Merry Christmas to All!

Jan 29, 2017

Designing our family Christmas card is always one of my favourite parts of the holiday season and this year I was excited to take advantage of my lab offering foil cards for the first time ever! The finished product turned out amazing with a beautiful rose gold foil spelling out "Noel" along the bottom of our cards. Unfortunately, this Photoshop image of the design just doesn't do it justice!

Itchies for Man Cub

Somehow, Man Cub managed to make it to 4 years and 3 months of life before his first ER visit. To be completely honest, we are all shocked he lasted that long! But his streak came to an end on December 14th when I was at Mutual and got a call from Bruce telling me to get home immediately because we needed to take Man Cub to the hospital. He didn't really give me details, but I quickly handed off my responsibilities at the activity, got in the car and calmly headed home. I had gathered that Man Cub would need stitches so I called around, let the Young Women's president know I would miss our meeting that night, found someone to sit with the girls and got home to pick up Man Cub and Bruce so we could head to the hospital. And because Shark Bait was pretty hysterical, we took him along too.

As we drove to our favourite children's ER, I finally got all the details. The kiddos and Bruce had been playing their favourite game, the blah blah game, which is basically just a lot of running around and chasing each other while yelling "blah blah". Never been one of my favourites, mainly because they play it right around bedtime when I'd really prefer the kiddos to be calming down, not getting riled up. On this particular night, as they played, Sunshine tripped and fell and Man Cub fell over the top of her and his chin had an unfortunate meeting with the edge of a door resulting in a pretty deep cut. Sunshine and Beebs freaked out and started screaming and crying, Man Cub doesn't deal well with blood anyway and his sisters freaking out scared him even more so he was hysterical and all three of them crying put Shark Bait over the edge as well. It wasn't a pretty sight when I got home! But the girls calmed down and by the time we got Man Cub to the hospital, he was relatively calm as well, he just really did not want "itchies" as the girls had told him he would need.

We got checked into the ER and shown to our room. The doctor quickly came in and confirmed what we already knew- that Man Cub would need to be fixed up. We told her not to say stitches and instead they told him that he would be getting a special bandaid and then they would fix him up. They dressed the cut with a Lidocaine soaked gauze pad and let the medicine go to work while Man Cub watched Zootopia on the hospital TV. After about 45 minutes, once the cut was nice and numb, the doctor and a nurse came in to stitch him up. By this point, Man Cub was nice and relaxed and didn't care at all what they did, so long as he could keep watching his movie. When Beebs got her stitches, they rolled her up in a sheet so her arms were pinned to the side, but with Man Cub, they just had Bruce and I hold his hands. He hardly even flinched while the doctor gave him four stitches to close up the 1 centimeter cut.

Once all was said and done, Man Cub got the world's most expensive popsicle and toy cement mixer ever (yay ER copays :P) and we were on our way.  He handled it like a champ and was excited to show his sisters his blue whiskers. He was even more excited that he had a great "i" show and share at preschool the next day... an injury!

The Polar Express

Many moons ago, or 4 years ago to be exact, Bruce and I took the kiddos to Williams to ride the Polar Express. Man Cub was only 2.5 months old at the time, but the girls loved it and ever since we have talked about doing it again. Especially since Man Cub is a big fan of trains.

This year, all our talking finally turned into something more. In September Bruce told me that he was completely serious about doing the Polar Express this year and asked me to make arrangements. I booked the train, found a hotel and made plans for Bruce's dad to join us on the adventure. Then we kept our mouths shut. We didn't say a word to the kiddos! Even when we surprised the girls by pulling them out of school early, we didn't say a thing. We were a good 30+ minutes into our drive north before we finally told them where we were headed and they were so excited!

Unfortunately, there wasn't really any snow in the Flagstaff/Williams area while we were there,  but we still had such a good time and enjoyed the chance to do something extra Christmasy. We drove up and got ourselves checked into the hotel. Then the kiddos opened their Christmas pjs and we grabbed some dinner. We made the quick drive from Flagstaff to Williams and boarded the Polar Express. The train ride was a lot of fun, though Shark Bait was over it by the very end. The hot chocolate and cookies that were served were delicious and we especially enjoyed singing Christmas carols and welcoming Santa aboard our train car where he presented each of us with a silver sleigh bell. After the train ride, we visited with Santa for a few minutes back at the train depot before heading back to our hotel.

Saturday morning we slept in, then ate breakfast and took the kiddos swimming at the hotel pool. After we checked out, we went to Walnut Canyon to do a little hiking. Bruce and his dad assured me it was a flat hike... um. No. It was a steep hike, straight down a deep canyon. Yes, it was amazing to see the Native American ruins and watch the kiddos amazement as they learned about the way the Native Americans had lived right in the side of the mountain, but I'm pretty sure we took several years off my life in the process. I am deathly afraid of heights and my legs were legitimately shaking in fear the entire time we hiked. In fact, Sunday morning I woke up with some intense leg pain from how severely they had been shaking for the several hours we spent in Walnut Canyon. It was beautiful, but I still cannot say it was worth the toll it took on my anxiety to do the hike.

After Walnut Canyon, we ate lunch and headed to the Lowell Observatory in hopes of taking a look through one of the huge telescopes. The Observatory was incredible. I was a huge astronomy nerd back in middle school and high school. At one point, I even attended a weekend long AstroCamp in Idyllwild, California. The Observatory was definitely my favourite part of the weekend. We spent a lot of time in a cool room where the kiddos got to be space cadets and learn about astronomy in ways that total appealed to them like video games and trivia questions. Then we headed up to the telescope and wouldn't you know it, while we were inside the Observatory, a bunch of clouds had rolled in which meant they didn't open up the large telescope. There was a smaller one we got to look through, but only Man Cub and Beebs got to actually see the moon. The rest of us just used the telescope to look at street signs and cars in the city below. But we still really enjoyed it and Man Cub especially thought the telescope was the greatest thing ever.

Our drive home was uneventful. We were all exhausted after our jam packed, whirlwind of a trip. We had such a great time and hope to be able to go back again soon... we've gotta give the Observatory another try! Hopefully without clouds next time.

A New Plan For A New Year

Insert deep sigh here. I was recently called as the secretary of the Young Womens organization in our ward. It's exciting to serve in Young Womens but a little overwhelming as well! We have a lot of girls in our ward and there is a lot going on, all the time. But I serve with incredible women and I am really excited about it.

This morning as part of our ward conference, I attended a secretary's meeting. We talked about the importance of record keeping, during which my mind kept wandering back to this blog. I started this blog (at a different domain) many moons ago, when I was pregnant with Sunshine. I wrote 800 posts on that original domain before switching over here, where I have an additional 200 posts. This is our family's record. Originally, I planned to print this record using Blurb, but after years of planning to "get around to it", I finally did and after my first book was complete, Blurb stopped offering an easy blog to book option. That started me questioning whether this was really worth it anymore. Then I got super far behind on blogging. Then I caught up. Then I got behind again and here I am, sort of caught up with several blog posts written but not published and an internal debate over whether or not it is even worth doing this anymore. And then I sat in that meeting...

It is worth it to keep a record. It might be more difficult to print this out now than it was before, but that too is worth it. It's worth having the stories of my family saved for future generations and I cannot even count how many times a week I refer to my blog to find a certain photo or share a story with my kiddos. This record keeping is important. But it's also daunting. I struggle to keep up because I have this need to share every. single. story. With every. single. photo. And that can't keep happening.

I've decided to try something new. It may or may not work... but I truly hope it will! I'm going to add photos and publish the posts that are in my que and then I'm going to try setting aside 30 minutes each Sunday after my kiddos are in bed to jot down some stories and thoughts from the week. There might be photos... there might not. I might share a ton or it might just be a little bit. But somehow, I have to keep this record going. I've put too much into my record keeping to just quit now. I hope this ends up being a happy middle ground, and I hope it is something I can stick to!

So there you have it. A new plan for the new year. We shall see how it goes!

Happy 7th Birthday, Beebs!

Jan 3, 2017

My sweet Beebs,

Happy, happy birthday! 7 years old! You know, I've been fine all day as we have celebrated, but as I sit down to write your birthday letter, I find myself on the verge of tears. How is my littlest girl getting so big, so incredibly fast!?

There is so much I want to say to you, I just don't even know where to begin! I am so proud of how far you have come this past year. You are so brave and so full of faith. Dad and I asked you to do a very hard thing when we pulled you out of your old school and enrolled you somewhere new. It was one of the hardest decisions we have ever made, and even though I know it wasn't what you wanted, you put on a smile, told us you were excited and it has been a great change. You are learning and growing so much, and even though you miss your friends, you have such a positive attitude about it all and it has made the transition easier on all of us.

You are so friendly and social. You always want to be playing with someone and you are never afraid to make a new friend. This is something I really admire in you. You have a way of making everyone feel loved and they are excited to be around you. Anytime I visit you at school, you are greeted by name by pretty much everyone we encounter. You have a bright, bubbly personality that people just love. Sometimes it is hard to keep up with your social life as you always want to have someone over or go to a friend's house, but I love that you know the importance of friendship and work hard to be friends with everyone.

You still have such a playful heart and you can spend hours and hours with your toys. You are very creative and come up with elaborate games and storylines. You don't always like it when someone else (mainly your sister!) has different ideas but you are catching on to the idea of compromise.

You and Shark Bait continue to have a very special relationship. He just adores you and often wants you over me. He loves to follow you around and play with you and your toys. He learned to say your name and it is one of his favourite words. You are so kind and loving towards him. I love watching the two of you interact. I hope this special relationship lasts forever.

We are finding that you are a natural athlete. You are such a fast runner and last summer you started swimming competitively. You made so much progress over the course of the summer and have continued to swim twice a week since. You work hard and your efforts have been rewarded. You have turned into quite a little fish, or a graceful mermaid, depending on the day. Ü It is so fun to watch you try new things and succeed.

You are such a special little girl, and when I think back on the scary circumstances that brought you into the world, I know you are truly a miracle in every way. You have a very special purpose on earth and I am excited to see it play out. We love you so much, we are so grateful for you and feel so blessed to be trusted to raise you.

Have a wonderful year of being 7! We love you so much.

Love always,
Mommy & Daddy

When Papa Came To Town

Jan 1, 2017

I know this may come as a surprise, but I have actually kept up on my blogging! I have all of December documented in words... I just need to add the photos and post! I know, I know. I am shocked too!

The beginning of December didn't start off quite as planned... in mid-November, Bruce Wayne was invited to be a last minute attendant at a special PIO training at the Emergency Management Headquarters in Emmitsburg, Maryland. We had two weeks to make arrangements and Bruce Wayne flew out the Sunday after Thanksgiving. Two days later, my dad flew in to keep me company and help out with the kiddos during what ended up being an eventful week. Clogged toilet, sick boys, and a week of teaching seminary made me really grateful to have someone else around while Bruce Wayne was gone!

For the most part, the week was filled with everyday events like getting the girls to and from school, swim team practice, seminary and preschool, but we fit in a few fun events too. The night he arrived, we picked Papa up from the airport and went to the Mesa temple to look at the Christmas lights. We definitely picked the right time to go! There were only a handful of people on the temple grounds and we didn't have to wait in line at all to see the nativity display. It was awesome! The kiddos had a little more freedom than normal in regards to being allowed to walk around on their own and the weather hadn't gotten too chilly yet. It was practically perfect.

We also visited the girls at school on different days and ate lunch with them. Sunshine wanted us to join her for taco salad bowls and Beebs decided pizza day was a good day to have company for lunch. It was fun to show Papa their school and spend a little extra time with the girls.

The Friday Papa was here, we found a really fun way to pass some time. Beebs' teacher at school shared the details of a local train park that puts on a Christmas event each year. Beebs begged to go and it sounded like it could be fun, so we invited some friends to join us and we bundled up in our warm clothes and headed out. It was better than we could have imagined! We took a 20 minute train ride out in the desert and saw lots of Christmas lights and blow up characters along the way. We met Santa. We had hot chocolate and cookies. Then we spent the rest of the evening in the train house, watching tons and tons of model trains make their way around an elaborate track. Man Cub was in absolute heaven. The men running the event gave him a little step stool and told him to carry it around the room with him. He would run from spot to spot, set his stool down, climb up and watch the trains go by. Then he'd pick up the stool and do it again. I loved watching his face as each train went by.

It was so much fun having my dad here to spend time with us. The kiddos loved having him all to themselves and I slept better knowing I wasn't alone all week. I just hope he had as much fun as we did Ü

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