Sunday, June 26, 2016

NORTH CAROLINA

My brother Curtis and his wife Chelsea have been living in Raleigh, NC for the past 5 years. He has been going to graduate school at NC State and is finishing up with his PhD this summer. He is pretty impressive to me. He's like my Dad, smart without trying. I'm pretty proud of him and excited for him to finish up and move on to life after school. 

I have wanted to go out to visit Raleigh while they are there. With his soon-to-be pending departure, it really was my last chance to check out the area they have grown to love and call home. My parents were flying out to visit mid-April, and they invited Kacey and I to tag along. Hooray! I made arrangements with Kyle's mom to come watch the older girls while I took off for a week. That was so nice of her to do that for me! 


We started our trip by touring around Raleigh. Curtis and Chelsea took us to the flea market they go to each Saturday. It was like a giant outdoor DI. Seriously. You could spend forever there sorting through the endless amounts of junk to find the one or two awesome things hiding, which they usually do find. 

Curtis then took me on a tour of his work area at the university. He is studying food science, with his research focusing on whey protein. Don't ask me anymore, I really don't know more. But I DO know that he knows how to make cheese. And knows plenty about other dairy products. His new upcoming job involves yogurts and sour creams and things... But I'm all about the cheese. I saw where the milk is pasteurized, the ice cream is churned, and where he makes his cheese. And I learned all sorts of things that I have probably already forgotten and couldn't repeat back to you. But it was all interesting, I promise. 


We checked out the azalea gardens that are found at the local TV station. Totally random. But they were beautiful. Apparently we were just a week late, they were in full bloom just the week before. But there were still enough in bloom to get a picture of what it had looked like.

Raleigh is beautiful. So many trees. It is SO different from Utah. Driving down the freeway, both sides of the road are lined with trees. There is shopping and houses behind it, but you have no idea it's actually there because the trees are so thick. It feels more like driving through a forest. Raleigh also has a number of lakes and parks. We visited Lake Johnson and walked the 3 mile loop around it. My dad was kind and waited in the car while Kacey napped. My mom, Curtis and I enjoyed the scenery and chatted while we walked. It would have been fun to rent a peddle boat or canoe to take around the lake, but rentals weren't open at the time. I don't remember why. 


After a couple of days in Raleigh we packed up the rental minivan and drove a few hours to the coast to visit the Outer Banks. This was a big highlight of the trip. It was all awesome, I loved Raleigh, but the Outer Banks was pretty cool. I loved learning the history of the first English settlers to the Americas, and learning a bit about the pirate history in the area. 

We visited the beach for a few minutes and Kacey dipped her toes in the water. In April the water was still cold. It took her breath away when it touched her feet. But at least she can say she's been in the Atlantic Ocean now. 


We visited the Bodie lighthouse, one of many lighthouses along that stretch of islands. It was neat to learn the history of it. It is one of the few remaining lighthouses with the original lens inside (from the 1800s).  


To preserve the lighthouse, they only let a certain number of people inside at one time. We had to make a reservation to go up inside it. The wait turned out to be worth it. It was so cool to be able to climb the stairs to the to top and take in the view. Those stairs are floating, each connected to the one before it. Just the thought of how it was constructed so long ago was fascinating to me.



After the lighthouse we visited the Wright Brothers Memorial. I had no idea Kitty Hawk was on an island so close to the ocean! The area where they tried out their airplanes was actually a large sand dune. It is now covered in grass to preserve the hill, but there are huge sand dunes still nearby. I didn't expect that. 


The next day on our way back to Raleigh we stopped at a nature preserve to try to spot some animals. We didn't end up seeing much, some turtles, a water snake... we heard some frogs clicking and talking to one another. The walk along the boardwalk was still fun though.


Back in Raleigh we relaxed, enjoyed good food and picnicked at Pullen Park. This park was awesome. All I could think of was how much fun Hailey and Keira would have had there. It had a train that went around it, a carousel, a huge playground with all sorts of things for kids to play on, a lake where you can rent peddle boats, and plenty of grassy area and trees (perfect for slack lining!). It was pretty fantastic.


I really had a blast in North Carolina. Thank you Curtis and Chelsea for being fun hosts and spending time with us! It was so fun to visit somewhere different, see new sights and experience new things. I had my first taste of hush puppies. They are so good! Before hand I didn't know what they are. They're basically deep fried cornmeal batter, like breading around a corn dog. Anyway... North Carolina is pretty cool. Curtis and Chelsea are soon moving on to their next adventure: Boston. Sounds like the makings for another great vacation!

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

KACEY 8, 9, 10, 11 MONTHS

Whoops! Somehow 4 months has passed without mention of Kacey. That is a long time in baby-time! Now I get to rack my brain and try to remember all of the changes she has made in the time.

Photo credit to Aunt Brittany
At about 8 1/2 - 9 months Kacey started saying "uh-oh!". Her first word. She began picking up on the drop it-uh oh game babies like to play. By now at 11 months she is proficient in this game. It's especially funny when she says "uh-oh" before even dropping her toy. It's fun to see her brain working.

At about 8-9 months Kacey started rolling all over. That became her main method for getting around to where she wanted to go. She eventually became strategic at her rolling and could roll and rotate her body to position herself in the right direction where she wanted to go. At 10 months she finally started to crawl. Kyle and I tried to encourage her to crawl for a couple of months but it only frustrated her. One day it clicked and she took off. No army crawl, no scooting. Just real hands and knees crawling. Now she is starting to get into everything. She has discovered the fun that can be had in the recycle bin, where the snacks are kept in the pantry (I think we need to move those up a shelf), where the pots and pans are, and she's found how fun it can be to open and close the cabinet door under the sink where the garbage is kept.


At 10 months Kacey also started pulling herself up to everything; the couch, the door, her crib, our legs. She is all about standing. She even will stand on her own for a few seconds at a time. She loves this game. She crawls over to the bottom stair, pulls herself up, lets go and stands on her own, sits down and does it again. Over and over. She also loves to walk behind the ride-on jeep. Kyle and I watched her maneuver that thing last night. She pushed the jeep until she came to the stairs. We watched as she thought and thought about how she was going to move it away from the stairs so she could push it again. She walked all around it, looking at it, trying to push it here and there. Eventually she figured it out and moved it back a few feet before pushing it forward again. She was so determined and so concentrated on moving that jeep. 

Kacey has clapping skills. She actually makes an audible noise. She claps for herself when she does something good, she claps when she's happy, and she claps when something is funny to her. Yesterday I was attempting to get her dressed for bedtime. She kept wiggling her way away from me. I said to her, "Kacey. Come here please." She looked at me, waved bye and started walking along the edge of the couch. She looked back, laughed and sat down on the ground and clapped. Kyle said, "Is that her first joke?" Possibly. It sure seemed like it.


She started waving at about 8 months. She waves hi and bye. She also waves for goodnight and nap time. If I can get her to wave before putting her in bed I feel pretty confident that she understands it is time to sleep. She still wakes up a couple of times at night. (Seriously! When will it stop!?) I have finally taken to picking her up, giving her back her pacifier, and saying goodnight again. Once she waves to me I lay her down again and don't hear a peep for a few more hours. In addition to waving, at 10 months she began to pick up on some sign language. She knows "more" and "all done". If I ask her if she wants something to eat she will sign "more". Or if she wants more to eat and starts to scream (her normal instinctual reaction for more), just ask her "what do you say?" and she will nicely sign more. She hasn't totally picked up on signing "all done" on her own, but if I say it she will sign it. She understands the meaning, because she will begin to push on the tray on her high chair anxious to get down.

Kacey dances with her head. She wiggles it back and forth along with clapping when she hears music. She also waves her head back and forth just in interaction with people. Kyle and I laugh at the funny things babies can get adults to do. It's kind of hilarious to see adults playing along waving their heads back and forth just like her.


We're pretty done with baby foods. Kacey eats what we eat, as long as it is small enough and soft enough. Kacey loves yogurt, all fruit, avocado, cheese, crackers, and apple sauce. If she doesn't want to eat something there is no amount of offering it to get her to eat it. When she is done she'll swat it away or take it and drop it on the floor. This month I've started to introduce her to whole milk. We have started offering it at meal times. I still nurse her throughout the day- the longest I've nurse of all three girls. The end is in sight! 

At 9 months, Kacey is our earliest teether. She has her bottom two front teeth. Hill babies get their chompers late. There isn't much to indicate any others are coming soon. Maybe a small bump up top, but those teeth still don't look like they'll be bursting through any time soon.


She is pretty much adorable and a lot of fun. Her sisters love her and she loves them. It's fun to see them play together. It will be fun (and a bit crazy) once she is running around the house with them. That will be here before we know it!

Her birthday is just two weeks away, and I can't believe it. Time really flies. Though admittedly, I like this stage so much better than the newborn stage. It's so fun!

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

KEIRAISMS: 2 1/2 - 3 YEARS (PART 2)

Did you miss PART 1 of this set of Keira-isms? Click here.

All dressed up and ready to watch Hailey play soccer.
She takes her job as her sister's number 1 fan seriously.

1. Late last fall I had a major head cold. Sinus headache, congestion, runny nose, the works. I felt terrible. One night I grabbed a roll of toilet paper and set it on the night stand beside the bed so I would have a nearly unlimited supply of tissues throughout the night. In the morning Keira came in the bedroom and discovered the toilet paper there. She became upset with me that I would have a whole roll of toilet paper on my nightstand. She said to me, "It's for bums, not noses." And then she put it back in the bathroom where it had come from.

2. It must have been Keira's turn to get sick. She sneezed and snot flew. Kyle said, "Eeeeww..." Keira responded nonchalantly, "It's just boogers."

3. While driving past Lagoon, like we do to go most anywhere, Keira asked me, "Mom, please can we go to the Lagoon?" I told her, "No, it's closed." She said, "We could get a key and open it!" I told her, "Even if we did it would be too cold to ride." Using her logic, Keira said, "Me wear my jacket to keep me warm!"

4. Out of the blue Keira began discussing her desire to own a cow. "...For me to ride. You hold my hand for me can't fall off." I asked her, "Where would we put the cow?" She just kept on the same thought process she had going, "Me give it milk to drink." I tried to explain to her that we get milk from cows. The milk we buy at the store comes from cows. She continued, "When it cries, me give it milk. Me want to get one today."

5. One Sunday before church the girls were eating a snack. Hailey brushed her teeth and then asked for another snack. Kyle told her she'd have to brush them again if she did. Hailey decided not to have the snack. Keira decided she wanted another snack too. Hailey pointed out that Keira had already brushed and Kyle told Keira the same thing, she would have to brush again if she had a snack. Already with granola bar in hand, she said, "It's ok" and started eating. Kyle noticed she was eating funny, not chewing like normal. When this was pointed out to Keira, she said she wasn't using her teeth (in an attempt to avoid brushing again). After a few bites she decided it was too much work and gave up. She wrapped the granola bar back up and put it back in the pantry to save for another time.

6. Keira tried her best to talk me into a snack (likely a 3rd or 4th snack, or right before dinner.) "I need food for me can grow bigger and bigger and bigger!"

7.I took Keira into the bathroom at church. She chose the ultra large handicapped stall, complete with it's own sink. She opened the door, stepped inside and said, "Come into my office." (Granted, she picked this one up from her Aunt Brittany. It still caught me off guard and was hilarious.)

8. We were talking about middle names. Keira's is Ann. I asked Keira what her middle name is. She thought about it and replied with, "Banana!"

9. At the end of dinner Keira had milk left in her cup. I asked her to finish drinking her milk. I told her the milk would help her to grow big. A minute or two later of not drinking her milk Keira started whining, "I want to grow small..."

10. Keira went to the front door and started trying to open the door. I asked her what she was doing. "I'm looking for a package." I told her, "We don't have a package." She said, "Me just say, come here package! Ok?" "Oh package!"

11. The way Keira says some words are just funny to me.

  • applejack = Slapjack
  • pokeypine = porcupine
  • stunk = skunk
  • pinano = piano
  • super drinky = thirsty
  • super watchy = she wants to watch a show
12. While on a long road trip home from Washington, Keira was eating some chocolate chip cookies. Some of the chocolate had melted on her hands, so I gave her a wipe from the diaper bag to clean them. After wiping her hands off she looked at the wipe and saw brown on the wipe. Disgusted, she said, "There's poop on it!


13. "I have a joke for you. Why did the bear run? Because it wanted to!"

14. "Hailey! When we're married and moms, we can have big burritos!"

15. Kyle asked Keira to put a toy away. She responded with "Put YOU away!"

16. "Arrr... I a teenager!"



Sunday, May 15, 2016

KEIRAISMS: 2 1/2 - 3 YEARS (PART 1)


1. My parent's house backs up to houses with a small amount of pasture land. One neighboring house has cows. While looking out the window Keira spotted the cows and said, "I see cows." She cracked open the patio door, poked her head outside, said, "Yep" and promptly closed the door.

2. While nursing Kacey, I asked her if she was done eating. Meanwhile Keira sat in the kitchen not finishing her dinner she was supposed to eat. Upon hearing me ask "Are you done eating?", intended for Kacey, she responds, "Yep!" I said I was talking to Kacey, Keira says, "No! Me, mom!"

3. Kyle joked that he was going to steal me away from the girls. He started to pick me up potato sack style over his shoulder. I said, "No, no, no!" Hailey said, "Yeah, yeah, yeah!" Kyle put me down without picking me up. Keira said, "My mom's too heavy."

4. One day Keira asked Kyle to play with her. "Dad, do you want to be Elsa with me?" He responded with, "How about Kacey?" Keira said, "No. How about you."

5. I asked Keira what she would like for lunch. She said chicken nuggets. I said I was making sandwiches, what kind of sandwich would she like? Her response: chicken nugget sandwich.

6. I was eating a carrot with ranch and accidentally dropped it in my lap and it then fell on the floor. Keira said, "Nice shot mom!"

7. One Monday after FHE and family prayers Keira pointed to the projector screen, "Dad, can we watch something on that?" Kyle said, "I don't know, what time is it?" Keira: "Time to watch something!"

8. Swimming at Papa and Rara Hill's house Keira was being a bit timid about playing in the water. She worked up her courage and  jumped into the pool off of the diving board. She briefly went under the water. Rara told her "You did good!" Keira cried, "No me don't!

9. I was greeted in the morning with, "Good morning Mrs. Poopy!"

10. For quite sometime Keira thought my parents were Papa and Rara House. I would say, do you want to go to Rara's house? Apparently she took that to be their name. 

11. My Dad texted my mom, mentioning Hailey. In the text he had left off the i in Hailey's name. Thinking we were looking a picture, Keira piped up, "I want to see Papa with one eye!"

12. Keira was anxious to go to my parent's house for dinner. She put her shoes on and said "Time to go!" Kyle told  her we still had 20 minutes and commented that she was all ready to come. Keira put her hands up in the air and timidly said, "Woo woo!"

13. I was adding a new bag of flour to the storage container we have in the pantry. Flour flew up everywhere. Keira asked, "What is that?" I said, "What do you think it is?" She said, "A big mess!"

14. Keira came downstairs after dressing herself in a fantastically mismatching outfit (as usual). Aunt Brittany commented, saying it was a nice outfit. Keira said, "Thanks, my mom dressed me."

15. One snowy morning Keira danced around the room singing, "Once there was a snowman, snow, snow, snow!"

16. Kyle was in the bathroom filling up the humidifier with water while Keira sat on the toilet, doing her business. Hailey asked what the water was for. Kyle explained that the water heats up and creates steam. Keira proceeds to rip a toot. She laughs and says, "That's my steam!" 

Friday, May 6, 2016

KEIRA IS 3

Waaaay back in December Keira turned 3. She is nearly 3 1/2 now. No matter, she is still 3.

When I think to describe Keira I think two things: dresses and food (or more specifically snacks.) 

When it comes to dress standards she is the typical three year old girl, all about the dress. The more it spins the better. She wears some form of dress or skirt everyday. It used to be a battle, but I've chosen to just embrace it and let her be. If we aren't going anywhere for the day (and sometimes even if we are) I let her be free to dress how she likes. Usually with unmade hair and some form of church shoe; which she walks on her toes in claiming they are her high heels. What is it with little girls and high heels? I NEVER wear heels, I'm all about the flats, and yet both Keira and Hailey wish they had a pair of heels to wear. But I digress... Keira + dresses = love.

Her second love: food. Snack food. That girl lives in the pantry all day long. She eats breakfast (or more likely doesn't finish her breakfast) and 30 minutes later is asking for a snack. 10 minutes to lunch she's asking for a snack. I tell her we're about to eat lunch. She gets upset because she doesn't want lunch, she wants a snack! She may ask for something to eat all day long, but she has some odd eating habits. She typically eats her cereal without milk, and she typically doesn't finish it, unless it actually has milk in it, then she will usually finish it. You'd think maybe she'd catch on that it is best eaten with milk. She's 3, what does she care. She also deconstructs her sandwich, eating the cheese, then meat, and leaving the bread (uneaten). She prefers her BBQ chicken sandwich with the chicken on the side. She eats all of the toppings off of her salad first, leaving just the green leafy pieces behind. She is then unwilling to eat what's left, unless she is motivated by the prospect of something else delicious, like strawberries. I know most of this is just down to being 3, but for being a girl that loves food so much she has some odd ways of showing it.


Keira is a total copy cat of Hailey. All day long I hear about what her teacher said, and about the kids in her class. Lately she has taken on a need for ballet school. She tells me she is going to do her ballet today, or she tells me about what her ballet teacher did or said. Most any story Hailey shares tends to happen at Keira's "school" too.

Keira is hilarious. Really. She has a natural ability to be funny. It mostly comes down to her facial expressions and the way she says things, not always the words but more the inflection she uses. Most of the time she doesn't know she's being funny, which makes it all the better. 

We are working on recognizing the alphabet with her. I feel bad for her, being the middle child. There really is an issue with being overlooked as the middle child. With Hailey starting kindergarten this year and Kacey being born, Keira became kind of lost in the mix for a bit. We're working it out and she's picking up on her letters quickly as we slowly work on them.   

She loves to play with dolls and whatever Hailey and her friends are playing. Her favorite are the old Polly Pockets at Rara Park's house. She'll play those by herself for a good hour. She also likes to play Legos with Hailey, but she is mostly interested disassembling and reassembling the people with new heads, hair, and clothes.


I recently introduced her to Candyland. She loves it. Especially when she wins. She likes to play games, though she typically gets disinterested part way through. Except Candyland. We play that one to the end, and then play it again, and again.

Keira likes to do things her own way. She doesn't take instruction very well. Sometimes she is a bit of a free spirit. A loud one at that. When she cries... she cries. It's that girl drama. Everything is a bigger issue than it really is with her. She can be very particular about things, like needing her blankets pulled all the way up to her chin at bedtime or the shower curtain completely closed while she showers. If you deviate, even slightly, depending on her mood, she will let you know. Loudly and with tears. She also has some sort of anxiety of being left behind. We haven't ever left her, but if she thinks you are leaving without her, she breaks into frantic screaming tears. I've learned I have to explain ahead of time if I am going to open the garage door for any reason before she is ready to go.    

Above all this, she is a blast and we're so glad to have her in our family. She keeps our house active and our pantry snack ready.  

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

HAILEYISMS: 6 YEARS

Here's another round of the funny things Hailey has said lately.



1. After doing some shopping, we were in the parking lot getting into the car, Hailey asked if we could run some errands. I said, "Like what?" She pointed to the store adjacent to us. It was called Aaron's. "I want to go to Aaron's" she said. (One point for awesome reading skills.)

2. Hailey was playing I Spy with Papa Hill. They were looking for something gray. She said, "Papa's hair!"

3. While building a Lego set, she was digging through the Legos looking for the pieces she needed. "Where are those naughty pieces?"

4. Before Christmas Kyle and I bought Kacey a doorway jumper. I planned to use it as a Santa gift for her. Kyle was dying to let her try it out, and thought I was absolutely ridiculous to hold on to it until Christmas. She has no idea about Santa. But the other two do! So I held my ground. 

One day Kyle was trying to convince me to pull it out. "Let's get a certain something out"  he said. I hesitated, "Buuut... buuut..." Hailey piped up, "Use your words mom!"

5. Instead of singing "Hallelujah! Hallelujah!" for the chorus to the the Christmas song "Hallelujah", Hailey thought it was "Jalepeno! Jalepeno!"

6. Kyle likes to turn on music while we eat dinner. He and the girls refer to it as his jams. One song came on titled "Easier to Run". Hailey said, "It's easier to run! But not for babies."

7. Kyle was teasing Hailey about having a mustache someday when she gets older. Hailey became quite defensive and responded with an angry forceful deep voice, "I will NEVER have a mustache!"

HAILEY TURNS 6!

November brought Hailey's 6th birthday. Six! That is just two years away from eight. Suddenly she is feeling so grown up. I think a mixture of kindergarten and age has led to her increased maturity. I don't know why, but it feels so odd to see her being a kid. Like a real kid. You know... starting to experience kid things I remember experiencing.


Hailey made a couple of changes to her look over the fall. The first one being her first major haircut. I mentioned to Hailey that we'd take her to get her haircut. I had a trim in mind. She had a totally different idea. She said she wanted to cut her to hair to her chin and she wasn't budging. I realized it is her hair and she surely is old enough to have some part in deciding her haircut, so I took a deep breath and let her do it. She cut off about 6 inches. Turns out it is an adorable cut on her! Such a good move. 


The second big change was the addition of bright pink glasses. On our trip to Washington over Fall Break, Papa Hill noticed some far-sightedness in Hailey and recommended glasses to help reduce any eyestrain. She was so excited! Of course, those paired with her short hair look super cute. Too bad the novelty has worn off of the glasses and I need to remind her daily to wear them (which I'm not very good at remembering.)


Hailey is a fun girl! She makes friends with everyone. When we go to the park or out to play somewhere she always finds a new friend to play with. Hailey explained it to me once. Basically, you just ask someone if they want to be your friend. They say yes. You tell each other your names, and then you're friends. Easy as that.

I love watching Hailey and her train of friends as they leave sacrament meeting at church and head off to primary together. After the closing prayer Hailey grabs Keira and they go around collecting friends and walk together. 

She is good at including everyone. Sometimes she needs a little nudge or reminder, but then doesn't hesitate to ask others to join in on the fun. Hailey is friends with everyone and easily alters her play to match theirs. I just love that about her.


Legos are a favorite toy. She is now old enough to sit down and follow the directions on her own. Occasionally she needs a bit of help, but generally she can do it herself. She will sit and play with Legos for an hour or two at a time. The play is ever changing, but the fun never ends.

Hailey is our little scientist. She is inquisitive, always wondering how things work. Her latest kick has been earthquakes and tornadoes. She loves learning as much as she can. Hopefully that sticks with her.

She is a fantastic reader. She reads everything, including my text messages. It has been so fun to see her reading blossom. Suddenly I feel like she can read just about anything and everything put in front of her.  


She's pretty fantastic. I think we'll keep her. :)

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