Sunday, December 18, 2011


I've been so excited to use Instagram! And with my new iPhone I finally have the chance! I'm posting from my phone now and hope to get pictures up here regularly! For now, here are a few of my first shots from the past week of light seeing, Disneyland, baking and kids class parties!

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Little Lexy Tidbits

There are so many adorable things Alexis does but there are a few that I have been thinking I need to get down in writing now that I'm not doing her monthly blog! Something that I absolutely love is when she comes up to me and out of nowhere she says, "I love you too Mommy!" She's gotten so used to us saying we love her that she automatically adds the "too" at the end even when she says it first!

The boys love having everyone go around the table and each take turns saying they love her just so they can hear her say their name, "I love you too Ty-er!"..."I love you too Zachey!", "I love you too Jakey Boy!" It really is too cute!

I love that she loves to snuggle. She likes to bring one of her "friends" with her which is usually one of her Minnie's. She makes this little squeal-e voice like Minnie is talking and then she wants us to kiss Minnie and then Minnie kisses us and then her and it goes around like that for awhile.

I also love that when she wants to be picked up and held she says, "I need you Mommy! or I need you Daddy!" and then she just snuggles you when you pick her up.

Love that she calls her lunch, "Munch". Around 11 every day she starts telling us, "I need my Munch! I need my Munchy!"

I love that she continues to be crazy girly! A few nights ago I was finally able to try on the Christmas dress I bought her to make sure it fit. I did this right before bed. It's a beautiful, sparkly dress, right up Lexy's alley. She was so happy to twirl about and show that dress off everyone she could not have been happier...and then I tried to take it off to put her to bed. Wow, you would have thought I was literally hurting her she screamed so loud! She fought me and struggled so hard to keep that dress on. Every time I got one arm out she was able to shove it right back in. Poor girl! She kept saying "My dress! My dress! No Mommy, my dress!" But we put her in dresses and such as much as possible and she is always quick to show it off to the nearest person!

I love my baby girl!

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

There's only one "me"

That is what I have been uttering to myself...a lot lately. Since the new school year started, with a third child in half day kinder no less, I have been pulled in a million different directions. I am back and fourth to the school at least 3 times a day which works out to every few hours. There is no chunk of time to really accomplish anything. And then when adding in volunteering at the school and now subbing as a Noon Supervisor...yeah, I just need more of me. I kept thinking I just needed to settle in, get used to things, but that just isn't happening. Again bringing me back to the conclusion that I just need more of me.

More of me to do the driving. To do the mountains of laundry and the piles of dishes. More of me to help each kid with their homework, go through the mountains of papers they bring home everyday and sign the daily forms. More of me to help in each of the kids classes every week. To write all of the blogs that swim around in my head and never find their way into the cyber world. To cook fabulous meals every night, clean the house, keep up the outside, list things on Ebay, go through the kids toys, wash the sheets from five beds and then put new ones on, to read stories to the kids throughout the day, to give baths, to take the little ones to the park...these are the things that have been stressing me out. Stealing my daily joy.

Last week I just had a breakdown. With all the stress surrounding the death of Craig's dad. The kids were not listening after the millionth time they were asked to do something. And I just couldn't repeat myself. One. More. time. I kept thinking that I just couldn't do it anymore. Couldn't be everything to everyone.

After a few days of just being really upset, I picked myself up by the bootstraps and decided to try and do something about where I was. I came up with some more structure and new rules for the kids. My friend Crystal, who is also a teacher, told me about a policy she uses called "First time listener". I am implementing this with the boys. They do what they are told the first time or they sit out of whatever is happening in the next 5 minutes. That has taken immediate pressure off of me to not continuously repeat myself which has lead to tremendous frustration. I have also been telling myself throughout the day that I do not need to be turbo woman every second of the day. Somehow I have taken on a "plow through the day" attitude that from the second I get out of bed I am rushing to start laundry, clean up the kitchen, pick up toys and it literally never stops. I never stop. The last few days after a very busy morning and afternoon, working at the school and volunteering both Monday and Tuesday, I brought the kids home, cleaned up a few things, went through papers, helped a bit with homework and then around 4, watched a little T.V. I haven't watched T.V. during the day in...forever. It was really nice to sit for that block of time and just rest in my living room. Today the boys sat with me and together we watched the Dugger family. I love seeing how they do things. How calm Michelle is. How amazing her children are turning out.

Today Craig was in L.A. speaking which meant I was on my own. Homework, dinner, naps, getting all three boys dressed for karate, then all four kids to karate, bedtime routine, stories...normally I would have been very stressed out. But it wasn't as bad. Hopefully I've stumbled upon something. I pray that God would give me a peaceful spirit. That He would take my total imperfect ways and mold them into what He wants for me and my family. I'm so thankful for my four little blessings and I want to do everything I can to raise them well.

And I know that with much prayer, God will help me do my very best!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Alexis Joy Turns Two Today!

Exactly 2 years ago from now, I sat in a hospital room in great anticipation, waiting to hear if we were staying to have our baby. The doctor at our OB office had sent us over to the hospital after hearing about her decreased movement, my amniotic fluid going down again etc. We were and are so thankful that he took action. A few hours after that, with the help of a little gel, contractions started on their own. After what would be by far my quickest labor, Alexis Joy made her way into the world that same day at 11:18. She was so tiny...only 6 pounds 4 ounces...a "little peanut" the nurse said. I couldn't believe we had a little girl. I still can't believe I have a little girl. After getting so sick with each baby and then having my life threatened while pregnant with Jacob, I should have never had another baby. But I am so thankful to God for blessing us with our sweet girl and taking away that ache for a girl I feared I would always be left with.

The past two years have been so fun. Things definitely started out rocky with her having reflux and crying non stop. But even through that we rejoiced in having her knowing it would eventually get better. And it did. She lights up the room with her smiles. She loves to give hugs and long as it is under her terms. She has very good boundaries and will let you know when she wants her space. But just the other day she was having a love fest with Tyler. He kept asking her for hugs and she would run quickly up to him, knocking him over and then they would roll around hugging and laughing. So completely adorable to watch. Each boy will spend little sweet moments with her during the day. Teaching her new things like colors or how to say words. Tyler can often be heard saying, "Lexy, can you say computer?" They rush to greet her every morning and all love to kiss her goodnight. Lately Tyler and Zachary also enjoy reading to her.

AS I have said in the past she is completely "girlie". To the core, all on her own. She loves bracelets, necklaces, shoes, hair things, brushes, dresses, fluffy skirts, dress up clothes, purses, pretend make up...anything that screams girl. Her attention span is so different at this age then the boys were. She focuses so well. Our neighbor came to watch the kids for a few hours this eek for our anniversary and she couldn't believe how well Alexis was watching the movie we put on. She's like that with everything she does. She can literally play for hours with her little figurines. Especially her "Annie's" that she has rubbed at least half the paint off by constantly holding. Every morning she gets up she has to take her Minnie's, Mickey and blankey with her. That and her Annie's are her favorite things in the world.

Since we moved her to her new room she has been waking up really early every day, we think due to the noise on the main road behind our house that she didn't hear before. So we bought her a sound machine and just tried it out last night. She still woke up around 6:30 but hoping with time that will get later! She has only been napping about an hour and a half occasionally. When she is well rested she is such a happy baby. When she isn't....whew crazy banchee baby ensues! It's so different then her normal nature when she gets like's crazy. Last week she took a super short nap and woke up screaming. I din't want her to wake Jacob so I ran her downstairs. She screamed and kicked and hit and nothing I said would stop her. The only thing that ended up pulling her out of her tyraid was to put The Little Einsteins on. It enough to snap her out of it and then the world according to Alexis Joy was right again.

For her birthday today she got a special lunch and frozen yogurt time with Mommy and Daddy while her "bo-bo's" were at school. When the boys get home and she is up from nap we will open gifts with her which is our tradition with each child. Then we will be off to Toys R Us for her birthday balloon and crown and to pick out a little something with the birthday card they send. And finally dinner at Souplantation with our good friends the MacHott's. They have 2 little girls one of which is just a few months older then Lexy and they have known one another since birth. It has been so fun to watch their little friendship form, watching them play and hold hands. Lexy will even ask to play with the girls out of nowhere, "I see Kee-a, Ewee?" (Translation I see Kiera, Ellie?"

So we will gather with our friends, she will eat all the yummy food she could wish for and hopefully it will be a day we cherish forever. I've been so excited for this day but also had the mixed emotion of saddness that another year has gone by and my baby is two and hurtling out of the baby stage. For as long as we can we will enjoy her soft skin, the lingering baby smell, her gibberish talk, the pitter patter of her tiny feet and that sweet little grin. I'm excited for the year ahead and finding out more about this special little person!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Alexis at 23 Months

Can't believe that my baby girl has less then a month before she turns two. I know everyone says it but I really do not know where the time has gone. I feel like it couldn't be more then a year ago I was anxiously awaiting her's just going too fast!! I am thankful however that I have managed to squeeze these monthly updates in for the past 2 years. When the boys were this age I was so much better at keeping up on their scrapbooks. With Alexis I only have her first month scrapbooked. So I am thankful, that whenever I get around to it, I have all of this recorded! I know I will treasure these memories forever!

*This month Alexis has been trying to say even more sentences. The other day I was asking her where something was and she told me that, "Daddy took it, Annie's." Telling me that Daddy had taken her Little Einstein's from her before leaving the house. She surprises us daily with something new!

*We moved Jacob in with the boys a few weeks ago which made him immensely happy (He would tell us almost every night that he didn't want to sleep by himself!) That left us to decorate his old room and turn it into a beautiful, girlie wonderland! Over a weekend we did jut that! We are so happy with the results and that she now has her own room where she can play with all things girl! And she sure does love her girl toys! Her princess figurines, tea set, etc. She seems to have adjusted pretty well with sleeping in there although she keeps waking up way to early in the morning!

*On that note she still loves playing with some of the boys things as well! We saw Cars 2 this past month and she loved it!! After the movie she started wanting to hold their little die cast cars all the time. She picked a Lightening McQueen car and started carrying it everywhere. I got her a Holly Shiftwell die cast car that talks and she loves it! She has also taken a liking to Phineus and Ferb which really isn't a surprise since her brothers love them! She will see little Perry on a magazine and notice and say, "Perry!" So cute!

*She continues to love The Little Einstein's, Minnie Mouse and has added Mickey to her loves as well. She likes to "Fwatch!" which means watch TV. I'll give her options and she will let me know what she does or doesn't want to "Fwatch".

*She is trying very hard to learn her colors. She will come up holding something and ask, "Green?" if i say no it's "Purple" she will say oh, Pupple!" She absorbs everything. She will intently watch our mouths as we sing her the ABC's so that she can try and learn it well. She counts and has almost made it to 10 without skipping numbers. Not bad for a little one not even two yet!

*She loves being read to. She will easily sit for 4 or 5 books in a row. She knows at night she gets story time and will run over to her book shelf in anticipation. So fun to see that love form for our last little one, since all 3 of her brothers love reading as well!

I'm sure there is more but as usual, time is short! In about 3 weeks we will be celebrating her two years of life and it will be time for her two year blog! Until then!

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Alexis at 22 Months!

I am just going to jump right in since I am so late on this update! Life just gets fuller and more busy everyday!

*Our sweet girl is talking so much! She can be heard clearly telling any of us to "Stop it!" when she doesn't like something. She will tell us she's sleepy or that she wants wat-ah ! (water), or for you to play with her. When she wants something she says, "I have it?" She is very polite most of the time saying "Please" and "thank you".

She still adores her "Annie's, which is what she calls The Little Einstein's. She carries those four little beat up, scratched up figurines around everywhere. It's a full-time job just making sure we don't lose them. Literally at least 90% of her day she is carrying them around! This past month, the night before we left for Florida, I gave her a little Minnie Mouse. She took one look at her, cradled her, made sweet little awww sounds, gave her kisses and just held Minnie to her face. It was one of the sweetest things I have ever seen and was definitely love at first sight! And it's been like that every since too! She goes around saying, "Minnie, Minnie, Minnie" in the cutest voice! Whenever she sees her on something she gets so excited. And she can be found carrying her Minnie with her Annie's most of the day!

*She flew to Florida for her first trip to Disney World. This was her second time on a plane and it was a lot harder this time then the Denver flight. Nice for mommy to have some help but hard for her to sit so long. She did pretty well though all things considered. And she did really well in the parks. She loved the Princesses we were able to meet and getting to meet her "Annie's" and Minnie were definitely highlights! She did not like the bus transportation though and early on started to freak out when we would board one. Most of the time it took so long to get where we were going with all the stops around our resort that she didn't have much patience for it...and really neither did I!!;0) But she liked the rides and would start pointing to them and saying "Ride!" and I would ask if she wanted to go on one and she would say "Yeah! Yay!" She also thoroughly enjoyed playing in the kid ares at the water parks, especially the one at Typhoon Lagoon!

*She loves music!!!! She dances and nods her head when she hears something she likes. She still loves Maroon 5 and starts smiling right when she hears them!

*She's wearing size 5 shoes still but moved up to a size 4 diaper for a little more room. I'm not sure how much she weighs since we haven't been to a Dr in MONTHS thanks to no ear infections as of late!! I am SO happy about that and am glad that I went with my gut to wait it out! Her clothes size is still some 9-12 months but mostly 12-18 months.

*She's a little bruiser, always falling and scratching herself up! It's been a long time since I've seen her poor little knees clear of scrapes and bruises! She wants to run so fast, and really does run so fast at times she's almost a blur, that she also falls much of that time! It makes it very hard for mommy and daddy to keep an eye on her and is especially unnerving in busy places.

*She likes to dress up already. I put a Princess dress on her from a set that I've had well before she was even born. I broke that out, put the dress and little crown on her, and she loved it! She kept everything on all morning and walked around so proudly. I think I had just as much fun (OK maybe even more!) as her! She also loves to put on bracelets and rings and anything pretty!

*She likes to play outside. She loves to swing. She tries to ride Jacob's little 3 wheel scooter. She enjoys playing in the water and she LOVES slides! If she can find one her size she will go down it over and over and over again!

*Her love for shoes has only grown. She attempts to put them on all day long....her shoes, my shoes, the boys shoes...anything she can get hold of! This past month she especially took a liking to a pair of water shoes she has. So much so that when we would try and take them off her to leave the house she would have a melt down. Most of the time we just let he keep them on...pick your battles right?

*I love that when she says "Pooh" for Winnie the Pooh, she says "Poop!"...I have no idea why she adds the extra "P" but it really is hilarious. She gets the boys and I to laugh every time!

*When the boys practice for karate she does too. So adorable seeing this tiny little girl with her arms out saying "Hiiii!!!" and counting along with them!

She is so much fun to be with. She plays so well with people and by herself. She attracts smiles and attention everywhere she goes. It's a lot of fun being Alexis Joy's mommy!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Making Disney World Possible!

I have been wanting to write the story of how we were able to plan a trip to Disney World for months now. So hoping to get this all down in one attempt!

We went to Florida 3 years ago. Craig had to attend a conference in Orlando for work and we thought it would be a perfect opportunity to tag along and finally full-fill one of my life long dreams of going to Disney World. Our house and car rental were paid for by his company. We paid for flights and Disney tickets. What I didn't bargain for was the insane heat. We ended up only having a few full days to explore the 4 main parks, 2 water parks and Disney Quest. After our 10 day stay we had hardly explored anything! I vowed we would find a way to go back in three years and "do it right" with a "real" vacation!

Fast forward 2 years and the full on planning for Operation Disney World began! I have never researched and put so much time into something before. I looked at airline tickets daily trying to find the lowest price possible. I tried to figure out how to get even more points out of our Amazon rewards card and saved them up until we had two full free flights! I started buying the kids gift cards in August to spread costs out. We had them earn other cards as part of our reward system at home so all of their spending money would be taken care of before we even left. I looked on Disney's web site daily waiting for a summer deal to pop up.....just hoping there would be one! I researched every resort on property and even looked at staying off property again. The dining research was a whole thing in itself....and then figuring that into our daily schedule once we were there...insane!!!! I had multiple books and subscribed to an awesome app where I was able to ask a ton of questions and get almost an immediate response from the very seasoned Disney World visitors. I was able to prepare for so many things that way and get more opinions on dining, resorts, what to bring, etc. Many times throughout my head was spinning from so much information!

The day I finally saw a deal for the time we were going was an awesome day!! I raced downstairs to joyfully share with Craig my findings...FREE DINING for all 6 of us for the entire length of our stay!!! Unbelievable! That would be a free sit down, quick service and snack per person, per night! The only catch was that the offer ended on June 2nd...the boys last day of school. But realizing that there would be no other offers during summer, and that we would literally be saving thousands of dollars AND that their last day was only going to be about 3 hours it wasn't hard to decide that we would be heading there on June 2nd!

Booking the airline tickets was very exciting but also stressful as well. I tried to research when they would be cheaper but tickets are so hard to predict. We had to book a layover flight since it was so much cheaper too. I would have loved a direct flight as stopping makes for a very long day of travel! Using our free ticket reward points was pretty easy and I was surprised to find that the $400 limit also covered tax and awesome! And since Alexis would still be under two years old, we ended up only paying for 3 tickets out of the SIX of us!=0) To pay for those 3 tickets I little by very little sold clothes and such on Ebay. When I went to pay for the tickets I had almost the exact amount saved up in my PayPal account which covered the costs of the remaining tickets completely! So neat!

So with all of our food, snacks and plane tickets covered that left lodging and park tickets. Craig worked very hard almost nightly for about 4 months on a side job. When the check came that almost exactly matched the rest of the costs! We were set! And when staying on Disney property, all transportation is included so there was no need for a car rental which saved us a ton!

Another great little freebie was signing up for a Disney Visa. I had been looking at the offers over the years and never signed up. Around the time I started planning I came across the best offer yet...a $100 Disney gift card just for signing up and putting any amount on the card. So Craig and I both signed up for one and received $200 in gift cards!! There was any extra spending money we would need while there! And having the card came in handy later when I found out Disney Visa cardholders could attend a special Meet and Greet with Mickey and friends and receive a FREE picture of our choice!! Double score!

One of the craziest parts of planning was figuring out where to eat for our sit down meals. With the free dining we had the amazing opportunity to eat at places we could never have afforded otherwise. At least that many of them!! Character meals alone would cost our family over $100 a pop! Crazy! and thankfully due to all the research I found that you had to make reservations for many of those places a full 180 days in advance...which in return requires a lot of planning on spreading out which park your in, which park your near if the restaurant is in a resort, etc. And trying to narrow down where to go with SO many great options was no easy task either! I had everything all lined up and called exactly 180 days in advance...and got everything I had planned for with almost the exact times I had written down! Very exciting!

We told the boys about our trip at Christmas. I wrapped a box with a paper that told them where we were going and how long we would be there! I added Disney shirts, a kids guide book, an autograph book etc. They were over the moon excited! As extra surprises I left Phineas and Ferb characters on the boys beds the night before we left and Alexis got a Minnie (which she absolutely adored and which started her Minnie Craze!) I had also ordered pins off of Ebay for the boys to trade once there. And I bought Disney Pez Dispensers for another surprise once there.

Up until the day we left I read and planned and read some more. Asked questions by the dozens and painstakingly packed our bags. After a full year of intense planning, the trip was set and we were on our way!!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Alexis at 21 Months

Still trying to fit these updates in as there are so many changes every month! This month she:

*Has moved up to size 5 shoes!

*Had her second Easter and her first Easter egg hunts. She LOVED hunting for the eggs!! When we went up to my parents the day before Easter, we had two hunts. We gave her a basket at the first one and she didn't want to let go. She hung on to it all morning, then all through the second hunt and we then had to to pry it from her at nap time which made her very unhappy! She was happy to be reunited when she woke up! She looked adorable in both of her Easter dresses! It is so much fun getting to dress her daily and then the Holidays are just icing on the cake!

*Is absolutely obsessed with her Little Einstein figurines. She walks around with them in her hands all day. This month she started coming up to us, handing us one, and then asking, "Play?" She moves them all around and makes cute humming sounds. And she loves when you kiss them, pretend they are kissing her, or making them kiss each other!

*She had her first plane ride this month. Just her and I went for a 4 day visit to see brand new baby RJ! She did pretty well all things considered but I am in no hurry to fly alone again! She had a lot of fun playing with Bella and checking the baby out. It was a really peaceful and enjoyable time! (Yes, peaceful even with 3 little ones 2 and under....!)

*Is now much more focused on TV. When we turn a cartoon on in the morning she gets all situated in her little chair, starts nodding her head up and down and says, "Watch?". She loves "Little Einsteins", "Dora", "The Cat and the Hat" and "Mickey Mouse Clubhouse".

*Now has a favorite full length movie, "Tangled". When we saw it in the theatre, it was the first movie she actually sat through and literally watched the whole thing. All other movies she has had to be taken out of the theatre, but not with "Tangled". Then about a month ago we watched it at home for the first time. She sat on Grandma's lap, and once again, watched the entire thing. I couldn't believe it! So when we went to Colorado, I decided I would bring it on the plane hoping it wasn't a fluke...and she again sat and watched it! My girl has very good taste as "Tangled" alllllmost takes first place for me against the long standing, "Beauty and the Beast". It's pretty darn close!;0)

*Still loves to sleep. She starts saying good night to everything in sight when she realizes she's going to bed. The balloon, pictures on the wall, every family member, the cute!

*She really likes our new fish. She will push the stool over to his tank and say, "Hi Ish! So cute!

*Has gotten worse about pulling out her hair stuff again. Such a bummer!

*Is somehow able to stash paci's while she's in her bed so that she can get to them later when she's out of her bed! Even when I look to make sure there are not any around she somehow still waltzes out with one at some point in the day. Silly girl!

*Has become obsessed with hairbrushes. She walks around saying "Brush? Brush?" She knows how to get into the drawer in my bathroom, that is taller then her, and fish around for a brush until she finds one. Therefore I find my brushes all over the house! About a week ago she climbed into bed with me, brush in hand. She started brushing my hair. Every time I turned to look at her though she would shove my head and yell, "No"! I was apparently disrupting her "brush time"! =)

The boys will often say that we have the cutest baby in the whole world...and I have to agree!=0)