December 27, 2011

First Tooth

McKay officially has his first tooth.  We discovered it yesterday.  I think he's working on getting another one, too.  He's drooly, cranky, and restless.  My poor little man!

Christmas 2011

Christmas Eve

Ahh....Christmas.  Such a wonderful time of year!  Every year seems to get better and better.

On Christmas Eve day I did some last minute shopping while Ben played with the kids.  Then we made our assigned food, took showers, and headed down to Seminole.  As a sidenote, this was the warmest Christmas I can remember.  It was almost unpleasantly warm.  The high was 80 degrees!

Ben entertained the kids for over an hour with this train set Gramma gave us.

Sadie loves to help me in the kitchen!

My parents hosted Christmas Eve this year.  We had my aunts, uncles, and cousins over.  Joseph's family was in Utah this year, Christy stayed in Utah this year, and Kimmy's on her mission guessed it....Utah. So, it was just mine and Mike's families here in Florida.

Sadie played all night with my cousin Lauren.  Lauren is amazing!
She's beginning her  PhD in Public Health at the University of Maryland (my dad's Alma mater).
She's smart, beautiful, funny, and the nicest person you'll ever meet.
I love her and so does Sadie!

Ben and his boys looking festive! They'll probably complain one day about these outfits I dressed them in, but I thought they looked so cute!

This is my Aunt Debbie (my mom's sister), Uncle Gary, and cousins - Alex, Lauren, and Johnathon.

Uncle Jeff holding itty bitty baby McKay.

Michael and Ethan came but Sarah stayed home as she was not feeling well. We missed you Sarah!

We arrived back home around 9 or 9:30 and Ben went straight to work setting up a trampoline my parents bought for us. He had the base of the trampoline set up in quickly. Ben and I were out there jumping on it at 11 o'clock at night. The net took forever to set up though.  While Ben was busily doing that I wrapped presents while watching the Sounds of Music.  Wonderful movie!  Around 12:30 Jax woke up.  He's been waking up a lot at night lately again.  I tried for an hour to get him back asleep but never succeeded.  Around 1:30AM I hit my exhaustion overload but Ben was still setting up the trampoline. Poor guy.  The only thing he had left to do was tie the net to the trampoline which he said could wait until morning.  So I headed to bed while Ben tried to get Jax asleep. Ben finally came to bed sometime around 3AM, I think.  What a guy!  He has the Patience of Job when it comes to Jax's sleep issues.

Christmas morning Sadie was the first to wake at about 8:15.  Ben and I went in there quite excited and explained it was Christmas and Santa had come.  Care to guess her reaction?  Totally unenthusiastic, refused to leave her room, and sad as could be. Not what I expected! I think she was scared by the thought there was some huge, old guy dressed in a red suit in our house. Totally understandable, I think.  But, after we talked to her and reassured her that Santa was long gone she agreed to go check things out. The rest of the morning went smoothly.  Sadie loved, loved, loved her trampoline.  She asks to go out there hourly.

After the trampoline reveal we headed back into the house for the rest of present opening.  Ben received new scriptures and some lawn equipment and I received a new camera. It's a good point and shoot camera which means it's smaller and easier to take on outings and now I will have more pictures of me with the kids because our bigger dSLR is hard for other people to use.  I love it!

After present opening we quickly got ready for church.  After church we went straight to my parents house.  On the drive down we received a call from Christy letting us know that they are having a girl!  Very exciting!!

Kimmy called shortly after we arrived at my parents' house.  We talked on the phone for 2 and a half hours. I'm not really a phone person so it seemed really long. It was wonderful to talk and hear her voice, though.  They had Joseph on skype using their iPad-looking-thing and Kimmy on speaker phone.  Jax was AMAZED by seeing Joseph on skype and kept kissing the screen.  Then he would walk behind it and look for Joseph.  He just couldn't figure out where the rest of Joseph had gone.  

These two played great together during our long conversation.
They found shovels and pretended to plant a garden for the longest time.

Jax was jealous my dad was holding McKay and crawled up in his lap, too.
We had a wonderful dinner prepared by my parents and then opened a few more presents.  The kids will have lots of new things to keep them entertained which is great timing because Ben's busy season starts soon and we won't be seeing as much of him.

Well, it was another wonderful Christmas!  We feel very grateful for the generosity of others, for the family we have, and the support of family and friends. We've been very blessed.

December 22, 2011

A word & a song

I have certain adjectives and songs that float through my mind as I go about my interactions with each family member during the day.  They change depending on stages and phases but I thought I'd write down the current ones....

Sadie in a word: SPECIAL.  She's so unique and has a little extra something special, I think. 

My theme song for Sadie lately is "You're One In A Million" from Miss Congeniality.  I love the peppiness of this song and dancability - very Sadie like.  It also talks about being an answer to a prayer and with a smile my heart was gone.  Perfect for Sadie!


Jax in a word: PERFECT! He can be difficult at times, but overall, for a little boy he is so great. Just the personality we needed in his position!  He's my perfect little boy.

Jax's theme song is "You've Got a Friend in Me" from Toy Story. Especially appropriate that is says, "miles and miles from your nice warm bed".  

When the road looks rough ahead 
And you're miles and miles
From your nice warm bed 
Just remember what your old pal said
Boy, you've got a friend in me
You've got a friend in me 
You've got troubles, well I've got 'em too
There isn't anything I wouldn't do for you 
We stick together and we see it through
You've got a friend in me
You've got a friend in me 

Some other folks might be
A little bit smarter than I am
Bigger and stronger too
But none of them will ever love you the way I do
It's me and you
And as the years go by
Boys, our friendship will never die
You're gonna see
It's our destiny
You've got a friend in me 


When I'm holding McKay the words that run through my mind over and over again are simply, THANK YOU!

And the song playing in mind as I hold him is "So This Is Love" from Cinderella.  I really am over the top in love with little McKay. It's almost painful at times.

So this is love, Mmmmmm
So this is love
So this is what makes life divine
I'm all aglow, Mmmmmm
And now I know
The key to all heaven is mine
My heart has wings, Mmmmmm
And I can fly
I'll touch ev'ry star in the sky
So this is the miracle that I've been dreaming of
So this is love


Then there's Ben.  Ah *sigh of relief*......Ben.  When I think of Ben I think HAPPINESS.

My theme song lately for us - "I'm In Love With My Best Friend" by Jason Mraz and Colbie Caillat. I think it's the separation factor I'm especially drawn to in this song. And quite literally he's dressed up in his work clothes while the kids and I play in bathing suits at the beach or pool so this song is very appropriate for us.  He also makes it easier when life gets hard :)

December 18, 2011

Jax's Half Birthday

Guess who turned 18 months on Friday?  That's right.  Little Jaxie.  To those of you that are LDS you know that this is a big milestone because it means they can start attending nursery for the last two hours of church.  Yeah!  Hopefully he'll enjoy nursery.  Sadie never did. I was excited to give it a test run today but the kids woke up with runny noses. 

Sometimes I worry Jax doesn't get enough attention.  He's the least demanding and it seems like Sadie and McKay monopolize my time. He's always the last to get what he needs and he's kindof had to grow up quickly with McKay having come along a little sooner than planned.  So I thought this would be a good excuse to make him feel special and recognized.

Sadie and I made him a crown and had it ready for him to wear when he woke up:

Sadie wanted to wear a crown too so we made her one that said, "Big Sister of Half Birthday Boy."

For breakfast he had yummy cinnamon sugar steel cut oats.  He loved them.

I also let him open two Christmas presents - a bubble gun and bubble set.  He is a bubble fanatic and we spent a good hour outside blowing bubbles.  He was in bubbly heaven.
Sadie 'helped' him open one of the presents.

In the evening we took them to Jay B. Starkey's Christmas light display.  He loved it.  Well, mostly he loved the candy cane that Santa gave him. 

Hopefully he had a good half birthday.  He is such a wonderful little guy!  So Ben-like - calm, patient, loving, forgiving, happy, stable, easy going, and sweet.  I hope he knows how loved he is!!

December 16, 2011

Deja Vu

Sometimes I really feel like I'm living last year over again.

Last year:

This year: 

We were at my parents house this past weekend and I realized both McKay and I were wearing the exact same outfits that Jax and I were wearing on a Sunday last year that I did a blog post about: Ah, memories.  Jax was such a great, cute little baby!  Where has the time gone?

And I can't help but think about how I was already pregnant again when Jax was the age McKay currently is.  Crazy!

But, you know what's crazier? I'm really quite sad that it will be so long before we'll have another baby. I'm already missing the newborn stage.  What's happening to me?!?!

December 08, 2011

4 months

McKay just turned 4 months old.  The time has gone quickly.  I feel like he's always been with us, not like he's a recent addition.  

Guess how old Jax was when we got pregnant with McKay....4 months.  He looked like this:

This was Sadie at 4 months (well a couple weeks over):

I really believe McKay and Jax were meant to be close.  It's like they were a 2-for-1 special.  They're meant to be brothers.  I'm so happy they'll have each other. I'm so happy we have them.

December 05, 2011

Whirlwind of a Weekend

Wow! Where did the weekend go? We were on the go every minute.

Saturday morning we had James' first birthday party at a park in Clearwater:

That night I had a photo shoot at Honeymoon Island.  It went okay.  The family was running late so we only had a half hour of good light and there were two little kids that weren't so into the experience.  Here are a few from that night....

Sunday morning....always crazy.  Although, the two older kids were so good at church yesterday. They usually are.  They really are good kids. Even a few people came up to me and said, "How do you get them to just sit perfectly on the bench like that? What is your secret?" It made me feel happy. Although I had to leave just after the sacrament to nurse McKay and the kids wouldn't stay with the person we had sat with so I had to take the WHOLE family out. Ben came and got Jax so I could nurse though. Jax cries when I nurse McKay a lot of the time. I usually have to distract him but that's hard to do at church.

I was reflecting yesterday about where we are now compared to where we were when we first moved into this ward. When we first moved into this ward I was 22, was teaching, was young and fit, was just finishing up a Master's degree, and we were so in love. To be honest I was feeling pretty good about myself...a pretty cute house, an amazing husband, and a Master's degree at 22...not bad, right? Well, 5 years later I'm 25lbs heavier, we have three kids, this house that seemed so big is now feeling itty bitty, and I'm not feeling so young and fit or educated or special. Ben and I are still in love though and I have 3 beautiful children that I absolutely adore! I just can't believe how much things have changed. Hopefully I'm a better person and learning and growing and softening but sometimes I just don't feel so spiritual anymore or like I'm accomplishing much. It's so hard to maintain spiritualilty when there are so many other pressing needs. Even when I try to sit down and read scriptures my mind is wandering and I'm thinking about laundry I should be doing or work I need to get done or a child who is about to wake up or sleep that I could be getting or a work out I should do, etc. And then Sundays are my most stressful day instead of a rejuvenating time. It's just hard sometimes. Good thing I have a really strong testimony to carry me through this time. I know in another two or three years things will have totally changed again. I'm just trying to enjoy this time as much as possible without ruining myself too much ;) I love my life! There are just a few difficult aspects that I'm trying to find solutions for...weight and spirituality mostly :)

Anyways, Sunday afternoon I had two more picture taking sessions.  One was for the Tickners.  Here's a funny picture from that night....

Then I took pictures of the Sheltons. Sister Shelton was recently diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer. She's a funny, feisty, lively woman. It's nice to be able to be the giver of service rather than the recipient.

When I arrived home from these sessions Ben was dead tired. So I took the kids out while he took a nap (it was 6 o'clock at night but he was really tired). The kids and I had a wonderful time looking at Christmas lights and playing. McKay had a meltdown so we had to come home early though. So, we got the kids in bed and I watched the devotional and worked on pictures and Ben hit the sack early.

And here it is Monday morning already. We're about to go to Bishop's farm now. It's not actually Bishop's farm. It's his dad's property with a few horses on it and Bishop is building them a house on this land so he tends to be there.  So Sadie calls it Bishop's farm. Sadie loves to feed the horses. Jax clings to my side and starts to cry the second we drive onto their property. I need to drop something off though, so he's going to need to be brave. Wish us luck :) It's another crazy week up ahead. Christy is coming to town and we have LOTS of fun things planned. Sounds exhausting and delightful!