’t have a problem with that! haha PhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucket

My kids love to be made into “burrito babies.” PhotobucketPhotobucket

They love it when I carry them around when they’re wrapped up. And they love it when I set one on top of the other. PhotobucketPhotobucket

Once you start playing burrito babies you can’t stop very easily. They want to keep the game going for what feels like ever. Photobucket

And with such giant smiles and nonstop giggling, I don’t mind! PhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucket

They did stop to break out some Spiderman poses, though. PhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucket

But then again, back to burritos! Photobucket

This was a picture I snapped in Costco waiting in a long line for pumpkin pie the night before Thanksgiving! Photobucket

Knowing there was to be such a huge feast the next day, dinner was pretty simple that night. PhotobucketPhotobucket

I obviously don’t take pictures during family prayers normally but this night was extra sweet because Brooklyn wanted to say a special prayer for Allan that he could feel better and enjoy Thanksgiving with us. That day he’d been extremely sick. Photobucket

I didn’t take any pictures all day Thanksgiving (darn it! We did such cute crafts!) but did pull my camera out before we started eating. Photobucket

We ate at 2pm! I wanted it to be super early so that a little later when it was really dinnertime we could have a relaxing dinner of leftovers! Allan was reading everyone the menu I’d made earlier in the day, he was so cute about everything I’d done since he knew how sick I’d been 🙂 Photobucket

And he said I should take a picture of it. It was such a little thing (just typed and printed it out) but Allan complimenting me on it and liking that I’d done it (and made the table decorations out of scrapbooks scraps) made me feel good 🙂 PhotobucketPhotobucket

It was a yummy meal! Photobucket

I didn’t want to take pictures while we ate and said our thankful things and all that stuff so we took these few posed pictures before we started and that’s it! PhotobucketPhotobucket

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Ok, completely changing gears for these last couple pictures. The other day Ember came out of my bedroom wearing my bra! She’d been struggling to put it on (she LOVES dressing up in my stuff!) and Allan helped her snap it and she was over the moon happy! I mean, SO happy!! Photobucket
She kept pointing to it and saying, “Pretty!” Photobucket

And this last one was today at lunch. PhotobucketPayson was having seconds and it just reminded me that I’d wanted to talk about how much Payson eats. It’s INSANE! The kid eats SO MUCH. He eats as much as I do. He eats twice as much as his older sisters. He eats probably four times as much as they did at his age! I’m not even joking. It is going to cost a fortune to feed him as a teenager, I just know it!

Some of the Things We Did Recently

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As pictured below, my kids watched The Land Before Time III on Netflix while I cooked dinner. Photobucket

Sierra completed a decorative turkey for school in preparation for Thanksgiving. Photobucket

Brooklyn was very angry, very often, at the injustice in the world. Photobucket

Payson and Ember were upset that I took them to Lowe’s. Photobucket

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But then very happy. PhotobucketPhotobucket

I took this picture of myself in the car. Photobucket

We stopped by Costco for a salad lunch. Photobucket

Ember put her water on the table in such a way that splashed. When she saw that she had spilled a bit on the ground she took it upon herself to clean the mess up. Payson joined in. A woman came over to my table to tell me how special it was that Ember is such a good helper and I nodded in agreement. I hadn’t been excited about Ember crawling around on the ground in the process of cleaning her water spill but after that I just let the dirty hands and knees go and enjoyed my sweet helper girl. Photobucket

Then Payson showed Ember where the garbage was and they had the happiest time throwing each and every piece of trash from our table away. Photobucket

We stopped by Hobby Lobby and though they look happy in the pictures, they hated it there and whined the whole time. Photobucket

The whole time after the first five minutes anyway; which is when these pictures were taken. Photobucket

I wanted to go home but really needed to make a quick stop at WalMart. Ember fell asleep in the ergo and Payson was in a good mood! He requested this picture! He says he was doing a mean face. Photobucket

And we were pretty sick of shopping and ready to go home and chill out when Payson, without warning, barfed all over himself and the car. He was quite uncomfortable on the drive home, sitting in his throw up. When we stopped he asked me to not only take his picture but to video record him too! I told him for just a second because I really needed to clean him up. He was happy for the ten seconds I filmed him (not sharing it because he’s covered in barf and that’s gross) and thanked me. Sometimes kids are weird. Photobucket

Another day (I think?) Ember and I went to Walgreen’s to rent a movie from Redbox. PhotobucketPhotobucket

These next few were taken after a family hike. Photobucket

Allan and I were balancing on this metal gate thing. Photobucket

I was doing really well until Allan came over and held my hand. For some reason when he held my hand it made me off balanced. I fell/jumped off and was embarrassed. Photobucket

This is a different day (today actually), we went on a family walk. Brooklyn found a bullet. Photobucket

The little kids had fun. Anything outside is fun for them 🙂 PhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucket

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Ember had fun playing with her petshop animal in the sand. She was doing this cute little voice for the lizard. Photobucket

She was excited about finding cool rocks and kept showing them to me. Photobucket

And then we found a bone and the kids thought that was the neatest. PhotobucketPhotobucket
And a little while later it got dark and we walked back to the car and drove home.

Then we fed the kids and put the older three to bed. Ember wanted to be nursed before bed so I was nursing her while Allan and I watched a Tivo’d Saturday Night Live episode when Ember suddenly threw up all over herself, me, and the couch. We got her and the couch cleaned up and I rocked her to sleep (she was really unhappy that I didn’t let her nurse once more) and now I am going to bed also!

Silly Mountain

I’ve been obsessed with hiking lately! There are a lot of reasons why but the main two are because I like being outside so much and because it helps me lose weight and be healthy!

I have a hard time saying no to sweets when I’m bored at home all day but when I spend a few hours outside, everything changes for me. Everything.

I’ve lost five pounds in the last 8 days just by adding hiking into my life. I literally didn’t change a thing besides that and most definitely didn’t try to lose weight. Not because I don’t want to lose weight (because I want to!) but because I am just too tired to even think about trying to lose weight right now. I’m trying to only focus on being really healthy. Truly healthy, truly getting my body to a good place. I’ve never felt that way before! EVER! If I EVER tried to lose weight it was for ONE reason, to look better! haha

And for the first time in a long time I’m working really hard at being happy. I’m doing all the things “they” say to do and IT’S WORKING!!!! IT’S WORKING!!! I have struggled with depression this year and have wondered how the HECK to snap out of it on my own and things are finally clicking for me. I’ll blog about that sometime. For now, more about our little family hike…

Payson has caught the hiking “bug” and asks me every day if we can go climb a mountain. So cute! And I say, um YES! haha
We hadn’t been to Silly Mountain for a year or so and decided it was time to go back. The three older kids were in really good moods. Ember wasn’t feeling well and had been cranky all week and was cranky while hiking as well. You can’t win them all, all the time!
I wore Ember in the carrier and Allan decided to “work on” Payson during this hike. He wants Payson to be less whiny, mama’s boy and more motivated big boy! Before I go on I just have to say that Allan has been pretty much the best father EVER lately. The last three years he’s really stepped up his game and become such an inspiration to me with parenting! I can’t say enough good things about him. He raises our kids in a way that pushes them to be the best they can be while giving them positive reinforcement! I spoil my kids WAY too much and they walk all over me for it. He provides clear, consistent boundaries and expectations and follows through with exactly what he said AND gives them the BEST quality attention during their time together.
So because Payson tends to get whiny when something is difficult Allan started talking to Payson about how strong Payson is and how he knew that know that Payson is four years old he could make it to the top all by himself! (Last time Allan carried him in our hiking backpack)

And Payson responded to Allan with determination, pride, and endurance! He made it to the top (which we’d called the summit all along to encourage the kids because they love watching Mt. Everest shows on netflix! haha) and was SOOO proud of himself! And at the top we stayed quite a while just soaking up the views and each other and the victory each kid had experienced 🙂
I’m probably making it sound like some huge mountain! haha, it wasn’t. Just huge for a four year old, new hiker! PhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucket

We had a LOT of popcorn in our pantry that we’re trying to use up so the kids each brought a single serving bag of popcorn! haha, totally odd hiking food, right?! PhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucket

Ember fell asleep on the hike up… she was feeling cranky before that though. Not that she whined the whole time, only if we stopped to let Payson rest a couple minutes. She HATES being in the carrier if I’m not walking. PhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucket

The girls and I got to the top first and while we waited for the boys we were all calling out encouraging things to Payson and telling him how awesome he was and stuff like that. Photobucket

He was beaming with pride. The fact that his older sisters (who are usually extremely mean to him) were proud of him and congratulating him meant a lot. Photobucket

Ember woke up from her nap in the carrier and was happy to be let down to roam. PhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucket

I have a lot of pictures of everyone by this sign. They were all excited to pose by it. This next picture is my fave though. Allan helping Payson balance by it while Payson shows off his strong muscles that he needed to make it to the top! Photobucket

Sierra and Ember had some sweet sister time up there. These two are similar in personality. Photobucket

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A drink before heading back. PhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucket

I think Brooklyn had the best time up there. That girl needs to live in the wild. She flourishes outside. She is strong and able and adventurous and most of all, enjoys it so much! She, at any other time, is a nonstop whine fest (oh the attitude!) but when we’re outdoors all that pent up energy goes into physical effort. I love that! She loves that! PhotobucketPhotobucket

This was my cute view as we hiked back down. PhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucket

This was the day before Brooklyn lost her tooth. Can you see it sticking out of her lips? Photobucket

At some point Sierra and Payson went on ahead together. They’re SUCH good buddies when Sierra is nice to him. Most of the time she follows Brooklyn’s lead and is mean to him but if Brooklyn ever isn’t around suddenly she is in love with Payson and the nicest sister in the world! And I love it when they’re like that!! (Brooklyn really doesn’t like Payson, it’s a huge issue in our home and I could definitely use some suggestions on the subject!) PhotobucketPhotobucket

This is where Ember decided she no longer liked being in the ergo and was done with the whole trip. haha Photobucket

Arizona Museum for Youth

We went to a couple of places this afternoon. First we stopped by the Mesa Arts Center to take a look around the Mesa Contemporary Arts space. After that quick stop we made our way over to the Arizona Museum for Youth where we spent over three hours looking around, playing, and of course making art!
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Before entering the galleries at the Mesa Contemporary Arts space I had a talk with my kids about what we can and can’t do at a place like this. Mostly it was a bunch of can’ts with one can- you can look. haha
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They did really well and obeyed me perfectly and I was quite proud. I was impressed by their questions and interest in galleries and exhibits I thought they’d maybe not appreciate.
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There’s a small courtyard just outside that the kids wanted to see. There were a lot of stairs and a fountain. If it hadn’t been so blazing hot we would’ve spent more time out there but ten minutes was more than enough.
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It really was a short trip and then we were headed back to the car to drive a couple of streets over to the Arizona Museum for Youth.
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Sierra and Payson were being silly on the walk back to the car.
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The Arizona Museum for Youth was a hit from the moment we walked in the door.
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I knew there would be little craft stations where the kids could make stuff but I didn’t realize how many… there were a lot!
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The exhibit going on right now is called Extreme Pets which is perfect for my animal lovers 🙂
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This thing was basically a giant Lite-Brite and a major hit with my little two kids. Ember spent a good twenty minutes there at least.
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“I’m making a ‘P’ for Payson!”
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After over two hours I finally managed to drag all the kids away to the other area in the museum… it was kind of like an art themed play place, my kids were pretty darn excited! I didn’t take many pictures because I was busy playing with them!
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We had a blast and I left wishing I’d purchased the year membership! Oh well.
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The kids got home and while I cooked and cleaned they played with their museum goody bags from the gift shop.
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Stay Like This

Life as a mom to four little kids is pretty busy. It is so busy at times I feel like my head is going to explode. It’s so busy at times I fantasize about the day when all my kids have moved out and I can go grocery shopping without someone screaming or wandering away from me or I fantasize about cleaning my house and having it stay clean for longer than five minutes… fantasies also include not doing three loads of dishes every day and not wiping other people’s bums.

But if I stop to really think about that, to go further into those thoughts, it’s a terrifying realization. One day these little kids will be off on their own. One day I will be alone, I will have a clean and quiet house… no little voices… no silly stories and potty humor and laughing and even whining and fighting… it’ll all be gone from my daily world.

And that thought, that reality that awaits me, is the exact opposite of my true desires right now in my life. I want to be surrounded by little kids, I want to have all of these little people overjoyed at my attention, thrilled to be with me, excited to share all of their deepest thoughts with me.
What a privilege.

These little kids in my home, these little lives so completely meshed with mine. I want it to never end. I want my children to stay like this, this very moment… forever. Stay my babies, stay like this.
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I took my children to some fun places today.
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We went and saw Madagascar. I’m ashamed to admit I laughed just as much as my kids did. And perhaps, if I’m honest, more.
We then went on a hunt for fitting rooms to change into swimsuits. We had no luck until we finally took the elevator up to the second floor of Dillards. There we found our fitting room and got swimsuited up for some splash pad fun.
Our next plan was getting dinner out but we got distracted for a little bit at a puppy store we spotted on the way back to our car.
After longingly looking at puppies we made our way to Chipotle.
I should mention I breastfed Ember in the car first. She doesn’t nurse out in public much anymore since she can drink from cups and sippies and eat food but sometimes she is pretty set on having mama milk regardless of where we are.
On the drive to Chipotle my two youngest girls fell asleep. It was difficult to keep my eyes on the road with that adorable rear view!
We had fun eating together. On the drive home the weather seemed fairly non torturous so we stopped to walk around outside a little bit.
And then of course we came home and the kids went to bed. And I blogged 😉
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More Spiderman Toys?!

The account coordinator from the company that made the Spider-Man toys (and other Spider-Man promotional materials) for Carl’s Jr. (The CDM Company) saw my blog post about Payson’s birthday and how much he loved his toy and sent him the rest of the collection and a few other Spider-Man things! Um, how nice is she?! What a thoughtful company 🙂

Ember thought that the toys were for her too since she’s in love with Spider-Man as much as her big brother is.

I’m pretty sure this size XL Spider-Man shirt was intended for Allan but Ember insisted on wearing it. And she wore it for quite some time!
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Payson was attached to the hat right away. He wore it all day long even though the hat was for an adult 🙂
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Perfecting her web spraying skills.
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I filmed them opening the box. They loved it. And also, my kids fight over toys a lot.

PS: If you dress up like Spider-Man on July 4th you can eat free. My 4th of July plans hadn’t included Carl’s Jr. but now I’m seriously thinking we should go. Payson would flip out at free food at the place plastered with awesome Spider-Man pictures and I’m sure there will be others there dressed up. It’ll be like Spider-Man heaven.

Should I take him!?! I feel I must! haha

PS: totally not paid (or even asked) to say any of this stuff. Just loving on the Spider-Man stuffs and nice companies 😉
(How did it come to this, a 29 year old woman immersed in everything Spider-Man. Oh yes, this 29 year old woman adores her baby boy! ha)

Payson and Ember in my Bedroom

Most of our boxes and belongings are piled in my bedroom right now. I’m sorting and packing things in there so that when I’m not I can lock my door and things will stay the way they were when I left them.
This morning before I’d done any sorting or packing the little kids saw the stuff in there and thought it looked really exciting!
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They found their Spiderman toys which naturally resulted in Spiderman signs and poses.
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The real reason we were in there in the first place was to pick out a book to read. Payson picked one of his all time favorites.
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Every time you see her arm out like that in a photo it’s because she’s pretending to spray a web.
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Yard Work

Allan said this might be the last time he mows this lawn. If the house doesn’t sell in the next month he’ll do it again but maybe, just maybe this is the last time.
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Payson had fun following daddy around.
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Payson took this one of me.
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And one of us together. Spraying a web like Spiderman, naturally.
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I asked Allan to hop in a picture, too. I know I’m annoying sweetie, but just one picture?
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Ember joined us outside. I think the older girls were playing with stuffed animals in their room or something.
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Payson and Ember want to show off their ability to spray webs.
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Ember points out dad, that lawnmower is pretty intimidating huh Ember?
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Daddy doing yard work is very interesting.
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As is this rock.
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But seriously do you hear that thing dad’s pushing around?
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Now this is where Ember sees Allan get out the weed whacker. The weed whacker is much louder than the lawnmower.
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And that is not a good thing at all!
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It was a bad thing. All that noise.
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We must stay in mommy’s arms the entire time that weed whacker is blasting!
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Watching Allan finish up.
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Payson Posing

There are a lot. But he’s such a goofball I couldn’t resist.
Catches sight of the camera:
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Turns on the silliness:
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Gives me his sweet smile:
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Almost subconsciously raises his hand in a Spiderman web-spraying sign.
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Then breaks out of his trance and decides to do his very best superhero poses!
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Later in the eveing, Payson is here and he is super strong.
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But boy did I get in trouble when I called him Payson. He’s Captain America.
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“Mom, these are my best poses!”
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