Saturday, November 18, 2017

Veterans Day Away from LA

We had a three-day weekend to celebrate Veterans Day and my parents invited us to Sacramento to adventure with them. They got home from Hawaii the day before we showed up and you'd think they'd want some time to unwind from their trip but no, they're seriously super-parents and somehow even better grandparents and were so excited that we accepted their offer. 

Unfortunately James had to stay back in LA to work, but Meghan and Hunter hopped in the car with us after school on Thursday and we made it back to Sac in record time and with no stops. We rolled in at 8 pm which was plenty of time to eat my parents delicious dinner leftovers, snag some freshly-baked cookies and make a mess of their perfectly clean retired home! I just love being home, love, love, LOVE being home, and this time was no different.

I showed up at my parents door only to see that my Dad and I were matchy-matchy from head to toe (black tee and jeans). We are already selfie pros so why not pull out the camera within seconds of being home?! I love him and how he is so deliberate about making time for and giving attention to the ones he loves.

One of the funniest stories of the trip came the first morning we were there when Pepa poured himself a giant bowl of Reese's cereal for breakfast. Talmage asked if he could have some, and Pepa pulled out a little bowl that fit maybe twenty pieces of cereal. T was cracking up and pretending to be mad when Everett walked in and also asked for a bowl of cereal. You should have seen the shocked and disgusted and frankly hilarious look on Everett's face when Pepa pulled out the teeniest little bowl and put maybe 3 pieces of cereal inside it! Evie was like, "WHAT? Dats all da ceweal I get? Dats cwazy! It's wike thwee pieces!" and we all laughed soooo hard. The next day T was randomly in the kitchen laughing and when Mema asked him why he told her that he was still thinking about Pepa and the cereal!

My parents and I were trying to figure out what to do with our Friday and ended up at the bowling alley for my kids first venture into bowling. It was so much fun and for a half second I thought I wanted to follow my Noni's footsteps and join a bowling league!

My Dad couldn't bowl because he has a bum shoulder so he sat on the sidelines and cheered us on. I have a feeling that he would have whooped us had he been in the game, so it probably worked to our advantage.

My level of obsession with my Mama is off the charts. I LOVE being with her, having her attention and feeling of her love. She is the greatest and I try and try to be more like her.

It was so fun to watch my littlest turkey and her siblings play in my parents expansive yard. Honestly their backyard is what dreams are made of.

All babies flock to Mema at all times, but especially when it's bedtime and she comes to the couch bearing books. She added a new one to the mix this year--Llama Llama Gram and Grampa and it was so cute.

I won't say we came to Sacramento for the donuts, but we kind of came to Sacramento for the donuts! Apple cider donuts, that is, in Apple Hill. We usually stick to caramel apples at High Hill Ranch but this year we hopped from farm to farm and tried a treat or played a game at every place along the way. Our first stop was Rainbow Orchard for donuts that were every bit as good as how my parents explained. Crispy on the outside and smooth as butter on the inside with a generous sprinkle of cinnamon and sugar on the outside. Oooh, I could go for another one of those right now!

The next farm found our kids mining for gems and fossils. You CANNOT believe how excited they were over this! Last time we did this Quinn was so not interested but this time she was ALL over panning with her brothers. It was darling.

Cora was being super shy with Meghan's sister Caitlyn and it was so cute. She wanted her attention at all times but if Caitlyn got too close or gave her too much attention, she'd give this coy smile.

Pepa is the greatest grandpa I could imagine for my boys. He plays with them, teases them and teaches them (somewhat) naughty things that make them laugh, but he also shows them how family loves each other and gives them an example of how to be a well-rounded, happy and successful man.

They may raise the prices every single year but that doesn't keep us (eh-hem, Mema) from buying pony rides for the kids. It's tradition! Quinn loved her pony ride so much it makes me want to buy the chica one of her own. She was smiling and waving and even though the ride-time was more than generous she begged us to let her go on another time (next year, baby girl!) I can't believe that it was just a few years ago that Talmage was riding this horse. My feelings were so tender at that time and I was so confused about why T was so sure his sister wanted to come when obstacles kept being stacked in our way. Well, perspective is a beautiful thing and now to see his little sister on this horse was so special. (T's story here)

Who wants a normal caramel apple when you can have a worms and dirt one?! And do you see Pepa hiding in the background?!

Date night with my Dad-man for Jimboy's tacos (the most delicious greasy tacos in existence) and the adult session of stake conference--woot woot! My Mom was a saint and stayed home to feed my babies and put them all to bed and it was so fun to get out.

At the last minute Chase flew up to Sacramento on Saturday morning and then drove home with Meg, the kids and I on Sunday. I'm pretty sure he made the trip because he was afraid I was going to give his wife blood clots for not stopping on our road trip (wink wink) but we loved having him whatever the reason!

The ride home took a good 90 minutes longer than the way there thanks to multiple potty and gas breaks and by the end we were all ready to be out of the car, but I'd say for having 8 of us in my van for almost 8 hours we totally rocked it. This was just such a great weekend. I was afraid it would feel way too short and that it would feel like all we did was drive there to drive back, but it felt like such a full, fulfilling and fun weekend spent with my family. Who knows, maybe we just started a new tradition?!

Friday, November 17, 2017

Lately Leftovers

A little bit of leftovers from the past few weeks. 

Dinner prep looks a lot like this these days. And if you think she's playing or laughing, you're wrong. Loud and long screams mixed with clawing and pinching my knees. Good times, good times.

My Thanksgiving table decor is going nowhere fast and that's probably because any and all creative juices die when I see my darn cornucopia as pumpkin hats thanks to Miss Quinn! T minus one week until Thanksgiving, I better get on it or this is what my guests will see!

Quinn is OBSESSED with Bob the Builder and wears her construction hat basically everywhere these days. She has that cute, cute princess box but she refers to it as her toolbox because I am basically raising my tomboy twin. She walked into the kitchen yesterday wearing her hard hat and a stethoscope and I said, "Awesome Quinn, do you want to be a doctor or a construction worker someday?" And she looked at me defiantly and said, "No, I'm going to be Hulk." She's getting her practice in, let me tell you!

Everett ran into the kitchen like there was an emergency on Sunday night because he wanted me to see this vibrant sunset out our front window before it disappeared. In our two-plus years in Los Angeles this is the prettiest sunset I have ever seen, so I understood his excitement. I'm so glad he recognizes beauty and invites me to view it by his side. 

Every morning I call the boys in to the bathroom to get their hair combed and 9 times out of 10 Everett comes in, puts on a baseball hat, and laughs hysterically about out-smarting his brush-yielding Mama. First graders think they're so funny sometimes!

James said, "Who wants to say the prayer?" and cute Coco who was sitting at the table for the first time raised her hand high and proud.

When one of my kids specifically asks for their picture to be taken I make it a practice to never say no, even if it is with a silly Boba cup on the street in Westwood Village.

Party in the closet--clothing optional, massive amounts of stuffed animals required.

Her hair is too fine and silky to hold the curlers, even with some ratting and hairspray, but she sat super still and actually loved this girly little moment so I'm calling it a win. Can't wait to do it again!

We hosted the children from three families after church a few Sunday's ago and my partner-in-crime was on lunch duty. I laughed as I walked in to a whole loaf of bread on a hundred different plates being made into so many different sandwich concoctions. So grateful that when he's home, he's present.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Coco's Mama

Last week Cora ran up to me, patted my knee with her chubby little hand and said, "Mama!" No, it wasn't the first time that word had ever left her mouth, but it was definitely the first time she said it fully knowing what those words meant. It caught me off guard a little, the excitement I felt over something I've experienced so many times before, and filled me with love and gratitude for a fourth little baby that calls me hers. 

It seems she's growing in hyper-speed lately and learning new tricks on the second. I gave away the last of her 18 month clothes this morning and all of her headbands, she's all 2T and all ribbon bows these days. And can you believe she's fitting into size 7 shoes already? It's nuts. As far as tricks are concerned, they mostly consist of her moving furniture in order to steal binkies out of the pacifier jar and figuring out how to have ALL of her special blankies at the same time. She's also especially skilled at saying "NO!" and I try not to be offended that she knew what that word meant long before she was seriously sayin' Mama! I love to hear her jabber on the phone like she has a grand story to tell and when it's time to leave and she gives you a kiss with a loud and tight-lipped "mmmmmmm-wah!" my heart just melts. 

I know it's cliche to say that I don't know what my life would be like without her, but there are really no truer words to utter. She is the sweetest finale to my earthly creations and loving her is one of the easiest things I do. 

(These pictures were snapped in front of our house on a day when the boys came home from school particularly hyper and grumpy and needed to run some laps on our street to release energy. Cora decided to join in on the sprints and the boys and I ended up all stopping to ooh and ahh over how darling she is. She's not short on love, that one!)

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

5K Champs!

Two of the people in the above picture are legitimate runners and finished first in their respective age groups on our Saturday 5K sponsored by Chase's company; two of the people in the above picture are kinda posers and were lucky to finish the race at all. Want to take a guess about who is who? Let me give you a hint, the two slowpokes are siblings and are, or once were, McKee's! I'm married to and birthed gazelles but as for me and my brother, we DO NOT run for fun! (Although running with Chase was actually such a good time!)

Talmage has been begging me to sign him up for a 5K for months (maybe even years) and asked me basically everyday for a month if it was FINALLY race day. To say he was pumped is an understatement. James was too fast for him and Chase and I were too slow, so he ran the whole 5K by himself. He finished in 27 minutes and although he was pretty proud of himself, I'm confident I was prouder!

Chase and I spent our 35 minute run talking about all of the things that were more fun than running. It wasn't hard to come up with a whole slew of them. Eating donuts. Having dance parties. Sleeping in. All things that are more fun than running at the crack of dawn on a Saturday!!! That being said, it was fun to spend some time together and it made for hilarious memories, and videos!

I don't think I'll ever tire of watching this roadrunner! I'm so grateful that Meghan was at the finish line and snapped a few pictures of him on the home stretch. He's AMAZING!!! He finished fourth behind a college runner, high school runner and a middle-aged man we nicknamed Chuck Norris. 4th out of 275--wowzers! I think an 18 minute 5K is something to be very, VERY pleased of and heaven knows we were all proud to call him ours.

We felt pretty darn good about ourselves (and our muscles) after finishing the race. It always feels good to accomplish something, especially when it's a little hard, and this 5K was no different. We rewarded ourselves with donuts because those figures don't stay that way without some help, haha!

The person who really deserved a medal was Meghan, who watched these four babies while we raced! That pregnant belly doesn't hold her back from helping at every opportunity, I love that about her.

T got called up and honored as the first place runner under 10. They may have pronounced his name worse than we've ever heard, but they gave him a shiny medal, a handshake and a memory that will last his lifetime! That Talmage Scott is a special kid, we love him so much.

Our three medaled men at the end of the race! Chase finished 2nd in his age group and the Wigs finished 1st (I was 4th, womp womp, no medal for me!) I'm so proud of all three of them and so glad we got to experience this together. What are we EVER going to do when Chase and Meghan go back to Idaho?