are quickly becoming my most favorite thing of the week.
fresh air, exercise and chatting with friends.
Plus, I get to buy some new hiking gear, like these waterproof boots.
I hope I can do Mom Hikes for the rest of my life. It is good for the soul.
Paul got Domo's courtside suite tickets to The Harlem Globe Trotters
Macey and Miles each brought a friend.
And the kids (and us) were loving The Suite Life.
Lots of screaming, giggling, and eating as much food as possible.
It was a pretty perfect Saturday.
We continued to enjoy our backyard
It's been non stop on the tramp. I really did not think it would be so popular.
Some more pics of the finished project.
And thanks to our heat lamp, we've still been enjoying our firepit.
We had the Primary Program
I didn't get a pic of the kids, but they looked adorable and did a great job. Miles has to keep things exciting though and was a mess for weeks leading up to it and especially the day of (why I didn't get a pic). He ended up singing some of the songs and only came back down to me 3 times during the program.
One time was to give me his broken shoe. And then he returned to his seat with 1 flip flop on. :)
My Freshman Roommate Angie
and her family stopped by for a visit.
So fun to catch up and get to know her cute kids.
I love getting together with old friends!!Thanksgiving
this year was amazing. Maybe one of our best ones yet.
Prep was incredibly easy.
Even Macey & Mies helped out and put this awesome fruit tray together without any help from me.
I had a craft.
Food was awesome and I didn't have to cook the turkey (thanks brenden).
And then we ended the night with seeing a movie.
Where Julianne and I embarrassed the kids with our turkey headbands.
We also witnessed a miracle this month. Miles crafted
He made this center piece for his birthday celebration.
He worked for hours. I was so shocked. Never in his life as he ever done a craft when not forced. It was a very relaxing evening for the rest of us as he worked away.
Holly took our family pictures
My nightmares are made up of things like family pictures. We tried to make it as painless as possible and just did it at the house, which was amazing. Still a slightly painful experience, but worth it in the end.
Notice Miles is in shorts. This kid. At least he was willing to be in frame. :)
We took lots of trips to the aquarium
Where Miles continues to impress the workers with his vast knowledge of all things aquarium related.
My favorite moment of the month was putting up our Christmas tree.
My most favorite tradition is the kids ornament collections.
They are a bit obsessed with them too.
And this girl. Sometimes I want her to stay 4 forever.
January always seems to have at least 58 days in it. I used to think this was due to the snow and freezing temps. But, nope. It's just January.
January is always
rough for me and this was one seemed a little worse than my norm. One of my main ways to cope with the looming depression, anxiety, and paul's work schedule is to keep busy and get outside as much as possible.
This means we've had lots of friends over (mine and theirs).
There's been lots of park days with friends. Scooter riding, bike riding, sidewalk chalk drawing, hiking, and walks to Target.
We hiked up Grove Creek with the Rensink's.
Not bad for a Saturday in January.
The kids favorite part was the frozen water on the branches in the creek. Every kid had to have one and no one fell in the creek. Big hiking success.
The kids have even started going barefoot in January and I don't even mind. We have had a few days in the 50's, afterall.
Luckily we got one good snowstorm and we got to introduce The Johnson's to our favorite sledding hill.
The girls had to enlist the dad's help to get the snowman put together, they were so heavy!
So happy we got to use our new sled one more time.
Ruby cleared all the snow off the tops of the tables in the backyard for me one day after dance. When it snowed again a few days later she was so annoyed and said "Mom, I need my mittens. The tables have snow again!"
I've been trying to not do TOO much electronic time during the day when M&M are at school.
dot painting was much messier than I planned and much more stressful. Thus, they spent the rest of the afternoon on The Switch.
We took our friends to the Children's Museum. Ruby is getting too giant, it is still weird to me that I am out of the baby phase.
We tend to avoid the library, because I cannot afford to pay for all the books we ruin. Luckily this day, no one complained when we left without checking out a book.
Ruby and Izella both took turns sitting in the rocking chair and reading books aloud for us. It was the cutest thing ever.
One thing I look forward to everyday is picking up Crew from school. Everyday he runs toward the car with the biggest grin on his face and I can't even stand it.
I also look forward to reading with him before M&M come home from school.
This day he thought it was hilarious that the author thought this pteranodon was a dinosaur. After he read "This is a dinosaur" under a picture of the Pteranodon he said, "This author is so silly. This is not a dinosaur. It is a flying reptile". He is correct. We only raise geniuses around here.
January-March is Paul's extra
busy time, so we have been taking advantage of having him home Saturdays.
We did a BYU day
to see the Titanoboa exhibit, it was actually really cool. The Bean Museum has stepped up their game. Museum of Natural Art
to see the MC Escher exhibit.
And Lunch at the Cougareat.
We finally made it up the Harry Potter exhibit at South Towne
. Everyone loved it and I am glad we waited for the Christmas crowds to clear out.
Ruby started Sunbeams
I almost forgot she was even starting Sunbeams that day because Miles was in a state of freak out. All due to the fact that he would now be going to his class first instead of sharing time. Luckily, I remembered 10 min before we were suppose to leave for church, so I actually combed her hair and snapped the above picture.
She also gave the prayer in sharing time like a champ a few weeks later and looks like a complete giant next to her fellow sunbeams.
An exciting neighborhood happening was Ashley having her baby
I got to stay at her house while she was having him and Roman was not too pleased to wake up and find me there. Luckily he still cuddled with me for a little bit and watched The Crown.
We had the all the O'neal kids over for a pizza and movie party. Kids were in heaven.
And Ashley even let Macey and I borrow Killian one evening to snuggle while she got the rest of her kids to bed. Other Bright Lights in my dark January were: The Kids trip to the Dentist-
1. Ruby cooperated for the first time. She got her xrays, laid in the chair and got her teeth cleaned without any screaming or being held down. Miracle and out of no where.
2. Miles. The dentist (haircut, dr..) with this child can end up being an all out war. I usually have to stand next to him, hold his hand and whisper encouraging words in his ear. They always give him the best hygienist and even then he's difficult and screaming and crying, and rolling around.
This time, he didn't need me at all, I was actually able to check on all the kids. And for the first time ever I wasn't dripping sweat when we were done.
Also notice, he isn't even wearing sweat pants!!!! Guys, those are real pants made out of material that is not jersey. Which makes the fact that he cooperated even more of a miracle. Normally on a day when he is out of sweats we have to dig through the dirty clothes and find the least dirty pair. But, for some reason this morning he just put on real pants. #miracle
Bonus: NO CAVITIES FOR ALL FOUR
I seriously felt like we needed a standing ovation as I walked out of the office with my head held high.
Also, found this game changer for me. "an accommodation is something that helps your child function as close to the level as possible of other children..."
Helped to ease that mom guilt that I am spoiling or giving into Miles, I am just helping him be able to engage better in this amazing world we live in. Somedays I need the reassurance that I am doing what is best for him. Sisters
Ruby is the biggest copy cat around. Normally she is copying the boys, which is not ideal. But, sometimes Macey pays extra attention to her and Ruby starts copying Macey and then my evenings are much calmer. This evening Ruby was wearing her headphones just like Macey and they were having a dance party. Makes a mama heart happy. Family Home Evening
We've been consistently having family time after dinner on Sunday and it has been going shockingly well. This is huge for us. Nice People
As I am sure you can imagine church is rough with this group. Sacrament meeting is usually the worst 1 hour and 15 min of my entire week. After a normal Sunday of trying to keep them entertained and contained while still being nice and feeling like I ran a marathon when it was all over, I found this on my porch. Along with adorable coloring books that my kids have actually liked.
It was a good reminder that we are surrounded by incredible people that are not judging us, but encouraging us. They don't care that Miles often wears old navy flip flops to church or that Ruby is stealing every thing from everyone and then throwing things at them at random intervals during sacrament meeting. Or the fact that we usually get to church with at least 1 child's hair uncombed and 1 child with a dirty face. Love nice people. Glad I get to interact with them and hope I can be one.
Also found this gem of a book Paul made me before we were married.
Love finding things like this.
It's always fun to look back on the month, especially one where I felt like I was drowning, and realize there were so many good things that happened. And those are the moments I hope my kids can remember. Not the crazy in between parts where I was loosing my mind. :)
The theme for November was sick. Macey started on Halloween and it passed through everyone and is still lingering a bit even into December ( I am currently on my 2nd round of antibiotics), luckily though there was no puking involved. It's the little things.
Ruby's Temp got to 104.8, it was a bit stressful for a moment, but some popsicles from Gina helped to ease the worry. And it was kind of nice having a calm Ruby to watch movies with for a few days.
Being sick didn't keep kids from finishing off their Halloween candy in record time though.
We worked on a few things around the house.
I purged the linen closet, again, 3 grocery bags of trash. Always amazes me how much things pile up and how much more I dislike clutter now that I've felt the feeling of living with less.
Paul had to replace the basement tub surround and recaulk our shower. We also decided to repaint our bathroom cabinets while we were at it.
Due to sickness we spent a lot more time around the house than normal.
I probably only got fully ready a handful of times this month. Luckily my personal photographer, Ruby, documented one of the 5 times I was dressed in real clothes with makeup on.
She is always underfoot and constantly requests selfies. :)
and is always requesting we look at her and say "Cheese"
There was lots of games, book reading and I even pulled out the littlest petshops to keep us all entertained.
Miles has been VERY difficult lately, but every once in awhile he gives me a moment like this, so I keep him around a little longer.
Also lots of wrestling, running around, and screaming.
Paul is a much better playmate than I am.
We did get a perfect leave jumping day before all the leaves got cleaned up.
Thank goodness for Ruby's dance class at the Rec Center that got me to the gym twice a week to workout with Ashley and Traci.
Traci captured this amazing pic of me showing off my new found skill...a backbend.
We were so ready for Thanksgiving Break!!
And Crew's teacher brought a turkey to recess. :)
park with The Brown's
Bowling at BYU
It was one of my favorite Thanksgivings EVER.
First, we met our friends at the park while our turkey's cooked.
It was amazing and something I could get used too.
I nailed "The Feast" this year and the kids were excited and actually hung out and chatted and ate lots of food.
I let every kid request one item. Mac & Cheese, deviled eggs, yogurt jello, and ham. Paul's favorites were there too.
We had friends over for Turkey Bingo and pie.
And then enjoyed the leftovers for days.
We started our Christmas festivities with a trip to The Riverwoods
Notice the boys have shorts on?!? Warmest November ever.
Then Black Friday we did our, now tradition, hike.
hiking beats shopping any day.
Other Exciting November Happenings:
-BYU basketball games started.
- Ruby went to Sharing Time for the first time and loved helping with singing time.
- Macey called Brenden "her uncle" in her job application paper for school.
- I am an official Walmart Online Grocery Pickup shopper. I have tried every store by my house that does pickup and Walmart is the winner. Pretty much the only store I ever step foot in now is Target and it's heaven.
- Christmas Decorating began
The kids favorite tradition is still collecting their ornaments.
Macey- Snowman, Miles- Transportation, Crew- North Pole, Ruby- Sweet Treats
Now onto the excitement that is December.
October: Chapter 1
October was a great month around here, as it should be.
Paul's work hours have been a bit crazy (nothing too new), but we took high advantage of our weekend hours to make up for not seeing him most of the week.
There was Touch a Truck
Free lunch. Prizes. And a ton of trucks for the kids to climb on and horns to honk.
They "drove" a city bus, explored the back of a vacuum truck, walked through an ambulance, watched how they use robots to find blockages in pipes, and got to see how big a stop light really is.
Orem is pretty much one of the coolest cities ever and all of the city workers were amazing and kind. Love supporting local events like this. The mountains
. One Saturday was spent exploring and seeing the changing leaves in the mountains.
It was perfection.
Everytime I cross a bridge I am always dealing with those pesky trolls under the bridge. Every. Single. Time.
We of course had to find our "secret spot", it's not quite as fun when you don't get to play in the water. But, I am just glad my kids have their traditions with our hikes and are really starting to love it.
One day I will make it past this meadow! But for now, this is always our stopping point.
It's a perfect place for hide and seek.
Seriously though, those trees, Utah really likes to show off sometimes.
We convinced Paul to come home at 5:00 on a Friday and we hurried over to the Children's Museum
We are hoping to send more cold evenings here and it's always better when Paul is there to entertain the kids.
And we can't forget our monthly cold weather trip to Scheel's
And Ruby finally wanted to ride the Ferris Wheel, so i got to go on my first ride. It was slightly terrifying, but i held it together for the kids. :)
Paul and I got tickets to listen to The Minimalists
It was awesome. It helped me refocus on what I love about living a minimalist lifestyle and reminded me that not all minimalism has to look the same. In the next few weeks I cleaned out my closet, craft drawers, kid's school files, linen closet and toys.
We are starting to see a tiny light at the end of the tunnel that is Sunday's
The amount of time we've had to take these 2 and Miles out to the hall has lessened drastically. They still all have to go out at least once, but it's not a constant struggle.
Getting Miles ready for church is still quite the process, with finding proper clothes and dealing with his screaming fits about going to church. But sometimes he gets his own row and all is right in the world again.
And this girl, I have to dress her cute to help me when the screaming comes. :)
We keep busy during the week with our normal things:Thanksgiving Point
We went right before the Scarecrow festival started. It was amazing, all the scarecrows were up, but no crowds and no bounce houses to deal with.
So much drawing
for these two.
Not used to having kids want to color and cut and draw, it's been pretty nice.
I got to go on Crew's first field trip to the Fire Station
One of my favorite field trips ever. I forgot how much I love kindergartners.
Crew skipped school and we went to Coconut Cove
with Lottie and Liam. It was perfection. Kids were so well entertained, Michelle and I actually got to sit and talk without too much interruption.
Errands with friends are always better.
We've been doing less electronic time around here and it is helping things to run much smoother.
I just have to survive that first 15 minutes of whining, screaming and crying (mostly Miles) until they figure out a better way to spend their time.
Love to see what they come up with.
And this girl, she likes to be ready for all situations. She can never leave the house empty handed, even if it's just out front to play with friends.
We also had a house divided when the Texans played The Seahawks.
This was our theme for September.
Macey did not think it was funny. :) #truth
The reality is it's pretty much chaos around here all the time, but usually it is the good chaos. Well, until 5:00 rolls around, then it's usually the bad kind.
Crew and Ruby are my constant companions and I am just trying to remind myself that they will never love me more than they do right now. So, I try to enjoy being constantly climbed on and talked to and followed. Luckily I still enforce quiet time to give me some time to recover.
And reading with this kindergartner is one of my favorite parts of my day.
The highlight of the month for Ruby was starting dance class
with Hailey and Izella.
She's been dying to have a teacher of her own ever since the kids went back to school. She was always asking me "What my teacher name? My teacher going to like me?" Her long awaited day came and she now has a teacher of her own, Miss Jenn.
She loves dance and I love watching her. I am also shocked by how calm she is in class, not what I expected. And after her first class she fell asleep on the way home (11:00 am), obviously there was a lot of pent up excitement.
One of the best parts though, is Ashley, Traci and I actually get to workout for 45 min during their class. It's one of the highlights of my week. September was full of friends.
Cora came to town to visit, so Macey got to spend almost 2 days with the Rensinks and we borrowed Peter for a late night.
bottom left pic: The Everett kids were locked out one afternoon and my kids were overjoyed to find them sitting on the grass out front. They instantly tackled them and forced them to play until Gina got home. :)
Funny story with this picture:
Ruby was napping, so I decided I'd take a nap. I told the kids they could play Wii and to stay inside. I woke up to 4 O'Neal kids playing the Wii with my 3 kids. One of the many reasons I have learned not to nap.
Trips to Thanksgiving Point
Paul always has to make a Ninja Warrior course on the playground for them and then has to be the announcer as they run it. #iseeyouBYU games
We got football season tickets this year. The season has been extremely disappointing, but the games are still fun.
And enjoying every moment of the cooler temps, before the cold actually comes.
face painting, balloon animals, carnival games, unlimited food trucks, blowups, train, unlimited popcorn & cotton candy
aka the best day of their lives
and they had a photographer there that captured some pretty awesome shots.
Chalk the Block
Macey had a blast helping out Emmie and Julianne with their Harry Potter themed spot, until they got rained out. She made me promise to sign up with them next year.
These were our 2 favorite entries. Link and Batman...no surprise there.
I could never get a picture of Ruby because she never stopped.
For one of our Activity Days this month I planned a little back to school party.
Love these cute girls.
And lastly, we replaced Macey's full bed with a twin.
It's been amazing, she had no floor space before and now she's been having non stop dance parties with her new found square footage. And she's loving the more tween look. Now to just get the walls decorated.
September was a great month. lots of warm sunshine to enjoy, friends to play with, and finally being back on a schedule!