Thursday, October 31, 2013

Hallow's Eve

We were looking quite forward to Halloween this year.  It's amazing the excitement that a holiday can bring when you have little kids.  We spent weeks thinking about what each kiddo would dress up as and finally came to a consensus and had to get started on the costume prep.  We were also looking forward to our 2nd Annual Skyline/Trick-or-treating celebration with our close friends the McKasson's and the Lowden's.  

The holiday was actually celebrated several days before the actual day…thanks to preschool and fun holiday parties.  I love that Addison's school doesn't try to be politically correct in naming the celebration a "Fall Harvest party" and instead just calling it what it is….a Halloween party!  Jonas and Brooklyn were happy to be able to join in Addison's school party as well.  Especially Jonas since he got to partake in all the yummy goodies/snacks.  That boy loves his snacks folks.  

Brooklyn all dressed up and ready to go to Sister's Halloween Party.
Addison chowing down on all the yummy snacks.

And alas, a picture of her whole preschool class and teachers in their costumes.
Next, came the actual day of Halloween.  We didn't waste time celebrating since we joined some friends that morning at IHOP to take advantage of the free Halloween pancakes.  The kids had a blast devouring them (mostly since they lacked any nutritional content I'm sure).  It was so fun hanging out with friends and kick-starting a fun and busy holiday.
Brooklyn all dressed up in Halloween Outfit #2.  Yes, she's humoring her mother.  ;)
Addison posing with her happy face pumpkin pancake she decorated herself. 
Jonas doesn't waste time with posing.  Food is serious business to this guy.
Next, we headed home to rest up before we dressed up in costumes and went on our next adventure.  Chili and fun with friends before trick-or-treating the neighborhood.  Of course naps were involved (my favorite part of the day)…

Brooklyn felt the need to get into true pirate character…or else she was trying to get a little shut-eye during her nap?
Next came Halloween outfits and yummy Skyline Chili with friends.  Our families always have a good time together and we are keeping our yearly Halloween tradition alive and well.  We are grateful for close friends like the McKasson's and Lowden's.

First up….Captain America!  Apparently he has more power when he sticks his tongue out.  I couldn't help but SQUEEZE him in this outfit.  I love the ab muscles most of all.  That and the fact that his little hat/helmet wouldn't stay on his big bulbous head.  He's the cutest Captain America I've ever seen!
Next, Mommy's little Monkey.  It's a Hufford tradition that the first baby always wears the monkey outfit.  Mostly because it's cute and warm and comfortable.  Yes, I started this tradition proudly.  I love my monkeys!
And last but not least, our American Ninja Warrior!!  Originally she wanted to be a princess (again) but Daddy talked her into being a Ninja.  She LOVES watching the TV show American Ninja Warrior so it wasn't hard to convince her.  She makes a cute ninja!
And last but not least on our way to our first trick-or-treating house - Grandma & Grandpa Fields.  They give out the best candy.  ;)  It's also a tradition (yes mine) that I pose with the kiddos in their costumes right in front of their house.  We started it with Addison and kept it going every year.  :)
We had such a fun evening trotting around to the houses in the neighborhood.  Addison and Jonas LOVED it.  Who wouldn't?  Knocking on doors and getting candy for free?!  It didn't take Jonas long to catch on this year.  Addison was running from house to house with the big kids while Jonas hung back with Mom & Dad & Brooklyn.  It was hilarious to hear him call for Addison at each door before we knocked on it.  A fun time was had by all…even Brooklyn who stayed snuggled up in her stroller the whole time and was happy as can be.  
Happy Halloween!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Punkins & Patches

Every year we look forward to making the trek to our local pumpkin patch.  Technically the "trek" is only about a 10 minute drive and the pumpkin patch itself isn't the best out there but for our needs (i.e. family with young kiddos) it's plenty sufficient for what we are looking for.  

This year we went a little earlier than usual.  It worked out well since we seemed to beat most of the rush.  There was so much to do and we didn't quite know where to start.  Luckily, the pony rides were first on our path and thus first on our list…

She's a natural so she gets to ride without help.
Jonas started out riding without help but kept saying "Whoa, Whoa" while flexing every muscle in his body.  Daddy took pity on him and convinced him he wasn't falling off like he thought.  I don't blame him though, the saddle was leaning a bit.

Next was the corn box.  I was particularly looking forward to this new feature until I saw exactly how big (small) the box was.  I guess I had loftier expectations.  Luckily the kids didn't and seemed to enjoy themselves anyway.

Next came the petting zoo.  We got to see/touch the animals through a little partitioned off fence.  That worked well for my kids since even that took some warming up for them.  By the end of our stay they were petting goats like nobody's business!

And of course, the famous corn maze.  We always opt for the kiddie maze since none of us are very direction oriented and getting lost in corn (or worse, losing a child in corn) doesn't sound like a fun outcome.  We went through a few switchbacks and let Addison lead us a bit until we finally made it back to the entrance.  Good enough for us folks!

Daddy with the children of the corn.
Mommy with the children of the corn.  I have an extra since she was strapped to me.  ;)
And of course, we HAD to jump on the hay bales.  I did this a LOT and loved it when I was growing up.  My Grandpa was a cattle farmer and always had hay bales in the yard.  I was excited to see Addison loved it as much as I used to.  She kept asking to go back to the hay bales the whole time we were there.  Have I mentioned she's my twin?

Jonas was also a pro but always seemed to land on his knees onto the next bale.  He didn't seem to mind but it hurt me just watching him.  I love this mid-jump picture. 

And of course, it wouldn't be a pumpkin patch trip without a ride on the cow train.  Every year, I keep hoping the kids are old enough to ride this by themselves.  Addison, yes.  Jonas, eh I don't trust him to stay in the cart while they disappear out of sight.  Soooo, that meant I got stuck riding it once again.  Normally, it'd be fine but since I barely fit by myself, holding a child on top of me doesn't make for the most comfortable ride.  And without fail, we always seem to get a "bouncing cow" which means my knee caps grate on the plastic with each bounce throughout our whole journey.  What I won't do for my cute kiddos….and to ensure that Jonas stays IN the cow train for the duration of the ride.

Mommy riding with her cute boy.  

Addison braving the train on her own.  She's SUCH a photogenic girl - I'm jealous.

All in all, we had a BLAST at the pumpkin patch.  The weather was perfect and the kids enjoyed it.  It's always such a fun way to kick off the fall season.  We are big fans of Fall in this house.

Of course, another fun tradition to check off our list is the carving of the pumpkins.  We didn't bother doling out all our cash on the pumpkin patch pumpkins.  We picked ours up from Walmart instead.  They are quite a bit cheaper but didn't seem to last too long before they rotted out.  It was probably due to the fact we carved them fairly early this year.  

The kids didn't seem to hesitate when it came time to pull the guts out.  It was right up Jonas' alley.

It's a bit blurry but the kids were excited to show off their masterpieces.  I love celebrating Halloween through my children's eyes.  Everything is so much more exciting.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Primary Practice

Let it be known, even before (many years before) I had children or was married, I was always a fan of the primary program at church.  Spending so much time in a University (Singles) Ward we didn't have a primary and thus I was lacking in watching those cute kids sing songs and repeat their parts from memorization.  Obviously, it's no secret I was beyond excited that Addison was FINALLY able to participate in her FIRST ever Primary Program as a Sunbeam.  We were both excited to practice her part for the two weeks before hand.  Addison has always had a great memory and it didn't take her long at all to memorize her part.  

I was the lucky one that got to take her to the Saturday afternoon practice and see the whole program before the actual day.  It was sooo cute watching her sit up there reverently next to her friends and wait for her turn at the microphone.  And she did great when it finally came.  Her teacher was whispering everyone's parts in their ear as they stepped up to the microphone.  However, I mentioned casually to her that Addison knew her part and was probably just shy but she knows it!  She was glad to hear it and commented that she'd give Addison the opportunity to say it all on her own on the big day of the program.

The day of the program came and we even sat on the opposite side of our "usual bench" just so we could see our little Sunbeam sing her songs and say her part.  She did great - although it was hard to see her past all the big kids.  She even said her part perfectly.  We couldn't have been more proud.  And it must have shone on our faces because she was equally as proud and happy to participate.  I'm amazed that she was able to stand in front of so many faces.  I even have a hard time with that when I give talks.  So proud of our big Sunbeam Addison.  And yay for finally having a girly that is old enough for the primary program!

Addison's Part:  "Heavenly Father's Plan is a plan of Happiness!"

Friday, October 11, 2013

Doing Our Part

One of the (many) things I admire about our church is the opportunity we have to clean the building together as a family twice a year.  We are all assigned a particular time/day and we are always happy to do our small part.  Maybe it's the fact that my Mother has spent 15+ years working as a facilities maintenance manager and has forced me to acquire the passion of caring for our own local ward building?  Either way it's a great time to give back and serve Heavenly Father by cleaning his house.  It also makes for a great family activity.  I didn't realize just how much fun it would be until Addison and Jonas got so excited about it.  It's one of the perks of having little ones - appreciating and enjoying even what is usually a mundane and boring task.  

Addison and Jonas were GREAT helpers.  Brooklyn, not so much - but she is only 4 months old so we will forgive her.  She was at least good about being happy while she waited for us to do our part.  With such happy helpers we were finished in a jiffy!

Addison and Jonas were both running around with these carpet sweeper vacuums and "helping" which means leaving a trail of dirt for me to follow behind and pick up.  Either way it was cute to see how much they enjoyed taking care of Heavenly Father's house.  We are grateful. 
Helping each other wipe up the black marks on the gym floor.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Cousin Reunion

This past week, we had the opportunity to have a little cousin-reunion.  Not so much for Addison and all of her cousins but for Me and my cousin.  For those that don't know, I grew up very close to my cousin Jared.  I'd say we easily consider each other best friends.  We've been through life together…the ups and the downs…and we've always been able to help each other through them…especially by laughing.  I'm grateful for him and all the memories we've created through the years.  Mostly, from our grand adventures across the world together.  Now that we are both married and have families of our own, he's still so good about keeping in touch.  Which is how his trip to Missouri with his two kiddos came to be.  We were grateful we could drop everything and meet up with him…even though poor John had to stay behind and work.  I enjoyed getting to show Addison and Jonas how much fun my cousin really was.  They had a blast as did I.

After it was all said and done, we actually got to spend almost a whole four days together.  It was a great week (although a busy one) of seeing a lot of my relatives and catching up with everyone.  Of course, Addison and Jonas and Brooklyn didn't mind being showered in a little Grandma Bell love since we stayed with her during our trip.  

We just arrived at Grandma's house and we needed to send Daddy a picture letting him know we missed him.

One of the first days we were there we met up with my Aunt Lorraine at the farm park and enjoyed some donuts.  We were able to visit with my Aunt Lorraine, my Uncle Kenny & Aunt Sharon, my cousin-in-law Sarah and her boys, my cousin Jared and his kids, and my cousin Sara and her kiddos.  It was a beautiful day and so much fun to catch up and visit.

Addison and Tiana were great friends fast.  It was so fun to see how well they got along together.

It didn't take Jonas long to work up a sweat or find a tractor.  He makes a cute little farmer.  My Grandpa Bell would be proud.
Another day we spent with Jared and his kids at Silver Dollar City.  It was a great day for the most part.  We purposely arrived early so Jared and I could hit up the big rides before the lines grew too long.  The day worked out perfectly.  There was hardly a crowd and we buzzed through so many rides so fast.  Which was good for Grandma Bell too since she was juggling the five kids total while we had some fun.  By the time we worked our way to the kiddie land the rain started making an appearance.  There was a good 10 minutes or so of hard downpour where we all had to crowd in with strangers under the little awnings and we did get a little wet.  However, I didn't mind at all since we practically had the park to ourselves after that.  We survived the day and had a blast doing it - kids included!

Jonas riding the little kid swings.  He was excited although you can't tell by his face.  ;)

Addison waiting patiently for the swings to start swinging.

I was the kind one and bit the bullet and took the kids on the spinning tea cups.  Jared will forever be in my debt for that one.  How could I say no to these cute (and dirty) faces? 

Brooklyn easily wins the award for "Best Baby to take to an amusement park!"  She was such a trooper…even through the downpour of rain!

Throughout our visit we spend a lot of down time just visiting and spending time catching up.  Those visits are the ones that bring back memories of the good ole days.  We had a lot of reminiscing on the good ole days during this trip.  

Jonas was being a little shree-haw for Carson and happily pushing him around the house.  They were both loving it.  The two-year old pushing the four-year old.  ;)

Addison hanging out during one of our visits to my Aunt Sharon's house.  We were very appreciative of her hospitality and entertainment.
Overall, it was SUCH a great visit and definitely worth the trip to reunite with Jared.  I hope we always stay close no matter how much distance separates us or how many kids we have.  He's a great friend and I consider myself lucky to have him.

Play Dates

These past few months we've had a lot of opportunities to get out and have some fun.  A few mothers around here have formed a playgroup of sorts and we each take turns coming up with some fun ideas.  We are always looking for an excuse to get out of the boring house so it's always a fun time for all of us.  Here is a bit of what adventures we've been on lately...

Firehouse Field Trip
We started the festivities off at Firehouse Subs with lunch and a few friends.  It was yummy and quite interesting to juggle three kiddos since Brooklyn was still very much in the newborn phase during this one.  After lunch we were off to meet up with at the Centerton Fire Station and get a tour of the station by a real fire man.  It was great and we had lots of friends join us.  We got to learn all about the special vehicles, see where they sleep, and play on a real fire truck.  The kids loved it.

Addison and Jonas posing at the fire station.

It took a lot of coaxing to get Addison to stand next to the fire man but she finally did it.  It was pretty hot inside the station so we felt really bad that he had to dress up in all that gear.  

Krispy Kreme Tour
On another day we were lucky enough to take a tour of the Krispy Kreme Kitchen!  I think I was just as excited as the kids were.  We had to break off into groups of four but it was still exciting.  I'm not sure how much the kids actually listened to how the donuts are made but I thought it was interesting.  They mostly liked the part where they got to decorate their own chocolate donut with sprinkles.  
Jonas the donut decorator.

Addison the donut decorator.

And alas, they were able to dine on their delectable donuts after the tour was over.  What kid wouldn't love a field trip like this?

Jonas enjoying his tasty treat he made.  He has a tendency to face plant into his food instead of bother with actually picking it up...hence the chocolate lips.

Farm Fun
 On another occasion I was able to organize a fun trip to the farm.  There is a kind lady in our ward that has a small farm and was more than happy to share it with a handful of excited little kiddos.  We were able to see her milk the goats, check out the baby chicks, look for eggs in the hen house, feed the Mama Chickens their bread, pet the nice horse, and snuggle up to a few goats as well.  There was so much to see and do and the kids loved it.  We even had the opportunity to taste fresh goats milk at the end of our tour.  I tried to convince Addison to taste it but she was not interested.  She must take after her Mama....I wouldn't touch it either.  Oh well, we all had a fun time and were grateful to Sister Homer for sharing her daily chores with us.  

Addison trying to feed the chickens some bread.

Jonas and his buddy shooting the breeze while watching the cattle.    Such a cute picture.

Addison and Jonas watching the goats.  

I'm sure we'll have plenty more adventures as time goes on so stay tuned!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

3 Months Old

This cute little chick-pea turned three months old.  I must say it really flies by with the third child.  However, I'm also learning to enjoy the newborn phase a lot more than I did before.  I've let go of a lot of anxieties and am soaking in more of the day-to-day.  We have been blessed with very good children and I'm definitely grateful.  Having said that, Brooklyn seems to be the EASIEST baby to date.  Or maybe my memory is lacking with the other two - because they were good babies too.  At any rate, we are LUCKY with this lady.  She is rarely fussy, almost always smiley, and only cranky when we are fighting to get a bubble out of her tummy or she's hungry.  And speaking of hungry…she is nursing better than the other two by far.  I think it's mostly progress I've made on my end.  We still haven't mastered it perfectly but at this point in the game it's working so we are riding the wave.  

I don't know what it is about my children and pictures.  They all spend so much of their time away from the camera soooo happy and content and smiley.  But, the minute you try to snap a picture of them they go stone cold sober.  I vividly remember having to work up quite a sweat just to get 3 month old Addison to smile for me….and she still never did.  Luckily Brooklyn came through eventually with this beauty…

And of course, she gets even better with this one.  Love that smiley cheesing face.  

So, what can I share about our beautiful 3 month old Brooklyn?  She is so good and so mellow and so happy.  She is very patient with Mommy while I juggle life with the older two kids.  You'd think the roles would be reversed and they would be the ones waiting on me and Brooklyn but no.  Just the other day as Addison and Jonas were begging for breakfast (within two minutes of waking up) I looked over at little Brooklyn in her bassinet and she was just awake and cooing away and happy.  And wouldn't you know she stayed that way while I fed the other two starving siblings.  How did I get so lucky?  We love our little "Book a lynn" and are so excited to have her in our family.  Addison spends the majority of her day on TOP of her and Jonas loves to sneak up next to her and cuddle with "Bwooken".  She adores them both and I just LOVE watching them love on each other.  It's easily one of my favoritest things about being a Mom.  Oh and a disclaimer.  I don't have any "3 month old stats" with our little chunker since we don't go see the doctor until her 4 month appointment so stay tuned!  We do know she's happy and healthy - the pictures are proof of that!