Sunday, April 26, 2015

The Three House

We had a major burst of spring cleaning this year. For the first time ever, we are doing a yard sale courtesy of bumming off my sister's neighborhood's annual yard sale. So we have torn apart our whole house clearing out all our old junk. Before long we couldn't help but notice all the old junk in our yard as well -- four years' worth of dead bushes and decayed trees that we had never taken care of. 
A couple Saturdays ago we ripped out all our dead foliage with the help of our Yukon. Then we got a few trees to fill in the gaps. Our yard is still a work in progress, but it's looking much more lively and crisp than previous years.
These little rascals are troopers when it comes to yard work. They love to help pull weeds and throw sticks into the trash for us.
My boys have what's becoming an increasingly unhealthy obsession with Rescue Bots. It is literally the only show they watch and the only "make believe" they play. (I say make believe in quotes because I truly don't think they think they are make believing because this world is so real to them). Thankfully I think Transformers are one of the less annoying kid shows, and I think the concept is pretty clever, so I don't mind accepting them into our family. And I don't mind seeing evidence of their integral part of our lives strategically placed around the house every now and then.
Lincoln is an angel baby, you guys. He is so sweet. He rarely cries. He is super mellow. Super smiley. Super chill. He has started sleeping 6-hours for his first chunk of sleep at night. He's getting himself on a schedule. He's molding to my attempts to get him used to falling asleep on his own. He is seriously an angel. On the rare occasion he is fussy for unexplained reasons, all I have to do is flip him on his belly like so and he doesn't let out another peep until he's hungry or tired. Love my sweet boy!
One day Eli made this train track and wanted me to take a picture of it to send to Jeff. Little did I know I would capture this sweet moment between Lincoln and Carson while filling Eli's demands.
I was in charge of a Miamaid class activity for mutual. I thought it would be fun to water color our favorite quotes from last General Conference. Seeing as I know...ahem...knew nothing about watercoloring, I practiced the day before with rain drizzling, Lincoln napping and the older boys wrapped up in an episode of Rescue Bots. It was unexpectedly heavenly. I hit my artistic stride with the conditions just perfectly so and quite enjoyed releasing a little artistic energy onto a slab of paper.
Two people at church today randomly told me they could just tell Jeff is an awesome dad. Umm. Yeah. He definitely is. I wouldn't have believed dads as good as Jeff existed prior to seeing him with our boys. I'm convinced we have all boys because more boys in the world need an example like him as a father. He's just the best and his loving interactions with the herd we're raising constantly remind me how lucky we all are to have him.
In what I have now deemed as the most artistic week of my life, two days after my watercolor experimenting, I whipped up one of my more artistic birthday cake attempts for my Optimus Prime loving two-year-old's third birthday!

The days leading up to this cake's assembly Carson changed his mind about which Rescue Bot he wanted to see in cake form 4,359,049 times. I knew deep down Optimus is his favorite, so I took a gamble and went with the Optimus cake. He was completely satisfied with the result.

We had been talking about Carson's birthday in great detail all week, Carson had been staring at his Optimus Prime birthday cake all day prior to April 16th, and when he woke up on his big day, I had balloons all over the house. He came down the stairs looking like this:
I said to him, "CARSON! Is today a special day?!?! What is today?!?!"
He said, "Friday?" with some confusion evident in his voice.

Ha. He eventually figured out it was Thursday. Aaaaaaand his BIRTHDAY!
And then he was super cute and excited.

Eli woke up and immediately knew what was going on. Eli's got the order of all our birthdays memorized and methodically calculated so that he knows when his turn is up. This was just another tick in the line to get him one step closer to his big day. Worth celebrating if you ask him.
Carson got a helmet, some chalk, some Play-Doh, and some activity books for church.
Carson loves to pretend to cook any time I am cooking. He loves food and he loves to help people make food. I got him a bunch of toy food and toy pots and pans as his big gift this year. He seemed to like it!
Lincoln was happily a part of the big day as well.
I have done little birthday parties for my kids before, but lately I'm into going to do something fun for the kids' birthday. We met up with my mom and sister at The Treehouse to give us something fun to do that day.
I love places like this! Eli was finally big enough to run around without me having to worry about where he was every second of the day.
And I THOUGHT Carson was old enough to kind of stay with the group and mindful enough to stay relatively near me, but that proved to be an incorrect assumption. Carson was the king of pinging around through all the rooms at lighting speed. He wouldn't stay in one place for more than .21 seconds. And if he did appear to stay somewhere, he would make his move to the next location just as I turned my head, so I was constantly losing him.

He hadn't gotten himself in too much trouble in the brief moments I lost track of him, so by the end of the day I was less nervous to find him out of sight. Just after this picture was taken, he vanished, but I thought he was behind one of those walls in the background.
My mom, sister and I started chatting about plans for Lincoln's baby blessing when I realized it had been a while (5 minutes or so) since I had seen Carson. With my senses piqued at the thought of Carson missing, I was suddenly able to hone in on a distant cry that sounded all too familiar. I looked over the edge, and saw Carson halfway out the front door, screaming, with three employees surrounding him.

Somehow he had walked right past me, my mom and my sister, down the stairs, past all the exhibits downstairs, straight out the front door in a matter of minutes. I ran down to rescue him and the employees said he got his arm stuck in the door on the way out. Not sure if they would have stopped him had his arm not been I was glad the door provided some sort of security to prevent the jail break.

What's hilarious is Jeff was across the street at the temple while we were at the museum. He said as he walked out of the temple he could have sworn he heard Carson crying, but thought it had to be in his head. When we figured out the timeline, he definitely DID hear Carson crying. It was slightly reassuring to know had Carson managed to break free, Jeff would have been right there to find him wandering the streets of Ogden. Ha.
We went back home and had Carson's favorite dinner -- potstickers, rice and broccoli. Then we fired up the Optimus Prime cake.
We went down to Cedar City a couple days later. Mary gave Carson a soccer ball and a little soccer outfit so Carson could get into the world of soccer with Eli's latest interest.
Carson looked super cute decked out in his new attire!
Happy Birthday to our spunky three-year old! Carson loves people. He has no fear or boundaries when it comes to interacting with people he does or doesn't know. I envy that about him! He thrives on attention and loves to get a good laugh out of people. He never takes things too seriously which helps me remember to have fun. He adores Eli and tries to do everything just like his big brother.

He is constantly cracking us up with his toy preferences. He loves to find unlikely toy pairings. For example one day he rummaged through the pantry and found a can of chicken broth and a measuring cup and possessively walked around for a whole week hoarding a can of chicken broth that perfectly fit inside a measuring cup. He loves things that fit inside each other that don't necessarily go together.

He is really smart with his words. He loves to change one or two letters of words. Like he'll say, "Hi Bommy, I'm Barson!" And then he'll go around the house reciting what he sees but making everything start with the letter "B."

He also sounds out each letter in words when he gets bored, which has impressed me that he can identify all the sounds. He'll go, "I-i-i-i-i w-w-w-a-a-n-n-n-n-t-t-t-t-t w-w-w-a-a-a-t-t-t-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-r-r." annunciating each individual letter several times before moving onto the next letter in the word.

He still gets mildly abusive when he is bored. Usually Eli gives him the attention he needs, but when Eli's gone or ignoring him, he goes throwing his head into people or walls to get people to notice him. Ha. That kid.

We've taken a step back on potty training. We never had much success with #2, and we were starting to have some annoying issues, so I just decided to give up on it all together even though he was completely trained otherwise. I'm swallowing my pride and letting him come to me to let me know when he's ready to be potty trained because Carson is not one that does well with being pushed into things before he's made up his mind that that's what he's going to do. So we wait.

Some of my favorite catchphrases of Carson are:
"BAD BOY MOMMY!" When I'm doing something he doesn't approve of like trying to change his diaper.

"What that smell?" He asks this a trillion times a day. He has the nose of...something with a really good nose. No smell gets by him without his noticing it and drawing attention to it.

"I LOVE YOU SO MUCH!" Said every night as Jeff leaves the room after putting the boys to bed. Jeff says, "I love you." and walks out. Then Carson will scream this at Jeff as he's walking down the hall over and over again until Jeff echoes it back to him. It's become a cute nightly ritual that leaves everyone with a smile at the end of some hectic days.

"Are you cooking dinner?" Anytime anyone is in the kitchen, any time of day, they will be asked this question. If the answer is "Yes," the next sound in the house is a chair being scraped across the kitchen floor to the counter so Carson can help with the meal prep.

Whew. There's Carson's three-year update. He is a joy. He is a terror. He is a sweetheart. He is a maniac. He's everything you'd expect from a three-year old and he's so much more than you'd expect from a three-year old. I love that kid and I'm glad he's ours!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Bombs Away

As soon as I heard this song it screamed, "MAKE A MUSIC VIDEO!" to me. So I did. Enjoy!

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Sniper, Stroller and Sundays

Eli has recently taken an interest in guns despite my rigorous efforts to uninterest him in guns. One day I sniped a picture of him sniping what I hope was just birds with a gun-shaped stick.
In one of the least smooth transitions I've made on the blog, let's hop from sniping to my sweet baby's first day at church!
He was a complete angel the whole time. Slept all through Sacrament Meeting. Was loud and gurgly in Sunday School -- giving Jeff an excuse to go sit on the comfy couches with him in the hall. And then was a perfect little peanut in combined Priesthood/Relief Society. He didn't even need to be fed! He was a peach and everyone was anxious to finally see our little preemie that we've kept locked up for so long.
The secret to my sanity in the summer is walks to the park. I have been dying wondering how the heck I was going to maintain my sanity with three bums and a stroller with only two seats. After discovering there was in fact such a thing as a triple stroller, I began my hunt for a second-hand triple stroller.

I eventually found a steal of a deal in Provo and I made my brother pick it up for me. When he dropped it off at my parents' house he said, "You're assault vehicle is at mom's." When I got behind the wheels of our new ride, I began to agree with him that "assault vehicle" was the best description of the beast that is our new summer transportation. 
I think it will take a little time to break us all into our new wheels. We're feeling a little skeptical about the stroller bus.

Jeff went out of town one weekend so I went to my parents' house for help managing the rascals. My mom and I went to a pretty park in Salt Lake for an excursion one afternoon.

My mom's been enjoying soaking up as much of newborn-sized Lincoln as she can.
Lincoln has remained newborn size going on three months now. I don't think he's broken 9 pounds yet.
Eli scraped his face at the park and it bubbled up into a nasty road rash. Even with his scrape, he and Madison look adorable for their unintended matchy matchy moment.
One day I took the boys to a park. A few other kids came while we were there and asked Eli and Carson their names. Eli and Carson responded, "Bumblebee and Optimus Prime." They're beginning to live in a complete Rescue Bot alternate reality. And I'm beginning to wonder at what point I should be concerned about their obsession.
Becky finally got some time to snuggle the Lincoln-meister. I loved his little hand dangling out from under the blanket.
My mom helped me put the kids to bed and made it look like a cakewalk all the while.
Lincoln has started acting like the 6-week old I've been craving. He's becoming more structured in his routine, he's becoming more interactive with smiles and coos, and he's an overall happier baby. Yay!
I keep having the urge to capture Lincoln's tininess, but I haven't had a good measurement tool to gauge his size. One day I put my hand up to his head and finally felt like I had found a good lasting measurement to show how itty bitty his head is.
He is turning into the sweetest little smiley boy. I get so excited every time we can weasel a grin out of him.
Along with the six-week cuteness has come the six-week difficulty sleeping. We're out of the pleasant newborn-who-will-sleep-wherever-and-whenever stage and he's become a little more temperamental with his slumber. He went through a little phase where he kept waking up either 10 or 20 minutes after I put him down and it was driving me completely batty!

My friend gave me the book, "Secrets of the Baby Whisperer" several weeks ago which came in handy when Lincoln's sleep issues emerged. I've used the sleep advice in the book and so far it's helped get Lincoln used to falling asleep on his own and consequently stay asleep for longer than 10 minutes at a time! Lifesaver! I highly recommend the book.

Not in the book is my tip to shove a blanket behind the binky to get it to stay in place. There's nothing more annoying than a dozing baby who gets startled awake after losing his binky!
We did our first city Easter Egg Hunt this year. Eli was psyched!
Right after the Easter Egg Hunt we went to my parents' house for General Conference Weekend.
The kids kept busy for part of conference by raiding all my parents' board games.

Lincoln kept busy by being lulled to sleep by the speakers' soothing voices.
I bribed the kids with homemade ice cream to pose for an adorable picture.
My dad seized an opportunity to bond with Lincoln after I unintentionally neglected his cries upon waking up from his afternoon nap. I'm used to three-year old screaming to get my attention, so I'm still not used to sifting through the noise for Lincoln's muffled cries in a house full of busy kids.
G&G Thomas with their newest grandchild who only got that title for a few weeks before his newer cousin stole the spotlight from him.
Carson and Grandpa having a stare-down. Probably because Carson repeatedly ran into him or ran by him and punched his legs or banged his head into their wall. Carson is the definition of bull in a china shop. And sometimes the only way to tame the bull is to give him a good stare-down.
Also, we're going to Disneyland again! We spent Sunday working on inputting our signatures into the computer for one of our t-shirt designs. You didn't expect us to go to Disney again and NOT have matching t-shirts, did you?!?

Upon realizing we had yet to snap a cute family picture with our newest family member, I made the family trudge out back to get my dream shot. Eli -- for the first time in his life -- was concerned about getting muddy which resulted in him walking through the grass like this:
And it was all for this shot. With a screamy Lincoln. An awkward Sarah. A crabby Eli. And a creepy Carson. Oddly, Jeff, who was the least excited about this picture, turned out the cutest. Go figure.