A Hiking We Will Go

We finally got around to going on a little hike this last weekend!! I don’t think we could’ve done anything better to make Colorado feel like our family’s home than to drive to the mountains and go walk up into the pines and to a little lake! It was great. I chose poorly in baby carriers (you sling users, how does your back not break apart using them?!) but besides that it was super fun! It felt so freeing being out in nature. I like it.

Allan was really happy to be hiking, and all the kids, except Everett, were excited. Everett hated the hike! haha. Poor boy was not loving the chilly air (it wasn’t that bad) and was hating the wind! I don’t blame him, who likes wind??  photo 053eresized_zpsd2fb4fa0.jpg photo 059eresized_zpsa0217922.jpg photo 045eresized_zpscd0931c6.jpg

Allan wore Ember in the ergo on the way up.  photo 064eresized_zps1cc016d2.jpg photo 068eresized_zps8b17b463.jpg photo 073eresized_zpsdbb0c075.jpg photo 075eresized_zps929a4819.jpg

I told the girls they should try to climb a bit on this rock face. Allan said they shouldn’t because it was dangerous. Usually I’m the anal one about dangerous stuff but I didn’t think it looked too dangerous.  photo 077eresized_zps432113bd.jpg photo 079eresized_zps717c0bc3.jpg photo 085eresized_zps74c50ef4.jpg photo 088eresized_zpsddc7c562.jpg photo 094e2resized_zps37948f3b.jpg photo 100ERESIZED_zps8074e40c.jpg photo 105eresized_zpscf05c95b.jpg photo 130bwresized_zpsfc529820.jpg

When I was walking Everett was fine. Any time I’d stop for even a few seconds he’d cry.  photo 132e2resized_zpsc2b2551c.jpg photo 144eresized_zpsac987977.jpg photo 149eresized_zps31872318.jpg

This picture is the one now in my header. Allan set the camera up on his backpack on the ground 🙂  photo 134eresized_zps5b818ea5.jpg

I Was Happy Until I Died, But I’m Happy Again Now

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My mom sent the kids a Valentine’s package. I didn’t take pictures besides this next one because I took video instead. It was a cute package and filled with candy and Valentine’s socks and jewelry.  photo 013ecropresizedblur_zps776c6833.jpg

My mom sent Everett conversation hearts, too, just to not leave him out. I’ll probably take a picture of them for his album. haha (I over-photograph everything, yes)
She also got him some batman shoes that are pretty cute and that Payson is in love with.  photo 046eresized_zps2f1f16e8.jpg

I took four of the kids to Target and WalMart to get Valentine’s for school. Payson went with Allan to Bass Pro Shops!  photo 091eresized_zps88af50b4.jpg

Allan and the kids cleaned out our cars. My car was like a dumpster inside. I wish I cared, and on some level I’m sure I do, but my dirty car is the least of my worries on a daily basis.
However! It has been AMAZING driving around in a spotless car!! We’re trying really hard to keep it clean this time!  photo 093eresized_zpse97b975d.jpg photo 116eresized_zps17de5e3d.jpg photo 127eresized_zpsb0273e5b.jpg

Everett and I were out there for a bit. It was pretty dang cold (well mostly the wind was cold) and Everett was not loving it.  photo 135eresized_zpsd8dc7d53.jpg

I kept going back in the house for bits of time and then I’d come back out again. That’s why Everett’s in two different carriers in this post. haha!
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Payson got a much needed haircut. We’re back to his “old” style of haircut and we love it! He loves it, too.  photo 239eresized_zpse84712b9.jpg photo 304bwresized_zps39d4bbc1.jpg photo 310eresized_zps846a50b9.jpg

Everett loves his sleeper bed! He sleeps in this now for half the night by my bed. The other half of the night he’s in bed with me.
I heard him fussing in my room so went to check on him. By the time I got there about thirty seconds after his first fussing I found him like this:
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He totally put himself back to sleep sucking his thumb! I wonder if he’ll be a thumbsucker when he gets full hand control!
Speaking of hands. Today I’m calling a hand surgeon here in Colorado to set up an appointment about Everett’s syndactyly. Now that surgery is coming up really soon I’m starting to FREAK out. I do not want my baby son to have surgery. I hate this. I feel so bad for my poor baby and having surgery, being in pain, and then being in casts right during the time he’s learning to use his hands, and then the bandage changes and all that. It freaking sucks. I have, so far, told myself that I’m glad it’s not a life threatening condition he needs surgery for but lately it’s not helping… I’m just plain old sad that my son has to have surgery.  photo 240eresized_zps3120f2fe.jpg photo 242eresized_zps5787d0fd.jpg photo 243eresized_zps635d8e92.jpg

The other day Allan and I were talking about Everett’s upcoming surgery and I think it was Sierra who said, “But I don’t want him to have surgery. I think his fingers are cute the way they are.”
The kids mention his fingers once in a while but mostly we’re so used to them they don’t seem weird or different to us. I’m so used to holding his fingers as he nurses or sleeps on my lap, I can’t imagine holding his hands in a few months and experiencing a different feeling… not rubbing my finger on the space between his two connected fingers. It will be weird and though I know I’ll be thankful for surgery and the function and appearance being “normal” I know I’ll miss his hands the way they have been all along. I bet I’ll feel his scars between his fingers a lot in the future and feel sad for him. But you know, thankful he’ll have five full, separate fingers.  photo 253eresized_zpsc167958f.jpg

Ember was copying a silly face Brooke had done earlier. I video taped her being a weirdo (Brooke) and will share that some other time.  photo 325eresized_zpse4225c56.jpg

Catch Up 2

More pictures from the last month.

One of the first days I felt better during my early pregnancy. I was about 12 weeks along, I think. I noticed the flowery tree against the sky and is was so pretty. And then I realized, I just thought something was pretty! Instead of being stuck inside my head, fixated on how awful I felt, I was seeing something outside!! It might sound crazy but it was an awesome moment.  photo 007eresized_zps9c2dd2e9.jpg

Brooklyn and Sierra had their end of school performance. The arrow is pointing at Sierra.  photo 009eresized_zps28bb2384.jpg

Payson whined a lot about being there. Ember was excited to be there.  photo 020eresized_zps5c976c8a.jpg

Being Mr. Social, he cheered up once I told him he could go play with the other kids as long as he stayed around that big bush nearby.  photo 023eresized_zps95159041.jpg photo 025eresized_zps7331b077.jpg photo 026eresized_zpsca55bf47.jpg

Brooklyn was definitely the goofiest one of the bunch.  photo 035eresized_zps07b5ec7b.jpg

There were treats provided after the songs and my family made quite a dent in those.  photo 056eresized_zps71b21d60.jpg photo 059eresized_zpscd3c93df.jpg photo 068eresized_zps474f8391.jpg

Being able to walk around wherever he wanted, Payson was happy the rest of the time.
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Ember spilled her water. On the left, in her hair, are flowers from the nearby trees. It was really windy that day and she and I got covered in flowers.  photo 085eresized_zpsb6df915a.jpg

The sunset was really pretty that evening. A very soft yellow with parts of the sky that were still a deep blue. In person it was so much prettier. Alas, a perfect photographer I am not.  photo 089eresized_zps9b1ac69e.jpg

The kids were sitting in this spot for a few minutes, the sun was setting directly behind them. Everything was glowing. Ahh, so pretty! (I told them to do a silly face. Brooklyn spit everywhere.)  photo 100eresized_zps1e2d9dff.jpg photo 103eresized_zps819fa3d0.jpg

I told them to do a sweet smile.  photo 107eresized_zps91220a61.jpg

I told them to do a cool dude face.  photo 110eresized_zps22bd9881.jpg photo 111eresized_zpsae12e613.jpg

The weather was nice, the kids wanted to stay a bit longer just to hang out.
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Ember had started walking along that edge, then she held out her hand to Allan, “Help me, daddy?” And I died of cuteness.  photo 146eresized_zpsa072beeb.jpg

I don’t remember what we were talking about, but I guess I was pretty serious about it.  photo 152eresized_zps6ea414dd.jpg photo 156eresized_zps614fcd83.jpg

Ember seely. (Seely= our baby talk way of pronouncing silly)
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Allan, the older girls, and I were taking turns standing over in the (then super messy) corner of the room to make her laugh or smile. She was cracking up at our silly antics.  photo 161ereszied_zps0d56eaa4.jpg

It’s important to me that the kids have fun while taking pictures. If it was a huge challenge to photograph them I don’t like the pictures even if they’re cute, because I’d only remember the not-so-much-fun process of taking that picture. This experience was a blast and therefore, some of my favorite pictures of Ember 🙂
Oh and when we were snapping pictures she’d hop up and run to the corner while Sierra or Brooklyn (and even me and Allan a few times) would sit on the little bench and she’d make us giggle. It was a blast. I have some cute videos of it all, maybe some day I’ll get around to going through my video clips from the last few months!  photo 168eresized_zpsfd6ad0ed.jpg

One Saturday I took Brooklyn with me on some errands. Ember joined us, too, of course. That girl doesn’t like to be away from mommy.  photo 032resized_zps20cb9e1d.jpg

Ember fell asleep on the way there.  photo 033resized_zps5fbaefd6.jpg

Anything better than pizza?  photo 036eresized_zpsbf09ccd8.jpg

Brooklyn prefers a hotdog.  photo 037eresized_zpsb3c2e894.jpg

Ember fell asleep on the way home, too!  photo 038resized_zps8a18d0fd.jpg

The weather that day was awesome. When I got home Allan was working outside in the yard. I left the car on the driveway with all the doors open and let Ember sleep for another twenty minutes or so while I leaned against the outside of the car and watched and talked to Allan. I think the three older kids were riding their bikes at that point. photo 044resized_zpsd1c3c7d3.jpg

For mother’s day I made some chocolate covered strawberries for the family.  photo 049resized_zpsa2e489cb.jpg

Mother’s Day at church.  photo 162eresized_zpsbc76433e.jpg

I’ve been reading lots of books, often over and over again, to Ember. I love the book-loving phase!  photo 164eresized_zps6c3343d2.jpg photo 166eresized_zps654bf922.jpg

Brown Bear, Brown Bear was her very favorite that week. photo 167eresized_zps0c5ebd64.jpg photo 176eresized_zpsd5f366d8.jpg photo 177eresized_zps5f075786.jpg

For mother’s day Allan BBQ’d hamburgers.  photo 050resized_zpsf7eb022a.jpg

Suffering from some major cabin fever, I took the little kids to Peter Piper Pizza for lunch one day. I bought Payson a lunch buffet plate and he had three or four pieces of pizza, toppings only! I felt so wasteful throwing away all that crust, but, what else do you do with a gluten-allergic boy? He also had a big salad, which I had to make him eat by promising he would get ZERO tokens until he did. Ember ate two whole pieces of pizza and about three servings of salad! That girl LOVES pizza and salad!  photo 055resized_zps1c3d8bcb.jpg

WalMart trip to buy a baby pool.  photo 057eresized_zpse19e9440.jpg

Didn’t like the one or two options at WalMart, went to Target instead.  photo 060eresized_zps87c7e6b0.jpg

The day we set it up (that same day we bought it) got up to 101, good day for some backyard splashing! I hung up a tarp to provide shade over the baby pool. photo 031eresized_zpsfbb0f41d.jpg

Ember was not a fan. She didn’t like the splashing, she didn’t like her swimsuit getting wet, she just didn’t like it at all. lol  photo 049eresized_zpsc583988b.jpg

Sierra laughing at Payson splashing himself in the eyes.  photo 069eresized_zps76dba217.jpg photo 076eresized_zpscc2d1eb6.jpg photo 086eresized_zps45c1b040.jpg

Having some frozen chocolate covered bananas.  photo 088eresized_zps2d996e18.jpg

The next week, running a few errands while the older girls were at school.  photo 101eresized_zpsfd198370.jpg

Payson looked so serious watching the scenery. Usually he talks nonstop in the car. (Notice the McDonald’s cups? We always have at least one water cup in the car.)  photo 103bwresized_zpsb19a3c84.jpg

Michael’s craft store.  photo 110eresized_zpsdf3fa132.jpg photo 111eresized_zpscb391f82.jpg

Fry’s grocery store.  photo 120bwresized_zpsa40f53d9.jpg

Cooling off with some naked juice.  photo 134eresized_zps274058ad.jpg photo 141eresized_zpsd22a22ee.jpg photo 143eresized_zps5817c60e.jpg

Kissing her baby in the car.  photo 149eresized_zps967e019f.jpg

Fixing up baby with her doctor kit.  photo 011eresized_zpsf1e84997.jpg

She fell asleep on me one night and my camera was on the couch close enough for me to grab to take some pictures!  photo 021bwresized_zpsba4a7b53.jpg photo 022bwresized_zps2c62dbcb.jpg photo 025bwresized_zps094e4edf.jpg

Every morning Ember shows me her hair and laughs and says, “Wook mine haiw!!” And then she holds her bangs up with both hands until she can see.  photo 061resized_zps94f5c72e.jpg photo 062resized_zps8a9a0d2d.jpg photo 063resized_zps2aafd400.jpg

The little piece in the front is trying to grow back out after she or Payson cut it a couple months ago.  photo 069resized_zpsd80174b1.jpg

One day we went out for lunch. Just for something to do.  photo 017eresized_zpsbb0dcd51.jpg

Raise your hand if you want a hamburger!  photo 032eresized_zps3f9c3ddb.jpg

Lunchtime is often Ember’s naptime.  photo 037eresized_zpsc6bd9ec6.jpg

Payson loves ketchup. He loves to just eat it. Ember hates ketchup. She won’t eat anything that has even slightly touched ketchup.  photo 043eresized_zpsdaa95c42.jpg photo 048eresized_zpse9ab23f1.jpg

Payson got a cheeseburger with no onions and no bun. It’s always a “thing” when I say, “No bun.” The person taking my order always hesitates, thinking. They’ll fumble to figure out what to push into the register, “Just the… patty and… other stuff? Without the bun? Okay.” And half the time they call someone over to ask what to push. Ordering for allergies makes me feel like a picky person! haha (That’s why I like In N Out, they have a protein version, without bun, that’s a normal order!)  photo 057eresized_zps91ee6cbd.jpg

Belly is big. I’m measuring two weeks ahead, which I always do when pregnant. So big. *sigh*  photo IMG_3141resized_zpsa5df68f0.jpg

Craft project with the younger three while Brooklyn was at her best friend’s birthday party.  photo 003eresized_zps593967d6.jpg photo 009eresized_zpsc32f2839.jpg

I love that you hardly need anything.
Blue paper.
Fruit Loops
Mini Marshmallows
Glue

I had the kids sort out their fruit loops into colors before gluing and whatever cereal pieces were leftover (and later marshmallows) they got to eat. They loved it. They also got some more from the box after they were all done.  photo 014eresized_zpscc6f8562.jpg

We got some card games from the Target $1 spot and have been playing a LOT. Our new favorite is crazy 8s. We play one on one or with half of us or, my favorite, as a whole family! Even Ember plays and she does really well!! So fun! (This was the first night we played, only Sierra and I did and Ember was pissed at me because I wouldn’t let her breastfeed while we played!)  photo 019resized_zpsaeac746a.jpg

Spaghetti dinners are so great. So easy to make. I put Payson’s meat and sauce over rice and he gobbles it up. He really loves the stuff, luckily!  photo 024eresized_zps9b66b64b.jpg

Ember was pretending to be a puppy and bringing all kinds of stuff to Allan while he finished up some work.  photo 028eresized_zpsca133414.jpg

Ember is such a mini adult. She loves to copy everything Allan and I do. He was flossing so she ran for a flosser. Then when he came over to kneel by her to floss together she kneeled down the exact same way. She even made sure she mirrored him perfectly with which knee was bent up. So cute!  photo 077eresized_zpsac4b8f6a.jpg
That’s the end of catch up post #2! I have more pictures from this week which hopefully I get to this weekend. I can’t wait to be caught up and able to blog about the present day happenings!

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

And this: Photobucket

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

Very upset. Photobucket

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

Ok, these next few were taken when we very first arrived… PhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucket

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)