Friday, February 28, 2014

A Day In The Life...

Time for picture catch-up!  Here's a little randomness of what we've been up to lately...

My three cute little Hufford Pups cuddled together for bedtime.
Jonas is the first child to realize he can color on floors and walls with crayons and markers.  He's also the first to realize he can clean it up as well.  He actually enjoyed the cleaning process.  So much for a deterrent for the future. 
Addison has been trying to prove she is too old for nap time.  Instead she is allowed "quiet time" while the others nap.  Who wouldn't love "quiet time" when it involves a movie on the iPad, and a 5 gallon bucket of cheese balls?
Again, another mess brought to you by Jonas.  Luckily most of it stayed on the tile.  And luckily he enjoyed cleaning this one up too.  Sigh...this boy.
Celebrating the Super Bowl as a family and John cooked a huge spread of yummy snacks.  Of all the options to eat Jonas prefers to dip a celery into fruit dip.  Crazy guy.
We were in desperate need of some sunshine and outdoors after a "crazy Mommy moment" indoors.  Luckily, once we found it we had smiles all around.  I love this smile of Brooklyn's.
Jonas and Addison have started venturing into the backyard to enjoy the weather and some space.  Within minutes this is how I found the boy....wet, muddy, and loving every minute of it.  He's definitely all boy.
Another park adventure and Brooklyn is enjoying her first time in a swing!
Love my three babies.  I especially love Jonas' "cheese" smile in this picture.  ;)
Sisters.  Who else will happily clean all the toe jam out of your toesies?  Surprisingly, they both enjoy the process.
A quick photo-op with Daddy.  
Addison and Jonas racing around a fun impromptu car track thrown together by Daddy! 
Jonas decided to help himself to seconds long after we had all left the table.  This boy is a Curious George...JUST like his Father.
A quick moment of sisterly love.  I especially love that I snapped this before Addison could pose.  It shows how much they adore each other and I love it.
Jonas perches himself like this very often.  I used to tell him to get down but it's wasted effort.  We just embrace it and hope he can keep his record of not falling backward.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Cousin Chaos

We had the opportunity to celebrate a belated "Grandpa Bell Christmas" in Kansas City.  It was the brainchild of Michelle and Colton and we all joined in to help make it a party.  Granted, it was WELL past Christmas but really, who even needs a good reason to take a road trip to visit cousins?  It was jam-packed full of lots of fun but was definitely worth it in the end.  

I was brave enough and drove the three kiddos by myself since John had to stay behind for work.  It actually wasn't too bad and the kids were very nice to me almost the whole time.  They must have known I was "single-parenting" it.  

I decided to head out on our 3 1/2 hour drive at night.  Yes, some may think it's silly but it was all part of my plan.  And it worked beautifully.  Within an hour the kids were sawing logs.  I let them watch a movie for the first hour in exchange for "bed-time" in the car afterward.  They fell for it and I think they even enjoyed the change-up of their usual bed-time at home.  It's so much more exciting in a car ya know.  Plus, I think I deprived them of naps that day so they'd be extra tired.  This ain't my first rodeo.  ;)

So, with the kids sound asleep and me enjoying having the highway all to myself, it was quite a relaxing trip.  I even indulged in some late night treats on my journey and didn't even have to share!  Can you say "vacation?"  My mother of course, was worried sick about me.  She spent days insisting I didn't take on the venture but I didn't listen.  After all, I am a grown adult that is 35 years old.  Instead, I allowed her to talk to me during my whole drive so she could be convinced that I was staying awake.  I wasn't the least bit tired but it did pass the time just chatting with her along the way.  We rolled into Aunt Michelle's house at 12:30 and made a somewhat smooth transition with sleeping kids.  All except for Jonas and Brooklyn who decided it was morning time at 1:30 am and fought me tooth and nail to get a few minutes of shut-eye.  

After that, the weekend was a blur.  I was in half-asleep mode all day Saturday but luckily we were so busy doing stuff that I never had the chance to hold still OR fall asleep.  Michelle was also very gracious in letting me nap both days as well.  She was just thrilled I came on our adventure in the first place so she insisted on making it worth my while.

Take a look at all of our fun in pictures!

Brooklyn got in a little Grandpa time.  This was during her 2-week "I only want my mommy" mode so we were lucky to get a picture of her not crying.  It didn't last long.
Addison having fun with the musical instruments at Wonderscope.

Jonas prefers to treat the violin as a guitar.  
Saturday bath night.  Michelle and Colton get the reward for fastest child bathers this side of the county.  It was all a blur as I sat and watched them.  I was just thankful I didn't have to do the dreaded bath time routine.  
All the cousins posing after they did their valentine exchange. 
Addison had everyone laughing when she threw a loop into the "Valentine Walk" (cake walk) game.  For as much as she likes to "be shy" she just loves when she's the center of attention too.  She was hilarious. 
Jonas and Brady.  Cousin buddies.  Shooting the breeze.
What isn't shown in these pictures is the endless amount of fun we all had as we rushed from one event to the next.  It was a whirlwind weekend but Grandpa enjoyed himself so it was worth it.  I'd have to say we enjoyed ourselves too.  Nothing like pure exhaustion when it's time to make a 3 1/2 hour drive home by yourself with three little kids.  They slept wonderfully.

Happy Belated Christmas Grandpa Bell!  We love cousins!

Friday, February 14, 2014

Valentines 2014

John laughs at me for going so overboard with Valentine's day.  I will admit that I'm a bit over the top but lets reflect on just how many Valentine's Days I spent single with no boyfriend/husband/kids and then we will come to realize that I'm perfectly balanced in my gift giving - festivity celebrating hoopla.  ;)

This Valentine's Day was quite fun.  I had THREE kiddos to surprise with trinkets and goodies and love and such.  One may argue that Brooklyn was only 7 months old and she won't remember it and doesn't need anything.  To them I say poppycock.  Pictures are taken to document the day and I wouldn't dream of hearing her say "Mommy, where were my goodies?"  When she looks back on them in her older years.  Okay, she may never say/do that but it's more fun to indulge everyone in heart-day goodness.  Especially when it's soooo fun to do it!

Here's a glimpse of what was waiting for them for breakfast.  Valentine's is the perfect day to stock up on the cheapy toys in the dollar bin that become clutter and trash within one week after they are given.  Happy Heart Day!

The V-Day table at a glance.  Pre-kiddos.  That's a whole lotta love - and the kiddos haven't even entered the picture yet!
Zoom in on Brooklyn's trinkets.

Zoom in on Jonas' trinkets. 
Zoom in on Addison's trinkets.
And look at those happy faces.  You can't tell me she's "too young" for the hoopla.  She is loving it. 
Addison is in LOVE with Frozen.

Happy Jonas with his loot.  He's too cool to look at the camera I guess.
Breakfast candy.  One of the few holidays a year that I say "Sure!  You can have all the candy you want for breakfast!  Dig in!  (Honestly, it makes my job easier anyway.)
Of course, we celebrated V-day with heart-shaped donuts for breakfast (thank you Krispy Kreme!), Chick-fil-a for lunch, and a heart-shaped pizza for dinner (thank you Papa Murphy's!)  My gift to myself is that I don't cook and I let others do the creative cooking for me.  It's totally worth it and one of the many ways I embrace the reality of my life with three kids age 4 and younger.  John also bestowed gifts on us.  One was joining us for a lunch date at romantical.  And of course he provided us girls with a bouquet of baby roses.  I got most of them since I'm the Mommy, but Brooklyn and Addison each got one to put behind their ears.

The whole week prior to Valentine's Day we had lots of celebrating to do.  Mostly just Addison with her preschool festivities and card-making and parties to attend.  She was pretty excited since she actually understands the details on holidays.  However, Jonas was definitely interested in what was going on and wasn't enjoying being in the "spectator section" to her parties.  He wasn't grumpy by any means but it wasn't fun for me to watch the little guy just go along for the ride while we did everything with Addison.  Luckily, we had a fun play-date planned that was during Addison's preschool so this Mommy braved the chaos that is 20 toddlers under one roof and toted Jonas and Brooklyn to the party.  We didn't get to stay too long since we were rushing for preschool pick-up with Addison and meeting Daddy for lunch shortly after but it was SO worth it to see this little guy have his very own party.  The squeezy little smile on that guy's face says it all.  He had a great time with his friends and they even got to exchange their own valentine's to boot!  So grateful for fun friends and fun playdates and the fact that our ward has a gazillion little kids in it so we always have friends to do fun things with.  I'm also grateful that this little guy is ALWAYS so nice when he plays with friends.  He's a sweet boy and never gets rough or hits or gets rambunctious.  I never have to worry about him causing trouble.  Thank you Jonas!
Jonas and his very own Valentine party.  He loved it.  And I love that little 'crinkle-nose grin.'
And last, but certainly not least, Addison got to have her own Valentine celebrations.  I think she had at least two parties to attend (one with preschool of course) so we had to mass-produce some pretty cute little Valentine's for her to hand out.  She's obsessed with the Disney movie FROZEN lately so I found a cute valentine idea on pinterest.  Once I showed it to her she didn't hesitate to approve that baby and we got to work.  It was fairly easy and such a good craft for her to help be involved in.  She practiced LOTS of counting by the time we were done with it.  I cheated and made Jonas' myself when he got bored with the process by the time we finished two of them.  

Addison showing off her festive Valentine's she made for school.  Of course, they are FROZEN.  Are you surprised?  
All in all, Valentine's was a success.  So many fun things to do, so many fun memories made, and so much time spent around the ones I love most.  I did spend many years of Valentine Days all by myself before I was married.  However, if I had it to do all over again I would if it meant spending the rest of them with my lovely family.  I'm very grateful for every one of them and want to show them my love all year long.


Monday, February 10, 2014

Kindergarten Pre-registration

My oldest baby is growing up too!  Addison is getting ready to accomplish quite a milestone in her life (and mine).  She's starting kindergarten this August!  How can I already have a child old enough for public school!?

Of course, since we have to go through a confusing set of registration steps starting in February, I have been given plenty of time to prepare myself for this huge change.  We've loved having her in preschool and it's the perfect amount of time where we don't have time to miss her before she's home and playing with us due to her M/W/F half-day schedule.  I think we will go into shock when she's gone ALL day in Kindergarten!  What will we do without her?  Jonas will surely miss his little play buddy during the day.  Hopefully Brooklyn will be able to keep up with him by then.  

Addison is VERY excited to start kindergarten.  I just know she's going to absolutely love it.  She's such a smart girl and loves to play with friends and be social and learn things which is pretty much what kindergarten entails.  Well that and riding the bus!  She's beyond excited for the bus.  Ever since I can remember she and I have looked for buses as we've driven along our way.  Thankfully, we have some very good neighbor/family friends who also has a daughter on the same bus so my fears/worries of the school bus will be minimal.  

We talk lots about kindergarten.  I always tell her that I will miss her when she's gone but anytime I miss her I will just remember how much fun she is having with her friends, eating lunch, playing, and learning and then I will be happy for her.  And of course we will be anxiously waiting at the bus stop for when she comes home each day.  I'm trying really hard to not pass my motherly worries/anxieties on to her.  I want her to have her very own experience and embrace the big step and have fun with it.  If she's anything like me (and she most assuredly is) I'm sure there will be some nerves right before school starts but she's a very brave girly and will do great at overcoming them.  We've already even discussed how Daddy can give her a blessing to help her be calm and enjoy it all.  

I could go on and on about the excitement of Addison starting kindergarten but this post was really only supposed to be about her "pre-registration"  ;)  I'm learning all the ins/outs out of this whole process and it is becoming less and less confusing as time goes on.  Right now all we do is "pre-register" her and confirm that she will be attending and where we live so they can make sure each elementary school can house those children who live closest in their boundaries.  We aren't interested in joining the "lottery" for a local year-round school here so it should be a fairly easy and simple process.  We already got an email confirmation that she was accepted/enrolled into Centerton Gamble Elementary.  The Fighting Colts!  ;)  

Now we just anxiously await the next step...ACTUAL registration.  That one will include a Mommy/daughter date.  We are totally amping up this huge step.  Right now everything seems so exciting.  I'm sure I'll be sad to see my baby go about the time August comes around.    

Saturday, February 1, 2014

7 Months Old

My happy 7 month old baby girl.  How can one baby be sooooo cute?

Goodness gracious, time is slipping away from me and my baby is growing up.  It does happen faster (in some ways) since she is the third child.  However, I'm also noticing that I'm slowing myself down more and stressed less since she is the third one.  Sometimes it's just still such a shocker to me that I have three kids?!  When did that happen?  Hearing myself tell other people is when it hits the most.  I guess saying it out loud makes it official.  Um, yeah she's 7 months old'd think I would have accepted this by now right?  ;)

And goodness is this 7 month old a joy.  Nine times out of ten she is.  She's getting into a new phase which comes with good and bad.  Read on for the deets of both...


Her personality is just the cutest thing.  She's a happy baby and she loves to giggle.  Addison is still the one that can get her giggling the most.  Usually by them squawking at each other very loudly.  Not always the funnest sound to hear in the world but the giggles that follow it are adorable so I embrace it.  

John and I are betting she's a pretty feisty little thing.  I don't see her being as timid/shy as Addison was/is.  She is more like Jonas where she has bouts of shyness but is usually pretty social despite it.  

She jabbers a TON.  It's oh so adorable.  Part of it involves squealing and screaming, not in anger - just in a "this is how I communicate" type way.  It's fun to listen to.  Especially when she gets herself all riled up while she does it.  She has an adorable sounding voice.  One day I hope to be able to understand what those jibber jabbers mean.  I'm not too concerned since I'm still struggling to decipher Jonas'  jabbers and he's 2 1/2!  Communicating with your children can be a beautiful thing and cut out so many tantrums...on both people.  ;)

She has TEEFERS!!  Not just a TOOFER but TWO teeth=TEEFERS!  They are both on the bottom and she does well showing them off.  She was a bit fussy when they came in and of course I just got frustrated she was so whiney.  Horrible Mommy award goes to me as I soon learned it was because she was in pain!  Sorry Brooklyn! :(  We were pretty excited to see her first toofer come in.  None of us noticed until I was sitting in church and letting her gum on my finger and then she bit down and it hurt!  I was excited and pinned her down right then and there to find that new toofer.  Of course I had to tell/show John immediately.  Not the most appropriate church activity but it was a momentous occasion folks!  Within the following week that tooth got a buddy right next to it.  She has cute little chiclets - just like my other two babies did too.  

She's sitting up but not quite a professional at it by any means.  Hopefully she can figure it out soon because I can see she is growing very tired of laying down to play.  We've started propping her against the couch (on the floor) so if she does a backward flail then she has something to flail against.  She's not a fan of the bumbo chair so we don't use it often.  She will immediately arch backwards until she slides right out of it so it has since gone to storage.  


It's hard to imagine anything "bad" coming from such a cute and adorable and squeezy little girly but sometimes it does.  Not super bad - just not easy.  Which is rare because she has spent 96% of her life being an easy baby.  

For starters, she is STILL not the least bit interested in eating baby food.  The little stinker clamps her jaws shut so for me to get food in there its like opening the jaws of life to cram it in.  Only to have her spit the majority of it right back out at me.  What's up with this girly?  Addison was eating by 4 months.  Jonas was eating MORE than enough at 6 months and this girl is not the least bit interested.  I've tried rice cereal, I've tried veggies, I've even sneaked in a few fruits thinking that she'd fall in love.  Nope, she's not having it.  And since she's my third child - I'm not having it either.  So, for now we embrace the bottle/formula as her main source of eating.  She's a pretty chunky little gal so I have no worries she isn't getting enough.  And strictly eating from the bottle is super easy/convenient for me so we are rolling with it.  

Her first taste of rice cereal.  She wasn't fond of it and we shelved all solid eating for the time being.  I don't have the time or the energy to wrestle her at every meal just yet.  Luckily, she's eating enough formula to make up for what she's lacking in solids.  ;)
We even tried juicing on some fruit.  She was a bit perplexed and didn't quite know what to think.

She's very fond of Mommy.  On any normal day I would LOVE it.  However, when it happens 24 hours a day and 7 days a week it gets a bit taxing.  Sometimes I'd like to just be able to hand her off and get something done.  She doesn't like it.  Not just with "strangers" but even Addison and John can't keep her happy when I leave the room.  If I do sit her down I get to do whatever I need to do while listening to an echoing cry the whole time.  I don't fare well being surrounded by cries from a mad baby.  It makes me stressed and grouchy and cranky and frustrated.  I know I should be the good Momma that just relishes in the fact that I'm the only one that can make her happy - but I'm not.  I just want some free time folks - that doesn't involve me listening to a baby cry while I get it.  However, I vividly remember this phase with the other two siblings so I know eventually it will get better/easier and she won't need to be in my arms all the time.  Here's to hoping!

Sleeping - For the most part she's a decent/good sleeper.  However, she's had her fair share of the yucky sickies and germs this past Winter season.  And with that stuffy nose and wheezy breathing comes sleepless nights.  I've been laying in the same room with her for a bit and if she does eventually fall asleep she'll wake many MANY times during the night.  So it's a lot of get up and give her the binky - rinse and repeat.  And if it's not that then she's doing a full on feet up in the air - flop them down to the bed - type body slam that is impossible for me to sleep through.  I can't wait until she gets feeling better and FINALLY returns to a normal sleep schedule.  I'm tired of being tired.

So, I think that covers this baby girl's 7 month update.  We just love her to pieces and can't help but smile when she looks at us and immediately starts cheesing and showing off those pearly whites.  Happy 7 Months Old Brooklyn!

Goooooo Buckeyes!