Supermoon Lunar Eclipse

Sep 27, 2015

Tonight was a Supermoon Full Lunar Eclipse. The space camp nerd in me was pretty excited! Three things happened all at once, creating an incredible show in the sky, which for us occurred from about 7:11-8:23 this evening.

First, tonight was a full moon and the moon was at the closest possible point to the earth in its orbit. This causes the moon to appear bigger and brighter than normal. Typically there are 4-6 supermoons a year, so while cool, they are definitely not anything overly extraordinary. What made tonight so special is the addition of a full lunar eclipse. The sun, earth and moon lined up perfectly, causing the earth to block the sun's rays, thus casting its shadow onto the moon. It made for an eery reddish orange moon, often called a blood moon.

A friend from church who happens to be a scientist invited us over and see the supermoon lunar eclipse. She got out her telescope, made some moon and star shaped sugar cookies and we had a little party in the driveway, all while taking turns viewing the moon. It was so much fun! We decided to try taking a photo of the moon through her telescope. With a steady hand and his cell phone, Bruce captured the image above. Perhaps not the most magnificent supermoon lunar eclipse photo I have seen, but we are pretty darn impressed with it!

I am so glad my kiddos got to see such an amazing sight. It really was beautiful to watch.

And in other news- Shark Bait learned how to roll over. Despite my best efforts to thwart his attempts at growing up, he figured it out. He rolled back to tummy several times over this evening and I managed to catch half of one roll on video.

Happy 3rd Birthday, Man Cub!

Sep 25, 2015

Sweet Man Cub,

Another year has passed and now you are three. The last year has been an interesting one, full of changes. You not only became a big brother, but your partner in crime started school, leaving you to your own devices during the day. It has been an adjustment, but you've handled it all like a champ. You miss your sisters while they are gone at school, but you are also enjoying the freedom to roam the house and play with their toys, uninterrupted. You are so sweet with your baby brother. You love him a lot... maybe too much sometimes! You don't quite understand that he is too little to rough house the way you and Daddy love to do. But don't you worry- it won't be too long before Shark Bait is in the thick of it all and I have a feeling many wrestling matches will ensue once he is grown.

You are all boy, through and through. You love all things that go- planes, trains, helicopters and cars. You also love to run and play and get dirty. You hate anything related to hygiene. Sure, tubby time is fun, as long as you are just enjoying the bubbles and playing with toys. The minute the soap comes out, the fun is over. And don't even get me started on attempting to wash or cut your hair. And trimming your nails? You would be perfectly content to run around covered in an inch of dirt if we let you. (And some days, we do!)

You think you want to be potty trained, but haven't quite figured out the whole under-roos thing. I am sure it will come in time. We are in no rush, but you are certainly beginning to like the idea of being a big boy. In fact, when we redid your room and put up a big boy bed for you, you put yourself to bed in it one night and never looked back. The pack and play went away and so did my baby Man Cub. You seem more and more grown up with each passing day.

You love to lead Family Home Evening and you ask regularly to go visit the temple so you can touch it. I hope your love of the temple continues into adulthood. You are always eager to pray in Nursery, but sometimes at home you put up a fight. You definitely like to keep us on our toes!

In March we took a family trip to Hawaii and you fell in love. For the first time ever, you have a comfort item that you love to have near you- a little stuffed turtle you got at the Sea Life Park. You call him Turtle and your favourite thing to do is chew on him as you fall asleep at night. You ask for him as we tuck you in to bed and you often search for him to make sure he is safe and sound when you wake up in the mornings. You've never been attached to anything in the past and we think your love for Turtle is about the cutest thing ever.

This is the first year you really get what birthdays are all about. For months, you have been telling us all the grand things you'd love to do for your birthday- go to Hawaii, ride the train and Mater's tractors at Disneyland, eat pizza at Costco, go out for hamburgers. Your list went on and on. We finally settled on a trip to the zoo with your best friend Zachary, dinner at In-N-Out Burger and tomorrow we are surprising you with a little gathering of your closest friends and family members. And there will be pizza. Hopefully the surprise aspect doesn't alarm you. It was your sisters idea!

We have so enjoyed watching you grow and learn and experience new things over this past year. Two is always my favourite age, but three is a close second. We cannot wait to see what this coming year brings. Guess what chicken butt... we love you. More than words can say.

Enjoy being three, little man!
Love always,
Mommy & Daddy

Birthday Eve

Sep 24, 2015

This little stinker turns 3 tomorrow morning. I tried multiple times tonight to get a "last photo" of my 2 year old and he wouldn't cooperate, so after he fell asleep I snuck into his room intending to snap a picture. And this is what I got. Crazy to think that 3 years ago right now, I was having sporadic contractions but didn't really think I was in labor. And 6.5 hours later, I had my sweet baby boy. 

We have a fun day of celebrating planned for tomorrow... donuts in the morning, then a trip to the zoo with Man Cub's best friend followed by dinner at In-n-Out Burger. And there will be presents. He's pretty excited about those. 

Good bye terrific 2s... I hope that 3 is just as much fun! 

Dapper Dude

Sep 23, 2015

A friend of mine owns a little online boutique specializing in girls skirts, hair bows and bow ties. On occasion, she'll send me items in exchange for photographs to use in promoting her shop. Last week, I received this bow tie in the mail. It took me a few days to find a free moment to snap some pictures but yesterday afternoon I was able to make the time. And Shark Bait was very cooperative! Typically I am not a bow tie fan, but when modeled by the cutest baby boy around, I have to say, they aren't so bad Ü

First Day of School | 2015

Sep 22, 2015

After a long, hot summer, school started again on August 10th. And this year, we sent two little girls off for their first day of school. Sunshine started third grade and Beebs is in Kindergarten. Shouldn't sending little ones off to Kindergarten get easier with each child? It definitely wasn't any easier this time around. Maybe because Beebs never left home for preschool. I've been her preschool teacher for the past two years, so this really was my first time sending her off on her own. Luckily, she has Sunshine there to watch out for her, along with all of Sunshine's friends. From what I gather, Beebs is a popular little girl with a lot of third graders who wave to her in the halls and want to give her hugs each time they see her. 

This year I didn't get quite as good a picture to add to the collage, but I love this glimpse of just how much Sunshine has grown and changed since starting school three years ago. Where did our baby girl go!?

Someone else started school this year... With the arrival of Shark Bait, I decided not to teach full fledge, three day a week preschool and instead started a one morning a week toddler class for children Man Cub's age. They come for two hours on Wednesdays and we are beginning to learn the basics of being in a classroom setting. We are three weeks in and it is still a little chaotic, but Man Cub and his friends love coming to school each week. Man Cub knows the names of everyone in the class and he waits anxiously for them to arrive each Wednesday. 

Shark Bait's Milestone Cards | 2 Weeks to 10 Weeks

Sep 21, 2015

I always planned on being one of those moms who religiously filled out baby books. I bought special books for each of my first three children and had great intentions of filling out each milestone as soon as it occurred. I was... less than successful in my efforts. Really, Man Cub is the only one with any sort of baby book so far, and that is because I took his monthly photos and combined them all into a photo book. I am working on a similar book for Shark Bait, but I also have another little fun project in the works for him as well.

Instead of an actual baby book, I bought Shark Bait a set of Milestone Cards. They are beautifully illustrated cards to help document each of those important milestones, whether it's turning one month older or getting his first tooth. I just grab the appropriate card, place it beside him and snap a picture. I decided not to stress myself out by feeling the need to get my big camera out and find the perfect lighting. Instead, I just lay Shark Bait on my bed, turn on the overhead light and snap a picture with my phone. So far, the photos have turned out super cute! It is fun to see how much he is growing and changing, and here soon, I'll be able to use this method to document some fun things like rolling over and sitting up. Hopefully not too soon though. I'm not ready for him to be that big just yet!

The End of Summer

Sep 20, 2015

Our summer seemed to end pretty quickly after Shark Bait arrived. We had spent so long waiting for him, and then suddenly it was time to send the girls off to school. But we had a lot of fun in those final days. We tried to cram in every last minute of fun that we could!

For Bruce's birthday, we took the kiddos over to "Big Red's House" for a Cardinals open practice. We started with lunch at Buffalo Wild Wings. Yum! Then at the practice we met the cheerleaders and Big Red (though Man Cub wouldn't go near Big Red as Big Red was kind of rowdy and kept banging on the nearby table. Scared Man Cub half to death. But he liked the cheerleaders) Sunshine participated in an obstacle course which she loved. Then we enjoyed some snacks in the stands while Bruce explained the intricacies of football to the wee ones. It was a really fun day. A great way to celebrate Bruce's birthday and a good way to beat the record breaking heat that had the whole valley under heat advisory warnings.

Shark Bait spent the last days of summer vacation doing what he does best... sleeping. He's so cute when he sleeps, I can't help but take a million pictures of him napping. 

The girls had back to school night a few nights before school started. Beebs was definitely nervous, but thought it was exciting to see her new classroom and find her seat and name tag. Sunshine was ecstatic to be reunited with her two best friends as they were in different classes for 2nd grade. 

We decided to spend our last Saturday of summer doing our favourite summer activity- swimming with Bruce's family. His brother and grandma both live in the same housing development which has an awesome community pool. The wee ones love to go to "Gigi's pool" and swim with their cousin. We spent an hour or so swimming (while Shark Bait sat with Gigi in the air conditioning at her house) Then we all gathered back at Gigi's house for pizza. As always, it was such a blast. Summers here are rough... they are often very hot and can be very miserable, but swimming at Gigi's always makes them more bearable. And next year, Shark Bait will be old enough to join in the fun. 

School started on a Monday this year, so Sunday night we had our annual "Back to School" family night. Bruce gave each of the wee ones and me a blessing to help us be prepared for the school year. We also gave each of the kiddos a little back to school gift. Beebs and Sunshine each got new hand sanitizers for their lunch boxes and Beebs also got a little Shopkins set (which she jumped around, screaming in excitement over for a good five minutes before she could manage to calm down and open it). Sunshine got a new water bottle to take to swim practice and Man Cub got a new car. They all loved their little gifts and their special blessings from dad. Then, just like that, summer was officially over and it was time to get back to homework and schedules and the busyness of life. 

July Odds & Ends

Sep 18, 2015

July has been pretty well documented, but I do have some odds and ends photos that I want to share. 

First, a few photos we snapped just hours before Shark Bait was born... The last photo of Man Cub as "the baby", the girls- anxious to meet their new baby, and our family of 5 before we became 6. 

I don't know who snapped this photo of KJ snuggling Shark Bait, but I love it! I was not good about taking pictures while she was here. What few I have were snapped on my phone. It never even occurred to me to get a photo of her and I together in the delivery room. 

A few days after Shark Bait was born, I snapped this photo of Beebs snuggling her new baby brother. She instructed me to send it to her best friend Christian and dictated a message to send along with it. After sending the message, she told me she couldn't go play with friends anymore. They would have to come to her house so she didn't have to leave Shark Bait. 

Beebs accompanied us to Shark Bait's first doctors appointment to check his bilirubin levels. His levels were great and we were excited to know that we no longer needed to worry. 

My wee ones enjoyed KJ cuddles before she headed back home. 

Man Cub found a pair of the girls play glasses and came running around the corner wearing them with a huge grin on his face and yelled "hello-oh!"

I took tons of photos of Shark Bait... how could I not!? He's so darn cute and changes so much with each passing day.

Shark Bait has never been the big eater that my other three were as babies. He is far more interested in sleeping than eating, so in the early days especially, I spent a fair amount of time pumping. Beebs was quite fascinated by my pump and one day decided to give it a try. Thank goodness my phone was close at hand. That girl cracks me up! 

Knowing that Bruce was going to be home on paternity leave for almost two and a half weeks, we borrowed his brother's old school Nintendo. I was super disappointed to find that their copy of Super Mario Bros 3 didn't work, but luckily I was able to find a new (to use!) copy at GameStop. We enjoyed many hours of Mario Bros and Dr Mario during Shark Bait's first weeks of life. 

I spent the majority of my time in those final weeks of July just snuggling my sweet new baby boy. And sometimes Man Cub would stop moving long enough to join us. 

Just two days after declaring she could not go to friends houses anymore to play, Beebs was invited to swim with her friend Lacey. She quickly threw her declaration out the window and happily left Shark Bait to go have fun swimming. Love these two cute girls!

Before we sent her back home, Bruce decided to introduce KJ to her first ever giant soft pretzel. Can you believe she had never had one before!? Luckily, we were able to find a place that serves them. Not quite stadium style (nothing beats a stadium soft pretzel) but this was good enough and I think KJ liked it! 

Five days after Shark Bait's arrival I happened to be online and found the curio cabinet of my dreams on a buy/sell group. It was an amazing price and was exactly what I had been looking for to house our collection of Disney Precious Moments. I immediately claimed it via email and then sent Bruce to go pick it up. I was not going to risk it being sold out from under me. Did I mention it was the perfect cabinet?? So, at 5 days postpartum, I assisted with rearranging my living room. Is postpartum nesting a real thing? I am still giddy every time I walk into the living room and see the cabinet all lit up. 

At six days old, Shark Bait had his very first bath. I declined having him bathed in the hospital, so this was literally the very first time he'd been washed up. I couldn't get a good picture of him, but I promise he liked it a lot more than this photo makes it appear! We went with the swaddle bath method, so he was tightly wrapped up until just before we took this photo. He has since taken many baths and tubby time is definitely one of his favourite activities. 

It took him a few days, but Man Cub finally warmed up to Shark Bait enough to want a turn holding him. It lasted about 3 seconds and I barely had time to get a photo. A few days later, Man Cub decided he really liked holding Shark Bait because it gave him something (someone!) new to drive his cars on. 

We took Shark Bait down to Bruce's grandma's house one afternoon so she could get some snuggles. What a blessed little boy to have a great grandma who lives so close and loves him so much!

My mum sent us a care package that included our favourite donuts from the little grocery store in her neighborhood. 2 Oreo donuts, just for me! She also sent some english candy and a few pairs of booties she had knit for Shark Bait. The green and black ones are my favourite... that's right! She knit skull and crossbones into them! 

We took Shark Bait for his first visit to the police station. Everyone just loved him. While we were there, the wee ones stayed busy drawing pictures while some of Bruce's coworkers held the baby. Beebs drew our first official family portrait and I just love it. It now hangs on the bulletin board at the station for all those police officers to enjoy. 

We had a visit from Beebs' best friend (and future husband... they want to get married in Hawaii and then live there. Man Cub can live with them, since he loves Hawaii. Beebs assures me she will take good care of him. I don't think she quite understands that as she grows bigger, he'll grow bigger too!) Love this photo of Christian holding his future brother in law. 

Sometimes I still cannot believe I have four children, but then again, I can't remember what life was like without them. I love how much they all love each other (most of the time!) Having Shark Bait join our family really hasn't been a big adjustment for any of us. He slipped right in, like he's always been here. 

When we arrived home from our day trip up to Prescott, there was a package on our front porch containing a beautiful blanket, made by my friend Michael Ann. It is one of Shark Bait's favourite blankets to snuggle up with. It is almost a guarantee that he'll fall right to sleep once he's wrapped up in his Ms Mike blanket. 

 Beebs has been working hard on perfecting her wink. She's not quite there, but I love her watching all her attempts. Like this one, in which she looks rather piratey.

At the end of July, we took the wee ones to a local pool that has a fun zero entry area for little ones to play in and an awesome water slide for the bigger wee ones. And Bruce. For the most part, Shark Bait and I stayed in the shade, but just before we left, I decided to dip his toes in the pool. He did not like. My favourite part of our trip to the pool- teaching Man Cub to show his muscles. How had we never taught him that before!?

July was a hot, hot month, and Man Cub was suffering from massive cabin fever. On several occasions, I found the back patio door cracked open with Man Cub out back, playing in the sand. Notice his red face? It really was too hot to be outside, but we couldn't stop him. We'd bring him back in and he'd take the next opportunity to sneak back out. So grateful the temps are finally lowering and Man Cub can run around outside a little more often. That boy needs his play time. 

July ended with Bruce introducing his newest little sports fan to some game or another. I can't remember what they all sat down to watch, but it was super cute to see my three favourite guys, lounging on the couch enjoying a game together. I am sure there will be many more of these moments in the years to come. 

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