Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Keira: 19 Months

I typically like to post details about Hailey and Keira's growth and achievements at the same age that they have doctor well-checks. Mostly this is just for myself to document and remember what they were like at this age. With how busy life was, I missed the 18 month mark with Keira. So, here is a little bit about Keira at 19 months (close enough, right?)

This little girl is getting so big. She is starting to say more and more new words. She says: mom (ma), dad (da), Hailey (hay-yee), Papa, Rara, baby (day-dee), puppy (pup, or puh-poo), banana (nana), please (eez), thank you (tant-yoo), hot (ha), shoes, duck, up, help, monkey (ah-tee), book (buh)... and I'm sure there's others that I can't think of at the moment. Just recently it seems like she is picking up a new word or two a week.

Besides spoken words she is still really good at motioning for what she wants help with. She pulls my hand and leads me all over the place. She positions my hands right where they should go to do what she wants me to do. She points. And she puppy dog whines. I really don't know what else to call it. She has been doing this since she very first became vocal, since her birthday or before. If she wants anything she makes a high pitched noise over and over that resembles a puppy dog whine. I don't know how else to explain it. Keira is also a master and the no-head-shake. If she doesn't want something she lets me know by whipping that head back and forth. Occasionally I'll get a nod for yes out of her too.

Keira imitates Hailey and the older kids they play with. She wants to be right in the thick of things too and tries hard to keep up. Hailey was playing hide-and-seek with my dad just on Sunday. Keira watched and began covering her eyes hiding behind a wall and said what sounded like 1-2-3. Then she would jump out from the wall screaming and laughing. 

Keira loves to read books- on her terms. We still can't finish a book and tend to skip all over the place. She usually has a favorite page in the book she searches for and likes to spend a long time on. Her favorite books are any with pictures of animals.

We love to do puzzles together. If we're not reading books, Keira and I are down on the floor dumping out puzzles and putting them back together. Keira has a decent amount of patience. She takes her time and turns pieces around and tries again. Eventually she gets frustrated and asks for help. If I hand the piece back to her and encourage her she usually is good to try again. One of my favorite things she says is "I-did-it!" or "I-got-it!" after putting a piece in, or after accomplishing any sort of task. She loves to build with legos and can spend a good amount of time playing with Mr. Potato Head.

Keira also loves her baby and hugs and carries it all over the house. Like any girl, she loves to push the baby in the stroller. Baby never has clothes on though. If she is dressed Keira asks me to undress her. I get in trouble when I put her clothes back on.

Most of our markers and some of the crayons have their tips bitten off. Keira loves to color, but she also loves to put them in her mouth. When they aren't in her mouth, she does love to scribble on paper, usually quickly moving from color to color. She tends to throw a fit when I put them away.

Keira is our trouble maker. That little girl gets into everything. She went through a phase of playing in the toilet. Once I found her holding a cheese stick in one hand and swirling her other hand in the toilet. I just hope the cheese stick didn't get dipped in. I've also seen her stick her hand in right after Hailey used the toilet and before she flushed. So gross! She thinks it's a fun game to rip off toilet paper and drop it in the toilet. And once she submerged my new-to-me ipod in the toilet. Luckily Kyle saved it by sticking it in a bag of rice. 

She is also a climber. Keira has been caught standing on top of the table in the playroom, and jumping on Hailey's bed (which requires her to pull out the drawer under the bed, climb onto the drawer, and then pull herself onto the bed using the bedspread as leverage.) She also likes to climb from either the couch or the Monster Sak onto the small ledge that runs the length of the family room. It is just barely wide enough to fit her body. She gets a kick out of running and jumping on the couches in the living room and climbing all over and sliding down the Monster Saks in the family room. Her latest trick is to hold onto the side of the couch in the living room and to arch her back as far as she can go. One of these days I just know she is going to let go and get hurt. I know kids get into a lot of things, and I know there are kids more active and curious than Keira, but this girl is a whole different child than Hailey. We're still trying to adjust to Keira's antics.

Keira can be a bit wild, but she is also quite clingy. She is outgoing and friendly when I'm near and holding her hand. But if I'm not right next to her (or sometimes when I am!) it is quite the opposite story. I have had people just look at her (usually men) and have her burst into screaming tears. At the park she likes to hold my hand and lead me all over. It can take her a little bit of time to feel comfortable enough to explore on her own. At the same time, Keira is not cuddly. Not. At. All. She has never fallen asleep in our arms. She refuses to cuddle with me. But she often wants to sit in my lap. 

Keira is finally in nursery! Happy day! She cried the first 6 weeks or so. But... this last Sunday was a breakthrough. No crying! I think she is finally adjusting and getting used to the idea. Hooray!

This girl is so fun. She makes us all happy and adds a whole new dynamic to our family. The past six months have been fun seeing her personality come alive.   

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Corinne's Wedding

It is still hard for me to grasp that my little sister is married. In fact all 3 of us kids in my family are now married. We're so old! :)

Corinne's wedding went over great. No major hiccups, no cold feet, and two very happy people.

I spent a lot of time helping my mom and sister prepare for the wedding. It was nice to have a real motivator to get creative. (Click over to my other blog to see the details I helped create.) Sometimes I need that extra push to get going.

Corinne and Taylor chose to have an open house in Washington the weekend before the actual wedding. The timing of that worked out well- Kyle's parents were going to be in Utah that weekend. They were able to watch the girls for me so I could go to Washington with my parents and help with the open house. We swapped houses for the weekend. They stayed at our house in Utah and we stayed at their house in Washington. 

Not only was the open house that weekend, but Corinne also went through the temple for the first time there and was given a bridal shower for friends in Washington as well. We were there just for the weekend, so it was super busy. Busy, but really not stressful, which was nice.


The wedding day was your typical wedding day: long and exhausting. 

I think this picture says it all. Wedding day is looong for little (and big) kids.
 No really, it was good. We sweated. We were tired. But it was all worth it to support and celebrate with Corinne and Taylor. Plus, at the end of the day we were rewarded with Cold Stone ice cream and Italian sodas. (And now we get to reap the benefits of left overs at Papa and Rara's house. :) 

Curtis and Chelsea made the trek from North Carolina. SO good to see them!
Proof I was there, thanks to Curtis. I guess that is my payment for taking a picture of him, he gets one of me.

Who needs a guest book when you can have a quilt?
Cold Stone ice cream! This was definitely a hit.
Italian Sodas- there is still so much left over. Slushie anyone?

A BIG congratulations to Corinne. Welcome to the family Taylor! We're glad you're here to stay. :)

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Yard Re-Do, Part 1: Topsoil

When we bought our house two years ago the backyard was over run with weeds. It really was about half weeds, and half grass. The house was rented for a few years before we bought it, and so the yard wasn't kept up like it should have been. Just after we moved in we spent a weekend with Kyle's family just clearing out the junk that had accumulated underneath the deck. The following year we spent a weekend installing a new patio.

I don't think this picture really does justice to the mess of a yard we inherited.
Now, two years later we're really getting down to business. The yard has always been so over run with weeds the girls haven't been able to spend much time playing in the backyard. We really haven't ever sat out in our yard and enjoyed it. We want to turn it into a space that we can all enjoy together. To do that, we chose to completely start over. That meant killing all of the vegetation that was growing back there, tilling up the dirt, bringing in new dirt, and leveling out the ground.

To start, we rented an aerator from Home Depot. Kyle wanted to poke the ground to death before bringing in a tiller, in hopes that it would help the tiller break up the dirt better. The aerator was scary. At least I thought so. Kyle had me try it once. I felt like it was pulling me along for the ride and I panicked and drove it right up the side of the fence! Kyle of course thought it was hilarious. I conceded that if he finished up aerating the yard he could go see a movie with a friend later that week. I wasn't about to try it again!

After the aerator we rented a tiller. A BIG tiller. This thing was a beast. It tore through the ground like nobody's business. It was fantastic!

Kyle made a few passes over the whole backyard and then it was time to bring in the dirt. Check out that pile of topsoil in our driveway! Just for future reference: we ordered 13 cu. ft., and then Kyle had another 4 delivered the next weekend, so 17 cu. ft. in total. We needed a lot of dirt. The yard was pretty uneven, with some big sink spots just before the fence line. The dirt was used to make the soil softer for the new grass we'll bring in (our soil is pretty heavily clay), and also to fill in the gaps and smooth out and level the ground. 

To move the dirt we brought in the big guns: Kyle's sisters and their significant others. :) This Hill family is so fantastic. They are always so willing to come over and help us with the yard work we need done. It is great. It makes things go so much faster! 

Here's a photo dump of the process:

Our yard is riddled with roots. The trees on the other side of our fence line have been around for years, their roots show it- like this one!
Brittany, Clark, and Hailey taking an Otter Pop break.

I love the Otter Pop in Chelsie's mouth while she digs.
Hailey even got in on the raking. She did pretty well, it was actually helpful!

All done! So much better, right? Now the ground is level and free of weeds. We just need some grass. That is for another day.

As a side note: Hailey was funny. Cody laid down in the grass and Hailey ran and grabbed the umbrella from her play kitchen to shade the two of them.

She then used her ice powers to freeze the sun.

Oh to be 4 again...

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Why Do We Have to Grow Up?

Sometimes I wish I was a kid again. Like when I have to sit down and do boring things like pay bills and fold laundry. Since my childhood is behind me and I'm only getting older (let's try to forget what birthday I have coming up later this year) I'm glad that I have two adorable little girls to relive it with.

I really have so much fun just watching them play. Sadly, I don't stop and watch often enough. Why is life so stinking busy? While clicking through the picture folders on the computer, I found these photos from a time a few weeks ago when I stopped and just watched them play.

I love the baby squat.

This will be a gem when these two are 16. :)
I so wish grown-up life were as simple as chalk drawings and fighting imaginary dragons (one of Hailey's favorite park games to play). Why do we have to grow up? Maybe it's so we can experience it all over again with someone else.

Friday, July 11, 2014


Life has been crazy as of recently. When I say crazy, I mean busy, and fun, and good. But crazy! Here is a bit of a recap of the past 6-ish weeks. The majority of this list will show up on the blog in it's own post in time. Maybe after I can get a handle on the wreck in our house that has built up that I can't seem to control. Or maybe I'll just put off the cleaning and blog anyway (like I am now). :)

1. The biggest item was my sisters wedding. Corinne and Taylor were married at the end of the month. (Yay!) All of June pretty much worked up to this one day. It was a great day, with no major hiccups. Except for the battle at the restraunt during the luncheon with our overly tired toddler. :)

2. The weekend before the wedding I hitched a ride with my parents up to Washington for a wedding Open House. It was a fast and furious trip. But I was still able to squeeze in some time with a couple of friends and some lunch at Bruchi's. 

3. We tore up our backyard and brought in new topsoil. It's kind of sad that it looks better now that it is just dirt. Sod soon? Maybe?

4. We had solar panels installed on the roof of our home. Yes, we're a little bit crazy (in a good way). No, we're not hippy. But our home is making electricity from the sun, which is very awesome.

5. Hailey did swim lessons. She did great. That girl is always so enthusiastic. Unless it's something she doesn't want to do. ;)

6. Kyle and I ran a 5K. I really really really don't like running. But I did it. Last year I said I would run one, and I didn't. This year Kyle held me to it. Why is he so good at getting me to do things I don't want to do? We didn't run in a formal race. I just can't bring myself to pay to run. I did miss out on the swag though. I really wanted a t-shirt. If I'm going to run that far, I want a stinkin' t-shirt. (Thank you to Brittany for snagging me one from the race she helped organize weeks later while I was out of town! Now I have my t-shirt. :) We mapped out our own course on Google Maps and went for it. I ran the entire thing. Amazing. Seriously. I did pretty good until 3/4 of the way through and then I began to struggle. But I pushed through it. Honestly, it feels good that I've done it. Do I want to do it again? Probably not. Will I do it again? With Kyle around... most likely. :)

My post 5K "I did it!" picture.
7. After watching every episode of Top Gear available on Netflix, Kyle has introduced me to the world of SeaQuest DSV. Basically it's Star Trek under the water. This is what we have spent our evenings together watching. Yes, we're a bit nerdy.

8. Our 4th of July was a fun filled busy weekend spent with all of the Hills and our dearest friend Jeanie. (Love you Jeanie!) It included a day at Lagoon, The Lego Movie, cinnamon roll cake and donuts for breakfast (it's a holiday, so it's ok, right?) Stadium of Fire with Carrie Underwood and up close fireworks (which Hailey slept through... we didn't even try with Keira, she stayed with my parents), a day of shopping at IKEA, Cabelas and the outlet mall, and then we topped it all off on Sunday with baby Aiden's baby blessing followed by lunch and outdoor games at a park.

9. The girls and I hit up Chick-fil-A for their annual Cow Appreciation Day. We brought Rara along with us. She even dressed up too... she had to, I made her a costume. There isn't much that beats free Chick-fil-A!

I just love that Keira is missing one cow ear and all but one of her spots.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Swimming Lessons

In the first of June, we started off our summer with two weeks of swim lessons. 

Hailey did great. She loves to play in the water. I was a little worried how'd she'd do this year, after a very brief and scary (for her) underwater episode Hailey had last year. After finding herself alone underwater for a couple of seconds she became extremely hesitant to get back into the water. This year she seems to have forgotten (or gotten over it) and is back at it. She takes no hesitation in dunking her whole head underwater. A little ice cream bribery from Rara may have helped that. :)

Hailey was very enthusiastic at her lessons. Multiple times I heard an excited "Meeee!" out of her, volunteering for a turn to practice swimming. I'm so glad she enjoys spending time in the water.

The last day she was treated to a sucker, which may or may not have been the highlight of the two weeks of swimming. That and the game, "Alligator, alligator, what time is it?"

We signed up for lessons with Grace. The girls were in the same level, but ended up with different teachers. That's ok, we at least were able to say hi after lessons, and I had someone to sit and chat with during the 45 minutes while Hailey swam. 

We've worked to improve our swimming, now we're ready for Papa and Rara's pool!

Friday, June 13, 2014

Creative Play

I love this four-years old age. I say that I love Keira's age because she is just so stinking cute and nearly irresistible to give into. But I just love the age Hailey is in as well. She can do so many more things- everyday is gaining more and more independence. Part of that independence is thinking for herself. She is learning the difference between right and wrong choices, and trying so hard to be good- I see how happy she is when she knows she has made a right choice. She absolutely does not always make the right choice, but either do I. 

I have seen so much growth in her. She knows and understands so much. We can have fairly intelligent conversations. For example, Kyle and I recently ordered a new mattress topper for our bed. It came just the other day and Hailey helped me pull it out of the packaging and place it on the bed to air out. The next day driving in the car, completely out of the blue, she asked, "How is your new air mattress?" (It is not an air mattress, but I love the confusion). It took me by surprise. She was genuinely interested and making conversation with me about it.

She can be set to task to do things on her own, like check the mail, dust the bookselves (she even takes all of the books off and puts them back without me asking!), cleans her room, vacuums her room, puts away her folded clothes, and can be let out of sacrament meeting at church for a quick trip to the bathroom all on her own. It is fantastic! While I am constantly caring for Keira, Hailey has become a bit self-sufficient.

My favorite surprise of recent has been the creativity Hailey has shown in play. I have just a few pictures of her creativity that has struck me as a bit genius. Things I would never have thought to do- probably because I am no longer four-years old.

First up: Hailey and friend Grace held a double wedding one afternoon. I love their use of play construction safety vests as veils, play skirts as dresses, pom poms as flowers, and animals as grooms. 

Second: Hailey used doll diapers as saddles for her horses. Our Little People figurines take a ride by laying underneath the saddle to hold them in place.

Third: Hailey pulled out our sled (which we have yet to use in snow!) out of storage in the basement. She attached the pull cord to the back of Keira's Jeep and pulled Keira all around the living room. They both had a blast! Keira was all giggles and squeals.

What an awesome girl Hailey is. She is really growing up. I love seeing these new aspects of her emerge. It is so fun to watch her learn and grow. Being her mom is the best job ever.


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