Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Saturday at the park

One beautiful day in February we drove out to an empty school park and played the afternoon away. Although we love friends and extended family and take advantage of any opportunity to spend time with them, I also love spending a little alone time with just my little family. It's moments and memories like this that I will treasure when my kids are grown and gone.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014


It seems that no matter what stage my children are in, they are SO much more manageable one-on-one. The past 18 months have been challenging with Isabelle, but we always have fun during the day while the other kids are at school. Isabelle loves blocks, puzzles, and pretend play. She is always bringing me Lego cupcakes to eat, or crowns to wear, or dolls to dress.

We've had a lot of fun play dates since the weather has provided glimpses of spring. One windy day we packed a picnic and kite and met some friends at Lake Bella Vista.


Bubbles are always a hit with Izzy. She goes throw bottles very quickly, though, because once she tires of blowing through the wand, she dumps the remaining soap on the ground.

Saying that Isabelle loves crowns would be a bit of an understatement. She almost always has something on her head. This particular day it was a crown made out of an old cereal box. She has more crowns and tiaras than dress-up dresses and they all get some head time throughout the day.

My favorite part about spending time with Isabelle is catching the things that come out of her mouth. Here are just some of the gems I've remembered to write down recently:

"Mommy, will you do the honors?" (... of opening her toy box, or pouring milk in her sippy cup, or putting her jacket on, or a billion other small requests.)

"My Lady..." (Typically accompanied by a bow.)

"How do you spell 'S-B-P-R'?"

As rotten as Izzy can be sometimes, every other time she is really such a treat. She is passionate about everything in life, which accounts for her extreme highs and lows. You can't help but surprise her with little things all day long just to see the reaction on her face. You should see how excited she gets about water. Her new nickname (given by her Uncle Joe this past week) is Squizzy, or Squiz. It fits her perfectly, because when you love someone as much as I love this little girl, you can't help but squeeze them. :)

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Sawyer at 5 months

Sawyer has been a little slow to hit developmental milestones, and I am totally ok with that. We waited until 5 months to start him on solid food, and although he loves it, I am still not very good about giving it to him. A little after 5 months he rolled over for the first time--several times in a row, in fact-- but hasn't done it since. Most of the day he spends in his exersaucer (just like all our other kids did at this age). He has turned into the happiest, easy going baby. I know eventually he'll learn to talk and walk and become a stinker toddler, but until then I am celebrating every moment with this kid!

Grandma Great

While in Utah, we took advantage of the time to visit some family, including Jeff's Grandma Smith. Since all my grandparents have passed away (most before I have any memories of them), Jeff's grandparents are incredibly dear to both of us. I adore this woman and love spending time with her any chance I can. Our kids love her, too, and so everybody is excited to visit Grandma Great! We had such a nice visit with her this trip and it reminded me how much I miss being able to see family frequently. Every time we visit, she tells us stories of the past and present, and I am always fascinated and in awe of her incredible memory. I need to be better about writing them down because, unlike Grandma Smith, my memory is terrible and I can't remember a single one now!

Friday, March 7, 2014

Upgrading from menace to mister

My brother Byron finally tied the knot last month! We are so glad that he found his match in Erica and that we have a new sister-in-law/aunt as part of our family. Their wedding was on a snowy day at the Draper, UT temple. My poor Californian family was freezing as we took wedding pictures outside the temple, and even us seasoned folk were pretty chilly. The snow made for some beautiful pictures, though, and the reception center was gorgeous both inside and out.

We had a minor hiccup at the temple when I tried to get in without my temple recommend. I knew I had forgotten it (just minutes after leaving our house, actually, but we were en route to the airport and didn't have time to turn around), so I'd already had my bishop call the temple in advance. The note must have been lost, though, because when we arrived at the temple for the sealing they had no record of his call. After a nervous 20 minute wait at the front desk, they finally let me in after getting a hold of one of the counselors in my bishopric. Phew! We were the last ones to the sealing room before they shut the doors.

Uncle Byron is pretty special to my kids, and they are already smitten with Erica. I am so lucky to have such great role models for my children (and for me!).

Isabelle is 18 months younger than her cousin Ruby, but they are almost the same size! They also share the same blue eyes.

Congratulations to the newest Mr. and Mrs. Mackay! Can't wait to see you guys again at the next wedding in under 2 months...

Wednesday, March 5, 2014


This post is purely superficial and it's only purpose is to show off my kids' cute clothes and hairstyles. Trivial, I know, but it's the little things that get me excited sometimes. First we have Sawyer in his handsome outfit from one of his Mackay cousins. My sister-in-law Ashley has the cutest style and I love the clothes she found for him.

Next up is Savannah, who is also modeling new Christmas clothes. She put her own twist on this dress, deciding she liked the buttons better in the back. She has been wearing the dress backwards ever since. :) This was our attempt at Elsa hair (from Frozen). My girls are obsessed with Frozen right now (along with every other little girl) and so I've gotten LOTS of practice with this hairstyle. Interestingly, neither of them ever wants to be Anna. Beats me, since Anna is way cooler in my opinion.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Three decades

The morning after our New Years Eve celebrations I turned 30. It was a far more emotional milestone than I expected (as I mentioned here), but the day itself was a blast. We started with an early round of golf. My brother and his wife were angels and took all four of our kids (on top of their own four) at 6:30 am so that Jeff and I could play 18 holes with my parents. I don't get out golfing much, but being able to spend a peaceful 4 hours on a beautiful course with three of my favorite people made me wish it happened more often. (Maybe then I'd actually stand a chance of playing decently!)

The evening of my birthday was the real party. Jeff planned an adult only family birthday bash at Dave and Busters. We started with dinner, then made our way to the arcade to test our luck and skills. I had no idea arcade games could be so much fun! I think all of us found our inner child that night and experienced the strange excitement over watching a machine pump out a bunch of tickets. My dad had a lucky hand and won upwards of 2000 tickets in just a few rounds of one game. We cleaned up shop in the prize store, then walked out with our (totally worthless) loot. It was not the party I would have planned for myself, but it was better than anything I would have come up with.

As the last post of our Christmas vacation, I will now post the video montage I made with my new iPad I got for Christmas. I love pictures, but I also love the additional dimension home movies capture and I hope to start including more videos on my blog.

For some reason, the quality is really crummy here, but if you click on the video and watch it on youtube, it's much better.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Happy New Year! (at 8 pm)

It seems like we hardly ever make it to midnight anymore on New Year's Eve. In fact, we don't even have a set time we are counting down to. This year, when we were ready to start winding down for bed, we googled a fireworks show from earlier in the night (in London, where midnight had already come and gone) and put it on the TV. The kids donned party hats and grabbed a balloon and popper. Our decorations were pretty meager since my mom and I had procrastinated until 5 pm on New Year's Eve to try and find some, and by then, all we could find were Valentine's decorations! By despite our unorthodox celebration, everyone had a good time and we loved spending the evening with our extended family in California.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Rocket man

My dad introduced all the kids to model rockets this year. It began when he brought a rocket and launcher to the park during our week together at Christmas. The kids were completely enthralled and loved launching (and chasing) it over and over again.

Well, you can imagine their joy when Grandpa gifted them each their own rocket. They each got to name their rocket, then one day we drove out to a big sandy field--perfect for rocket launches--to set them off.


It took delicate fingers to attach the electrical clips. Good thing kids have small hands.


Since we could only launch one rocket at a time, the other kids quickly became bored. Jeff entertained them with a race.