Dangerous Exercise!

So Ember was playing on the treadmill and Brooklyn turned it on. The treadmill was set to 3.5 mph and Ember went flying off the back end of it. She smashed her lip on the edge of the treadmill and started wailing. It was the saddest thing. Thankfully Everett was sleeping so I could hold her and snuggle and comfort her.
The next day at lunch time the kids were being cute. I was taking pictures of them and then snapped a few closeups of Ember’s lip.  photo 255eresized_zps48ace71a.jpg photo 259eresized_zps51eb5b70.jpg photo 271eresized_zps27523a26.jpg photo 272eresized_zps931840db.jpg

Not too long later I went to check on the little kids (I check on them constantly because they’re almost always doing something naughty and destructive!) and they were watching TV in a very cute way. I though it was funny how Ember was laying on the dresser.  photo 319eresized_zps8c4f243d.jpg

Everett had just had a boatload of breastmilk and was pretty happy so I laid him next to Payson to hang out for a bit. It only last about thirty second before Everett was crying for me again but Payson liked those thirty seconds. haha  photo 338eresized_zps66ee2590.jpg

And later in the day I let Brooklyn hold Everett when he was happy. It’s difficult finding times for the kids to hold their brother because he really just wants to be held by me all day long. But I make sure they get time every day with him. They really love it.  photo 341eresized_zps31fdcbf4.jpg

The next morning.  photo 352eresized_zpsf1826e7b.jpg

I discovered that if nursed Everett to sleep and then laid him in his carseat with the iPod with the white noise track on low he’d sleep in there sometimes for a half hour!  photo 361eresized_zpsb096dff3.jpg

We go to breakfast every morning and I try not to take too many pictures but I think I will want to remember that time since we do it every single day and it’s such an ordeal. Four kids in a buffet type environment… OY. They go nuts. It’s like Christmas every morning. We have kids putting honey and whipped cream on muffins, kids making hot chocolate with four packets of hot chocolate mix (and adding whipped cream of course), kids eating bowls and bowls of fruit loops, kids taking ten pieces of bacon, kids wrapping fruit loops up in breakfast ham like a burrito, and you know… anything else kids will do when given free reign over food. lol  photo 364eresized_zps26cd405f.jpg photo 376eresizedb_zps243f4418.jpg

This day was Sierra’s 8th birthday!  photo 389eresized_zpsdf67f333.jpg

It’s going to be a brutal adjustment for these munchkins when we’re in our house and their only beverages are water and milk. haha  photo 408eresized_zps188010ae.jpg photo 421bwresized_zps9c61ec92.jpg photo 428eresized_zpscc303a18.jpg

I love that Ember loves Everett so much even though he really doesn’t give her any good feedback and takes up most of my time. Time that used to be all hers. It amazes me that she feels completely enamored with him this much 7 weeks later ♥
She was peeking in on him and telling him about breakfast time.  photo 441eresized_zpsaf8f5d4f.jpg

Sierra did this funny thing where she told me to open her hands. She said her hands were a diaper though and said to, “Open up the baby’s diaper.” When I did she just had one finger poking up in the middle. Like a wiener. It was inappropriate but I totally laughed. Payson saw me laughing and didn’t have any idea what Sierra was doing or why it was funny, just that it got mommy to laugh. So he told me to open up his cup. Then he stuck his finger in and wiggled it around and laughed. Weirdo. photo 450bwresized_zpsb0cb1d26.jpg

You can imagine that the older girls go crazy around the food. They’ve been loading up their plates and cups and it got to be way too much. Sierra was the worst. That girl hardly eats but would load up enough food to feed a man. She’d waste 80% of it. I try really hard to not harp on my kids, to pick my battles and let as much go as possible. But watching them throw away food every day was too much and I had to speak up after day five-ish! I told Sierra she could get one, maybe two, things and when they were consumed she could get more. Anyway, here are pictures of the girls getting food!  photo 454eresized_zpsf6a3b763.jpg photo 456eresized_zps13696378.jpg photo 467eresized_zpsfcb164a6.jpg

I get the little kids’ food every day but that doesn’t stop them from wandering over from time to time to grab at things.  photo 474eresized_zpsd9b7494c.jpg photo 490eresized_zpsb9637ea5.jpg

Ember needed some mommy time.  photo 496eresized_zpsf412f32e.jpg photo 503eresized_zpseb6399d2.jpg

There are a couple computers with internet downstairs. I let the kids play webkinz and other video games online for a long time. I’m so nice 😛
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Of course at one point I had to take a couple minutes to show off my mad video game skillz. The kids love to watch me beat games. haha!
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The only other thing we did that day that I photographed was a quick trip to Sam’s Club to buy printer paper. Their new school told me to print out all the enrollment papers and I ran out of paper since there were FORTY FIVE pages!!  photo 526eresized_zps21d8a5c7.jpg photo 528eresized_zpsaf00fe1c.jpg photo 531eresized_zps4b75ee15.jpg

I miss Everett’s crib and swing. I can’t freaking wait to move into our house!!!  photo 002bwresized_zpsb87cd297.jpg

Toe Walking

Oh that toe walking. What are we ever going to do, Sierra? Will you be a toe walker as an adult? Will there be more braces, or even casts and surgeries in your future?

The decision making process is a very difficult one. An ongoing one as most “fixes” for toe walking don’t really permanently fix it. At least not in most cases. We’re going to start physical therapy again soon. That seems like the most mild, non-life-altering choice for now. PhotobucketPhotobucket~Yes, this is how she stands/walks 99% of the time. Lately more like 100% of the time.

New Car, Toe Walking and Braces Update

If there are ever cranky bits of typing in here it’s because I’m pretty much at the end of my rope with patience and sweetness after listening to Ember cry ALLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL

day for two days straight. And kicking the crap out of my face all night. And stabbing me in the eyes while I’m sleeping. She does kiss me a ton at night too but even that, with her long strings of snot left behind, hasn’t been my favorite lately. ha

We’ve been sick for so long. I can’t remember what it’s like to not be sick.
I’m so glad we’re moving. I realized today why the last year has sucked so dang much. Arizona is the worst state to live in because we’re trapped indoors all summer (from May to September it’s over 100 degrees) and then when the weather is FINALLY perfect (in late January!) we’re sick, sick, sick for the entire duration of it! The only good times with temperate weather and no illness is April, sometimes November and December are nice but last year we had high 90s temperatures ALL winter! It sucked!

But we’re going to move so that’ll all be in the past. Yay 🙂

Speaking of moving, in Utah where we want to live is off the main road down a dirt road to some property (I’ll blog in more detail about that some other time) so we’d really need a vehicle that could handle a snowy dirt road. Our tiny, weak sauce Mazda5 was in no way appropriate for the job.
So Allan bought a new car a few weeks ago, and we sold the Mazda. I never blogged about it because I have exactly zero interest in cars. I told Allan, buy me something that seats 8 and has rear heating. Besides that I don’t care what make, model, color, or anything else about it.
I was actually a bit of a jerk with him over it, refusing to look at cars online for more than like five minutes. I was sick at the time and OVERWORKED to the max but still, I regret being such a witch. I apologized to him recently and told him to make up for it I took the car on a photoshoot. haha!
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Oh yeah, these first few car pictures are from the other day taking Brooklyn to school. I’d taken Allan’s car to the store to get Sierra’s prescription a few days prior and left Ember’s carseat in there. So I had her sit in Payson’s carseat (which is forward facing) that day and Payson used an extra booster we have.
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Despite it being a one time thing I bet if my blog was public I’d get comments of how I was attempting to kill my child by having her forward facing before she was five :S
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I’m pretty intense about carseat safety but sometimes you just go with what you have.
How cute is Brooklyn? I love that she still looks sleepy in this picture under her giant smile 🙂
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When I stopped on this not-often-used dirt road to take these no one was around. At the very end when I was in my car and making a u-turn to go back the way I came a car was coming up. Right as I was turned around in the other lane, not blocking the road or anything, the car that passed me’s driver was glaring at me. I was like, um-dude what’s your problem?? I’m not in your way, you didn’t have to stop for me or anything? Jerk.
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I was cleaning the kitchen floor the other day and Ember spotted the chairs in the family room and knocked them over to climb in them.
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She’d climb in and then cry, really hard, for me to get her out. Then the second I got her out she’d climb straight back in and scream again.
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She’s on my lap, nursing, as I blog right now. She isn’t wearing pants because she had climbed on the table while the kids were eating and spilled an entire bowl of cereal all over herself and the table. And I think I smell poop. And she’s latched on and wiggly like a fish out of water and there’s a trail of sticky snot from her face to my boob.
Ember is not making my life much fun these days :S
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Sierra and Payson thought Ember in the chairs was hysterical. They ended up pushing over the other one and then later making forts out of them.
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Sierra keeps coming in here every other minute to tell me about some great wrong Payson has done to her. Most of them involve him taking back his own toys from her. She’s a smart kid but sometimes she’s awfully dumb 😛
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Speaking of Sierra… with her so sick and with her braces/braces’ shoes so dirty from school, she didn’t wear them for four days and she was up so high on her toes it was actually making me angry! lol
Today she’s back in braces all day and from now on, ALL day every day!
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I have no idea how to handle the school situation when it comes to her braces. They’re SO nice about it and supportive and helpful, actually I’ve never blogged about it but the entire administration in that school treats us so well and we’ve become good friends, but anyway, the problem with her wearing braces to school is recess…
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There is sand under all the playground equipment and it fills her braces and shoes. I’m not sure what to do about it. It is really, really hard and time consuming to put her braces and shoes on (takes about ten minutes and lots of manipulating and stuff) so it’s not like her teacher can simply pull everything off and shake it out and put it all back on, without a major time commitment anyway, so I’m thinking about googling if they have some sort of special boot that goes on easily over braces. Boots being higher up will hopefully prevent the sand from getting in. Photobucket

I’ve tried at least ten pairs of boots at stores with no luck. The braces are so stiff it makes sliding her foot into a pair impossible. It’d have to be a pair that opens all the way up to the ankle. I’ll keep looking but so far, it’s annoying.
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I’ve mentioned before about her feet being somewhat deformed, the balls of her feet are extremely wide (from all the pressure of toe walking) and her heel is very tiny (from having no pressure). Her toes curl outwards a bit (to grip the ground as she walks). Her toenails get flattened at the top since they hit the ground when she walks… luckily so far she hasn’t had ingrown toenails but I bet in time she would if we didn’t get this all taken care of.
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So she’s going to be in braces full time for years to come probably. The thing about all toe walking fixes is that they’re not truly fixes. Everything short of surgery, to clip her tendons, will counteract against her toe walking and put her back at a neutral (full range of motion) but in pretty much every case I’ve read about or heard about the child will be back on their toes within weeks of getting out of braces or casts.
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It’s a lifelong treatment plan, or at least as long as it takes until the child grows up and decides to walk flat. The fix at that point is them telling themselves to walk flat and then doing so. With children, especially under the age of 10, they really don’t care to remind themselves to walk flat and even when they do they don’t have long term ability with it. As soon as their mind is otherwise engaged (maybe reading a sign while they’re walking) they’re up on their toes without realizing it.
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So updates on Sierra are a funny thing. She has improved a lot with wearing the braces. She can stand flat now (she could not stand flat at all before!!) so her range of motion is getting better, but within thirty seconds of the braces coming off she’s on her toes. Which means, even with improvement she needs to wear them long term.
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Day 2 of Foot Braces

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Day two has been much better than day one! Sierra tells me the braces are uncomfortable and she’d rather not wear them but that’s mostly because the brace pushes on the back of her calf since she can’t stand up straight very well yet. So, I think by day three she might not have any discomfort!
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She loves her new socks and shoes. Without braces she wears a size 12, with braces she’s a size 2! She and Brooklyn are wearing the same size of shoe now. Which amuses all of us. haha
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I made a paper shaped like a shoe and every day she wears her braces she gets a star sticker and every night she wears her braces she gets another star sticker. When she’s earned 7 star stickers she gets to go on a special campout with Allan. When she earns around 90 (Allan and I are discussing exactly how many) we’ll take her to Disneyland! (And the rest of the kids too of course!!)
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I went to WalMart for the cheapy shoes and knee socks. I bought a few tank tops as well because with her feet so bundled up she’s warmer than usual.
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Surprisingly she even has the family room ceiling fan on today.
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I’m not planning on taking pictures of her braces every day, by the way. It’s just while they’re new and somewhat exciting and clean, I figured I’d take some pictures.
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Before Sierra wore her braces she couldn’t lean over to touch her toes at all. If she leaned towards the ground she’d fall over onto her knees! After 6 hours in braces she was touching her toes! Wow.
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So, I’m hopeful, apprehensive and nervous too, but mostly hopeful… that this will help her.
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Braces for Toe Walking

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I can’t believe it’s been three years since I started to think about taking care of Sierra’s toe walking! Time just flew by.
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We got these braces from a company we found online. They’re based in Washington. In the very town we had considered moving to at the end of last year! Ironic, huh?
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We’re not moving to Washington after all. We’re planning on moving to a different state. We’re making huge steps towards that. We’ve been packing some and clearing out our house… Allan’s repainting tonight and by the end of the month our house will be on the market!

But back to Sierra’s braces…
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I feel so sorry for her. She was so excited by the idea of braces but they’ve been uncomfortable. Though we told her that before they arrived I don’t think it really sunk in until she felt them on her feet.
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She knows that after the first week there won’t be any more pain but to her 6 year old self the here and now is terrible and that’s all that matters.
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They’re not causing her a lot of pain or anything, just discomfort. She’s told me several times she wishes she wasn’t a toe walker. I agree, I’m so sad that she has to wear braces because of something she was born with. But it could be so much worse and for that I’m so grateful. If toe walking and some pretty pink, initially uncomfortable, braces are the worst of our problems, we’re lucky people.
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Hike

It’s our favorite family activity. The weather is perfect this month. So despite all of battling seemingly nonstop sickness, we’re doing small hikes every weekend.
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I love it. I live for our little hikes. I can’t wait until we’re all healthy and can do a much longer hike!
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Ember loves hiking, too. She talks and giggles along with the rest of the family the whole time. It’s the cutest. She’s the cutest. I know I’ve said that too many times, but Ember is the definition of cute!
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The first few minutes of our hikes always start out poorly. Brooklyn has a fiercely competitive spirit and races Sierra up. Sierra and Payson try to keep up by running along. This is bad for two reasons. One- the kids go too far along the trail to where we can’t see them. Two- one of the middle two kids always, always falls because they’re running along rocky trails.
So every single hike we have to remind Brooklyn not to race and to make sure she’s not encouraging her siblings to run along the trail. But usually once she’s reminded she falls in line and turns on her best attitude and is a hugely sweet and helpful big sister the rest of the time!
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Finding little spots for family pictures along the way is tough. Mostly because sprinting over to the rest of the family after I press the shutter is tough with Ember on my back and giant rocks in my path.
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The Peralta Canyon Trail is such a gorgeous place to hike.
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There was a hole in this rock. The kids thought it was really neat.
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Some shots of the “hiking kids” by a big rock.
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Looking back at where we came from.
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Unfortunately we didn’t get much further than this. I started coughing really hard (I’ve had a really, really bad cold) and the sun was getting pretty low. Because this place is so wild and rugged, being on the trail after dark was a bad idea.
So we turned around and headed back.
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Payson checking out his battle wound. (From when he’d tripped while running up the trail after Brooklyn, like I mentioned at the beginning of our hike!)
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I told Allan to get a shot of all four kids. I leaned back to try to get Ember in the frame but she was much more interested in watching Brooklyn than looking at the camera.
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It occured to me that I would like a picture of me with the kids. So I asked Allan to take some 🙂
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We started hiking back down again.
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But Allan noticed something was missing!
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Thank goodness he noticed when he did because when he ran back to find the shoe along the trail it was at the very highest place we’d stopped before deciding to head back!
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Brooklyn tried to give Payson a piggy back ride.
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We stopped her right away because it was way too dangerous. A rocky trail to climb down? Not safe. And Payson didn’t want to be carried. This was his very first hike that he did the entire thing by himself.

It was the first time Payson did the hike all on his own, it was the last time Sierra will be hiking as a toe walker! She’s getting her braces in the mail this week.
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Allan and Sierra were laughing when I started going the wrong way down! Sierra had picked the right trail! Funny.
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At the end we “interviewd” each kid for a minute about the experience. Brooklyn was so freaking adorable during her interview. I love that girl!
Allan liked it and says we should do it every time. We basically asked them if they had fun and what their favorite part was. We called this rock the interview rock. haha
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Toe Walking Update!

We found a company that makes braces for toe walking pretty cheap. I decided we’re going to try them out and add in more physical therapy exercises for Sierra before taking her into the doctor for AFO (expensive, customized) braces in three months. If we see a lot of progress from the braces we bought (from the very town in Washington we considered moving to, ironically) then we won’t go through with the doctor’s plan after all and will stick with the cheap, easy ones.

So we measured her feet the other day so we could order them.
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And I took a video of her walking and jumping and turning and trying to touch her toes so that in a few months we can hopefully see a big difference in comparison. That video is boring but I did snap two pictures then as well.
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Here’s to 2012 being the year Sierra walked normally and stopped the pressure on her toes and deforming her feet!!

The Life I Want

The lack of hurry. Glancing up at the sound of giggles, feeling warm soapy water, dirty dishes in my hand, while watching a baby and toddler become friends amidst a pile of baby toys on the living room floor.

Noticing the rustling in the bushes, stopping to search for the lizard running through the leaves, pointing out the lizard to eager, excited children.

Laughing fully along with small voices to the silly song about frogs blaring from the car speakers.

Laying on the ground in the afternoon; soaking in the image of my little boy, nose to nose with his stuffed elephant, staring off into space, consumed with toddler thoughts. That elephant nose, rubbing back and forth.

The load of laundry on my hip abandoned on the couch while I kneel to tickle the baby. The sound of her giggles filling the room with happiness.

The life I want.

My mind is a lot clearer now. I am not depressed. I’m not overly stressed. Things are balanced. Within the balance are stressful moments. There are also lots of busy moments. Those don’t consume me anymore.

Oh man is life full right now. When not cleaning, cooking or homeschooling we’re outside or we’re inside playing lots of games or reading books. I love playing games and reading books! I love that my mind isn’t elsewhere, on uncompleted to dos, while being with my kids!

Switching gears… because the pictures are in this order and I don’t feel like rearranging them… my Ember baby loves being up on her toes.
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What’s wrong with standing on my toes?
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It’s true, she is currently fully a toe walker. It brings me back to Sierra’s babyhood and makes me fearful and yet it is so cute.
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I don’t know if her toe walking will “stick around” like Sierra’s did. I really hope not. But I guess toe walking is genetic. I used to walk on the tops of my toes as a kid (not constantly like Sierra) and Payson does that often, too. So somewhere in my genetics I’m setting my kids up for physical therapy. Great 😛
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A couple of pictures not needing captions.
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Payson decided to rip apart a scrapbook page I had on the table. He threw a sheet of vellum on the floor. It landed near Ember. Who happily gobbled up her treat. The ink from the printed journaling made quite the mess. Where was I? Sitting right next to her oblivious until she’d chewed for a few seconds. Brooklyn was sitting a few feet away and said, “Mom, Ember has paper!”
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After Sierra’s school time that morning we went to the arboretum to experience nature with our five senses.
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Every time we’re close to a cactus now Brooklyn wants to take a picture while touching it for me to post on my blog.
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Sierra and her toe-walking forced lean.
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Payson was running happily through the arboretum. So fast that he tripped. I comforted him and asked if he wanted a picture of his owie (my kids love pictures of their owies) and he did.
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Then he wanted a picture of how dirty elephant got when he fell.
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Ember loves the arboretum.
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I always bring diapers and wipes when we go places (obviously they’re needed) but I also always leave them in the car. Because I change the kids a lot in the car and am stupid and don’t put the stuff back in my diaper bag. I don’t know why I do that.
So Ember had a very full (leaked through) diaper and I had no wipes. Luckily I did have a diaper. I used my water bottle and her shorts to clean her up. So she went pantless the rest of the trip. Luckily it was hot so it worked out.
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We sat in this area for a while. The kids colored in their art books while I nursed Ember.
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I took a picture of elephant. I think Payson will like to have it on his wall 🙂
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Ember was happy to watch everything from the stroller once her belly was full.
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The kids had some fruit for a little snack and Brooklyn glared at Sierra because Sierra accidentally bumped Brooklyn’s knee.
Yes, this glare was for that. Brooklyn’s pretty dramatic.
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Ember is old enough to enjoy the aboriginal music now. She giggled a lot over it and all of us dancing around.
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I asked the kids who could do the silliest dance. Brooklyn wins hands down.
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It’s gotten into the 90s this week. We were all hot from the arboretum trip so we went home and played in the sprinkler.
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And then had popsicles.
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Since the popsicles were just organic apple juice I let the kids give Ember a taste.
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And then it was time for school! School in a swimsuit.
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Sierra had already done her school in the morning so she played with puzzle pieces and pattern cards with Payson.
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The next day I didn’t take any pictures until the evening during our shopping trip to Target.
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Payson got this new little truck for $1.99. He spotted it and begged me in the cutest way for it and I couldn’t resist.
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All three kids were so excited at the end when I said we should get icees.
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And they were so cute sharing the different flavors they got ♥
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I don’t usually get an icee for myself. And I usually hate everything flavored orange. I can’t stand orange candy or soda or popsicles or anything. I was surprised when I tasted the girls’ orange cream icee by how much I loved it! I went and bought one for myself!
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Payson and I were giving each other tastes. It was so fun sitting with him (the girls were at another table, which was adorable that they went and sat on their own at a little table) and sharing. He’s a very sweet little boy. He was so happy that he could have an icee 🙂
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So that icee I loved? I drank four or five sips and got sick of it. haha!

And now, I really have to go get some stuff clean and then set up Payson’s preschool stuff! I’m so excited. It came in the mail this week and there are posters and a calendar that are supposed to be hung on the wall. I bought some large whiteboards to hang them up on instead. I’m sick of poking holes in my wall to have the poster ripped down by Payson anyway!

Four Kids and a Mama

Sierra had a visit with her pediatrician today. I needed to get a new referral for a physical therapist for her toe walking.
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She has to go to physical therapy three times a week now.
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The kids played on the playground equipment just outside the office for a while afterward.
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Sierra got vaccinations today. I attempted to get a shot of Sierra’s bandaids but it was pretty bright.
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We got home.
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We did our school stuff for the day. I only took a picture at the very end while the girls were playing a fossil game during their science lesson.
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I got a cute view while I started dinner.
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But this face quickly turned into a frowny face and she ended up spending the rest of the evening in the carrier.
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The older kids played outside while dinner cooked.
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My kids love seeing pictures of themselves post doctor visit with bandaids on.
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