Saturday, August 13, 2016


As if having your first born start high school and your last born start kindergarten wasn't enough, now my first born son is turning 12 and getting the priesthood. If that's not enough to turn me into an emotional sentimental shmuck, I don't know what will. But as always, the excitement of new milestones and the pride in seeing them grow into amazing youth always outweighs the sadness of seeing my babies grow up.

A brotherly love moment when Maddox included his own dollar bill in the homemade card he made for Jayden

Checked him out for a birthday lunch at Burger King. The lunch options around the school are limited, but I always love a little one on one Jayden time.

After school we took a golf cart ride around, ending up at Chevron for drinks. Jason took him to dinner that night at Joe's Farm grill, then suit shopping. Which, be still my heart.

The next day he invited a few friends to the lake. Kylie stayed home and watched the little boys (she was thrilled about that, by the way) and it was fun just hanging out and getting to know his friends better. They're such a cute group of boys, I can't say it enough how grateful I am that my kids have chosen such great friends. Even if they did have burping contests almost the whole way home. Boys....

They set a new record for the highest jump. Of course once one did it, they all had to. Thankfully no one got hurt, even with a close call as Landon almost didn't jump out far enough from the side. Maybe we won't be doing cliff jumping without their parents present anymore.

The boys thought it was great to have Jason take them home in the golf cart. It's been a fun toy.

And then came the big day where he got set apart as a deacon and received the Aaronic priesthood. It was quite an eventful weekend for Jayden. But really, he has never looked so happy and so handsome as he did in that moment sitting in the bishop's office getting ordained. So proud of him and the choices he makes to keep him worthy. He has such a strong personality, so glad he's choosing to channel that strength in the right direction. Most of the time.

Can't get over how handsome and grown up he looks in his suit, just like his dad.

We had a ward youth temple trip planned that next week so he was able to go and do baptisms for the first time. It was such a cool experience for both of us. Happy birthday to my boy who can be sweet as sugar and stubborn as a mule, but always loves unconditionally. He can't go to bed without giving us a hug and a kiss, reads his scriptures every night, loves a good book, melts the hearts of every teacher he's ever had, isn't afraid to stand up for what he believes in, is always up for a challenge, doesn't hesitate to try new things, is still a picky eater and bread is his favorite food, gives great back massages, always looks out for his little brothers at school and on the bus, likes knowing about what is going on in the world, spends his Saturdays working hard in the yard with his dad, always the first to befriend the new kid at school, loves soda, sleeping in and HGTV. Sure love this boy of mine. I recently told him that one of the reasons I love monsoon season so much is because it reminds me of when he was born. Rocking him slowly in the night as rain poured outside and lightning lit up the sky. It will always be one of my favorite memories of all time. Happy birthday, Gigi, we love you!

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Thirty six


Thirty-six. I'm not quite sure how I feel about that. One year closer to 40, a few more smile lines showing, my metabolism slowing, my eyelids looking slightly droopy and I thought I saw a faint trace of a varicose vein on my leg. I'm not gonna lie, I feel like I've peaked and it's a downward slope from here on out. But this year is also a turning point as my days have transitioned from craft projects, splash pads, McDonald's playland, peanut butter & jelly, and Disney channel, to a quiet lunch of acai bowls, browsing Target's newest line of table lamps, blasting spotify while scrubbing the house, hitting that 8:30 body pump class and connecting with old friends on lunch dates. I mean, for the first time I was able to paint my nails and have the time to let them thoroughly dry without getting smudged by opening fruit snacks or wiping a bum. It was liberating. I was even able to spend a solid thirty minutes browsing the birthday card aisle to pick out that perfect card for my sister and dad. But every day isn't spent lounging in yoga pants painting nails and laughing it up at cafes. I recently read that the beginning of the school year is like New Years for moms. A fresh start, a renewed energy, a chance to make a long list of resolutions and hit the ground running. I've fully embraced that change, making a schedule for myself and filling my days with everything I've wanted to do but have never had the time. Although I might be getting myself in over my head as I volunteered to be room mom and Art Masterpiece teacher for almost all of their classrooms. But I am looking forward to being in the classroom more, chaperoning field trips, attending the temple regularly, tackling projects at home, taking an institute class, exercising more, and being open to whatever comes my way. Like, I ordered a case of apples and the idea of canning apple pie filling without a baby strapped to my chest just thrills me beyond belief. I sorta feel guilty that I am enjoying this new found freedom so much, but I also feel like a much better mom with more patience and energy. Besides, after 14 years I've earned the right to binge watch Parenthood while working on photo books. I do miss having a little one to cuddle, I know my days of morning snuggles in bed won't last forever and I'm soaking up every last minute. These past 14 years have been filled with my best memories as I've had the pleasure of raising each one of my little chickens in the comfort of our little nest. It's definitely a bittersweet time of life right now.

My birthday started out with hot pancakes waiting for me when I got back from the gym, then lunch with my cute friends that spoil me much more than I deserve. We spent 2 1/2 hours catching up after the summer break, so grateful to have these girls in my life. Jason took me to dinner that night then to see the latest Jason Bourne movie. Those movies have always been our thing and I couldn't wait to watch it with him. And there's something about a midweek date that get's me excited. Yes, staying up until 11:00 on a Thursday night is all it takes to get me excited these days.  So here's to 36, and all the changes that come with growing one year older and wiser too.

Saturday, August 06, 2016

Low rider

We got a golf cart. It's totally unnecessary, but totally fun. When I told my sister, she totally laughed out loud and couldn't understand why a family of non-golfers would want to buy a golf cart. Maybe it's a just a Gilbert thing, but it's so common here to see people cruising around the neighborhoods on golf carts and it looked so fun. So yes, I'm ashamed to admit it, but we caved to the peer pressure. But it's been so fun going for family rides in the evening, stopping for ice cream at McDonald's, almost getting busted for doing donuts on the grass, blasting Justin Bieber on the portable blue tooth speaker, Jason's tie flapping in the wind as he drives around dropping treats off for his home teaching families, sneaking onto the golf course at night, chasing cats and rabbits, Jason embarrassing the boys when he drops them off at the bus stop then keeps driving by honking the horn, going off-roading on the dirt hill and just hanging out together. Part nerdy, completely a blast.

Friday, August 05, 2016


I expected tears. Lots and lots of tears. Some from Ryder, but mostly from me. He has a history of rough first days, kindy and preschool drop off was anything but a walk in the park. Not to mention, I was an emotional wreck back at preschool graduation when I tried picturing my every day life without my spikey haired little shadow by my side. But the funny thing about summer is that having a house full of kids for two months makes you start fantasizing about how a house all to your self might not be that bad after all.  Although, I will miss staying up late watching old reruns of The Office with Kylie and Jayden. But there is something satisfying about being back on a schedule with everyone freshly bathed, teeth brushed, stories read and tucked in by 8:00. And the thrill of new shoes with their squeaky soles and backpacks with fuzzy alien key chains complete with a matching lunch box is all it takes to get the kids excited. New uniforms don't really do the trick, but a package of fresh new socks and boxer shorts still with the pressed creases sure will. Ryder wore his back pack around the house and requested to eat his lunch out of his lunchbox every day for a week. I was sure hoping the novelty wouldn't wear off before the actual day. I love that they did a practice day this year where the kinders got to go for an hour to practice the routine. I expected tears, but I only got smiles.

Then came the real day. But first I have to pause and take the spotlight off of Ryder for a minute, because not only is my last baby starting kindergarten, but my first baby is starting high school. I was feeling all the feels this morning. And even though I might not be ready, I know she's got this.  Cool as a cucumber and she didn't even eat lunch in the bathroom on her first day like her mother did, so already things are off to a great start. If only she can get used to this whole waking up at 5 am deal.

Ryder was so excited to be added to the chore rotation now. We'll see how long it takes for the novelty to wear off.

Handsome boys all ready to go. Jayden is starting 6th grade, his last year at elementary school. This year it is especially hitting me how fleeting time is and how little time we have left with all my chicks in the nest. Maddox is starting 2nd grade and is handling it like a champ. No first day nerves, just excited to get back and reunite with his best friend, Tate. Their desks are right next to each other. They talk about minecraft all day.

And just like that, my heart drove away on a big yellow school bus.

And then 10 minutes later the hearts were all reunited since we were the creepy parents following behind the school bus in the car. We wanted Ryder to get used to riding the bus, but also wanted to be there to walk him in on the first day.

I love this picture. Imparting last words of wisdom before he begins this new chapter of his life.

I spied on him as we walked out, small talking with the other moms about how fast the summer went by, commenting on the heat wave and pausing for one last look as we gushed about how cute they were in their little desks. Then just like that, my baby was a kindergartner. The house was eerily quiet when I got home. Part of me wanted to curl up in the fetal position and cry and part of me wanted to blast music and sing at the top of me lungs. I did a little of both.

He came home so excited and so full of energy, it was a little strange. All of my other kids came home exhausted and cranky, it's such a long time for them to sit and such a big transition. The next day the same thing happened, and the day after that, and the day after that. I was waiting for the melt down, the novelty to wear off, the moment they realize life as they know it with goldfish crackers on the couch and afternoon movie parties is over and this is their lot in life for the next 13 years. But it never came, and I thought surely this must be the easiest kindergarten transition in the history of ever. And then it came. A phone call on Friday, a boy in hysterics, crying so hard he couldn't breathe and wanting only his mom. It started when he made a mistake on his work, his teacher told him it was no big deal, but he got embarrassed and it all snowballed. The floodgates opened and all those five year old first day of school emotions came pouring out. I wanted nothing more than to scoop him up and bring him home and snuggle him up in bed. But he is in such capable hands, we lucked out to get the same kindergarten teacher that Kylie and Jayden had, and I'm convinced there's no one in the world better than her. Things have been good ever since, besides a few tears here and there, but that's normal. It's a lot for such a little guy to take in.

I have a feeling it's going to be a great year. Everyone loves their teachers and has friends in their classes and that's a first. Cheers to a great start to the new year!