Saturday, February 23, 2013

Pianful Precious Memories

This picture makes my heart hurt and my throat feel lumpy.

Oh the pain!

Friday, February 22, 2013

Our Simple Birthday Bash

Maybe I should do a proper post on Cali's birthday. (And do a little preachin while I am at it).

If I love anything it's simplicity. When simple is the star of the show a whole lot of stress about decorations, party favors, and perfection can be set aside. And then when all that is not even a thought in your head--your head that already has to keep a boat load of priorities straight--well then you can focus on that little beauty that is celebrating a fantastic two years. And guess what? Two year old's don't give a whoopity-doo-whoop about party favors. My advice about birthday's is, "don't miss the mark." The mark being loving the world out of that birthday kid and not loosing that by stressing yourself out. This is life, not Pintrest my friends.

They care about LOVE and food and familiar faces and a few fun surprises to rip open. Yup, that about covers it. It's about them,  not us and our Pintrest boards, Facebook posts and Blog bragging. I know there is a place for all that fancy stuff, because some older kids really love it and some Mama's are amazingly talented at putting together magazine worthy parties. I get it,  but if it causes you heart palpations and your entire months budget to pull it off then I say let it go girl.

I made Asian chicken salad for dinner, it was delish and all I had to do to please the birthday girl was pull the chicken chunks out of the salad and cut up some cantaloupe. Whala.

Since Cali's birthday coordinates with Valentines Day it was a sinch to find some pretty cupcakes at the store, which saved me an afternoon of shewing my baby away so I could bake. So lame in my book. She wants ME not a homemade cupcake.

After Christmas I scored a $39 dollar doll on sale for $5 and a $46 doll on sale for $16. I handed Brylee and Ella the roll of wrapping paper and let them have at it. They loved being trusted with that responsibility and Cali (of course) didn't even notice the less than perfect wrap job. (Shh don't tell my Grandma, who, in her day could wrap a gift to utter perfection). Gifts-done!

The older kids are full of enough excitement and fun to account for a room full of invited guests so we stuck with just the 7 of us. We love her more than anyone else could ever and she loves us right back so it worked perfect.

I love my Cali girl. What fun we had showering her with love and celebrating her awesome little self.

Grandma Mags, famous birthday card

Opening a gift the day before from my parents

Easy, simple, awesome, perfect party that will never be show cased on Pintrest but was ideal for our TWO year old!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Photo Editing-My Obsession

I decided I should do a post about this because I am addicted to photo editing and I cant stop.

If I get a free 1/2 hour, I race to my computer, look through old photos and search for something I can edit. Check out what can be done, I just cant get over it! Taking something good and making it amazing is really fun.

These pictures were taken with a regular point and shoot camera. No fancy equipment just a little editing. I love it.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

A Little About my Girls

Can I still blog even if I don't really have pictures? I have been so, so lazy with my camera lately and then I always regret it. Monday the kids were off school and we spent the afternoon out at the park with the cousins. Cali and I rode the wiggle car up and down the hills, Ella and Lauren skootered all over the place, Branson caught a fish, Brylee played a game of kickball like she was going for the Olympic gold of kickball with your cousins and Kaden flew down the steep grassy hills on his bike without even a flinch. So please just pretend that I captured all of that goodness on camera and while you are at it add in the most gorgeous blue sky you ever saw.

We stopped for freezes on the way home and then melted into late afternoon naps on the couch. Later when Scott came home we had a really fun fitness FHE..again no pictures. We went around the neighborhood stopping at each exercise station to give everyone a chance at it. By the time we made it all the way around we stopped at our little park to rest and Scott did his rendition of Bransons floor routine in the grass.

And that is when I almost passed out laughing. I wish the world could have seen that routine. Hilarious.

I did have some pictures on my camera of the last few days. All of them were about my girls. The boys seem to be always off playing with friends lately.

Brylee is super helpful with Ella's homework. (Have I mentioned that I disdain homework?) I could just kiss her for getting this stuff done. Blekk!

Practicing some back lighting with my new lens.

Ella loves "pomatoes". Almost everyday she has a plate of sliced tomatoes for a snack or even a whole meal.

Lock up your make-up bags ladies. Cali is always on the hunt for unattended make-up.

Speaking of our little Cal-Pal, I am finding abandoned diapers more and more.

Aside from homework, potty training might be the worst of motherly tasks. No thank-you. I am strapping the diaper on a little bit longer. And in the mean time I might just get bunches of cute baby bottom pictures. Baby butts are just the best, don't you think?

Valentines day was awesome this year. Low key and simple. The best part was that Ella got to participate in her first valentines exchange. She loved it and is still talking about it.

The worst part was that Cali can infiltrate any candy strong hold. Between her ability to sneak in and get the make up and her candy penetrating abilities she should be hired by the government. Watch out Al Qaeda.

Good thing she is irrisistable.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

A Lot of Work and a Little Break

I am trying to figure out how I can carve out some time in the day for this blog that I love. Keeping up with the laundry, the house work and the meals for all seven of us is the bulk of what I spend my time on but there is still homework and teaching and loving and playing that needs to happen. I still have two little ones at home and three big ones that need so much attention. And I have a super wonderful husband that deserves to be my number #1. And he is but whew! Life is just work!

In my scripture study lately the work of it all has been standing out to me. I just finished reading the stories of Chief Captain Moroni with the kids (I think I can say, though it is a tough contest, that he is my favorite Book of Mormon hero) he was always ALWAYS working. I guess before I thought of so many of the miracles from the scriptures as just that...miracles. But wow, did those miracles take a whole lot of work! It's the whole, "pray to Heaven but row for the shore" concept. I can see so clearly now how the Lord blesses us when we keep the commandments but he gives us miracles when we get up and work!

I want to be like Moroni, I want his work ethic. I think I spend too much time waiting on the Lord instead of getting up and showing Him what I am willing to do with the precious gift of life that He gave. In every single account of great things happening in the scriptures, from the ark to Nephi coming to the promise land, to the Brother of Jared to Chief Captain Moroni these people WORKED for those great things. They "labored exceedingly" as the scriptures would say.

And guess what? If all men had been, and were, and ever would be like unto Moroni, yea, the very powers of hell would be shaken forever! (Alma 48, 17) That sounds pretty good to me.

I am committed to work a little harder and labor a bit more exceedingly and see what great things can come of it.

Here's what I have been working on lately... (I know all of this isn't considered real work by lots of people but MAN! it is to me!)

Applauding Ella's first loose tooth. This was an ongoing ordeal for a good week! I am so glad that little sucker finally gave up and came out!) And I am so glad that Ella is mine because she is so dang saucy and spicy and dramatic that it just keeps us laughing all day. Couldn't you just nibble that face!

Getting Branson caught up in scouts. He got a whole bunch of awards including his Webelows badge. Onto the Arrow of Light!

Celebrating Miss Cali J's 2nd birthday! She loved all that attention.

I took her out for a 2 year old photo shoot and only got one shot that I really love. She was the worst client ever. She didn't hold still for even one full second the little booger!
Here's my sweet Brylee trying to show Cali what she was supposed to be doing. Brylee is like a personal assistant when it comes to these little sisters, she is such a LOVE, even if she did gag like she had eaten poison the other night when she tried my lettuce wraps.

Scott and I were so blessed to get to spend the weekend at a beautiful resort in Sedona courtesy of one of his clients. Are you thinking that doesn't really go along with the concept of work? Well just for the record it was a TON of work to get everything arranged so that we could be gone. Once we got there though, no work at all. It was an amazing and needed break!

So now I can work even harder! Happy Valentines Day!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Birthday Letter-Cali at 2

Dear Cali,

Happy Birthday Baby Girl! You are two! Two in all it's glory! The other day when I picked you up from nursery your teacher said,

"She is going to be so athletic, she is always on the move and she climbs everything."

It is true! You are an active and busy little woman. You bring a lifetime of energy and light to our home and I always get that "my heart my burst" feeling when I think of that magical day, two years ago when you arrived. Sometimes I think Heaven was giving us a piece of it's self that day, knowing that we would need it for the journey ahead. It has not been an easy two years for our family but thank goodness we've had you! You soften the hard parts and sweeten the good parts with all your delicious sugar and spice and yummy kisses and loves.

Every single one of us loves you baby girl. It seems like the big kids are always fighting over who gets to sit by you, who gets to hold you in church and whose turn it is to play with you. They all like to ask you, "Cali do you love me?" And then you yell out, "Yah!" Except sometimes you yell "DOE!" Which is your version of "no" and it is hilarious!

I was making dinner a few nights ago when you climbed up on the counter and spilled a cup of milk all over the place. It was dripping down into the cupboards and splattered all over the floor. I picked you up and set you down and said, "Cali that's no, no." You burst into tears and ran straight into the waiting arms of Brylee. She took you up to her room and let you play in there until dinner was done. You Little Sister love your Brybry. She seems to be a second Mama to you and I am so glad that you have each other.

Oh and Daddy, who knew that our manly, tough, athletic Dad would melt like butter for his baby girls. Dad will do anything for you and will go to the ends of the Earth to give you a good life, to keep you safe and to teach you the gospel. My goodness how he loves his "Sisterly". Daddy and his names! Dad started out calling you Sister but that has transformed into Sisterly and it seems to fit you perfect!

I like how you pat my cheeks and say, "nice, nice". I had to teach you that when you decided it was funny to whack me in the face and pull my hair. (It actually kinda was funny). I like how you say "markoos" for markers, and "poosh" for light switches, and I even kind of like how you scream, "GO MAMA!" from the confines of your car seat when ever I am at a red light. It is just further proof of your energetic spirit!

Cali, when you and I have eachother, snuggling close and saying goodnight, I always ask you, "where have you been all my life?" Because life without you seems like no life at all. You are sunshine and hope. You are light and joy. I love you more with each passing day, with all my heart, to the end of the world, today, tomorrow and even before that February day when you gave me a glimpse of Heaven.

How I love you my perfect Baby Girl. Happy Birthday.


Monday, February 4, 2013

Kaden Time

Yesterday, a normal school day, I braced myself for the after school rush. My house goes from quiet and still to complete pandemonium between the minutes of 3:29 and 3:30. A round of snacks were made and devoured, Branson rushed to change and then we ran out the door to get him to gym. When I came back through the door Kaden was at the kitchen table snapping circuits together, building a little radio. He alternated between the circuits and the piano all afternoon and into the evening while I cooked dinner.

We laughed at Cali's silly nature and we talked about the great new friends he has made on our street. I told him, like I always do, about my testimony and my hopes that He will keep reading his scriptures, saying his prayers and preparing for a life of faith.  He loved my honey lime enchiladas and during his second helping he told me that they tasted like restaurant food.

I felt so happy that he was there with me. I was glad that he wasn't shut up in his bedroom or off running around with friends or doing homework. I enjoyed every moment we spent together that day and I felt very keenly aware that my time with him is brief. For Kaden, the hour glass has tipped in favor of growing up, leaving me on the other side now. But I do still have some time.

He is still mostly mine. And gosh, I can't help but adore who he is becoming.

Remember when Christopher Robin said this to Pooh Bear?

If ever there is a tomorrow when were not together there is something you must always remember. You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem and smarter than you think, but the most important thing to remember is that even when we are apart, I will always be with you.

I think this is pretty close to the message Heaven gave us when we left it and I want Kaden to remember it too as he enters this full-on teenager phase that leads, inevitably, to ALL GROWN UP.

And I want to remember to really savor those quiet moments when he feels that there is nowhere better to be than with his Mama.