January Novel

Feb 4, 2018
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.

Bean Museum 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


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.  


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. :)  

Tags: januarywinterbyuthanksgiving pointmilesparksnow
What a busy month & you made it through it even with Paul's busy work! I love how you helped Ashley and that someone reached out to help you. You are doing just what you need to for Miles. Love the memory of Scooter Girl!
Killian makes me think of Jillian. Clark loved MC Escher. He had a poster or two on his bedroom wall in high school, and even gave me a huge one (18x30???) for a gift once. Did I have it at Heritage Halls? Can't remember. Probably. Ruby looks sooooo much like Paul. That scooter girl love note is awesome! And I'm so glad for the nice person who left you the encouraging note and coloring books. You don't give yourself enough credit - you are a very inspiring mom. Here's hoping February is happier for you!

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October: Chapter 1

Nov 11, 2017
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 for us.  

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 and coloring 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. 

Tags: thanksgiving pointoctoberfallmountains

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Oct 24, 2017
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

Park days

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. #iseeyou

BYU 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. 

Other Highlights: 

Domo Party

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. 

Coconut Cove
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! 

Tags: septemberfallthanksgiving pointdancedomobyu
Lucky activity day girls to have you as their leader! You Navasards are always having a party - I'd be exhausted all the time trying to fill your shoes. You're giving your kids a great life!

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Spring Break'in

May 15, 2017
Paul took 2 weeks off, with one of those weeks being over the kids spring break.  We took some time to play, Paul and Macey went to a tech conference in salt lake, and then Paul and I started our demo/remodel when the kids went back to school.  

Bryce Canyon/Kodachrome

Bryce was cold and muddy, but fun and beautiful as ever. 

We lost a few shoes in the mud and had a few slips, but all the mud dried by the end of the day and everyone we saw had dried mud covering their shoes and legs too. It was just part of the adventure. 

I am in awe of Byrce evertyime.  

kids were great hikers.

I really hope they remember all these adventures!

We camped at Kodachrome, which has turned into one of our favorite Utah places.  

Lots of exploring to do.  

Ruby just climbed right up this cliff without any trouble.  

The kids spent most of their time playing in this dry creek bed behind our campsite.  

Crew's is always the child who's legs get too tired.  I've gotten pretty good at carrying this beast of a child on my shoulders. 

and then we woke up to snow the next morning.  So, we packed up early and headed home.  Yes, I am wearing a beanie and 3 hoods.  Still cold and wet.  

enjoying a lovely camping breakfast.
Thank goodness for ipads in times like these.  Kept everyone busy and out of our way while we packed up in record time. I can't remember the last time my hands were so cold.  

Kids were so involved with their ipads we got to make a few stops along the way home. 

In the end it was all worth it and we eventually got everything dried out in our tiny backyard. 

Spring Break was pretty low key after that. 

We ate dinner in public.  Rare occasion, but it went fairly well.

Visited Thanksgiving Point

Pond with friends

And my porch constantly looked like this.

Paul took Macey to NG Conf in Salt Lake, where she again had the time of her life.  

The highlights were all the swag, swimming in the pool, eating all the awesome food and getting to meet the makers of her favorite Battle Bot, Witch Doctor. 

Miles is really hoping he can get things together to go next year. :)  

Tags: brycethanksgiving pointkodachromeng conf

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Fall break

Nov 5, 2016
Every year we get 3 days off in October and I usually go a bit crazy with our adventures.  So, I tried to pace myself this year and just had one fun thing planned each day.  Worked like a dream.

Day One:

Made the kids do chores (insert screaming, whining, kicking) and then when they were done I braved the crowds and headed to a pumpkin patch.  

I rarely make public appearances during fall break, as most of the state has the same days off and I don't enjoy large crowds.  But, I was feeling brave and the weather was perfection.  

No one got lost, the kids listened, no whining, and only one incident with our wheelbarrow falling over and our pumpkins rolling all over the parking lot when I was trying to load Crewby in the car.  

I'd say it was a very successful trip. And yes, I was finding corn in the house for days, especially in the washing machine.  

Day Two:  
Scarecrow Festival and Michelle's house (where she worked on my halloween costumes)  

I was actually very impressed with the Scarecrow festival and we will be back next year for sure.  Macey and Libby were the photographers and took pictures of EVERY SINGLE Scarecrow, so we could then vote for our favorite one.

Macey's favorite: Harry Potter
Crew's Favorite: Jack Skeleton
Miles' Favorite: All of them
Ruby's Favorite: Elsa.  

The boys like pretending to be scarecrows.  

We walked through the "I am the Light of the World" exhibit.  it was very cool and of course only something you would find in Utah County.  Crew broke out singing "Gethsemane"  when we found a sculpture of Christ praying in the garden.  :) 

At the end was the scared grove and yes, Miles instantly ran to Joseph Smith and started hugging him.  

Putting Michelle to work making a peter pan collar for my costume.  

Day Three:  
Bowling at BYU with the Rensinks & getting our fridge delivered
(we didn't have a fridge for 10 days.  We lost all our food. it was very annoying and I am so grateful for modern day appliances.)  

We had the bowling alley to ourselves.  Boys on one lane and girls on the other.  It was great.  And Ruby impressed us all with her ability to pick up the ball with no help and put it up on the ramp thing.  This girl is tough stuff.  

It was great having the kids home for a few extra days, but I can't say I was sad to send them back. :)  

Tags: octoberfall breakbyuthanksgiving point

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