Sunday, February 28, 2016

February little things

They had a fine dining event at school and since Jayden is on the student council he was one of the waiters. Everyone got dressed up and it was quite a fancy soiree. 

Jayden was having a sentimental moment looking through the blog books and remembering how close he and Kylie were when they were younger. He made such an effort for the next couple of days to rekindle that friendship, it really was the sweetest. I know they don't have a lot in common right now and some times it's hard for them to relate to each other so it makes my heart swell when I see them bonding. 

Ryder learned how to pump and was so gosh darn proud of himself. I was pretty gosh darn excited too!

We took a field trip to the fire station with his preschool. He was super impressed with the pole AND the slides. I still remember coming here for Kylie and Jayden's preschool field trips, hard to believe this one will be my last!

Just when I think he's growing up to fast, I see this and am reminded that he's still my baby. He still crawls in bed with me every morning and all I want to do is stay in bed and snuggle with him all day.

I've been attempting the gym at 5:30 am a few days a week. I always feel so good when I go, but it is so hard getting out of my cozy bed that early! I am so not a morning person, no matter how hard I try.

Jason has been working from home on Fridays. We don't see much of him, he is usually up in the room working the whole time, but Ryder sure loves when he gets a little Daddy time all to himself while the rest of the kids are at school.

I took Ryder to an open gym and that kid couldn't get enough. He was running around, bouncing between all the different equipment and working up quite a sweat. I had to laugh as he did somersaults on here and left a trail of head sweat with every roll.

We got this sweet text from Maddox one night while we were out to dinner and Kylie was babysitting. He secretly recorded her singing while she was working on her homework and I love that he complimented her "butiful voys". We usually just get a lot of poop emojis when he texts us. He specializes in those.

We have the best time when we go out with the Armstrongs and Farnes. It all started when we were all put in charge of the ward Christmas party and really got to know each other, it is such a fun group and we end up laughing until we're crying whenever we go out. It's rejuvenating and good for the soul.

And for several days our kitchen was out of commission, but totally worth it as I finally convinced Jason to let me get the kitchen cabinets painted. It turned out amazing and looks so fresh. I'll post more pictures later, but I still can't believe what a difference it makes. So there's a few highlights from the month!

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Papa Jolley 

My dad came down for a visit so that my brother could do some dental work for him. You would have thought a celebrity was coming to town. My kids adore their Papa. Maddox came home from school and was so excited that he learned about Lewis and Clark, he was so sure grandpa knew them since they were both cowboys in the olden days. Grandpa had some fun with that during his famous bedtime stories. He always told the best stories growing up, I'm glad the legacy continues. Maddox's teacher emailed me and said he's shared all the stories with the class too. I'm sure the Lewis and Clark facts were totally accurate. 

The kids had half day so we took grandpa on our new favorite bike trail and ended at the Target food court for slushees.

One of Ryder and Maddox's favorite thing to do with grandpa is play Uno. He's a good sport, even when they try to cheat.

My dad has recently picked up photography since his retirement, and he's getting pretty good at it. The Desert Botanical Gardens was the perfect place to get some desert scapes to add to his portfolio. I was excited for the chance to check it out, it was a beautiful place. If you like cactus. Cacti.

We stopped at Hole in the Rock for a quick hike before heading home to get the kids from school.

My dad happened to be here for Valentine's day, which was fun. They boys had a good time at their school parties, Maddox won "best effort" for his shark Valentine's box. Jayden just took a Walmart bag.

We had our traditional Valentine's Day breakfast. The little boys got slinkies, which they thought was the best thing ever. And they were both broken in the first two days. Jayden got some mechanical pencils and holder for his new desk that he's so excited about. And Kylie got a portable charger since her phone is always dead when I need to get a hold of her. Jason got air freshner for his car. In case that doesn't sound too terribly romantic, I did splurge for the good kind at Bath and Body Works. It was an effort to redeem myself from a very unfortunate event involving his car and a pot of chicken tortilla soup. Everyone wrote cards and letters to each other and that was my very favorite part. Seeing them dig deep and say the words they all feel but don't say enough, it was very endearing. Which is the reason Valentine's day is one of my favorite holidays. It makes staying up all night heart attacking their doors, making crepes and cutting out heart shaped pineapples totally worth it. After church, Jason made us a second breakfast, and it was just as delicious as the first.

We said our goodbyes to grandpa, the boys are still in denial that he's gone. Asking me to tell bedtime stories about pig wrestling and begging for just one more Uno game. Thankfully they've realized Papa just can't be replaced. The legend lives on.

Monday, February 01, 2016

January happenings

Winter break was full of the laziest of days, and I loved it. These boys made it a little tradition (per Maddox's request. of course.) to lay in bed in the mornings and talk about what they wanted to do that day. As much as they drive me crazy at times, I love these two. 

One cold morning they woke up before everyone else (which isn't too hard to do, considering the other half of the Young children sleep sleep until noon) so we went for a bike ride. It was a fun morning with these boys.

And we finally got a chance to go for our first family bike ride since the gifting of the Christmas bikes. I specialize in photos of riding bikes from behind. As you can tell.

We were gone for hours exploring, and breaking for Dunkin Donuts and model home tours. I loved this day. And I also realized how much I love this phase of life, having the kids older so that we can enjoy family time like this. I still feel like I'm going to lactate when I hear a newborn cry and my ovaries quiver whenever I hold one, but as sad as it is to close that chapter I am finding the good in this new one we're in.

That evening we had two of our favorite NZ/AZ missionaries over who have since come home. We had such a fun night reminiscing about our time over there together, it's still so weird to be on the flip side with them.

I had a coupon for roller skating. It was a fail. Nothing but tears and bruised butts. My back is still out of whack from getting pulled down on that concrete one too many times. Oh well, you win some you lose some. 

I stepped out of Little Caesar's with Ryder one evening and witnessed the most magnificent sunset.

And by the time we got to Redbox it was even more incredible. Every where I looked people had their phones pointed to the sky and were pulled over on the side of the streets to admire God's handiwork. My instagram feed was filled that night with shots of that sky, it was a beauty to behold.

By my fourth kid, I'm getting really good at disguising errands as fun outings. The pirate ship at the oil change place, lunch at Costco, the treasure box at the orthodontist, walking to Chic-fil-a while the tires are getting rotated, popcorn and slushees at Target.... But the weather is gorgeous right now and this is the last year I get my baby home all to myslef. so I've been trying to make a point to spend a day or two each week just doing things he loves, with no ulterior motives. This day was the train and skate park at Freestone with friends.

And this day was a picnic and riding bikes around the riparian preserve. He had to check out the saguaro cactus' (cacti?) in hopes of finding the elusive elf owl like the Kratt brothers promised. Another sure tell sign he's the fourth kid is that everything he knows he learned from the TV.

He loves his little friends. Every time one of them comes over he quickly runs to his cupboard and pulls out a special present to wrap in paper and send home with them. A cut up credit card, black tubing he found in a parking lot, a penny....all his prized possessions. Sweet boy.

We hit up another skate park. Ryder had no qualms chilling with these older boys. They were so sweet to let him tag along. I bought them a soda from the vending machine as a thank you.

Poor Jayden had to get two of his molars extracted to make room for his braces. It was a lot more brutal than I thought, but he handled it like a champ. It broke my heart and I felt so helpless seeing him laying there. But homemade milkshakes and sitting on the couch together all afternoon watching HGTV together (his favorite. mine too.) was just what the doctor ordered.

Ryder had a preschool field trip to the library. He was a little disappointed. Somehow he was confused and thought they were going to California instead. Half way through the reading of "The Very Hungry Caterpillar" he turned to me and said, "this is actually fun!".  Such a funny kid. On the way over he also told me he was so happy that I would never turn into a grandma since I eat healthy. He is very concerned about me growing old. I love our conversations in the car. The other day he told me he doesn't believe wishes come true because he wished on a star that he wouldn't be chubby and he still is. He is so funny, he has this awareness of body types and is very self conscious of his cute little squishy tummy. I have no idea where it came from but I hope he knows he is absolutely perfect the way he is.

The kids had a celebration of learning night at their school. I loved Maddox's diagram he made, the details, creativity and heart that he put into it. I'm glad he's enjoying school now. He had a little bit of a hard time making friends at the beginning of the year and that was really hard for both of us. He would spend every recess just swinging all by himself. Thankfully he has made a really good friend and things are going so much better. He has such a big heart, willing to give away his birthday money and Halloween candy (yes he still has Halloween candy left) to anyone who wants it, and is always the first to jump in and help when Ryder can't find his blanket or Jayden is too lazy to throw away his wrappers. He makes me laugh the way he makes bucket lists for everything and how he loves to wear his hair in a pony tail. I love this boy and his big heart and am so glad he has found friends who can recognize and appreciate that too.

Of course we had to stop by and see Mrs. Moore, Kylie and Jayden's kindergarten teacher and one of our all time favorite teachers. We are so excited she has moved to the new school and are keeping our fingers crossed that Ryder gets her next year too.

I love spending the warm AZ winter outdoors on our bikes. I took the kids on a bike ride to Taco Bell for dinner one evening when Jason was gone. We just so happened to see quite a few people from Kylie's school and she was convinced riding your bike to Taco Bell with your family on a Friday night was social suicide. We had a better biking experience when we spent another beautiful Saturday biking the Queen Creek bike trail. It was such a fun find and I can't wait to do it again. We stopped to say hi to some friends then found our way to the dollar store to fuel up on snacks half way through. Potato skins, animal crackers and tootsie pops on a park bench as the sun sank into the horizon. A pretty stellar evening.