Twister! Payson’s New Puncher!

I thought it was about time my kids try Twister. It was FUN! We were all laughing.

It was difficult for them at first so we decided to go in groups of two. We did rock, paper, scissors to see who was on what team and went first.

Sierra and Ember had fun watching Brooke and Payson.

They were cute when it was their turn.

Then we went outside because a package came from Amazon! It had taken 6 weeks because it came from China! Sheesh!

It was Payson’s puncher from Plants vs. Zombies 2!

It was gorgeous out so we played outside for a while.

And then later that day I got an email that my canvases were ready to be picked up. I used Wal-Mart for the canvases above my TV! The one on the mantel was from photobucket and is definitely better quality but from afar I think they all go together and look similar in quality!

If You Want to Know Where We Are, We’re Walking

Yeah so, it was shortly after this that I realized I should probably stop bringing my camera on our daily walks because I have probably five hundred pictures of them. haha! If I have my camera, I take pictures, if my camera is at home, I don’t. Sooooo, leave the camera at home! I’ll have you know that the last two weeks I’ve taken zero pictures of our walks. So yay me. But these pictures are from when I still brought my camera. And they’re cute pictures. So I’m sharing them. Even though there are a lot of walk pictures. And now there are a lot of words, too. Sorry.

Library and Bubbles!

Payson and Ember made friends with this little three year old and his 7 year old brother.

Everett was too pooped to party.

So I don’t know if I’ve ever talked about how I use the library with my kids. I let them pick out whatever books they want and they use their own library cards and take their books to the librarian themselves and check them out. Then I pick out books I’d like them to read (quality literature, haha) and check them out on my card. So Ember always picks out the most interesting books. Sometimes they have pictures but a lot of times they don’t. And she will look at each page and run her finger along the lines of text pretending to read. It’s just the cutest thing! So one day she had a stack of books, like usual. And I happened to turn to her and look at her stack of books for the first time that particular trip and noticed this one:

Me and the older girls laughed heartily over that. Ember asked, “What?!” And I told her it was a book teaching you all about periods. She knows about periods so she laughed along with us at the idea of reading about periods. I don’t know, it was funny.

Later that day we went for our usual walk and brought bubbles. Like always 😉

Payson’s Birthday Presents! Thank You!

The day after we got home from our trip to Washington Payson got a chance to open up his presents from grandma and grandpa and Jeena and Eric. Jeena picked out this cool Spiderman toy for Payson and he LOVES this thing! The parts can be interchanged and he loves that. Ember and Everett liked it, too. Everett was very jealous. haha

My kids got balloons at Sonic and while we were eating it was so windy that each of their balloons flew away one by one. Two of them were blown so hard they came off their strings!! My kids were devastated and sobbed. The nice lady working at Sonic brough them new ones and we tied them on tighter. Did that matter? Not really. Payson lost his again within seconds! And, the worst thing ever happened. We’re all sitting there eating and Payson’s balloon gets swept away by the fierce wind. He jumps up to run after it. I start yelling to stop and stay here. He completely ignores me and is sprinting after his balloon. I’m screaming at the top of my lungs, “PAYSON STOP!!!! PAYSON!!! PAYSOOON!” and without a split second of hesitation he continues running straight into the parking lot and on toward the freaking highway. Luckily the highway is pretty far and by then my hysterical yelling at him has caught his attention enough to look back at me. He’s standing in the grass on the other side of the parking lot and I’m shaking and furious and upset and panicked becuase he just sprinted through a parking lot toward a highway! He could have been killed!! There wasn’t even .001% of him that had listened to me. He only cared about his balloon. This is how kids die! Chasing balls into streets, frisbees, kites, WHATEVER! THIS IS HOW THEY DIE!! He is lucky that the car that was driving through the parking lot was going really slow. I can’t even imagine had the situation changed just the littlest bit. That car could’ve been closer to him, could’ve been going more than 5 miles per hour…

I told my kids that was the last time they were ever getting balloons outdoors. And I said a prayer in tears in the car (we immediately left as soon as he got back to our table) over how glad I was that nothing bad happened.

After that horrible experience we went to pick Brooklyn up from summer school.

This was her first day (I think) and while waiting to get her a bunch of middle schoolers (going into high school next year) were getting out of their summer school programs and I heard every single curse word under the sun said in the worst ways and about threw up. WHO are these kids?!?! WHAT the heck kind of parent raises a horrible human being like that?!?! They all had cell phones and were talking about just the worst stuff and it honestly made me sick to my stomach what my kids are surrounded by. I told Allan I couldn’t send Brooke back there. He convinced me to keep her in there and I think I did send her once or twice more but EACH time there were kids, different kids each time, swearing and talking about horrible stuff. No more summer school for Brooke! It’s not worth the five minutes of vulgarity to have her helped with math. It’s just not.

Back at home Payson was excited to open and play with grandma and papa Milo’s gift! LEGOS!

Everett of course had to be involved.

And Ember.

I helped him and we had fun together.

He plays with these a lot even still, Ember too. Legos are timeless, aren’t they? 🙂

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.


Jimmy John’s

Darn you Jimmy John’s for being SO delicious!  photo 679eresized_zpsqikxqixw.jpg photo 680eresized_zpsxmaqxrur.jpg photo 682eresized_zpsmugnwxai.jpg photo 687eresized_zpsnfrjzqkl.jpg photo 693eresized_zpsajsbercw.jpg photo 695eresized_zpsjze8hbjs.jpg photo 703eresized_zpso7yhiais.jpg

We stopped at Target before going home.  photo 725eresized_zps7f0qzpmd.jpg

And then it was time to go find those sprinklers. And if not the sprinklers, we brought squirt guns!
But first, this is how Ember got dressed:  photo 736eresized_zpsbqzvytgo.jpg  photo 642eresized_zpsg8zypdgk.jpg photo 645eresized_zpsubofsdhe.jpg photo 662eresized_zpslahl4pu6.jpg  photo 759eresized_zpsdok3dvnp.jpg

Poor Sierra had a rash after rolling down a grassy hill a bunch of times. That grass type always leaves red marks on a couple of the kids. Maybe allergies?She was itchy and uncomfortable 🙁  photo 760eresized_zpsaizfevk7.jpg photo 763eresized_zps30aadglj.jpg

Everett Easton Makes a Mess and We All Go Outside!

Messy eater.

After his bath I spiked his hair up. He looked pretty cute!

Later in the day, after lunch, and another outfit change because of his messy eating, we went outside for a walk/bike ride.

Sierra was having some troubles with her helmet. We ended up having her use her old Tinkerbell helmet again and it’s a much better fit.

After this we went inside for a few hours. I didn’t take any pictures so I’m sure we just did homeschool. Later in the evening we took another walk.

This time we went to the other side of our neighborhood.

The kids were having fun looking at the fountain when Sierra told us she saw a wasp. I spotted a hive and we quickly left that area! We haven’t walked by that fountain since!

Brooke and Sierra wanted a photoshoot.

Poor Everett was sick of being in the stroller at that point so I let him out and we brought out the bubbles.

As usual, Everett spilled the bubbles.

This is when I’d hurt my back so severely so I was pretty messed up. Allan was in Colorado and it was a really hard 8 days for me. I had a lot of depression and anxiety. Blowing bubbles outside actually saved my life. I really believe that. I’d feel the anxiety mounting all day and then I’d go outside and blow bubbles for thirty minutes or so and feel better.

Ember Inherits Sierra’s Bike!

Remember when Sierra won this bike from that coloring contest Allan’s job in Arizona had in 2009?

We’ve noticed Sierra looking way too big and being limited on her bike for quite a while now. We wanted to spend time with Sierra teaching her to ride her other bigger bike without training wheels. We finally got around to it one day and in perfect timing because Ember really needed a bike and buying one the same size as Sierra’s and having two bikes the same size seemed silly and wasteful! So, Sierra learned to ride a bike without training wheels and Ember got Sierra’s old bike!

This is Ember’s first day with her new bike. I love that she chose to bring all her favorite toys with her ♥  photo 091eresized_zpsthaxzsxn.jpg photo 142eresized_zpsfopf58js.jpg photo 167eresized_zpsflr0pwlt.jpg photo 181eresized_zpsqe9f29wj.jpg photo 215e2resized_zpskhxvfos1.jpg
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This was the bike ride Payson lost his tooth on! It was a big day of firsts for our family!  photo 290eresized_zpsczsttiyq.jpg photo 291eresized_zpsrmdawqya.jpg

I’ll do a separate post about Sierra learning to ride a bike without training wheels.