Sunday, June 28, 2015

Summer Is Officially Here!


Summer is now in full swing! And that means F.U.N! We started our summer off with two weeks of swim lessons for both girls. Our mornings began with breakfast, then straight into swimsuits for 45 minutes of refreshing fun. 

Keira is on the younger side, but I knew she would love it. Love it she did. She had a blast splashing and playing in the water. At her size it's all about having fun and learning to feel comfortable in the water.


This was Hailey's third season of swim lessons. She worked on her back float and front crawl. She needs more practice before moving on to the next level, but I'm happy that she is feeling more and more confident in the water. She loves to bob up and down, fully submerging her head, and is able to navigate herself around the pool on her own with the assistance of a floatie. Maybe next year she'll be more ready to attempt to tackle swimming on her own. At least if she can touch the bottom, she feels comfortable to play in the pool floatie-less. I take that as a success.


We have also spent time swimming at Papa and Rara Park's neighborhood pool, a trip to the splash pad, multiple outings to Lagoon (where just this weekend Hailey was able to ride on the BIG rollercoasters, the ones I refuse to ride. She loved it. And Kyle loved it. I'm glad they have each other to ride with.), playing in the water with friends, walks on the Lagoon Trail to see the animals and stay cool in the shade of the trees, a free summer movie at the movie theater, and occasionally indulging in popcicles and ice cream.

So far our summer has been off to a busy start. Now we're just waiting for baby sister to arrive and slow things down for a bit. Until then we'll continue to try to find ways to have fun and keep cool. That 100 degree weather has hit and it's hot!

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Fathers Are Important Too: A Father's Day Shoutout


Today is Father's Day. Of course I want to shout out and wish a happiest of Father's Day to the dad of our home. 

I don't know that fathers always get all the credit they deserve. So much of what I see online talks about mothers: being a better mother, don't get discouraged mom you're doing a great job, moms are so important etc... This likely is because women seem to do the majority of blogging. At least in the blog-o-sphere I follow. 

But fathers are just as important. Children need both, a mother and a father. That is the makeup of a family. Our Heavenly Father designed us this way for good reason. Kyle and I balance each other out. I tend to be more sensitive, practical, and worry too much. Kyle is fun and games, lighthearted, but also stern and a more effective enforcer. My girls need their dad. He makes life fun for them, but also gives them good structure and guidelines to grow by.


Isn't there just something awesome about a dad that moms just don't possess? Maybe it's the fact that boys never seem to grow up completely. They can more easily release their inner child and spur laughter and giggles without any effort. Or maybe it's because they generally are gone at work all day, so it is a bit more exciting to be home and playing with the kids. It could be both. Either way, dads are some sort of awesome that moms just aren't. Or at least that is how it works at our house.

I appreciate Kyle and the time he spends with out girls. Things like teaching them to fish, mow the lawn, shoot a bow and arrow, exploring the outdoors, doing science experiments, teaching them the importance of exercise and a good diet, and expanding their creativity and imagination through Legos and drawing.


What I lack, Kyle tends to make up for. And vice versa. Neither of us are perfect, therefore we need each other to work as a team to raise these girls. Who they are and how they behave doesn't come from the efforts of just one of us, we are teaching these girls together. What a blessing that is! 

So I say, "Yay for fathers!" They are just as needed as mothers. I'm thankful for Kyle and his role as the father of our home. So are our girls, they love their dad and look forward to his coming home each evening. As do I, some days he helps restore my sanity, or takes over when I'm exhausted. 

Kyle, I want to wish you a very happy Father's Day. Thank you for being the fantastic dad that you are. Us girls really are blessed to have you in our life. We wouldn't have it any other way. :)  

And a big thank you and happy Father's Day to my very own dad, and also to Kyle's dad. Thank you for all you have done for us both as children and now as adults. Our family is blessed to have you both in our lives! Seriously.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Spring Soccer

Hailey played a third season of soccer this past spring. Her skill level from just the previous fall has grown so much! Kyle and I were a bit surprised to see how much physical change could take place in just 6 months. Hailey was better at defending and attacking the ball, and changing the ball's direction to be able to kick it where she wanted it to go instead of just straight up the field. She also learned a bit of teamwork cheering on her teammates and letting them take the ball when they had it instead of trying to take it from them. Hailey even scored a few goals this season- a first for her! We were pretty proud of her accomplishments.



Keira was Hailey's cheerleader. Seriously. She was always excited to watch Hailey play and would yell "Go Hailey!" That girl looks up to her big sister so much. It made me so happy to see her anxious to watch her sister play. Keira even got in on a bit of the coaching one day. After watching Hailey's coach point and instruct the girls Keira marched herself out onto the field and began pointing and giving her own instructions. It was pretty hilarious. 


Hailey absolutely loves playing soccer. I hope that sticks with her. She has a constant smile on her face when she is out on the field. She is enthusiastic when her teammates score goals, jumping and celebrating with them. Of course she's extra excited when the goal is her own. :)

She's already signed up for another season starting again in just two months. I'm already excited, I love watching her play! 

Friday, June 5, 2015

Dear Hailey


Dear Hailey,

You are one awesome girl. You are my oldest, my first! We discover new things together, me and you. As you get older you take me into new parenting territory I have yet to explore. It is so fun to watch you grow. In fact, I find it terribly difficult to picture you as a baby. I know it happened, I was there, we have pictures and videos. But in the 5 1/2 years since you were born you have grown tremendously! 

You are our learner. The inquisitive one. You love to read and have begun asking me what words mean if you're unfamiliar with them. You love watching videos that teach you things, like the Magic School Bus, Wild Kratts and Popular Mechanics for Kids. You ask me daily how things work or how they're made. Sometimes you even teach me things, like the difference between a turtle and a tortoise. You say you want to be a doctor or a scientist and honestly I hope you keep that desire. Aim high, because I know you can get there. You are smart and have a passion for learning. You're already reading everything and doing basic addition without yet spending a day in kindergarten. There is no holding you back from learning because you just soak it all up. I love that about you.

You are also a good friend. You care about others and aren't shy to make new friends. Every time we go to the park you find a new friend to play with and are so excited to share that with me. You include everyone. Sometimes you need reminders, you're learning, but it doesn't take much effort for you to be sure everyone is your friend, no matter who they are. You care deeply about your friends and how they perceive you. Be careful that you don't put too much emphasis on other's opinion of you. Know that the most important opinion is how you feel about yourself and the love that your dad and I have for you. Friends come and go, but you'll always have us. 

You love church. You don't hesitate to speak up in Primary and are often eager to share with us what you learned that day. You love reading the scriptures and often remind Dad and I to read them with you in the evening. You know your Heavenly Father loves you, and that is one of the most important things for you to understand in this life. If you know that, you can conquer anything.


You love to have fun and try so hard to be goofy. You try to tell jokes, but haven't quite caught onto humor just yet. Keira thinks your jokes are funny. :) You love to zip around on your scooter and are eager to learn to ride your bike, even though it makes you nervous when you're on it. You love to run around and make up your own American Ninja Warrior course in our family room. You love to play soccer and I love watching you. You get so excited when you score a goal and always cheer on your teammates. You have the biggest smile on your face when you play and that makes me happy.

You love to play with your sister. You and Keira are so funny together. I love watching you play and am so happy you have each other. You are excited for your new baby sister to come and often rub my belly and give her kisses. I know you will be a great help after she is born. You are excited to teach her all sorts of things. I'm sure she'll look up to you, just like Keira does.

This is you at 5 1/2 and I love you for it! You talk constantly about growing up. You already ask me when can you get your own cellphone, get your ears pierced, and are excited to be 16 so you can drive Keira to school. You talk about how you will get married and move away from home and have a home of your own. You constantly are reminding me that you will be 6 on your next birthday and that means you are almost 10. Aaahh.... Hailey! Slow down! Don't be so eager to grow up. Enjoy being a kid. You only get one childhood and then you spend the majority of your life as an adult. Being a kid is fun! I love you how you are and I'm not ready for you to grow up so fast. Let's take it slow and do it together, ok? Already I know that if I blink too long you will be grown and your childhood innocence will disappear. I'm currently not sure what happened to the past 5 1/2 years. It seems to have happened so fast that sometimes I forget you are a child. You're not a baby, you're not a toddler. You are a child, eager to start kindergarten, ready to open up a whole new chapter in your life. Am I ready? I'm not so sure. I'm working on getting there. It'll happen whether I'm ready for it or not. I guess that saying from Hide-and-Seek applies, "ready or not here I come!"

What I ask of you is this, please enjoy life as it comes your way. It's ok to look forward to things, but love it as it happens. You're only 5 once, let's make the next 5 months great. And then we'll tackle being 6 and all of the awesomeness that comes along with that. Ok?

I love you! Never stop being your awesome self!

Love,

Mom


Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Eight Years and Counting!


Eight years ago Kyle and I started down this journey into marriage together. Eight years ago we were such babies! I laugh to think we were just 22 years old. At the time 22 felt so old and grown up. And I was ready to start the next adventure in my life. Now I think back and wow, that really wasn't all that old. To be 22 and make such an important decision! But I did it right. I was ready and I knew exactly who wanted to share my life with.

The even crazier thought is that Kyle and I met when we were just 14. That is 16 years ago! By the time we were married we had already known each other for 8 years. I think that really helped make my decision easy. Plus, I really couldn't keep away from him, nor stop thinking about him, or talking about him...

We would stay up late talking and laughing. Sometimes we still do. Most of the time these days I'm asleep on the couch by 9 pm and Kyle is left watching TV or a movie alone. Totally lame. But my eyes honestly refuse to stay open! Part of the price of pregnancy I guess. Though I can't completely blame just pregnancy, pregnant or not I still fall asleep through my fair share of movies. It's just extra bad while my body works to grow a baby.

But seriously, Kyle is fantastic. He works hard for our family, both at work and at home. He does so many things for me, I've found myself becoming helpless. The tire on our double stroller has had a flat for a few months. Neither of us have fixed it. I mentioned it to Kyle and he nicely reminded me that I know how to patch a tube. Sigh... yes, I guess I can fix it myself. But Kyle is just so handy! :)

Eight years has brought on so many new experiences for us. Kyle spent four of those years in school at BYU. We spent one summer exploring Texas. We have two little girls and another on the way. When Kyle started his first full-time job, we started that together. We bought a house together. We do everything together. And that is exactly how I want it to be.

I've mentioned it before, but Kyle really is a perfect match to my personality. We have always had similar likes and interests. At our house he is fun and I am business. There have been numerous times when we have gone to text or call each other at the same time about the same thing- this happened just this past Friday. Our brainwaves must have been in-sync. There usually isn't much debate over what movie we should watch, (unless it involves aliens or is Jurassic Park, I usually veto those pretty heavily.) We can have fun doing most anything together, and I think that is most important.

Thanks Kyle for a fantastic eight years! Here's to an awesome eight-plus more! I love you and am so glad you're mine!

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Thoughts on Motherhood


Let's be honest here, motherhood is one of the toughest challenges I have ever taken on. 

Ever.

I am not lovey-dovey. I am not a giver of soft and squishy hugs. I don't delight in tickles or playing dolls. Though I do I love my girls and try my hardest to show it. Usually it is expressed in the form of food; we enjoy a treat, or spend some time baking together. Often times it is spent on the couch reading books. Other times it is shown through an outing; a trip to the park, or an afternoon at Lagoon. 

Being a mother is no walk in the park. Somedays I hit a home run and feel like I am on top of the world, bursting with joy and happiness! A good many days I feel like I've been gifted a walk on base and coast through the day, nothing extra special about it other than the fact that we survived it. And then there are those days that I feel like I have completely struck out, sometimes swinging my heart out with no chance of connecting that day, heading dejectedly back to the dug out awaiting my chance to redeem myself.

Many days I feel like I'm not cut out for this motherhood gig. I know as part of being a woman it is what I was created for. But I certainly don't always feel that I, personally, was intended for motherhood- or at least not for it to wear naturally on me. Motherhood is my challenge and struggle. 

As a teenager I hated babysitting. I never wanted to hold someone else's baby. I still am perfectly happy looking and smiling, but not touching or interacting. I didn't grow up dreaming of being a mother. Of course I thought about it, and always had a list of names I liked in the back of my mind. But never was motherhood my number one aspiration. I went to college to study and get a degree. And I did it. I found myself unable to pull myself away from Kyle, so marry him I did. (And I'm still so happy I did!) Then naturally, as time wore on it became time to start a family. So we did. And I worried before that first baby was born if I would be able to love her and care for her. What if those mothering instincts that I had yet to experience didn't surface? I do not have a naturally mothering soul. 

Luckily when Hailey was born all was right in the world. Something hit me and I found myself capable of loving a baby, enjoying her company. Though I really had no idea what I was doing. I hadn't ever held a newborn before, and suddenly there I was with one in my arms, mine to care for and raise. Never had anyone relied so heavily upon me for everything. I remember thinking how odd, yet how fantastic it felt to have someone so desperately need me.

And now here I am, 5 1/2 years later, with a second little girl to care for and just two months away from welcoming a third little girl to our family. Some days I am overcome with joy for my chance to love them, and teach them, and grow up with them. Other days I am overcome with terror and worry about whether I am teaching them what they need to learn, or whether I am setting them up for future scarring and failure. They are so malleable right now, am I really using that to my advantage? Or when they hit those teenage years are they going to turn their backs on me, because I didn't prepare them well enough, or love them enough while they are young?

So often my patience wears thin, and I can see the hurt in Hailey's eyes. Sometimes she is hesitant to tell me something or ask for something, afraid of my reaction. I tend to be an uptight parent. I want the best for my children, yet it most often comes out in the form of the word "NO". Why can't I relax a little bit? Because I want to protect them and shield them. But now I see Hailey growing up and becoming so much more independent. It's hard not to do everything for her, and make all of her choices for her. It even comes down to small silly things, like giving her the opportunity to help me and allowing her to show her independence by filling up our water cups when we stop for pizza at Costco. She can do so much, if I would just let her.

I just can't let go... Me, the girl who avoided small children and babies at all costs. I have found myself struggling to give way, even just a little bit, to my babies. I guess that's natural. Maybe there is some sort of natural mommy-ness ingrained in me. Or maybe it is an overwhelming amount of love, that I haven't yet figured out how to properly express.

I struggle with receiving compliments about how I am doing as a mother. It's because I know I can do better. I know I should do better. But it's hard. And so important. Which leads me to worry and stress, because I know there are too many areas I am struggling in.

In the end though, I know this is where I belong. Off and on I have considered looking for work to supplement the income Kyle makes. I haven't ever acted upon it, because I can't drag myself away from my girls. One day, a month or two ago, after going through a bit of a rough patch financially, I sat on the couch, cuddled up with Hailey reading a book. Clear out of the blue I had the the strongest confirmation that I am right where I need to be. Right now I need to be home with my children. I need to be a mother. I need to be there for them. I am where I should be. I struggle. It's hard. But this is where I belong. Being a mother is where I belong. 

Motherhood is me.

That is something I never thought I'd say. Though this may be true, it isn't all smiles and art projects at our house. In fact, a lot of the creating and bonding I've spent so much time doing in the past has been set aside. Life is a terribly hard balance of so many good and important things. And I've found myself stuck in the middle, unsure of how to manage it all, without overloading myself. But I guess we're doing ok, as long as my girls are clothed, fed, and loved, right?

I had no intention of writing a post reflecting on motherhood so close to Mother's Day, but I've had so many thoughts swirling around in my brain the past couple of months it was time to release them. 

As a side note, do you know how hard it is to get a good picture with a self-timer? Sheesh. Especially if I have to pull my pregnant belly on and off of the bed repeatedly to see if we even captured anything worthwhile. Someday I need to invest in one of those remotes for the camera, then at least I could snap the picture right when I want it, instead of trying to quickly stage it.  

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Fishing at Farmington Pond


This past weekend the weather was absolutely perfect. The sun was out, the sky was blue, but it was just cool enough that you didn't sweat. It was the best set up for some birthday fishing with Uncle Cody.

Cody chose to celebrate his birthday with some fishing, and invited the lot of us to tag along. I actually had no intention of going at first. Kyle was going to take Hailey and I was going to stay home with Keira. Keira really didn't want to be left behind and was begging to go fishing too. So, we took two cars, just in case. Turns out that girl had a blast. I'm so glad we went.


We stayed close to home and spent the afternoon at Farmington Pond, seriously a 5 minute drive from home. How awesome is that? 


Hailey was excited to get out for her second go at fishing. She said she was going to watch her bobber carefully this time. She may have done so at first, but I don't think it took too long until she was more interested in being sure to reload herself with another handful of goldfish crackers. I don't blame her, it isn't too exciting when there isn't much happening, especially when you are 5.

Since Keira and I arrived in a second car, a little later than everyone else, I was told that upon arrival Hailey informed everyone, "Hey guys, make sure you don't eat the worms. They aren't the candy ones." :)


My job was to follow this little lady all over the place. I trailed along while she explored the shore, said hi to the geese and ducks (while steering her away from attempting to pet them), and tramped through the brush.


On our walking Keira found herself a nice long stick which she turned into her own fishing pole. Clever girl. 


At first the fish were slow to bite, until we switched spots. Then it was a bit of a feast for the fishies. Cody caught the first fish and was gracious enough to let Hailey help reel it in. And then the fish kept coming. 


Keira helped Kyle reel in one of his 5 fish he caught (and released). Keira even touched the fish when they were pulled out of the water. She gave them a nice quick slap with her finger and then ran to me pointing her finger at me saying "yucky" and asking for a wipe to clean it off. 

Despite our hesitance at bringing Keira along, she ended up having a blast. Hailey too. All of us in fact. I think we need to do more of this fishing business. It was so fantastic to get outside and enjoy nature.


BTW, birthday boy Cody won the prize for the most caught fish at 6, with Kyle at 5, Brittany at 4, and Chelsie with 1 (who so kindly let Brittany use her pole, otherwise I'm sure she would have caught more.)

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