February 2015

At the end of January/Beginning of February, everyone got sick. It started with Gwenna who had a cold and then a week later got the Flu AND Strep. She was out of school for 10 days (4 of which days were school days) and I also got the Flu, but not as bad as she had it. By time our friends the Garretts visited, we were mostly feeling better. Some sniffles and low grade fevers but nothing bad and they left still feeling pretty well. We were lucky in that aspect.

Our kids got along really well while Jes and her kiddos were here. There was some minor bumping of heads here and there but the kids actually did better than anyone, I feel. They visited for (I think...) 5 days and then headed on home to Utah.

Ammon and Gwenna reading.

The kiddos put on a short play for us about mermaids and pirates and sea dogs and cat-fish... it was funny.

Right before they headed out :(

27 weeks pregnant

My mama's birthday! We had Winger's sticky chicken salad and Grandma brought lemon bars.  It's fun having her close enough to celebrate together. Simon was, of course, enthralled with the candles.  He loves to sing Happy Birthday and LOVES when there are candles around.

Braeden stayed with us for 8 days during February while his parents were in Florida.  Here he is posing as Super Man!

Gwenna doing one of her favorite things: reading.  She is such a great reader.  Her abilities always impress me.  She can read most anything and is never afraid to tackle a book.

At the Reading Under the Stars night, Gwenna's friend Dominic shows her something in his book.  Gwenna was dressed up as Pinkalicious.

Eat hot dogs and chips at the school for Reading under the stars.

Mer wanted to dress up too so she was a princess.

The girls worked hard the week before the event and after school the day of to earn money to buy books at the book fair.  They were each able to buy 2 books and were each given a free book.  Happy night when we come home with 7 new books to enjoy (Simon got one too).

Listening to a story outside after eating s'mores.

One night, as we sat up after the girls were in bed, Simon played with the magna doodle for, seriously, upwards for an hour.  He stopped to cuddle for a while but mostly just drew all by himself.  He is getting better at drawing and really enjoys it.

Oops, out of order, but while Jessica was here, she worked on teaching Ted a song on the keyboard, "Because I Have Been Give Much".  He picked it up great!

Out of order again ... one sunny morning of eating breakfast with our friends.  I love little Emma's hair.  It is too cute and curly!

Simon stayed up one night to help me make cinnamon rolls.  Happy helper.

28 weeks along - baby was FINALLY not breech anymore and was head down.  I was so scared s/he wouldn't flip.  Shortly after this, s/he flipped a bit again and sat transverse for about 3 weeks but is once again head down now at 33 weeks.

So this picture is silly and serious.  It's silly because the girls were laughing and playing with Ted's tendons in his feet.  Who needs toys?  It's seriously because Gwenna wearing Ted's sweater reminds me of all the anxiety she was experiencing at this time.  One of her major issues was she was afraid she was diabetic.  She would be up at night worrying and crying and afraid she wasn't going to wake up in the morning.  Like, easily 2 hours after her brother and sister were asleep.  One night was particularly rough when Ted was at work, in Tucson.  She wanted him so badly and so I felt like I should give her one of his sweaters sprayed with his cologne.  It helped a lot and she was able to fall asleep.  Eventually I explained that when she was in my tummy they could see her pancreas on the ultrasound machine, like they did with Mer's kidney issues she had, and Gwenna's pancreas was fine.  Since then Diabetes isn't troubling her but she had dealt with a bit of anxiety here and there.  We're working on it and she had been doing a lot better.

Oh Simon.  He got into my nail polish two or three times in as many days.  He made a mess out of himself and his clothes and the carpet over those multiple times.  Rite of passage?

Oops out of order AGAIN... Mer and B played here for half an hour one day, just sitting on the couch together in some sort of made up game.  Mer really liked having an older kid around most of the day while B was here.

January 2015

In 2015 I started using Instagram much more and I"m probably going to phase out my blog and start focusing on Instagram more. It's SO much easier for me but there are some things I will still share on the kids blog.

In January we went to the Zoo in Tucson with our friends the Nielsons. So much fun, love those guys!

Shortly after these 2 pictures of Gwenna were taken, she fell off the elephant somehow and hurt her bottom.  Ouch!  This girl is always getting hurt but she rebounds well.

All our kids (Gwenna, 6.5, Mer 5, Braeden, 4.5, Aaliyah and Emmet 2.5, Simon almost 2 - 22.5 months when this was taken)

I love this picture below.  We have .8 miles, so nearly a mile, of dirt road to our house.  I regularly let the kids hop up front with me or sit on my lap and drive (Ted does this even more than I do, Simon especially loves to "drive").  Mer loves to put the window down and let the wind blow through her hair.  Such a country girl thing to do.

Mer fell asleep between preschool and home.  Tough day, I guess.

I made white chocolate chip raspberry muffins one day and brought them for Mer, Braeden, and Gwenna when I was on pick-up duty one day.  Mer was trying SO HARD not to eat hers, as she really likes to eat with her family and wanted to wait for Gwenna.  It didn't last though and that's a big compliment from Mer.

On a hike on a sunny day.  It was such a fun day, being together as a family.  We took a short hike and then had a snack on the top of this sunny hill.  We hiked back down and when we went home, after Simon was in bed, the girls and I made homemade ice cream sandwiches with graham crackers, ice cream, and sprinkles, while Ted worked on some outside projects.

Emmett was over playing one day and those two boys played with trains for a good while.  Funny, cute boys!

Snacks - I love E's face in this picture! :)

Poor Simon is always bored if Mer falls asleep.  He was patting her head here, sweetly, surprisingly.  Not really trying to wake her. He is a super sweet brother, most of the time.

I loved having my old, funky blue recliner in my room but Ted moved it into the living room one day.  So after a few weeks of it being out there, I expressed my desire to have it back in the bedroom.  My girls wasted no time, pulled the back off, pushed the base in, and Ted helped them reassemble it.  They are such sweethearts to want to help their mama.

This was the first "belly shot" of pregnancy #4.  I was, I think, about 22 weeks along.

Pictures from baby #4's anatomy ultrasound.  We of course did not find out the gender of the baby but Tracy was told and it's her job to take care of baby Crowder's needs :)

In January, we decided to take down the side rail of SImon's crib and Ted built him a half rail to keep him from falling out.  We decided we'd try to start potty training him (that was a big flop, poor boy) and that he should be able to get out of bed to go potty if he needed to.  Two months later, he still isn't the greatest about staying in bed.  I hope he improves.

Just playing with Dad.

Christmas 2014

Let me, right up front, share the best part of Christmas this year: Not having to go ANYWHERE but having our family here. This was awesome. We've never had this experience for Christmas. Either we travel 3 hours each way or we have Christmas on our own. Each option is fine, really, but having everyone here was GREAT.

Christmas morning was really nice.  We finished our 25 days of Christ ornaments first and read scriptures.  Then we divied up the gifts and opened presents one by one.  The kids really enjoyed their gifts and so did Ted and I.  We each surprised each other a bit, not knowing what we'd gotten each other.  I was especially proud of the knife I got for Ted.

After gifts were opened, we had my parents and brother Jake over for breakfast.  We had the traditional cinnamon rolls and the Pioneer woman breakfast casserole we had Gwenna's first Christmas.  We also had a yummy fruit salad.  It was great food start to the day.

Then we played some home while Ted slept.  He had to work Christmas eve (his birthday!) but it worked fine because we had nothing going on from 10 to 2 and he was able to rest while we played and watched a Christmas movie.

Then we went over to my parents' house for dinner and gifts with family.  We had everyone there except Niki and her family and they were missed.

Grandma, Rob, and Tiffany.

The whole crew (Ted being the signature early silly face).

Grandpa and Grandma with three of their five grandchildren.

Uncle Kody (who hasn't been called "Aunt Kody" in ages, strangely enough) and Aunt Anna (rocking her awesome sweater).

Ted and me and a photo bomb from Grandma Annamarie.

Grandma and Anna.

After all the hoopla was done, some of the big kids (siblings) shot Jake's bee bee gun that Jake got from Ted.  We all slept well that night!

Meredith Turns 5!

 In November, Meredith turned 5.  It seemed like a big deal and also not because she didn't seem 4 to me anymore anyway.  She was a OLD 4 year old by time she turned 5... if that makes any sense.

That morning Mer opened her presents.  She got 3 new, beautiful dress up dresses and fancy dress up shoes.  I had wanted to get her these things for a while and I was really excited to see her excitement over it all.

Here, Mer and Gwenna try on dress ups before Gwenna heads off to school.  (Tiana and Belle)

Mer wrote a little message on the chalk board for us. "Thank you for the dress ups."

Later on, we did her 5 year old photo shoot.  I waited until her actual birthday to do her pictures because I wanted her to be able to wear one of her new dress up dresses.  She really adored the Tiana dress and hardly was out of it all day.  It is very flattering and pretty on her.

Her is Mer with her new backpack.  Goggy sent birthday money and I picked this out for her.  Mer loves it and uses it for preschool and trips.

One fun thing Mer got to do on her birthday was get her nails done.  I had bid on having gel nails done by a friend at a church activity and won.  She was kind enough to do my nails and Mer's.  I loved how mine turned out and loved Mer's selections.  She was exceptionally excited about her accent nail, with the rhinestone.  Since they were gel nails, they lasted over two weeks on Mer before they had to be taken off.  I couldn't believe how pretty they stayed and how the rhinestone stayed on nearly the entire time.  Mer loved them.

Meredith also got a few birthday packages from grandmas and other family.  She loved it all and this picture shows some of her excitement.

She really loved her Rarity My Little Pony from Aunt Niki.

Grandma and Uncle Jake came over for cake and I think dinner if I recall.  Meredith always likes a fancy cake for her birthday and she likes the inside to be rainbow.  So that's what we do.  It's a really funny contrast.

Her cake.

Meredith, having turned 5, got to have a birthday party.  She wanted to invite everyone she knows (not kidding) and so we had a bonfire and smores and frito pie.  It was a fun party except that it was actually pretty cold. A ton of people came and we had a fun time.  Especially when Ted started the fire and it almost caught some brush on fire... The first started out a little more intense than we intended.

Uncle Todd came from Gilbert and here he is sitting with the missionaries, Elder Jorge and Elder Harrison.

 Our friends the Fullers came from Vail for the party and it was so fun to have them.  Above, Simon was loving on Lily so much.  He has always loved babies!

Below, Mer and I sat by the fire as it died down.  To be honest, she was actually a little overwhelmed by everyone there and was kind of cranky.  She did have fun but could have been less grumpy.

This was a fun birthday for Mer with lots of celebrating and fun and now she will be headed off to school next year.  Our big 5 year old!