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Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Spring break in OK

We lost 2 days of our spring break to snow make up days this year. I hadn't planned on going anywhere with the other 3 days, but Jeff needed to go to Oklahoma for work so we made a mini vacation out of it. We started in Tulsa, where the main attraction was the hotel pool. I accidentally packed the wrong swimsuit for Logan. It was way too small, but the elastic had broken so it wouldn't stay up on his hips. Poor kid was showing a lot of leg and crack. :) We were all having a blast until Savannah got some broken glass in her foot. Upon closer inspection, there were little shards of green glass everywhere. That quickly ended our trip to the pool.



We stayed in a 2 bedroom suite at a Residence Inn, and for the first time in a while we weren't exceeding the legal room occupancy. It was sure nice to have enough beds for everyone. Since I rarely eat out, I love to use roadtrips as an opportunity to either try places we've never been or go to tried and true restaurants that we can't get at home. We hit up one of each on our first day in Tulsa: Smashburger (new) and Hideaway Pizza (tried and true).

The next day we drove out to Oklahoma City. Scheduling around Jeff's work appointments, we were able to visit friends and go to the temple. It was a nice getaway right before a busy couple of weeks.



Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Silly girls

I have some super silly kids. At least daily I will turn around and one of them will be doing something so ridiculous I can't help but laugh out loud. One morning Isabelle came outside to say goodbye to Jeff. She had found my hat and put it on like she was cool stuff. It should be illegal to be this cute.



Then Savannah got in on the fun. She one upped Izzy by adding a clown nose. To top it off she did a silly dance in the grass. Ack, I love these girls!

Monday, April 28, 2014

Selflessness

In an effort to teach our children some core values, Jeff and I decided to try something new for 2014. Each month, we will introduce and focus on a different value. For example, January's value was selflessness. We had a special FHE early in the month to talk about what it means to be selfless and how we could work on finding more opportunities to serve others instead of ourselves.


Right away I saw changes in our family and was thrilled with how quickly attitudes changed. What I did not anticipate, however, was how I would be challenged and stretched. As soon as we made our family commitment to be selfless, opportunities sprung up left and right. At first I was eager to make an example of each one, but after a bit I'm embarrassed to admit I did not want to give up my day to serve someone else. At one point, I was ready to turn down a friend that had asked for a favor, justifying my response with a million reasons, none of which were very good. But thanks to our monthly value, I was quickly reminded to stop thinking of myself and offer what I could. The great thing is, once I made the decision to put my friend first, the service I rendered was easy and didn't inconvenience me at all. I really feel that the Lord blessed me for my efforts and made my "burden light."

At another point in the month I had a day where I was done with kids. I locked myself in the bathroom for a breather to avoid exploding at them. Feeling sorry for myself, I thought of how hard it is to be a mom of young kids and wondered when this stage would be over. Once again, the monthly theme of selflessness popped into my head, and instead of thinking about myself, I started thinking about each of my kids. Immediately I felt various promptings regarding each one of them. Much calmer and collected, I came out ready to address each child individually. I asked Savannah to help me (as opposed to being frustrated with her for distracting me) and she turned out to be a great help! She suggested egg salad sandwiches for dinner and then helped me make them. Even Isabelle, my little firecracker, was very compliant and obedient as I asked for her help and gave her instructions.


I have pretty great kids. They challenge me to be a better person. It probably never would have occurred to me to try something like this if it weren't for them, yet I am the one who needed it most of all. I am not perfect, but I hope I am on the path to becoming the mom they deserve.




Sunday, April 27, 2014

Isabelle Kate, 3-year-old

My sweet, sassy Isabelle is now a big 3-year-old. Since I just wrote a long post about her, I won't journal much here other than to say that she pulls the best faces in front of the camera. It was kind of a nightmare trying to squeeze in a designated time to take some birthday pictures (imagine the other 3 kids playing in and out of the van on the side of a moderately busy road while I tramp through burr-ridden fields and chuck marshmallows at Izzy to try and get her to smile naturally, all the while hoping we don't all come home with ticks). Luckily, no ticks were found and now I have these gems to show for it. Happy birthday, beautiful girl!




  

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Some randomness

When I get really behind on blogging, I have to work hard to remember why I took certain pictures and whether they are truly blog worthy. These may not fall into the latter category, but I'll do my best to string them together and give some meaning to them.

A late snow storm brought yet ANOTHER snow day to northwest Arkansas. I was tired of getting the full snow clothes ensemble out, so we settled for hats, mittens, and boots on this particular day. Cutest snowgirl ever, if you ask me.


I saw this quote a while back at a store and it struck a chord. It's become a sort of slogan for my life of late. It seems to be applicable to just about anything, and anytime someone is going through a rough spot I feel compelled to share this piece of wisdom. The first is a version I made up for a friend. I later made the digital copy for my Mom.



This last one is big... I bought a new lens! Every since I upgraded my camera 4 years ago, I have been dreaming of a zoom lens to better capture my kids that move faster and farther than they used to. After playing with my friend's lens and getting these gorgeous pictures of our girls, I was hooked. I begged and pleaded and maybe even threatened (just a little) until Jeff gave in and let me splurge. It was a big investment but I am already thrilled with the results and know it will pay off in the end. (By pay off, I obviously mean in capturing memories, not monetarily. But since memories are priceless, I say it works both ways.)




Friday, April 25, 2014

Frozen in time

Back in February, my girls were invited to one of the cutest birthday parties I've ever been to. It was a Frozen themed party held at a dance studio. It had all the elements for a little girl's dream: princesses + tutus + tiaras + dance + Frozen! Most of the time was spent on the dance floor, where the guests were either improvising to the music of Frozen, or learning a choreographed dance to Let it Go. I could not stop smiling the entire party. Maybe some of the pictures will help you understand why.





Like most little girls, both Savannah and Isabelle always want to be Elsa. To add some variation to our hairstyles, I've learned to do two Elsa dos-- the coronation bun and the ice queen braid. They each got one or the other for this party.



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

Squiz

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. :)