Monday, July 25, 2011

Happy Anniversary

I love celebrating, no matter what the occasion. I love holidays and parties and get togethers. Today we are celebrating 8 years of being married. It has been an incredible 8 years. In 8 years we have had 5 amazing kids, moved 7 times, bought and sold a house, bought and sold a few cars, started and lost a job, started and finished podiatry school and now here we are in Missouri in a residency program. I am so happy that through it all Aaron has been by my side. He is an amazing companion. I love him more today than I did 8 years ago. Someone at church yesterday said something about not being able to choose our parents or grandparents or siblings or even our children- they are sent to us or we are sent to them, but we choose our spouse. That is one person that we have a say in adding to our family and our association. I am so happy that I chose Aaron and that he chose me. I love the life we have made for ourselves and our children. So today, let's celebrate!

That was then . . .

This is now . . .

Monday, July 18, 2011

How Can it Be?

I love these babies. Their curls melt my heart. Their cheeks and curls bounce when they run on their tippie toes. They love to hug each other, hold hands, and sing songs together. They love to sit in my lap and play with my hair. They love their big sisters and they squeal and run to the door when Daddy comes home. They eat all day long and have no idea how to tell if they are full. They are precious and I adore them.

Then how is it that they are also the naughtiest little girls I have ever raised? They are seriously taking me for a ride. Let me describe a typical day:

Up at 6:30, they climb out of their crib and come into my room. Breakfast usually consists of a couple bowls of cereal and at least ten attempts each to get out of the high chair. They can wiggle out of a five point harness and sit or stand on the tray of their high chairs in about 5 seconds flat. While I clean up breakfast they get into the fridge and take bites of whatever produce we have in the drawer. I have tried three different fridge locks and they can muscle through all of them.

After telling them no about 100 times, we move on to getting ready. Everything is a wrestling match- changing diapers, getting into the car seat, getting dressed, doing their hair. Nothing is done willingly by these two. So after I wrestle a diaper change and clothes on, I try to do their hair. I will start with Annie while Aubrey empties all the drawers in my bathroom. I manage to get a rubberband in Annie's hair and then start with Aub. Instead of playing with everything that Aubrey already threw on the floor, Annie pulls out all of the towels onto the floor. Happy that they are both dressed and ready, we go out to the family room. On the way Annie decides to take the outlet cover off and try to stick whatever she has in her hand in the outlet. Aub puts the outlet cover in her mouth and runs to try and do the same thing to another outlet. I get the cover out of her mouth, try to teach them no and keep making our way to the family room.

One of the big kids is hungry- so the twins are hungry too. While I am making food for the big kids, both twins hang on my legs and cry until I get them something else to eat. They shove the whole thing in their mouth and start over with the hanging and crying. Now everyone is fed and so I decide to try to do the dishes. Both babies stand on the dishwasher and pull out anything they can get their hands on. I try to direct their attention to putting away spoons, but they already have half of the dishwasher unloaded and thrown on the floor. I decide the dishes can wait. I put on a movie. All the kids are watching. The babies turn off the tv. Everyone is mad. I get the tv back on, the babies turn off the dvd player. Now everyone is really mad because we have to start the movie over or wait for the menu to reload. We work that out and I get the babes to sit still by giving them something to eat. I decide to sweep the floor because I keep stepping on food. The babes can hear that I am doing something. They come to help. Someone steps in my pile. While I am cleaning her foot off, the other one gets a snack out of the pile. I am totally disgusted and exhausted. It is about 8:30 AM. I get the floor swept and go upstairs to get clothes for the other kids.

When I come down the fridge is open and half of its contents are on my freshly swept floor. The bookshelf is empty and the babies are nowhere to be found. I go find them and show them their mess. They laugh. I tell them no and make them help me clean it up. I take the clothes into the big kids and Annie is back to the bookshelf. I tell her no again or she will sit in time out. She squats so she is ready to run and then she takes another book off the shelf and takes off. I chase her and put her in time out. She folds her arms and smiles at me. Aub comes to see her. I tell Aub that Annie is in trouble because she touched the books. Aub eyes the bookshelf. I tell her no. I beg her not to go. She runs to the shelf, takes a book off and then comes to join Annie in time out all on her own. We get through it and move on.

It is lunch time. I feed the babes, (redo the high chair climbing saga) and check the clock. It is naptime. I ask the babies if they want a binky. They drop everything and RUN to their room. It is the only thing that is constant. They will always stop for a binky. I have been thinking that the little toddlers really shouldn't have a bink anymore, but I have decided that it is my only defense and I am keeping it until I gain some control around here. So the babes are in bed for about 2 hours and it is bliss. The big kids are as quiet as can be for two hours. We all love them dearly, but naptime is sacred around here.

So, the day goes on. They dump out cereal boxes, take their diapers off over and over, poop on the floor, empty the spice drawer, take all of the shoes out of the shoe bucket, push a million buttons on the computer so that it has to be rebooted, eat a few crayons, unfold my folded laundry, climb on the kitchen table, each hang on a leg and scream while I try to make dinner, so I give Annie a sip of gatorade, then when it is Aubrey's turn, Annie is mad, so she smacks the gatorade bottle out of my hand, it goes everywhere, I clean it up, my feet stick to the floor the whole time I am making dinner, etc., etc. This is not an exaggeration. This is a typical day. I had to document it because in a year or so I might not even believe myself.

All of that said, they are my babies and I ADORE them. I love to watch them interact and I love to watch them process all that is going on around them. They are so compassionate with each other and love to be praised for being good. They are generous with their hugs and kisses and smiles and laughs and will sit in my lap ANY time of the day. I thank my Heavenly Father everyday for "surprising" me with these precious girls and giving me the opportunity to raise them. I know that it is a blessing and I am so thankful for it.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Home Sweet Home

What a blessing this house has turned out to be! We rented it "sight unseen" about three weeks before we moved here. There are not very many rentals in town and I was beginning to think that we might be toughing it out in a second story apartment. But alas, this fell into our laps and we couldn't be happier. The yard is HUGE. It is so much fun for the kids to play and run around. There is a firepit out there and we have already had a campfire. It seriously felt like we were in the woods camping. This is my kind of camping, with the house right close by! Anyway, thought I would post a few pics for fun. This first one is the front view of the house.

The "big" girls' room. This is such a cool room. It is a loft with a bathroom and four giant closets that they use for playrooms and secret hideouts. They LOVE it up there and love having their own space to play and call theirs.

The girls' bathroom.

Closet #1. This is for the big girl toys and barbie house, etc. My girls love to play "people"- meaning Barbie, Disney people, Strawberry Shortcake, etc. Ths is the ultimate "people" room.

This is still part of closet #1. This is where they keep their toys.

Closet #2- they have nicknamed ths closet, the baby closet. This has little people, baby toys and kitchen toys. Oh yes, and the dress up box, which is used EVERYDAY.

Closet #3 we decided to use as an actual closet. I thought we probably needed one, although the girls were against it.

Closet #4 is my favorite. The girls set up a library with all of their books and crafts. They decorated it with their original artwork and they are in there all of the time. They read in there, they color, play games, make GIANT messes, etc. They have a baby lock on the door so that the twins can't get in and they love it. Occasionally they invite me and Aaron to an exhibit to see their artwork or have me come during library hours to checkout books, (which apparently there are late fees for- who knew? Usually I can pay my fine with hugs, or candy or an extra five minutes to stay up at night, but sometimes they charge the real deal). I love that they take such pride in this room. It is "their" room and they love it.

This is mine and Aaron's room. We love it. It is open and light and big!

This is the view we have of our awesome yard. It is so pretty out there.

Our bathroom. Wth a giant walk in closet inside it. I love having my closet in my bathroom. Ahhh- life's little luxuries.

The babies' room/guest room. This room is my least favorite. We decied to make it guest room because there was plenty of room in it, so it is hodge podge and I don't love it, but it is functonal, which is what we are after right now.

This is the living room/dining room when you walk into the house. It is bright and I love it.

A view from the opposite direction.

This is also a really fun room. There are so many windows here. This is the family room and where we hang out most of the time. When I look out the windows, I feel like I am on vacation in the woods. I love it. (not vacationing in the woods, just pretending on my comfy couch in my air conditioned house!)

The kitchen with a window into the family room, which I love except that the kids like to climb up and look at me through the window.

This door leads to the gazebo, where we spend a lot of time too.

This screened in gazebo is great for eating, playing games and getting outside time without the bugs! (cause there are plenty of bugs!)

This is a view of the yard from the upstairs window.

Side yard which looks terrible, but the grass is starting to grow back and is looking much better.

Another view of the yard- and the babies' gate there. They like to run to the street. Seriously, all this yard and they head for the street.

Another view of the yard. Feels like we live at the park. That grass is all grown in now too!

There you have it. We love it. This place is such a blessing. We know Heavenly Father heard our prayers and helped this come our way. It couldn't be more perfect.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Happy Birthday Girls

We have been celebrating birthdays for months around here! On April 7, Maggie turned 5, on June 8, Hallie had her 7th birthday and on July 7 Lainey Shae turned 3. I can't believe how big they are getting. I will have a 2nd grader and a Kindergartner! That just doesn't seem real. And I feel like Lainey has been 2 for about 3 years, so it is fun to say she is 3 . . . although she will tell you she is 4! We milked the celebrations as much as we could. For Mag we had a party with the cousins and went to pretend city on her real birthday and then a fun party in CA with friends and Grandma and Grandpa. She also got to celebrate at school. For Hallie, we had one party in UT, one in MO with all the fam that came to visit, and one on her real birthday! We did the same with Lainey. We had one on her real birthday. My neighbor Chris made Lainey the most darling Cinderella cake as a surprsise for all of us! I couldn't believe it. And then a few days later we had a party with the Jankes! I adore being mom to my girls and love them more than I could ever express. I love to celebrate birthdays and celebrate their lives and the ways that they have change my life. So here is to my three birthday girls! I love you sweet, sweet girls and I am so thankful for everyday that I have with you.

Here are lots of pictures of the parties . . . in reverse order!

Lainey's Ariel Party

Lainey's Cinderella Party

Hallie's Tangled Party

Aaron was Flynn Ryder

Lainey was Pascal. the Chameleon and Maggie was Maximus, the horse

Hallie's UT Cousin Party

Maggie's Karaoke Party

Her Doggie Cake Pops for School

Maggie's Cousin Party