Tuesday, August 30, 2011


One thing that is really sad about your kids growing up, is how fast they grow out of phases.

When one of my kids gets upset, I usually screw my face up at them indicating I'm not happy that they are fussing. Well I think Ammon took this to mean that when he's upset, he needs to twist his face up to illustrate his unhappiness.

And thus, the phase (that unfortunately he's already grown out of) of face-twisting-when-upset was born.

First it starts out just like this, calm happy, normal.

However, you can soon tell that he's getting antsy and wants something new.

Then when he doesn't get any help, he resorts to face pulling to display his unhappiness.

It's usually accompanied with lots of whining.

And flailing of arms.

And soon it looks like he just sucked on a sour lemon.

This is the face that he makes when he's at his breaking point.
You want to pick him up after this face because after this, he just loses it and starts screaming. "Why have you just been LAUGHING at me instead of TAKING CARE OF ME?!"

It's pretty dramatic. I miss those sour faces.

I was upstairs getting ready, and I heard my Grandma laughing harder at Ammon than I have ever heard her laugh before. When I told her I hadn't heard her laugh like that she said, "Well I haven't laughed that hard in a long time."

Now my boy has moved onto clicking his tongue, or flapping his arms like a bird while being fed - only to be distracted by his hands and start playing with them instead. He also enjoys waving at himself and staring in awe that his fingers can do something like that.

Those types of phases are what makes being a parent fun. If only we could skip the tantrum or potty training phases.

Yeah, that would be nice :)

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Headed Home

After three-and-a-half weeks of vacation, it was time to head back home to Utah.
Our wonderful mode of transportation, with the Uhaul carrying everyone's junk.
The original plan was to fly home but we decided to stay an extra week, save our airplane tickets for Christmas, and ride back with my family who were driving to Utah for Kyle and Katrina's open house. Brigham caught a ride earlier that week to return to work and I was a single parent traveling with the kids again. Luckily my family is excellent at helping me out.

We embarked at 3:30am, with the plan that the kids and baby would sleep for a large stretch of the trip.
Driving on the wide-open road

It worked for my children....but Kayleen was a little too excited for the trip and was up TALKING from 3:30am, until she crashed at 3:00pm.
Car-sleeping isn't very comfortable.
I tell you I wanted to rattle that girl so that I could get some sleep (as if I could sleep in the car anyway).

Ammon did pretty well and only had about a half hour of continuous crying. A bottle fixed it right up.
Ah, sleeping baby. Thank goodness.

Despite things going pretty well, the going was slow since we were pulling a heavy trailer and had to stop often for the kids, and soon we were all feeling a little crazy.
I'm trying to hold my eye-twitch back in this picture.
But slow and steady wins the race and we eventually pulled into my driveway.
The other van passengers, ready to be done.
So about fifteen hours later, we made it back home. Boy was it a relief to be done driving.

I'd read an entire book, listened to hours of music, played games on my Mom's i-pod, picked up the girls' toys a BILLION times, took four or five cat-naps, and made hundreds of funny faces at Ammon, and still had plenty of time to stare out the window, listlessly.

Thank goodness for my own bed for the recovery process.

It's good to be back.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The Wedding and Surprise Bonus

Finally, we have made it to the post -  the reason why we even had a trip to Washington this summer.

Kyle and Katrina's wedding!

It was a splendid day and here are some of the highlights:

We had to be at the temple, ready to go, by eight-thirty am. Because I had four girls' hair to do, this meant I was up at five am getting ready.

What's funny is that, of course, these two's hair lasted about five minutes anyways.

Because I was a bridesmaid, I didn't really get a chance to take any pictures until the reception that night. So, unfortunately, I don't have any of the temple or luncheon. However, the Spirit was very strong during the sealing and we were all relieved they were FINALLY married!! :)

The luncheon was DELICIOUS and Scott did a great job with his best-man speech.

We were able to relax a little more at the reception, now that the day was almost over.

Finally, a picture with the actual married couple.

The reception venue was gorgeous and we took advantage of the surroundings with a family picture.

Of course, it was our job to decorate the car...insert evil grin here.

We wanted to tie cans to the bumper, but they were still full of soda. Andy, a good friend and groomsmen, and Brigham were supposed to chug them. Only Brigham lived up to the task, as you can see Andy pouring his out in the background.
Also, Scott forgot the twine to tie them, but luckily I came prepared with duck-tape. Yep, we duck-taped them to the bumper. :)

The only messy thing we did was thread the antenna with marshmallows. And that was completely my work...insert second evil grin here.

We sent them off with sparklers (Brigham tried to roast the marshmallows on the antenna with a sparkler, I swear, the ideas that boy gets. And I think he unintentionally burned everyone standing there...and almost caused a few fires as well) and they drove off in their newly made-over car.

Because I was a bridesmaid, I had a lot of responsibilities that left Brigham taking care of the kids most of the day. For the most part, he did a great job.

However, at the end of the day, I discovered his method of watching Ammon...
Brigham was no where to be found, but I guess the sign was taking care of things?

:) Are weddings fun or what?

Not only did I gain a new sister that day, but I also was blessed with a new NIECE! Brigham's brother Sam and Sam's wife Caitlin had their baby the same day. It was very exciting and we are so happy for them! It was one thing that made me want to get back to Utah!

And when we did get back, visiting gorgeous baby Abby was one of the first things we did.

Lydia loved meeting her new cousin.

And Ammon was good at looking massive next to her.

Haha, trying to get a good picture of three kids, ages two and under, is challenging.

How wonderful to have a wedding and new baby Abby, all in one day. Beautiful.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Man I Really Need to Wrap This Up

I know I warned everyone that I would have a million posts about our stay in Washington...but I'm wearing myself out.

I mean, it was amazing and wonderful, but how many sappy posts can I write about the amazingness?

So I'm going to try and wrap it up here soon and I'm combining a few things to try and get through our adventures.

As for the next event - we went to The Glass Museum in Tacoma. It was pretty cool, but as a heads up - for the price, it's not really worth going in the actual museum because the cool stuff is outside...and free.

Here's a snapshot of some of the cool free stuff...

And here is some of the cool, not-so-free-stuff. We got to watch them do some glass-blowing, making a giant goblet. It was pretty neat to watch for the adults, but pretty boring for the kids.

It was a nice time and a lovely view.

Because I extended our trip, we were able to hang around for Kenny's 14th birthday. I was happy for him as he was ordained a teacher...and happy for me that I was finally able to attend one of my brothers' ordinations.

On Kenny's birthday, Scott gave his farewell talk, and shortly thereafter, was set apart as a missionary. And I was there for that too! I've been to the setting apart of two of Brigham's brothers, but this time I actually made it for one of mine :)

Here's the family that was able to be there.

And here's handsome Scottie, ordained as a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.
The Spirit was very strong as he was set apart and I could tell by the look on his face that he's serious about working his hardest at being an awesome missionary!

Whew, we've covered a lot of ground here, and we're so close to documenting almost EVERYTHING that happened.

A few more wraps, and we'll be done :)

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Like Making Chocolate Chip Cookies

Because my sister is five years old, she generally has more in common with my two children than she does with me. And while we were visiting, they became three peas in a pod.

Most days, they each generally woke up earlier than any children should...and read the ads to entertain themselves together (well Ammon chewed on toys and watched the girls look at ads).

They took baths together.

And they took walks together. (You can see Kayleen's pink-clad arms hanging off the stroller in the back. It was pretty awesome that my stroller could fit all three of them. Props to the sit-and-stand)
These three were great. Lydia and Ammon both adore Kayleen. Pretty much any time Ammon saw Kayleen's face he broke out in a grin, and he giggled like crazy when she talked to him. Also, the first words out of Lydia's mouth every morning involved Kayleen.

The other special aspect of this trip, was the first chance most of my siblings were able to meet Ammon. I think they pretty bonded well. :)

Especially Scott and Ammon.

Scott always offered to hold him and Ammon was found sleeping on him more times than I can count.
This shows Scott's addiction well. He's on both his I-pod and cell phone, at the same time.  He claims he had to stock up for his two years without them.
It was really special for me, especially since Scott was leaving for two years on his mission. It was nice for him to get to know his nephew a bit better before he left.

And they look so good together with their blonde hair and blue eyes.

In fact, my kids look good with all their aunts and uncles. They really compliment each other :)

Having my new family combine with my old family was very fulfilling. It was like mixing chocolate chips and cookies - combining two things I love together to make something even better!

Monday, August 15, 2011

The View, the Mud, and the Purple Bumbo

So have I told you what a beautiful place Washington is? Have I done my part creating jealousy in everyone that hasn't been able to enjoy the splendor of the Evergreen State?

I'll add to that by showing a little more of our adventures that happened just five minutes from my family's backyard.

Do you see this view? It's gorgeous. To get something like this you would have to trek pretty far in Utah. This is what everything looks like in our part of Washington. 
I'm serious.

From our house you can walk to a creek, a lake, and a river. The library parking lot looks more like campground parking. And, during the right season you can pick large blackberries off bushes on the side of any given road. (I know this too well due to past years when, at least once a week, we were each handed a bucket and instructed we couldn't come home until our bucket was full of blackberries. The fun of blackberry picking runs out when you've picked all the easy ones up front, and are left stretching for berries hiding through the thorns and spider-webs in the back.)

After boredom struck one afternoon, we decided to head to the river to make good use of the beautiful surroundings to let the kids play.

It was chillier than we thought and the water was a little too cold for the girls, but there was plenty of sand to keep them entertained.

And enough mud for this little dude to introduce himself to a new food-group.
I thought he might enjoy digging his toes and fingers in the dirt. Little did I know, the glee he would have in sneaking tastes of mud. You can just see the sparkle in his eyes telling of trouble.

Ammon eventually was getting a few too many mouthfuls of dirt and we had to stint his access.
He still enjoyed wriggling his toes in the cool sand and watching the others splash about. Luckily, with the purple bumbo he could do just that.

Let me just say, bumbo's are amazing.

I started out our trip with no bumbo and was missing it sorely. After whining for quite a bit about missing the bumbo, my mom and grandma tried to figure out why I needed it so badly. I tried explaining how this little seat works and it's convenience, but they were skeptical. I was forced to endure comments such as, "You mean it doesn't do anything, it just sits there?" and, "I think it's just another thing they've brain-washed moms into believing they have to have it."

Finally, I became desperate enough to have my mom ask her friends on Facebook for a bumbo loan and we got to borrow that purple beauty.

Color aside, it was heavenly to finally have something to plop Ammon in again, instead of trying to hold his twenty pounds and get stuff done at the same. Both my mom and grandma ended up admitting how wonderful that little chair is.  My grandma even said, "I'm jealous. Why couldn't they have something like that when I was raising babies?" And we all gave a knowing laugh when my aunt saw Ammon in the bumbo and exclaimed, "Well that's a neat chair!"

Anyways, enough unpaid, unasked-for advertising.

What I am trying to say is, one fine afternoon, that purple Bumbo made it convenient for Ammon to access the mud while we enjoyed the view :)

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Northwest Trek Wildlife Park

One of the fun things we did while in Washington, was go to the Northwest Trek Wildlife Park. At this park you get to see all the animals that live in the Northwest. They offer a tram ride that takes you around so you can see many animals in their natural habitats without fences surrounding them. They also have a small zoo-like part with animals that are kept separate from other ones; however, the enclosures aren't nearly as restricting as a regular zoo.

We got to see...

Mad photography skills or what?

And Bears
Oh my.

We saw coyotes that howl back at you when you howl at them. We were able to really get them going.
I, however, didn't need to make a trip to the park to see a coyote because I had my very own run in with a coyote during our Washington trip. Excuse me for this brief side-note of a scary story...

I was going for a run along a trail behind our house in Maple Valley, when I looked up and noticed a coyote sitting in the tall grass, watching me. I wanted to freak out, but instead I played it cool and kept up my running.

And included a quick u-turn.

And sped up my pace a bit.

When I looked back it was trotting off. I picked up my pace yet again...and ran straight for the house.

My family insists coyotes are afraid of humans and that it was probably more afraid of me than I was of it. I still prefer to keep them at a safe distance...

Anyways, there were lots of other animals such as eagles, and beavers, and baby billy goats. In fact, I was deemed the otter-whisperer by my siblings due to the fact that I was able to get the otter to follow my hand by waving it around.

That is, until it jumped away because my brother, Kenny, threw a rock in it's exhibit. 

Like a typical fourteen-year-old.

But that's ok because he did a good job with one of my animals.

And this animal provided us with a pretty good view throughout the trip, as well.

My other animal sported his dinosaur camouflage to blend in. 
It didn't work so well, seeing as there aren't many live dinos left in the Northwest anymore.

He also drew quite a bit of attention to himself when he began to babble back to the tour-guide's voice coming through the speaker system on the tram ride. I think they were competing for most syllables uttered.

Ammon would probably have some great stories to tell you about that day. As for me, those are some of my favorite highlights of our trip to the park. It was pretty much an awesome time.
And now my parents have a year membership so they can take us back when we come to visit again :)