Friday, February 13, 2015

Random family update

So, I just finished reading a great post by an amazing person I consider a friend and I realized that I don't very often write things down like that about my own family.  So even though it's 3:00 in the morning, and I was 'going to go to bed' hours ago, I'm going to take a minute to write up a quick 'snapshot' of our family because the only time I ever get things done is 'NOW!'  So here we are.

Just like April, I'm adoring family life right now.  People ask me how it is having four (kids) and I tell them that it's actually the easiest now because I (finally!) have one that old enough to actually be a real help, and I finally have my groove enough to feel like I know what I'm doing and confidence in my parenting.  I've semi-accomplished some personal goals and it feels amazing.  We're ADORING homeschooling and feel incredibly blessed to have found it, along with the method we're using and it is just bliss for our family.  Brandon's practice is going well and we're hoping to find a just-right home on some land in the next few months where our babies can stretch their legs and spread their wings - quite literally.  It's hard to do any running around where we are now, although we are soo incredibly grateful to be in Auburn at all and love it here.  We're just very much looking forward to some land.

Haylee is our little reader... she's almost always got a great book in her hand and it is so neat to see her turning into such a little lady.  She's also taken up many interests lately such as cooking (she can make pancakes from scratch on her own... from whole wheat kernels), an autobiography book she's filling in, rocks and minerals, geography, and most recently she's working on a design for building a robot.  She is caring, considerate, pays attention to others around her, tries to be and is a huge help and is so good to and with her little brothers.  They adore her.  She went to sleep over at a cousin's house tonight and McKay was in tears... "I'll die without Haylee!!"  he says.... be still my heart.  She helps whenever asked, and she is a joy to be around.  I love her smiles and excitement when she's explaining something she's excited about.  I love her testimony and understanding of the gospel and how she brings it up throughout the days and weeks.  I LOVE that we get to include it in our everyday 'world-educating!' (Read 'homeschooling' but it's not just our home - its the whole world, and it's not 'school' its even better - education.  So I'm calling it 'world-education.' :) )

McKay is our tender little heart.  He is so quick to feel remorse and to apologize sincerely when he's been in the wrong.  He teaches me so much.  He melts my heart.  He is so creative and uses his imagination every day.  I love seeing the things he comes up with.  The kids watch zero tv and I love seeing how amazingly they fill their time on their own.  He tries to get Haylee away from her books to play with him as much as possible, but as she reads more, he and Aaron have become close buddies and its so fun seeing Aaron shift from being the baby who wasn't able to play, to a great playmate and friend to McKay.  Those boys (and often Haylee as well) are always up to something - building something out of wood, making a secret fort out of their beds and sheets, trying to build a tree swing or tree fort, legos or other building toys, or eating apple after apple after apple.  McKay gets so excited when our 100 apple box comes from our delivery service.  He's in heaven!

Aaron went through a rough stage before he really learned to communicate his frustrations, but it's (finally) getting better and we're able to talk to him much more than before.  He is extremely particular in the ways certain things are done, and if he can't understand or just doesn't care (because he's developmentally not able to yet) why it can't be that way, its very hard for him to deal with it.  But it is amazing.... I was thinking today how interesting this is...  I've looked back at some of our struggles with the kids, and it is so easy to see how so many of the issues we had with them, were really issues with ourselves.  As I've seen things as a problem with *myself*, rather than a 'bratty kid,' it's been so much easier to find solutions and have a happier home.  So. many. times. I've seen how the issue is from something *I'm* doing wrong or not as well as I could.  Aaron is also the brightest little sunshine in our home... his smiles and hugs light up the world.  His smiles go on for miles.  He loves to bring me flowers or other random leaves or sticks, knowing that I will adore it all.  He loves to be just like his big brother in all he does.

Hyrum is growing so fast and bring so much joy to every one of my days.  He is a pleasure to mother.  He is sweet, loving, gives great hugs and kisses, and totally adores his mamma.  And I soak. it. up.  I'm not perfect but it is to good to go to bed at night knowing that (although I didn't do as much as I'd hoped), I've done my best and I've cherished every moment possible with my sweet babies.  Again, not perfectly, but I'm happy and content with the amount I do, and also, I still want to improve.  But I'm so glad I take the time to say 'yes' and to receive snuggles and kisses and to "look mom" a hundred times a day.  But back to Hyrum.  He is growing up so fast - has recently showed interest in going potty in the potty, and is learning new words all the time.  I LOVE this stage!  It is soo much fun!  I love them learning and discovering their world.  He also wants so much to do everything his brothers do.  Which is scary at times since they're little monkeys and super active and busy.  It's good though. I'm glad he has good boys to look up to.  He gives random hugs throughout the day, and I love it when he pulls my face toward him with his sweet little hands.  I love cuddling with him at night.  I'm so glad I've learned to soak that time up and not be in a rush to get done putting them to sleep.  He's started repeating prayers after us and it is so sweet to see the beginnings of little seeds of testimony being planted in his little spirit.  He is truly a little angel on earth.

As a family, our time is spent reading great books (A Christmas Carol right now), chatting, sharing meals and walking around the airport.  Brandon is loving flight lessons and is finally soloing!  It's amazing to think that my husband is flying airplanes by himself!  I'm so excited for him and proud of him.  He's also super excited about a new panoramic x-ray machine he's getting in the office.  We work hard and play hard.  The boys LOVE to wrestle with their dad each night after work, and even Haylee too sometimes.  We love spending time at home together and have recently loved going on a couple trips to Southern California with Brandon while he went to a dental course.  We loved visiting the Natural History Museum and the Science Center and are so excited about so many fun things we get to study in the near future.  I love that we have the freedom to learn about and study whatever we want!

Much of our 'curriculum' this past year (so far) has been teaching the kids about work, and routines and responsibilities, along with decluttering in preparation for our move.  We do our 'charts' every morning and it is so fun to hear the kids talking amongst themselves about 'getting up early to get our charts done so we can play' or whatever.  Love it!  They're getting pretty good at it and even Aaron has done much of it himself the last few days!

Me... (by the way, although I honestly feel a bit vain putting pictures of myself up and talking about myself, I feel its important to get myself in my story and to record myself for my children so here you are.)  I'm loving photography, even though I don't get to spend much time on it right now.  This is a phase for getting into homeschooling and I've been learning so much about it and it feels great to stretch my mental muscles.  My time is spent on the above.... my wonderful and beautiful family and I love it.  I truly, completely love it.  I'm sooo incredibly blessed and lucky to be living my dream.  People tell me often that I'm such a good mom and although I'm not sure they'd say that if they actually lived with me, I do feel like I'm a *pretty* good mom.  And very much look forward to filling in my weaknesses.

There are so many things I'm not doing, we aren't doing, and so many things I wish I could do that I just don't have enough time for, but I'm trying to appreciate the challenge of learning to do less and be okay with it.  I know the Lord is teaching me something through these struggles and am grateful for the opportunity to grow.

I adore my amazing family and am blessed beyond measure.  This is a sweet time in my life.  Life is beautiful.  These certainly are Our Beautiful Days.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Getting our Christmas Tree

Our sweet Aaron's birthday was a couple days ago and one of the things we did was get our Christmas tree!  There's a great spot near us and it was so much fun.  Aaron had a great day and it was so fun to celebrate the sweet spot he holds in our family.  He was so precious - he ended the day in tears... I'm not really sure why, but I think it was a combination of being overwhelmed from a busy day, and being tired, but also feeling loved and maybe a little bit sad he wasn't three anymore.  Like I said, I'm not sure, but he got weepy when I told him goodnight and asked if he had a great day and happy birthday.  Such a sweet angel.  We're so blessed to have his sunlight in our lives.

McKay was showing us this tree was the same size as him

"Money!!"  :)  (He calls anything little that fits in his hand, 'money'  :) )

Birthday boy!

So nice of this horse to pose directly in front of the setting sun for me!!  :)

McKay cutting our tree down

Hyrum was being cute and sneaky... this and the next two are the process of him tasting a pine leaf and me telling him 'no, gucky...'


Cutie... :)
Birthday boy wanted to help cut the tree down.  :)

These kids carried our tree all the way down from the top of the hill.  Love them!

Sunday, November 23, 2014


We were able to go with some friends a couple days ago to a fantastic little town near us, to learn all about the gold rush and part of our church history and lots more.  We were able to see and do so many neat things.  There was an amazing nature center, a blacksmith shop, some old Native American ruins, tepees, an original Mormon pioneer cabin, a museum, and Sutter's Mill where gold was first discovered.  The kids got to pan for gold which they loved.  We also got to spend some time playing at the river which was awesome.  It was so fun to spend time with friends, and especially my sweet kiddos.  I absolutely LOVE home education and am incredibly grateful I found and have this opportunity to teach my children all day long on a daily basis.  (By the way, I intend to do several posts on home education - including why we've chosen it, and why I'm calling it home education instead of homeschooling, but those will come later.)  I didn't bring my camera on our last homeschool field trip and I regretted it, so armed with my new camera, new lens and awesome new camera bag which I adore!!, off we went and I was also able to have some fun taking pictures while we were at it.  AND I was able to get part of the kids' Christmas presents, (some field guides for their 'adventure bags' I'm putting together), so that was great too!  Such a great day.  Warning: picture overload.  Enjoy.  :)
Our first stop was the awesome nature center... so many cool things to see and do!  We could have spent a whole day just there!  Luckily, with home education we an do that sometime!  :)

We got to see how they heated metal and banged it to shape it, blew air on it to make the fire hot, and hear about how they would re-use metal to make new things.  So cool.

Then it was on to gold panning.  The kids were so excited for this and had so much fun!  It was so neat because they didn't just let them have at it, first they taught about gold and gold panning, and taught them techniques.  Then she came around and helped each child.  Such a neat experience.  They each got to keep a little vial of what they collected.

LOVE this sweet boys joy of life.  I love the sparkle in his eye.  He was giving me a handful of beautiful leaves he'd collected... this kid LOVES leaves... he has since he was a baby.  It's soo sweet.

I just loved Hyrum's little wave in this one.... he is such an adorable baby.

Yes, that's monkey McKay on the right there (in the tree).  :)

Aaron and more leaves.  :)

This sweet friend of ours pushed Hyrum around in the stroller and walked with him throughout the day... it was such a sweet moment when he give her this sweet hug.  I was so glad I had my camera out! 

This was very cool - It's a huge rock (notice the picnic bench below for some perspective on how high it is) that was used by Native American tribes for hundreds or thousands of years as a gathering place for processing acorns... you can see all those holes in the rock - those were used for grinding acorns into flour... they're all perfectly smooth inside from years and years of being ground in.  Isn't that cool??

Found a cool cave!

So cute... his hand was all dirty and he wrinkles up his nose and tries to wipe it off and makes that 'kkkk' sound kids make when something's yucky.  (I miss our back door going straight out to dirt.  :( )

Isn't this the cutest?

I love his expression in this one. 
And this one.

He had so much fun throwing rocks into the river.

McKay traded a friend for this awesome sharp rock she found and used it to strip the bark off a stick... love this adventurous boy of mine.

#heartbreaker  :)

I just ADORE his little pouty lips in this one.... oh I could just eat him up!

I love love love these precious huggy pictures... This baby just adores me and it is the best feeling in the world.  He gives me big huge squeezes like this all the time and it just makes me feel like the luckiest mom in the world.

I love Hyrum's smile at me in this one...

We got to see this neat old jail.  I love that the kids can experience this kind of stuff.  Can you see Haylee's sad face because she's locked in jail?  ;)

Right as we were about to leave we came out to these deer wondering around on the grounds.  Cute Haylee decided to follow them.  :)

Such a great, great day.  We're so blessed!  Life is beautiful.  Happy Thanksgiving!