Monday, October 12, 2015

a las vegas

When Chad suggested that I go with him to the orthopedic conference his residency was sending him to, I said no way!  There was no way I was going to spend the days in a hotel while Chad was in conference, spend the money to get there to do it, and leave my babies back in Ohio for that kind of time!  Chad had the rebuttal to my every argument.  My brother lived in Vegas and I could hang out with them, especially since I hadn't seen them for three years.  We had the sky miles to pay for my ticket.  He was covered by the residency, and would even have a daily food allowance we could use (they give them ample money for three meals a day, and cover the alcohol most of them drink as well).  And my brother and sister in law know everything we do and could take care of our babies.  I still said no.  I felt guilty!  How could I?  Then he reminded me that we have never gone anywhere, just the two of us, since our honeymoon 9 1/2 years ago, and that even though we would go stay with family, it would be a fun get away.  He nailed me!

So we were off!  Flying with no kids was so...easy!  I even brought a book for myself!  Chad was able to rent a car for us to drive courtesy of his residency, in place of him staying in a hotel.  It was so much fun to see my brother, his sweet wife and his kiddos, one of which I had never met!  

Mostly we just visited and caught up on each others lives.  Two days in, my brother Jake traveled down to hang out with us as well!  It was his birthday that week so we got to celebrate with him!
Chad and I took an afternoon after he was done to do a little sight seeing.  We started by having our first In N' Out Burgers.  It really is great! 

We walked the strip and found that it mostly consists of stores for spending money.  Shopping, especially at tourist prices, isn't really our thing.  We did manage to find the M&M's store and see a free 15 minute 3D show.

We also met up that night with my family to see the Knights of the Round Table at the Excalibur hotel.  We did a lousy job taking pictures, but we had a ton of fun eating Cornish Game Hen with our hands while cheering "ha-zah!" for our Irish knight.  He didn't win the tournament, but he took a close second!  I spent that night knowing my kids would have loved that show, and wishing they could have been there.

Late Friday night, some of my awesome friends from our medical school, Village Green days arrived to visit.  They had traveled all the way from Salt Lake with babies to come and visit me while I was semi-close. The following day we roamed the strip with them again and caught up on how each others lives.  We walked all the way from the Hard Rock Hotel to the Venetian to explore the hotel Chad's conference had been in all week

While we were there I found the perfect job for my sister and sister-in-law.  They are both voice major graduates.  They could both move to Vegas and be street performers in that hotel!  Neither one thought it was a very good idea, but I think I may have planted a seed. 
That day Chad headed back to Ohio while I stayed one more night with my friends and caught church and a quick visit with my Uncles family who had come to Hotel King (my brothers house) for Spring break.
By that time I wasn't just itching to get home, but craving it!  I missed my little family like crazy!  It had been so much to see family and friends, but my morning sickness kicked in a day or two into the trip, and I really struggled to adjust to the three hour time difference.  It was a fun trip, and I was grateful I got to go, but so grateful to come home.

Friday, September 18, 2015

family easter

The stars aligned and every one's spring break from Ohio and Alabama were at the same time!  Not only were our vacations the same, it was General Conference and Easter weekend!  I can't think of three better reasons for three brothers and their families to get together!

We had such a great trip!  My pictures are all out of order and don't show things as well as I would like, but I can't think of a thing what wasn't great!  We did everything from helping 11 kids dye Easter eggs, to the adults playing games and eating fancy gelato!  We worked together to combine all of our conference and Easter traditions.  We enjoyed wonderful weather and the beauty of the South.  Oh, and as far as I know/can remember, there were no major kid evens in which they destroyed property!

One of the major highlights was dying eggs.  It was hilarious how many eggs we had to boil to satisfy their creativity!  I made my kids wear plastic bags over their cloths since I didn't bring cloths they could ruin (since someone always does).  They had so much fun comparing their eggs with one another.

We visited a fun park called Nacalula Falls.  I didn't actually take a photo of the falls, but is was a fun waterfall that just sort of appeared in the middle of the landscape, with a neat history.  We had a great picnic and waded in the water.  Then we went and saw some fun old settlement buildings that had been restored, as well as a mini petting zoo.  We rounded it out with a hike down to the falls.  It was so fun seeing all of the cousins exploring together, and three brothers all toting their babies up and down boulders!

Steve and Em also let us have a taste of their Southern home by taking us to an Easter Egg hunt at the local library.  It was fun to let the kids try something new.  They got all kinds of trinkets that kept them busy in the car.  One of the kids also found the coveted golden egg.  The best part was that organizers hyped it up so much, and we found out that the grand prize was a quarter!

May did take the opportunity to enjoy her climbing skills.  While she was supposed to be napping she had a hay day emptying the suitcases!

We had an absolute blast!  It was one of those trips that just make you thankful for the chance to be a part of such an amazing family!

Sunday, August 30, 2015

williams baby #5

Chad and I were excited when we decided we were once again ready to add to our crew.  This time, I had promised myself that I would find some really fun way to let him know when we were expecting.  I knew that the ideas I had to share the news would all require some preparation, and him not being too busy to actually receive the news.  As it turned out I found out in the middle of a busy work week.  I decided to wait until Sunday so I could have everything ready.  On Saturday morning, as one by one our babies all made their way down to our bed for a morning snuggle with daddy home, Chad made the comment that life just couldn't get any better.  As much as I wanted to agree with him, I just couldn't hold it in, and told him, that indeed it could, and would in October when Williams baby #5 would join us!We are just so in love with our life and the family have created together!

date night

Aimee has been looking forward to her Daddy/daughter dance since she went last year!  She loved everything from getting to dress up, to the special attention she got, to the ice cream at the end of the evening.  It was magical!  And she expected nothing less for this date night.  Of course this one one entitlement that Chad and I were happy to feed in to.
Porter was also excited for mother/son date night this year that he would be old enough to go to.  Sadly, the school does that one on a Sunday evening.  He was so bummed that we wouldn't get to go have dinner and bowl.  We decided that we just couldn't let him miss out on his special night because of not everyone understands and shares our desire to keep the Sabbath day holy.  Since Chad and Aimee would already be out, we sent May to Mike and Saundra's for a couple of hours while Porter, Pratt and this lucky mom got dinner (with school freebie coupons) and went bowling!  We had a blast!  I wish I could post the videos I took of them bowling, because it was easy to see that we also made the night of the people that had lanes on either side of us!  Both boys were so excited for their turns that they would just about go crazy waiting to throw their second ball.  Because the went so slow down the lane they probably could have two balls rolling at the same time and been fine.

At the end of the evening, everyone was feeling about 10 feet tall! This included Chad and I, who thought we had helped make some pretty great little people to take "out!"

dr. seuss

Aimee and Porter's school make a beg deal out of Dr. Seuss's birthday week.  As a result there was a lot going on at our house that week that related to it as well.  We decided this year that we would make our own green eggs and ham.  The fake eggs we had at the school last year was one time to many. 
The kids had all kinds of fun Seuss related activities and projects during the week.  It included everything from art and craft projects that were brought home to an appearance of The Cat in the Hat in the Library.  On of the highlights of the week was the book report Aimee had to give.  She also had to dress up as a favorite Seuss character and do an oral reading of a portion of the book that talked about that character.  I may or may not have swayed Aimee's decision to be Little Cindy Lou-Who.  I just thought she could pull that one off better than any other character because she is so little and cute already.  She got rave reviews on the report, and I think we nailed her character presentation!

Sunday, August 23, 2015


Whenever I put piggies in May's hair, the boys beg me to make May's hair into "two big pokes," or "poke hairs."  It only lasts for a minute or two before the pokes give way to the curls, but it is worth the excitement they get out of it.

Not much makes Aimee more happy than a loose tooth.  It is a complete distraction, and she struggles to do anything until she can get it out of her mouth and under her pillow.  She wanted nothing more than to pull this one using the door slamming trick.  I made sure it was loose enough to work since it had previously failed, and set her up.  Who knew having a tooth ripped out of your mouth from slamming a door could be so exhilarating!

There is no real significance to this picture, I just thought May looked super cute with her new hair style.

And not much makes me happier than a little girl with braided piggies!
One afternoon when school was canceled, I was trying to fill the time with something fun.  I always want a surprise day at home with mom, to be a happy thing.  A pan full of baking soda and muffin tins with different colors of vinegar and a few droppers did the trick!  Time well wasted!

This is a photo of the first time I turned Pratt loose to write words on his own.  He was still three at the time.  I was blown away!  This smart!
It was actually on Pratt's birthday that we decided to bite the bullet and put May in her big girl bed.  She loved it, and did great...for a little while.  Then Aimee begged us to take her out of the room because she was so tired at school because May kept her up all night.  We agreed, but started over as soon as school was over.  None of the other kids have had such a hard time staying in bed!

When I go to the grocery store with all of the kids I never manage to leave without someone using at least one or more of the following phrases:  "Are all of those kids yours?" "You sure have your hands full," or "I could never deal with so many,""You must stay very busy," or my personal favorite that usually comes from an older woman, "Enjoy them while they are little, it goes so fast."  I usually just smile as say, "I absolutely love it!"  Not everyone appreciates that answer, sadly.  But even more than the small talk phrases, I get a variety of looks.  I am fairly certain I know what they are thinking by the look on their face.  I'd say most people are thinking something along the lines of, "that woman is crazy!"  I really don't mind.  In fact I think it is kinda funny how clearly that expression can come across.  I got more than the normal amount of those "crazy lady" looks one afternoon while in Kroger.  I agreed to let all three big kids push their own cart, as I tried to herd them in the correct general direction without running into anyone, or anything .  It didn't help that by the time we were ready to check out, one cart was full of normal groceries, one had about 60 pounds of butter, and the other cart had a toddler in it and was being pushed by a Little Cindy Lou-Who impersonator who had dressed up for Dr. Seuss day.  I just thought to myself, "If only you knew what you are missing out on, you'd jump at the chance to be the 'crazy lady' too!"

One Saturday night we time-hopped to my childhood and put Aimee's hair in braids and curlers.  The crimped curls were very old school, and I realized why not more people did this anymore.  Just before I snapped this picture Aimee told me she thought she looks just like Aunt Tubbs!  It was a great moment.  We managed to pile the curls and make it look very cute.

We have a way of accumulating hand me downs.  I love it!  One day at church a big boy brought Porter his old Loony Toons tie that h had grown out of.  He then proceeded to try to teach Porter how to correctly tie a Windsor Knot.  Porter now wears that tie every week, but Chad or me do the tie tying.

Friday night camp-in!  It is, after all, the next best thing to actually camping out (in the backyard).
As one might imagine, there are many things that May does that irritate Pratt.  It can be rough having a little sister!  This is the solution Pratt came up with for when May tries to mess with the buttons on the television.  I thought it was a better idea than pushing or hitting!

Thursday, August 20, 2015

pratt turns 4

You know, there just isn't a great way to describe this boy.  When this kid was born he was 100% angelic.  Content.  Happy.  Sweet.  He was such an easy baby!  Then he learned to walk.  My life changed drastically at that point!  For about the following three years, I don't think I ever used the word angelic to describe him, unless he was sleeping.  Pratt got into more trouble than the other two ever dreamed of getting into.  He challenged every theory I had on raising kids, and tested my limits to, and sometimes past, my breaking point.  Then he turned four.  While I still haven't entirely convinced him to go to the bathroom before it becomes a problem when he is playing, or at least to not do it in a public place, he has changed.  I think he suddenly realized that being "big" can also mean, listening and doing what you are supposed to do.  Oh, and he even gives me a hug sometimes and tells me he loves me!
So This boy wanted to be in on all birthday prep.  He and Porter helped with every step of making and decorating his construction cake.  They were excellent helpers, and Pratt was very gracious in letting Porter help as well.

That night Mike and Saundra came over to man the crew while Chad and I took Pratt out to his first birthday dinner.  Much to Chad's delight, he chose to go to Five Guys!  Turns out he decided against eating what he ordered, and wanted Chad's dinner.  When Chad traded him, it was proof that he loves his little Mini-Me.  Then we took Pratt to Wal-Mart to pick out his birthday presents from the grandparents.  He thought that was about the coolest thing ever, and was a huge fan of all of his gifts!

We rounded out the evening by blowing out candles and sharing birthday cake with the cousins!  He was in heaven!  Life is good being four!

Sunday, August 9, 2015

canceled church

As a kid I only remember church being canceled once.  One time.  Here in Ohio, we have had some or part of church canceled on multiple occasions in our short time here.  On this Sunday we were surprised to learn that church was completely canceled.  As it turned out, most of the snow we got came before church started, and before it was called off.  However, we decided that we would try to find some creative ways to still observe the sabbath.
 We started by taking some time that morning to help our neighbors clear their driveways.  We wanted to let the kids be a part of it and feel some satisfaction at their service.  They did, and had a wonderful experience!  Plus, our neighbors thought it was super cute!  
Once we felt we had helped where we could, we decided to enjoy some extra time to have some wholesome recreation together as a family, that wouldn't take away from sabbath day worship.  We started out in the front yard, with Chad building something of a luge/sledding track.  I wish I had a photo, but I only shot video.
Eventually we migrated to the back yard to put our snowman supplies to work.  With our family and Mike and Saundra's we had the manpower and enthusiasm to really go at it.  
It took quite a bit of muscle just to put the second ball on, and the third was even worse.  The head, while much small, was tricky just to get that high in the air.  The kids made the head on the ground.  They even decorated it there.  then we had to stack people to actually get it to the top.  We let the kids then take turns being lifted up to add the scarf and arms.  We had to do this because when they tried to add the sticks themselves they looked like a different type of appendage...
Even our next door neighbors were in awe of our giant friend.  It wasn't just us. 
Our family did indeed make memories that strengthened us, and allowed us to grow.
This was just another "event" that made us so grateful to have our family here with us in Ohio!
In all fairness there was a downside to our fun.  When our snowman crashed just two days later, he took out the back fence.  Hobbs however, has rather enjoyed that part though.  I guess it really is all about perspective.