December 8, 2014

Jackson Turns One!

Our favorite little Jack-Jack turned one over three weeks ago!

*gasp* I know right?

It's always crazy to me how fast that first year of life goes by. So many changes happen.

In a lot of ways Jackson's first year seemed to creep slowly on as we dealt with his cranio, yet now that we have reached his first birthday, I'm sure I've only just blinked and he transformed from a newborn to a crazy, active, constantly moving, running, and purely delightful one-year old boy.

I simply cannot imagine our family without him. 

The older kids just adore him, even if Claira's love often manifests itself in what seems to him as torture.

Ah, toddler siblings.

It's amazing we survive them.

On Jackson's actual birthday, a sweet lady from our ward (church congregation) stopped by to bring him a plate of pumpkin chocolate chip cookies!

I know right? 

Everyone needs a friend like that.

See, I'm the kind of friend that will always be there to eat your treats for you while you are on a diet.

Someone has to be self-sacrificing like that.

You're welcome.

Jackson takes his first bite.....

Success!! He loves them!

I know this because after his third cookie I told him he needed to take a break.

He wasn't too happy with me.

The next day there was snow, lots of it. And it was FA-REEEEEZING!

Soooooo cold.

So instead of taking Jackson out into it, I brought some of the snow in for him!

Uh mom... what IS that??

Oooohh, coldness! What am I suppose to DO with this stuff?

Let's give it the ole' stick-it-in-the-mouth test. Hopefully they taste better than those stale cheerios I found on the floor.  Hmmm... not bad mom! 

That Saturday we drove up to my parents house for an early Thanksgiving/Jackson's birthday celebration!

My brother's wedding for the day before had been postponed, and since my siblings who had bought plane tickets couldn't cancel, we had a party anyway!

Well, after Jackson's nap we did.

Not long after the gut-filling dinner, my kids were just itching for Jackson to open his present brought by our cousins.

You know you're a bad mom when your cousin brings a gift for your child but you haven't gotten him one yet.

Epic fail.

At first Jackson wasn't sure what to think of all the attention. And what was with this big bag of paper that Savannah kept telling him to pull apart?

Ah ha!! The secret is revealed!

He love loved it!

And yes, he is super drooly. I suppose I would be too if I had half a mouth of teeth coming in all at once!

Who am I kidding. All you have to do it bring chocolate with in ten feet of me and I look like that.

Okay judge, before you pass a final verdict upon my super lame-o cake, allow me to offer up a defense!

Like a good mom getting a head start on things, I had baked the two round cakes the night before.

Once they had cooled I put an entire container of chocolate frosting between the two layers.

Okay... so maybe I was a bit generous with it, but who doesn't like frosting in the middle of the cake!?

Instead of taking the time to freeze the cake and put on a thin layer of icing before actually frosting it, I went ahead and gave myself permission to unload another container of frosting, this time vanilla. You know, for variety sake.

However, soon I noticed little brown swirls appearing in my pristine white frosting!

Oh hang it all. So out comes another container of frosting!

See, I kind of figured that if I just put the frosting on thick enough, I could hide the chocolate swirls.

Alas, my thinking was faulty and the more I tried to smooth and frost, the more the chocolate and vanilla swirled together.

Well, I might as well run with it.

I left it to set over-night. The next morning after getting out of the shower, I noticed little finger-dug holes in one side of the cake!



Naturally, Not Me had done it.

Not Me is pretty naughty here at our house, always causing trouble and doing things they know they aren't suppose to do!

*sigh* I'm just not sure what to do with Not Me.

Well, I tried to smooth it out but since the frosting had dried, all I got a nice big messy mush-up of dried and soft frosting.

I just quit while I was behind after that.

I put the remaining half container of icing into a decorating bag and added some lame swirls to try and hide the mush-up spot a little.

Even if it looked really, really bad, a cake with three containers of frosting on it should taste good anyway right?

Jackson thought it was awesome!

Photobombed by Uncle Joel.

My dad was snapping pictures with one camera, my mom with another.

Joel you attention hog you!

Clapping after the song!

All the photo moments caught on video!

Jackson LOVES watching his birthday video!

And despite the fact that the cake was a failure to look upon, everyone loved it!

Especially the birthday boy.


December 1, 2014

Turkey and Cranberry Sauce

Have I mentioned before that my hubby comes from a family of nine kids? Since they are all married and have children, when they ALL get together there are about... 32 grand kids (with more on the way) under the age of 13 years old.

True story.

And even when they don't all get together, there are still plenty of littles to keep everyone on their toes.

For Thanksgiving this year we went over to the in-laws. There were only 20 of the grandkids there, but they all had a blast with each other.

Truly, they really do all get along extremely well!

Unless you steal Claira's ball.

You don't want to do that.

Eh heh... trust me.

Jackson thought a room full of never-ending bouncy balls was the greatest thing on earth.

I do the same thing when I see chocolate in the room.

I also do this when chocolate is involved.

 I guess Jackson and I both need to work on our sharing skills.

After a long day of playing hard, some of us went back to Grandma's house.

Tired of my hair being down, I twisted it up and stuck a pencil through it to make it stay.

My adorable little niece seemed to think that was the coolest thing she had ever seen. So she climbed up onto my lap and started handing me pencils.

Not too shabby!

I have so many hidden talents even I am amazed at myself!  

Oh that face! She's so adorable!

Who knew pencils in the hair was so dad-gum awesome!

Next time you are feeling down, try putting some colored pencils in your hair. It might just cheer you up!

The next morning there was some of this going on...

and some of this.

You know the boys are desperate for electronics when they play on a pink toddler toy.

But apparently if it makes noise and has a screen, that's good enough.

Once the kids were fed, we dressed them up and booted them out of the house!

Okay not really.

Well, maybe sort of.

It was surprisingly warm so the snow was pretty slushy, but the kids had a blast driving "Bob" around and getting rides.

Yes, "Bob".

Because people really do name their stuff.

I should name my pillow or something, just so I can be cool too.

Maybe my hairbrush can be "Wookie".

Bedtime is always crazy, chaotic, and takes a million "go to sleep!"s before it actually happens.

But eventually they succumb.

Saturday afternoon was also spent outside all day.

Even Jackson went for a little outing with dad, though it was too cold for him to stay out very long.

I know you can't tell, but he was practically telling that thing to "giddy-up!" he was so excited.

The older kids had become pretty brave in their sledding escapades and connected three sleds together.

It was awesome.

We got home Saturday evening and went about unloading what seemed to be half our house from the trailer, and getting everyone showered before bed.

Tired of everyone harping on me to give Jackson a haircut and claiming he looks like a girl, I gave him his first haircut that night.

I know he's adorable, but he looks like a big boy now and not my little baby!

I'm not ready for him to be a big boy yet!


November 24, 2014

This is what happens....

This is what happens when you take your child to their one-year old check-up with the pediatrician, in the middle of a snow storm I might add, and as you pull them out of the car seat while the freezing wind is whipping at you and snow is pouring from the heavens, you realize that in the fifteen minutes it took you to dive there, they had done a swell job of soaking all their clothes with a super-whopping-colossal-mega-blow-out.

And you didn't bring extra clothes.

Hoping their poop-saturated clothes won't instantly freeze upon cold air contact, you race into the building while trying not to hug them too close, or slip in the quickly accumulating snow, while coercing a stubborn toddler into walking on their own though they are insisting upon being carried.

On the bright side, at least he wasn't wearing his coat in the car!

He didn't seem to mind his minimalistic outfit.

And this is what happens when you give your toddler a bowl of cereal.

Like... every day.

Caption this photo!

On the bright side, the floor get mopped... a lot!

November 10, 2014

Happiness is a Journey

"Beware of Destination Addiction... a preoccupation with the idea that happiness is in the next place, the next job and with the next partner. Until you give up the idea that happiness is somewhere else, it will never be where you are." ~Robert Holden

Somewhere along the line I seem to have forgotten how to look at and enjoy the little things, those mere moments that are here and gone in the blink of an eye.

I never wanted to be that frustrated mom. The one who was always overwhelmed, upset, grouchy, and boring.

I am in no way implying that it's not okay to feel that way sometimes. I'm sure we all do.

I just didn't want that to be my state of mind, my life, or the way my children remembered me.

Joseph teaching Savannah how to play chess.

I'm not so sure she's getting it. 

I needed to change my attitude.

Easier said then done.

As I've reflected on this change in myself, there are many things I could attribute to it.

But one of the biggest things is simply that I allowed myself to become lazy.

It's true.

It is easy to know what we should be doing, it's another to actually do them.

Over the last year I began to feel justified somehow in skipping out on the work that needed to be done so I could do something easier or more fun instead.

I am not saying that we need to wear ourselves down or never take time off to relax.

Heaven knows I'm all about a night out, a good book, a fun movie, and a giant bag of chocolate.

But there is a big difference between taking a break and a breather, and simply not doing.

(This is the section where I droned on and on about this topic in great detail, then I deleted it all. You're welcome.)

Look at a day when you are supremely satisfied at the end. It's not a day when you lounge around doing nothing; it's a day you've had everything to do and you've done it.” ― Margaret Thatcher

As I have made a bit more effort to just... do and be, the atmosphere in our home has shifted a bit.

But this time for the better.

Possibly in part because I am feeling better about me.

Claira making her first peanut butter and jelly sandwich. She wouldn't let me help.

Jelly everywhere people.  Seriously, E.V.E.R.Y.W.H.E.R.E. But she was so proud. 

We woke up this morning to snow.

Jackson was fascinated by it.

Even though we were dealing with the craziness of the morning and trying to get Alayna and Jacob ready for school, I took him out into it and he was down-right enthralled.

I may despise the icky white stuff, but he was loving it!

After a while I took him back into the house where he instantly demanded to be taken back out again.

It was only then I remembered to try and capture the moment.

I told Savannah to grab the camera and snap a few shots of Jackson despite the fact that I had serious bed head and bad slept in make-up going on.

I may have missed out on the original smiles, but not his fascination.

I want to be like Jackson when I grow up and find joy in all the little things.

"Happiness is not a destination, it is a journey."

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