Friday, September 30, 2016

She's One Until She's Absolutely Not

We have a rule in my house, and it's called "Don't you dare age my baby one second sooner than you have to!" Quinny may be two tomorrow but today she is one. ONE YEAR OLD. Yes, when people see me and my talking toddler out and about and ask me how old she is I tell it like it is; she's one. Not two. Not almost two. Not nearly two. She is one. They look skeptical but I hold strong, because that whole babies don't keep thing is proving true with this little lady. (This law is not Quinn specific, Cora is three months old until further notice even though James always tries to round up to four. Nope, not OK. I don't care that she's less than a week away from graduating to that next age! Keep my babies babies, you hear?!) 

Don't get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with being two. In fact, Quinn is going to be a stellar two year old--I can already feel it! She's always been spicy and independent and holy hannah she can throw a fit so the typical two-year-old traits that are so scary don't worry me; but she will continue to get smarter and learn more words and already it's SO MUCH FUN to hear how her mind works and the thought-process behind the 'tude. This girl has opinions and this girl has confidence and this girl is going places. Yes, yes, Quinny will make two look good and I'm just thrilled to see it.

But as of today? There is no two-year-old Quinn anywhere to be seen. Just me and my one-year-old.

Some recent favorite Quinny snaps: 

My favorite part of this picture is seeing the other customer smile while looking at my girl. We didn't know them, but they were smitten with Quinn and I didn't see them in this picture until later. Knowing that she can put a smile on the faces of strangers makes my heart sing with pride. She's such a joy.

When you can't beat 'em, join 'em. Quinny has been doing this silly smile every time I ask her for a picture I decided to twin her. She thought it was hilarious! 

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

The luckiest little ladies

I can't stop thinking lately about how lucky my girls are--lucky to have each other, lucky to have phenomenal big brothers, lucky to have this house and a beautiful backyard to explore, lucky to have friends, lucky to have me (OK, OK, joking there!) but seriously, their life is good. I know these pictures are all random, but as I looked at them I couldn't help but think about how blessed they are and we are. Enjoy! 

 Quinny and Coco playing princesses together for the first time. Cora didn't like it at all! 

 Every. Single. Day. on the walk home from school.

 Quinny's favorite color is purple so this flowering bush is her favorite place to hang out.

Our house got a hair cut and the crying eyes emoji couldn't do it justice. Please grow back bougainvillea!

 Dear Cora, You are the cutest little human being that ever existed. Love, Mom

 That chica in the middle with the head bob and the foot pop! Friday ice cream day from the ice cream truck.

Bedtime Story Jam boys! (Sister somewhere not far behind!)

Me and My Girls

This is soooooo my life right now. Me holding Cora, Quinn side-eyeing me. I love this silly picture so much and I love those girls the most.

Blessing Cora Nicole

After an amazing trip to Washington and a crazy week of catch-up I am back. So, maybe my September writing goal was not a total success, but I did better than I've done any other month lately and hey, it's still September and I'm planning on writing my fingers off tonight. So there.

This post is a looonnnnggg time coming. It's been delayed because I didn't take a single picture of sweet Cora's blessing, and although other people took pictures and sent them to me I couldn't find where I had dowloaded them for the longest time. I actually had a mini panic attack tonight when I thought they were gone forever, but I finally found them and so I'm putting them on my blog pronto.

We blessed Cora on the second Sunday of August in our Los Angeles ward. We were so touched that Mary and Bruce from Oceanside, the Big Wigs from Sac, my parents from Sac and the Provo McKee's came to visit for the weekend to celebrate Coco with us. She is the sweetest baby and has brought our family so much joy and I was just thrilled this whole day to get to share her with our extended family and ward family.

 I still remember T's blessing like it was yesterday, and somehow now I have four kids?! 

Thank you, thank you for everyone who made this day special. And especially to our dear Cora Nicole, you are our everything sweet girl. We love you! 

Thursday, September 15, 2016

His aprons, Her smiles

I do all the cooking, except where breakfast is concerned. But he is the only one who wears an apron. All the aprons in our home are of the male variety. I don't remember when I wore one last...months ago, maybe years? But as soon as he comes home each day he puts one on before he eats or cleans or does anything else. Funny, huh?

Also, it goes without saying that her smiles melt me into a puddle. That girls loves her mama, and I love being the recipient of her joyful face. I know this is probably totally untrue, but I'm convinced that she saves her biggest, gummiest, nose-scrunchiest smiles for when I'm the one meeting her gaze! She is a Mama's girl, that's an undisputed fact, so I'm going to run with my little hypothesis.

Flat Tire

On Sunday night we were leaving a Russian BBQ way the heck in Hollywood with four filthy and grumpy children when James realized after circling to the driver's side that we weren't going anywhere, at least not without a call to AAA, a long wait on the side of the road, and a visit from a friendly mechanic who promised to fix our flat. We passed the time by taking family-selfies, playing car games, singing church songs and pretending that Cora's incessant screaming was not driving us batty. In the end we got home (albeit 2 1/2 hours later than expected) and the NICEST mechanic at California Tire Company fixed my tire for FREE the next morning, so all's well that ends well, right?

There are about a million different directions I could drive with this flat tire tale. I could write about how we felt a little like Elphoba singing, "No good deed goes unpunished" after spending our Sunday afternoon trying to make a difference for the Russian friends in our congregation only to spend our Sunday night stranded in the middle of nowhere. I could take a more Ensign-ish approach and tell you how we had moments of laughter and love in the van that evening and I thought to myself, We're making a memory here! This moment may very well shape who these kids become. I could also tell you about how we nearly ran out of gas on our way home because the long wait sucked our engine dry and we weren't as prepared as we should have been so thats, count 'em, two oxes in our mire.

I'm sure any and all of those could mature into interesting pieces of writing but right now I'm looking at these pictures, feeling a little uninspired, and my only thoughts sound a little like this: That tire and I have a whole lot in common. 

It's been a Wednesday, that's for sure, and I am absolutely exhausted. About halfway through the dinner hour I started placing SOS emergency calls to my Mom and my sister requesting some encouragement; I legitimately needed someone to tell me that I could make it a few more hours until bedtime. At the time the calls were made Cora had been screaming for two and a half hours straight, Quinn was attempting to jump off of the kitchen counter for the umpteenth time, Ever was whining about homework, dinner and life and T was crying because his back-to-school cold has gone to his head and he wanted me to cuddle him and read a story. It was a hot mess of a moment. A LOUD moment as well, thanks to Cora. The boys climbed in bed to read some books, eventually I changed Quinny in jammies and put her to bed with her beloved baba, but I would put in another couple hours of bouncing a P-O'ed baby before the night was through. Who needs a gym membership when my FitBit's 10,000 steps are easily met just by walking the halls with Cokes?! 

Usually I'm pretty good at believing myself when I say that this is just a phase, this too shall pass, the time goes by so quickly, you'll miss this someday, and all the other cliche phrases that actually succeed in offering me hope. But today, not even those offered a silver lining. I was running on empty. Actually, I wasn't even running. I was as flat as that tire on our van. I only hope my luck fairs as well, and by tomorrow morning I'll be patched up and ready to roll again (and if by chance, that patch was in the form of a long, uninterrupted night sleep you wouldn't see me complaining.)

{Written last night, well at least up to the point that I fell asleep, mid-sentence with the computer still on my lap. That makes it twice this week! Published today--which by the way has been SO much better!} 

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

In the Books.

I volunteered at the Book Fair during T's library hour yesterday and gosh, I love that kid. The students were all invited to write down their top three book requests and then the paper got sent home in hopes that the parents will come purchase the books and support the school. Anyway, watching T walk around the room with his clipboard and pencil and seeing the books he is most interested in was amazing. My firstborn is getting so HUGE and while I was thumbing through picture books he was requesting the newest Harry Potter and 4th grade fact books about the most dangerous animals. His brain is a beautiful thing and watching him devour books makes me so happy for the adventure he's allowing it to have. After our allotted time in the library the students lined up to go back to class and I slowly made my way to the school's front exit, but not without a few look-backs, a wave and a blown kiss, and telling the security guard that it was taking everything in me to not snatch him up and take him home with me. School is such a fantastic place for kids to learn and grow and even though I miss them while they're there, I'm just glad for days like this where I get to be a part of his magical world. (No, I didn't cry. Yes, I almost cried. Yes, my stomach felt sick with missing-him-ness. Yes, the security guard probably put me on his short list. No, I'm not that crazy!) 

After school we made our way back to the book fair so that my chickens could each pick out a special book to buy. I think every other parent at the school had the same idea and that place was NUTS! I obviously caved under pressure because I let them pick out two books instead of one and even let Ever buy one of those horrible Lego readers (snore!) Quinner was thrilled with her Pinkabella book and felt like such a big girl at school with her brothers. These kids make my heart swell. Another great day in the books.

Quinny the Cookie Sous Chef

The boys each had a friend over to play and before long Quinny showed up at my feet with her head hanging low and the saddest expression on her face. "Dem. Mean. Wock door." she said with a tear in her eye. I scooped her up in my arms and said, "Are they not playing with you? Are they being mean? I'm so sorry Quinny!" She nuzzled her sweet face into my shoulder and whimpered for a moment or two, not long enough where either of us mistook her whines for real tears but just long enough that she got the sympathy from me that she desired. We all need a healthy dose of sympathy every now and again, even if we have to beg for it.  

"I have an idea!" I told her excitedly. "How about you and I go on a date to the kitchen to make cookies! Just the two of us--Quinny and Mommy!" 

Well you would have thought I offered her the moon. "YAAAAAYYYYYY! Date wif Mommy! Make cookies!" she repeated again and again. We headed into the kitchen, washed our hands, Quinny found the perfect place in the center of the action and we started measuring, cracking, pouring and stirring until we had the perfect cookie dough. Somewhere around the halfway mark Everett walked into the kitchen and with a stern face Quinny shooed him away saying, "No! I do it. Wif Mommy. No Ebie." It was a little bit of an eye for an eye situation but it was also quite hilarious and adorable. This girl is strong, confident, opinionated and awesome!

The perk of being the only one cooking was that she got to lick BOTH beaters. She double fisted those babies and aside from the few tastes she offered me ("Tie it Mama. Tie it!") she licked them clean! I scooped the dough onto the cookie sheets and put them in the oven and then she sat on her little bench in front of the oven, watching our dough turn to perfectly baked cookies. I took them out of the oven (duh) but she got the honors of bringing the plate of cookies to the backyard to share with the boys and their friends. Boy did their tune change about having a baby sister around. We're not below buying friendships around here, and sweets are the currency of choice!

It's doubtful, probably impossible, that Quinny will remember this day we spent in the kitchen together making cookies, but I hope there are many more delicious memories to come of time spent with my girl doing and making things that she and I love. 

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Ever's turn with "Fussy"

I don't know what was cuter, watching my Ever Knight tenderly care for his Kinder-classes little teddy or hearing him mis-pronounce the name Fuzzy over and over again. Our turn with "Fussy" came and went in the blink of an eye and unfortunately even the whole "Oh sorry, I forgot the stuffed animal I've been playing with all morning who has had three outfit changes and is sitting by my door" trick couldn't lend us another day. (It just meant that Dad had to take an extra trip to the school that morning--thanks Dad!) Kindergarten is proving, once again, to be the funnest and most magical experience.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

A Temper the Size of Cora

The last few days this baby has learned how to throw a temper tantrum. It's almost laughable because she goes from angry to ANGRY in like, point two seconds. It always happens when I put her down and have to help one of her siblings--she no likey being left to fend for herself. I lay her down and she smiles at me, and then I turn my head or leave the room and she's like, "Oh no you didn't!" She's never really been a crier and is always super easy to console, but her shrill is changing the name of the game!

You're not going to believe that, however, when you scroll through this post and see a bunch of pictures of the smiliest, happiest, sweetest little petunia that ever existed. In fairness, this is her personality almost all of the time but I also must admit that this is probably the case because I never put the kid down. Seriously, never. I held her for 12 hours straight today. Ain't nobody want to see a fit the size of Tex--I mean, Cora! Believe me.