Sunday, February 26, 2017

Valentines Party at our Pad

There are few things I love more than a party, and it's even better when all our little friends come play at our pad. Honestly, this house brings me back to my West 70th days when I could almost hear the walls begging for friends and fun. Our Snow White cottage is the perfect place for people to gather and enjoy each other's company and not for a second have I taken this place for granted--I love our life in this home! 

This particular party was with all of Quinny's pals so a dozen two and three year olds were in control. The Mama's sat to chat while the boys played hot wheels and superheroes, the girls played princesses and dress-up, cookies were decorated in the kitchen, scooters and bikes were ridden out back and there was not a fight nor complaint to be heard. Also, the healthy treats were all shaped as hearts so if it wasn't already a party, that made it a par-tay!

I've waffled lately on my feelings about really being done having children. I mean, I'm totally under water with my four so the mere thought of more is rather absurd, but I must admit that every once in a while I feel a wave of sadness knowing that these walls are as full as they're going to get. But then my friends come over with their babies and the laughter and love and chaos grows exponentially and I realize that as long as my doors are open these walls will never stop expanding and for that matter, I'll never really be done adding to my family. And that is music to my ears.  

The best picture I could get of these sweet ladies in their matching heart sweaters. Best of sisters, best of friends (at least that's what I'm whispering in their ears, they're too young to really get it yet!)

The cookie decorating table--you should have seen this thing covered with trouble-makers!

Valentine bags for all our sweet little friends. I don't know who had more fun with these--me in making them or the kids in receiving them! I'm so not crafty but I so don't care, this was a blast!

The way we do our holiday toddler parties is that one person hosts and then other people supply the books, activities and food. It works so well and allows us to have monthly parties without anyone feeling stressed. I couldn't help but contribute a few treats though, because heart-shaped food is fun!

I wrapped our Valentines books to read during story time. Reading a book is always more fun when you get to unwrap it first!

A room full of friends is my heaven.

Half of the crew with their snacks. I love filling this table!

Coco's first Valentine's Day was most definitely a success. I love that little squishy friend so much my heart hurts. Thank you for being my littlest love, Coco-Rue.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Simmering in Some Mothering Motivation

Motherhood is not a hobby, it is a calling. 
It is not something to do if you can squeeze the time in, it is what God gave you time for. 
--Neil L. Anderson

If you try your best to be the best parent you can be, 
you will have done all that a human being can do 
and all that God expects you to do.
Jeffrey R. Holland

I promise you that what appears today to be a sacrifice will prove instead to be 
the greatest investment that you will ever make.
--Gordon B. Hinckley

Thursday, February 23, 2017

A Special Sunday

The odds were stacked in my favor today and church was uplifting, inspiring and beautiful. Since Cora joined our family and Quinny joined the terrible two's I can probably count on one hand the times I've left church on a high, but goodness those Sunday's are something special.

The kids were up early this morning so I made german pancakes with peanut butter for breakfast. We bribed the three oldest with a few minutes of Veggie Tales, and you've never seen kids get ready quicker or happier, which left James and I plenty of time and energy to switch between bathing the baby and primping ourselves. Before we knew it we were off to 9 am church with blue sky, sunshine and birds singing a happy Sabbath song. I love California so, so much!

No sooner had we made our way into Sacrament meeting than the kids had made their way to the row in front of ours to sit with BA and Robyn, two sisters in the ward who love us and our babies. Usually I insist that we sit as a family, but the kids were being so reverent and these sisters were willing and able so I just sat in my pew with the baby and decided to enjoy the meeting. And enjoy it I did--a lot. I don't even remember the specifics, but I do remember tearing up a few times and leaving Sacrament feeling like a new person. Sometimes life feels so exhausting but this meeting helped lighten my soul and allowed me to see that I was a good person doing great things in the world. I think more than anything this meeting reminded me that allowing others to serve me is just as important as serving others, for it was in their service that I realized mine was acceptable. I'm grateful for all those who are on my team and help in our families growth and success.

The next couple of hours went by in a blur and then our brood was back home taking naps, eating snacks, preparing dinner for friends and listening to the missionaries teach T about the Plan of Happiness. Such a seemingly normal Sunday with such a special spirit, I'm praying for more of these in my future.

{Started a few weeks ago on an amazing Sunday afternoon. All this time later and I'm still feeling grateful for the gift that Sabbath was to my soul.}


Last year the Jog-a-thon was one of my very favorite school events. I loved that I could spend a morning at T's school and cheer him on while he ran his little heart out. This year it was held on a Saturday instead of during the school day which made things a little more crazy and made me love it a little less--but just a little.

Another change this year was that I had TWO boys running instead of one. I had serious doubts that my Ever Knight would go along with this whole run-for-twenty-minutes-straight thing but guess what? He ran and ran and never even stopped. His tongue was out for concentration and he lived for our cheers and high-fives and when he was done I don't know who was prouder--me or him.

It was no surprise that Talmage spent his thirty minutes sprinting around the track. That boy has endless energy and loves to run and he would have kept going if the upperclassman didn't need a turn to strut their stuff. I love the ray of sunshine Talmage is in our home--happy is his middle name.  

My sweet little runners. Love these brothers BIG!

The tongue got me on every lap. He was SO into it!

T and his friend Zoey were the offical Coco holders, Quinny watchers and Evie cheerers. They excelled at their job!

He was so fast that it was hard to get a pic every single lap!

My runners and their cheerleaders. Good job boys!

Monday, February 6, 2017

The Park with our Peeps

Our little friend Avi's 3rd birthday was the perfect excuse to ditch the indoors and play at the park. Her cute mom had bubbles to pop, snacks to devour, flower crowns to wear and the absolute cutest confetti cake for all of us to sample--yum! Quinn ran around to all the other Mama's begging for (and receiving) attention, treats and pushes on the swing which left Coco and I plenty of time to take pictures with the flower chalk art we found by the dry creek bed. I wish I could thank the person who created this masterpiece in the park, it made my heart happy and hopeful and made me want to do something that will bring a smile to someone else's face. Sometimes life feels so heavy and overwhelming, but isn't it amazing what a few minutes and a box of chalk can accomplish?

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Cora the Cutest

Cora is continuing to be the baby of my dreams. I literally thank her everyday for being so sweet and snuggly and not dramatic! Eat, sleep, roll, snuggle, repeat--that's basically her jam. And by eat, I mean drink a baba (bottle), because even though Coco is inching on eight months she absolutely is content being my bitty baby. As it should be!

Her first ride in the shopping cart was a rousing success. That big, gummy smile never left her face and she enthusiastically gave a two-handed wave to all the passers-by. A smiling baby in a shopping cart is super irresistible, and many-a-customer asked me what isle I found her on so that they could buy their own! 

Talmage is such a great big brother. He's extremely helpful and loves to love on his sister. He holds her and feeds her and also is helping her learn to sit up and scoot. My favorite thing about these two is that every time he says a prayer he'll be going like a champ and then he'll brake off into baby talk and say, "And we gwatefo fo baby Coco who is da best baby in da whole wold!" And she starts smiling and shaking and he is just tickled that she responded and I'd like to think that Heavenly Father is listening to that prayer with a smile on His face, because I don't think there are many things more joyous than siblings loving each other.

This is Coco's way of saying, "Hold the mush, please!" She loves that spoon but you should see her gagging and spitting and making a scene when we try to feed her with it. Quinn was very similar and now she's my very best eater so I'm not stressing--but it would be fun if she started loving food sometime soon, for her siblings entertainment at the very least!

Friday, February 3, 2017

Sunnies on my sunshine girl

If she were a real fashion blogger she would have moved the mess from inside the window before she had her picture taken, but alas, Quinny is not quitting her day job (and neither am I)! She does know what she likes, however, and those sunnies are on the top of her list. She picked them out from Target yesterday and seriously wouldn't put them down. The $4 I spent was worth it because she won't let them leave her side (she's currently fast asleep with the sunnies firmly gripped in her hand) and I love seeing her feel so confident, even if it is just based on what she's wearing.

Quinner went to the Zoo with Melissa (Annie) and Laura (Gavin) yesterday while I did some Relief Society business and I couldn't help but snap a picture before she ran out the door to her BFF's car. Time is moving so quickly I feel like it'll be tomorrow and she'll be running out the door again, although this time Annie will be driving them on an adventure instead of her mama. Our babies being besties forever sounds like a dream, but I'm not quite ready for these littles to be so big just yet!

Quinn had the best time. She came home telling me about how the monkey's were eating carrots, the giraffes were tall and their babies were little, the cheetahs were sleeping and (giggle giggle) the elephants went potty on the ground! She showed me how the pink flamingos stood on one foot and how she sat on an alligator (pretend alligator--thank goodness). Her independence, her sense of adventure, her confidence and her strong will--they're all qualities that drive me batty but they're also some of my favorite parts of her and this solo adventure she so bravely took and the darling way she told me the tale reminded me again that she is a special, spunky and an amazing little thing. She'll do great things in life and no doubt be a stellar person, if we make it through the terrible twos! Oh Quinn, what would any of us do without you? 

Thursday, February 2, 2017

A "Surprise" Date Night

We hired a babysitter and went out on our first date since his work holiday party two months ago. We've got to get out more, but we spent the first 90 minutes of this surprise party texting with the sitter who was trying to get the girls to sleep to no avail, so I kinda get why we're home-boundish unless we leave after bedtime. Going out has got to get easier when the chickens get older, right?

Regardless, this awesome party that our friend Hannah threw for her new husband Mark was worth every ounce of effort and stress for us (and for the babysitter, because we gave her a raise). Hannah planned every last detail perfectly and we had so much fun partying with some of our dearest. I honestly love friends and parties and food and photo booths and cupcakes and fun and this party had all of the above in spades. I wish we could party hardy every weekend!  

Photo-bombed both times--once on purpose, once not so much! I love them both!

I COULD NOT get enough of the photo booth. I could have hung in there all night. And I love, love my girls. 

This picture cracks me up. It's seriously the greatest! Margot is so teeny tiny and I am so gigantic and I was wearing heels and all white and she was wearing flats and all black and it seemed like taking this side by side shot was the only obvious thing to do. 

A few of my faves--because mirror selfies were my jam at this party, clearly.

Why am I laughing? Let's play a game of Finding Margot who made it her personal goal to be in every one of my pictures that night. I loved it, and loved this night. Happy birthday Mark! So glad that we know you and that we keep ending up in the same areas.

Always Keepin It Real--This Week

Someday when I'm old and my babies are having babies, I hope that they can look back on these pages and realize that they are not alone in the craziness of raising babies. Those forgetful mature parents who talk to young parents about how "I have no idea what you should do with your naughty child because mine were always perfect" not only make the rest of us feel bad but are no help whatsoever. Someday when my kids come to me with their parenting woes I'm going to break out this blog book and be like, "It's OK, baby. I know how you feel and I'm so sorry it's hard and look, you're a respectable adult now and we made it through, so there's hope! Go fight win! And here's some chocolate and bubbles in the meantime."  

Sure, I could gloss over the less desirables of life and only blog about our best days, but what good does faking perfection do for anyone? No one can relate to a perfect person because perfect people don't exist. I'm doing my best to be positive and practical and on the really bad days uber-prayerful as I hike through parenthood, but I'm also not afraid to talk about when life gets ugly or anxiety-ridden or when Everett has to write apology notes for killing someone's imaginary cheetah at school (true story, sigh). You're gettin' the good with the bad over here, in this post and always. 

{For more information on why I think this way of documenting our family history is so important, please read my favorite article ever written, found here.}

These flowers are currently blooming outside my bedroom and I must admit I wake up each day and see the bougainvillea blooms hanging on the top of my window and these beauties coming up from below and I feel so sincerely blessed to live in this darling cottage. Name that flower, ready go! (Noni?!)

 Apology note to the teacher.

...And to his friend. It's been a rough week to be an Everett but in the temple last night I received some pretty clear inspiration as to how I can parent him better and I'm excited to implement it and see how it works. I really hope it works! In the meantime, I'm going to remember how I shocked myself and Everett by erupting in laughter when I read this apology note he wrote to his friend. Turns out she wanted her imaginary pet cheetah alive, not dead at the hand of an imaginary sword yielding Ever Knight. 

Quinny's first time in the dentist chair. She let them brush and count her teeth and was seriously the best patient. It's during these moments that I'm like--what the heck? Why are you such a crazy nut at home?!

 I love this kids smile under his hand.

Laura the Great loving Quinny at Music class. She won't sit and sing on my lap because, let's be honest, Laura's lap is way cooler. Grateful for good friends who love my babies.

Honestly, could there be a funnier picture?! I wish she liked that breakfast smoothie as much as I liked painting it on her face. This girl hates food so much, but super loves her baba. She'll come around, right?

 Happy little mustached love. 

These babies really, truly played together for the first time this week. I watched them together in the late afternoon sun and couldn't help but be excited for the greatest sister friendship they'll share in the many years to come.

If I had a dollar for every picture Quinn took while sneaking my phone I would be a very wealthy woman. Add on that the number of times she's trying to steal the cellie, I'd be richer by the second! Her love of taking pictures means that I find about a trillion attractive shots like this one when I go through my camera reel at night. That independent diva drives me nuts sometimes!

Sweet and calm Coco was absolutely still for a good five minutes while James rubbed her back after church on Sunday. She sat watching the hummingbirds drink nectar outside our window and didn't even twitch. She's definitely got my genes--Wiggy women love a good massage!

I think my lack of sleep lately has made me hyper-sensitive and hyper-obsessed with sleeping photos. I just think it's the cutest and most amazing thing to photograph! Sleep looks especially good on Cora Sue, just look at those little fists above her head!