Wednesday, March 25, 2015


As is life, things are going on around here. Here's a little bit of the noteworthy as of lately:

Hailey completed her reading chart!

Hailey has always loved books and had a knack for remembering and quick to learn. After she mastered all of the letter sounds I began teaching her a few sight words last spring. This past fall we began pushing reading a bit more and she has taken off! Honestly, I think a lot has to do with the computer program she uses everyday. The UPSTART program is provided to us from the State of Utah, free for any child the year before they enter kindergarten. She has learned so many words from doing this program since August. I'm proud and excited for her!

To help encourage her to read outside of the program I made a reading chart for her. The goal was to reach 100 total points and then we'd head to the bookstore and pick out a new picture book for us to read together. I gave her points based on the difficulty of the book. Simple two word sentence books earned her 1 point. Books with longer length and more complex sentences earned her 3 points. As she improved in her reading I phased out the 1 point books because they became too simple. It was no easy task, it took her a few months to finish the chart. We didn't read everyday, sometimes she'd read a couple books in a day, and then it'd be a week or so before we pick up another. We weren't consistent, but at least we were doing it. When she was 9 books away from finishing she pushed through and read 5 in one day and 4 in another!

Keira is potty trained!

Potty training Hailey was what nearly swore me off of having any other children. Really, it was my own doing, she just wasn't ready when I was. When Keira started showing signs of readiness before she turned two I was worried and not prepared to start. I really, really was hoping to wait until she was older and make it easier on all of us. Turns out Keira took matters in her own hands and made it easy on us. Afraid of losing my window of opportunity, I decided to start potty training the first of February. We picked a weekend and just went for it, straight to undies, no pull ups, and a lot of trips to the bathroom. Once that girl went in the potty it was relatively smooth sailing from there. She caught on quickly and began to go immediately after she sat on the potty, every time. There were still plenty of accidents, we flew through underwear those first few weeks. Now a month later I've gotten brave enough to take her out in public sporting her undies. She is doing awesome, and I feel like I haven't done anything to help it along. Honestly, I kind of slacked off for a little while and some days she ended up in a diaper most of the day, but she still kept it dry. Last week she started waking up in the morning completely dry. I'm shocked! Unfortunately she's waking up at 6:30 instead of 7:30, I think from a full bladder. That I'm no fan of... but to have my 2 year old potty trained, I'm a HUGE fan of. Just in time to stock up on baby diapers. :)

The Hill (big) girls went to a fashion show

Kyle's sister Brittany is tall and skinny, and of course beautiful. She has modeled in a few fashion shows put on in Provo, just for fun. She was asked to do it a couple years back and has done it twice a year since. Rara Hill drove down and all the grown up Hill girls went to the show to support Brittany. 

I always enjoy the fashion shows. It's just fun. I'm not one for fashion, not at all. But I love going and seeing the designs local designers have come up with. For this show Brittany sported a long sleeved spandex wedding dress. Of course it looked fantastic on her!

Pictures courtesy of Chelsie. :)

Kyle went rabbit hunting

One funny thing about me and Kyle's families is that both of our sisters married hunters. Neither of our families are into hunting, though Kyle's is much more firearms friendly and enjoy the occasional shooting outing. It is funny how hunting has slowly crept it's way into our lives. 

Corinne and Taylor used the rabbits they caught as bait for coyotes. They set them out in front of Taylor's trail camera in hopes of spotting coyote activity. Instead eagles have been snatching them away. I stole this awesome picture they captured on the trail camera from Corinne's facebook. :)

Kyle was invited to go rabbit hunting with my sister and her husband. Kyle invited his brother-in-law. The boys were so excited about going. I was excited for Kyle to go. It's good for him to get out and do something he enjoys every now and again. While the Hill girls were away at Brittany's fashion show, the boys (and Corinne) went out looking for rabbits. We were sent the picture of Kyle with the caption, "For the fashion show." Ha! They only nabbed a few rabbits, but I'm pretty positive they still had a blast.

Jaden's archery tournament

Kyle has some cool cousins who are each busy with their own sport. These cousins live in Colorado and are busier than ever. Seriously, I don't know how they all manage it. Aunt Jen is busy with rabbit shows (they have 40+ rabbits at their house, they show some and breed some. Each of the girls have at sometime shown rabbits in shows), Jenna is a swimmer and working at the local rec center, Jill plays competitive softball and travels for tournaments (she was just in Las Vegas and will be in Park City this summer), Jaden is busy with archery and competes mostly in Colorado, but recently made the trip to Utah to compete in Salt Lake City. 

The Saturday/Sunday portion of the tournament was a national tournament. Such a funny sight to see her shooting next to grown men! (Thank you to Brittany for the picture!)

We were so lucky to have Jaden come compete in our area! Andrew and Jaden stayed the weekend with us and it was awesome. Jaden's tournament was 3 days, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Kyle made it to all three days to cheer Jaden on. We took the whole family Friday evening to watch her compete. We were shocked at how many kids were there competing, it was so fun to watch! Keira wasn't so into it, archery isn't the most fast paced sport to watch. I ended up taking the girls home early and stayed behind Saturday with Keira while Kyle took Hailey to watch some more.

The critter in the fireplace stove pipe

Two Sundays ago while laying down for a nap in the afternoon we heard scratching noises coming from the chimney/fireplace. Upon inspection, Kyle determined there was something trapped in the stove pipe of our wood burning fireplace. I was a little bit panicky... we had no idea what is was, a mouse, a rat, a bird... (Luckily we were positive it wasn't a raccoon. :) Whatever it was, it had to come out. This is what really made me nervous, figuring out how to pull off the stove pipe, while still keeping the critter contained and not letting it loose in our house. Luckily the stove pipe came off super easily, easily enough we could pull it just slightly loose, just enough to slide layers of saran wrap over both ends of it. Then we had the dilemma of where to release the beast. We didn't want it in our yard and were afraid of letting it loose out front and having it run right back into the house. So... all 4 of us went for a nice Sunday afternoon walk to the field behind our house. We put the stovepipe in the back of the stroller and walked it around the block. When we took the saran wrap off of one end both Kyle and I were expecting some sort of rodent to scurry out. Instead a starling flew out and away! I am sooo glad it was a bird, otherwise we would have the problem of figuring out how the creature got in, in the first place, and how to keep them out again. It wasn't as bad as we had feared, and put a little excitement into our calm Sunday afternoon.

Kyle took Hailey fishing for the first time

Two Saturdays ago Kyle took Hailey fishing for the first time. Kyle's coworker was taking his boys and invited Kyle to come along. While Keira and I ran errands, Kyle and Hailey relaxed by the pond. I say they relaxed, but I'm not so sure it really was all that relaxing. Hailey became bored after a while and quit watching her bobber. Apparently she missed out on some fish a couple of times. They didn't catch any fish, maybe next time. She may have complained of boredom, but after they left she said she wanted to go again. Kyle is totally down with that, hopefully they'll get out again this summer. 

Kyle said on the way out to the pond Hailey brought up the point that they forgot a bag to put the fish in. Seems Hailey had the idea they would be bringing home a new pet. When Kyle explained that the only reason they would bring home the fish was to eat it. Hailey thought about it, then said, "I could do that." She may be the only one... we aren't much of fish eaters around here.

We celebrated Pi Day with Pie

Pi Day is a favorite holiday of mine. It may not be a standard calendar holiday, but it should be. A day with the perfectly good excuse to make and enjoy pie! Really, I only make pie twice a year, for Pi Day and for Thanksgiving. We deserve to have pie twice a year, right?

This year we invited our friends the Burgins over to celebrate with us. We made some pizza pie (pepperoni and BBQ chicken) and then enjoyed some dessert pie after we digested a bit. There were only eight of us total, but I made three pies. A bit overkill? No! Never... Ok... maybe, we still have pie in the fridge. But, I always make my favorite pie, pineapple sour cream. Kyle's family traditionally enjoys chocolate pudding pie, and Kyle also requested cheesecake, which really isn't pie, but it's in a pie pan, so I'll count it. It's hard to decide on just one pie, so why not three? 

Monday, March 23, 2015

Keira-isms: 2 years

Keira's speech has taken off since her birthday. She is full of constant chitter-chatter. It is so fun to hear what she has to say! 

Some of my favorite phrases are: "I lap you" when she asks to sit on my lap, "Two more minutes!" which she says holding up 1 finger when I tell her it's time to leave the park, "Picture me!" and "Cheeeeese!" anytime I pull out the camera, and her standard response to any question, "I don't know..." (Q: "Keira, what are you doing?" A: "I don't know...") 

Keira has a naturally funny personality. Kyle and I love it, because she really has no idea how funny she is. She is good at imitation, which is likely why she talks so much. She copies everything Hailey says, it really is like hearing an echo. Besides speech imitation, she is good at copying actions she sees, which always has funny results.

Some of the best Keira-isms I've noted are:

1. While sitting on the couch, with Keira on my lap, she turned around to face me, pulled out my shirt and took a little look down it and said, "Ohhhhh..." Shen then began unzipping her pajamas and said, "My turn!"

2. We recently bought Kyle a new suit. The first Sunday he wore it to church Keira came up to him and touched the suit, "Cute... cute Dad."

3. It has now become bedtime routine for Keira to fake sleep when Kyle leans in to say goodnight to her. I will put her in bed, say goodnight, and as soon as Kyle comes over she has her eyes clamped shut and faking sleep. When Kyle tries to give her a hug she squeals "No, don't! I'm sleeping!"

Her personality just kills me. I wish I could adequately put into words a description of who she is. She is sassy (stomping around the house with her arms folded and her lips pursed when she's mad at me), stubborn (constant responses of "No" when I ask her to do something, though this could just be a part of being 2.), independent ("Me do it!" "All by myself!" "Go Mom, Go!"), selfless ("I share Hailey!"- she has always had a good streak of sharing. In fact at one time anytime I gave her a snack she had to have two, one to share with Hailey), hilarious ("I toot!" as she throws her head back into a laugh while sitting on the potty), and loving ("I love you" she spontaneously tells me while giving me a big hug as we sit and chat together.) 

This picture is SO her.

I attempted to interview Keira last week. I don't think the video does justice to just how fun she is, but it gives a little peek into who 2 year old Keira is.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

A Birthday Party for Leo

Last week we awoke one morning to 3-4 inches of snow outside. The girls were so excited. Hailey quickly ate breakfast and the next thing I knew she came bounding down the stairs in her snow gear ready to play. I helped Keira get ready and then sent them both outside to play while I cleaned up breakfast. That play lasted a whole 10 minutes before they were inside asking for hot chocolate. What were we going to do with the rest of our day!? I had no desire to leave the house, nor did I have anywhere to be. A day at home it was, but doing what?

And then Hailey informed me that it was Leo's birthday. (Leo is Hailey's imaginary friend Dideh's cousin. Don't be mistaken, Leo is a girl, Dideh is a boy. Leo is also Hailey's friend and occasionally comes around without Dideh. We don't see as much of them as we used to, but she still brings them up now and again.

Hailey began straightening up, even washing the banister, getting ready for our "visitors" who were coming to help celebrate Leo's birthday. And then she said we needed to decorate. That girl is all about the decorations. So, decorate we must.

Now, to be honest, I REALLY was not in the mood for partying and decorating that morning. I was not in a fun-mom mood. But... she REALLY wanted to, and what the hey, maybe it would pull me out of my funk. So... to the basement we went to gather streamers, gift bags, a plastic tablecloth, and even a happy birthday banner. Hailey directed the decorating and I followed directions, adding my own input here and there. 

After the decorating was done, we needed cupcakes. What is a birthday party without cupcakes!? Lucky for those girls I had froze leftover cupcakes from Keira's birthday a few months before. We pulled out three cupcakes and quickly defrosted them in the microwave. We had cupcakes, but we didn't have frosting. What we did have was the next best thing: Nutella. I spread a nice layer of Nutella on top and added a little shower of sprinkles. 

Quickly this birthday party evolved from being for Leo, into being for both Hailey and Keira. Each of them wanting to blow out a candle. So, to avoid any sort of fight, plus who cares, we're already eating cupcakes at 10:30 am for no reason other than the 5 year old suggested it, I placed one candle in each of the girls' cupcakes. We lit them on fire, because why have a candle with no fire? We sang a jolly round of Happy Birthday to You, stopping halfway to relight Keira's candle which she prematurely blew out.

And then the presents. Of course there had to be presents. Hailey put some of the girls toys in bags and stuffed in streamers and blankets to act as tissue paper. There were four presents, two for each girl to open. It was funny how excited they were about it, even though it wasn't anything new. Maybe I'll have to try that at their next real birthday. ;)

After Hailey opened her presents she exclaimed, "Now I'm six!" and then Keira chimed in with "I six too!" Wait! Stop! Don't grow up so fast! At least give me this year to enjoy before you add another year!

It was nearing lunchtime and I decided it had suddenly become a very special day, which requires a special lunch. We made personal pizzas and picnicked in front of the projector for a movie. Making their own pizzas is always a hit at lunchtime. We do it a couple times a month. It never grows old, not even for me. 

So, what began as a "I-don't-want-to-deal-with-today" day for me, blossomed into a morning of fun and even spilled over a bit into the afternoon. Sometimes it pays to listen to the 5 year-old's suggestions. Thanks for the fun day Hailey! 

Friday, March 13, 2015

Baby Girl #3

Yes! It's true. We're expecting a third little girl to join our clan this summer. Most days Kyle and I are still finding it difficult to believe there will be a third girl added to our family. I'm the one pregnant, with the ever expanding belly, feeling jabs and movement a few times each day, and I still can't wrap my head around it!

But the proof is there. It's really happening. 

We made the "facebook official" announcement while we were in Hawaii. Kyle had the funny idea to bury me in the sand and give me a bulging belly.

Both girls are excited. Hailey understands what is going on and can't wait for Baby Sister to come. She constantly asks me when it will be summer and when it will be June. One evening Hailey said the prayer at dinner and prayed that Baby Sister would grow and be healthy and also that she would come out soon. Kyle and I had to giggle at that one and then explain to her that we don't want Baby Sister to come so soon. 

Keira really has no idea what is coming her way. Poor girl is going to get her life flipped upside down. I worried a bit about Hailey when Keira was born, but I worry more about Keira with this baby. Keira is more attached to me and I'm afraid she'll struggle with sharing. But... who knows, it may be better than I expect. And at least she has Hailey to play with and to help her with things. Keira knows there's a baby in my tummy, or at least will point her out. One evening I tried explaining this difficult concept to her and she ran upstairs and brought down her own baby doll, lifted up my shirt and put the baby there. 2 year old logic, gotta love it! Keira has recently started to rub my belly and pet the baby. "I pet baby sister!" At least she's trying to be nice. :)

I'm currently at 24 weeks and feeling pretty good. The second trimester sure is a nice break from the blahs that come with early pregnancy and a calm before the real uncomfortable third trimester rolls in. My first trimester wasn't too bad. I was tired, but not as tired as I remember feeling with Keira. I did take plenty of naps, and the girls watched their share of movies. I felt nauseous, but was able to eat my way through it. Overall we're doing pretty good.

I do admit that my first thoughts about having another baby went straight to late night feedings, feeling trapped at home from nursing every 2 hours, body fluids everywhere- on me, on baby, on the floor, on the wall...., and diapers galore. But, a day or two ago I sat with Hailey and watched videos with her from when she was a baby. Oh... they are so cute, and cuddly. And it's fun to watch them grow and develop. It will be good to add a third girl to our family. I watch Hailey and Keira play, they have so much fun together. I try to picture a third little girl in the mix and sometimes it seems CRAZY and other times it seems like another dose of happiness. Either way, it's happening. In June (or July).

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Haileyisms- 5 years

I am a bit behind writing this post (isn't that about typical for me these days?) Most of these quotes come from months ago.

This is one of my favorite posts to write. Hailey can be so funny.

1. While shopping for clothes, the attendant helping us asked Hailey what her name is. She responded with "Batgirl". We have since had talks about how she needs to be secretive and not let people know she is Batgirl. Batgirl hides her identity. So Hailey has instead changed her name to Rachel, so no one will know she is Batgirl.

2. After making some kind statement (I really don't remember what) Hailey ended with "Entertain that!"

3. While driving in the car from the back seat Hailey said to me, "Mom, you are my masterpiece. You are good and great to me. I love you!"

4. Again, while driving in the car, Hailey asked Rara, "What is the train called that Papa rides to work?" Rara responded with "The Frontrunner." Hailey then asked, "Are the other ones the Backrunner?"

5. After a quick bathroom break at Lagoon Hailey was attempting to throw away a paper towel. She stood a few feet back and tried to throw it in and missed. And missed again. And again, and again... After finally making it into the trash can Hailey exclaimed (in a Batman voice) "First try!" (That is a quote from the Lego movie, if you haven't ever seen it...)

6. Kyle introduced Hailey to Smash Bros on the Wii. She loves it. One evening she asked Kyle to play. Keira tried to repeat Smash Bros. Hailey said it again for Keira to repeat again. Keira made another attempt. Hailey said, "No! Not marshmallow!"

7. After eating a filling Christmas Eve dinner Hailey sat back in her chair and said, "I am a wild beast!" And then, "I am stuffed like a tomato!"

8. Hailey has been learning to read and is picking up on words everywhere. My parents took the girls to see a movie at the movie theater. Hailey spotted a sign that said "Box Office." Confused, Hailey asked Rara why the sign said "box of ice?"

9. Hailey's logic is hilarious. She loves to play Apples to Apples. My parents found a version with pictures and Hailey is obsessed. When given the word "clean" Hailey put down a picture of a man with a camera who very obviously was a tourist. Her reasoning was that he took a shower and then went to Hawaii. When given the word "fun" she put down a picture of a dinosaur skeleton, because it is fun to go to the museum and see the dinosaurs. She won both of those points.


Hailey's birthday may or may not have been 4 months ago... and I finally sat down to record her yearly interview. I think my favorite part of the interview is what she wants to be when she grows up: a scientist, a doctor, and a cashier. :)

Monday, February 23, 2015

Hawaii: A Week in Paradise

This post is nearing a month overdue. There were so many pictures to sort through, it took me some time to select and edit them all. Finally, here is a review of our week long adventure in Hawaii.

The last week of January Kyle and I dropped our girls off to stay with my parents and then we headed out on a week long Hawaiian adventure with Kyle's parents and sister Brittany. Kyle's dad had an optometry conference to attend on the big island, and his parents invited us to come along. A trip to Hawaii mid-winter, how do you refuse that?!

This was my first visit to the islands, and my longest plane flight. I guess I don't get out much, or at least don't travel much beyond the west coast. The others had all been before, in fact Kyle lived there for a couple of years (on Oahu) when he was about Hailey's age.

We stayed on the Kona side of the big island, where the lava rock dominates, but the weather is still fantastic. I think the biggest happy point of the trip (besides no work, no cleaning, and no children) was the food. We dined on potato/mac salad, hamburgers, and ice cream all week long. And we loved it. We also went to a Luau where we were able to sample all sorts of Hawaiian foods (including the famous Kahlua pig) and sip on fruity drinks.

We hit up a small farmers market in town where Kyle stumbled upon rambutan (pictured above), a favorite fruit from Kyle's mission to the Philippines. He has described this fruit to me before, with it's hairy-like outside, but grape-like inside. So of course we bought some. I loved it! I really wish we could have taken some home with us, but Hawaii has strict laws on the import and export of fruits and flowers. Bummer.

We spent the first few days hanging out at the resort, watching the dolphins play, and relaxing by the ocean fed lagoon. Kyle and his dad snorkeled and caught sight of all sorts of tropical fish and sea turtles. We all tried our hand at paddle boarding, which gave the rest of us a chance to catch sight of some of the fish and turtles as well. Paddle boarding was surprisingly easier than it looked, which was good- I didn't want to get dunked. Mostly we relaxed in the sun reading books and snacking on food. That sunbathing felt nice, until I burnt my chest, on the first day in the sun. I may or may not have missed sun screening my entire chest. And then I spent the rest of the week extra lathering up trying to protect it from getting worse. Later on the week everyone else followed suit and ended up with some sort of burn. We're not used to so much sun mid-winter!

Kyle and I checking out our awesome sunburns. Kyle's isn't as easy to spot in the picture, but it was there pretty good.

Towards the mid to end of the week we set out to explore the island. We found a small black sand beach and got adventurous hiking over lava rock. We weren't planning on hiking, so not all of us were dressed for the occasion. I made the trek in flip flops and a dress. Maybe not the best shoes for the job, but it was still fun to get out and explore. The view of the ocean we discovered on our hike was pretty awesome. We were able to see whales in the distance breaching and shooting water from their spouts.  

The big island is the youngest island, which made for some interesting and diverse scenery. The Kona side is lava rock everywhere. It really isn't the picturesque Hawaii you think of. Still neat, but not as pretty. 

As we made our way around the island it began to green up. Up north was grassy and ranch land. Did you know one of the largest cattle ranches in the nation is on the big island of Hawaii? I had no idea, I definitely don't think cows when I think Hawaii. Although, now I might. :) 

The East side of the island is more of the lush green we imagine Hawaii to be. It is full of trees, flowers and waterfalls. I loved seeing the diversity of the island, seeing it in all stages of it's development.

We took one day to drive around to the East coast to see some waterfalls and check out the volcano. We hiked to Akaka Falls, which was a spectacular 400 ft drop.

On to the volcano we went. Kyle and I were really interested in seeing this. As we neared Kilauea we passed by Kurtistown, which of course necessitated a photo op. Kyle's dad's name is Kurtis, with a K and all.

We went to the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park to see what we could of active Kilauea. Unfortunately the current lava flow was outside of the park and inaccessible. Sad day. We really wanted to see some lava! It turned out ok, we didn't leave disappointed. We walked through the Thurston Lava Tube, a tube formed from lava that once flowed in the area. We joked that it's real origination was from large worms, like the movie Tremors. 

After the lava tube we took the Kilauea Iki trail and hiked down into a large crater inside Kilauea. The hike was 400 ft down and 400 ft up. But it was awesome! 60 years ago the crater held a lake of lava. Now cooled and hard we were able to trek clear across the crater. It was neat to see the beginning of vegetation popping up among the desolation. There were also a few active steam vents giving some small evidence of the activity of the volcano. This was one of the highlights of the trip. It was fun to get out and hike for a few hours and see a part of nature you don't find in Utah.

We finished off the week with a day at the beach. Good sand beaches are harder to come across on Hawaii Island. We found one with some good waves for boogie boarding and playing in the surf. Kyle had a blast. So much fun he broke both boogie boards. Whoops! At least we were at the end of our trip and wouldn't be needing them any longer anyway. Kyle got me out into the ocean to play in the waves, which was super fun, except for the salt water that sneaked its way into my nose and mouth. We attempted to jump over the waves as they rolled in. Kyle was better at it than me, I found myself constantly getting swept closer to shore. Honestly, it was fun to feel the water pull me in. At the same time it was humbling and a little scary to see just how powerful the ocean can be. 

After an entire week the sun finally set on our vacation and it was time to head back to reality. Getting back to motherhood and real life took a few days (or a week) to get used to again. Admittedly, the girls may have watched an extra amount of videos that week while I tried to catch up on my sleep in the mornings. 

My parents were so nice to watch the girls for us. 8 days of parenting small children again is no easy task, especially when you've been out of practice for 15 years or so. Sounds like the girls had fun playing at the park, the children's museum, jumping at Kangaroo Zoo, and even going to the circus. While we were spoiled in Hawaii they were spoiled by Papa and Rara, which is totally ok with me.


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