Sunday, August 30, 2009

A Week of Firsts

1) Bentley's first day of school (see post below). During our walk home from school on Friday Bentley said he had liked school, that he could read 2 whole books and that "Kindergarten class is really long." He almost fell asleep during dinner Friday night...learning is hard work!

2) Caroline's first day of dance. She is in a Virginia Tanner class with her cousin Maddie and they were about the cutest things I have ever seen while dancing on Thursday. My daughter is an energetic mover for sure. I love it. And she had the biggest grin on her face whenever she had the chance to gallop and skip and really move around the studio.

3) Bentley's first soccer game. It was kind of a bust to tell you the truth. He was in a bad mood, hated the heat, and got very frustrated that so many kids were all trying to kick the same ball. There were many tears and not many minutes of actually playing on the field. We will hope for better when the next game rolls around.

4) Olivia's first solids. OK--she actually had her first rice cereal a few weeks back but it just fits in so nicely with this post :) She is still figuring the whole eating and swallowing thing out and making a total mess of herself in the process.

Friday, August 28, 2009

To My Kindergarten Boy

Dearest Bentley--

The day has arrived for you to start Kindergarten! And I am so excited for you. What a new adventure for you to be in elementary school. I cannot believe the years have flown by so quickly. I always think of you as my little boy and suddenly you are so grown up! I have to admit that it will be hard for me to let you go to school every day of the week when I have been so used to your company. Once you made me a mommy we started doing everything together--grocery runs, mall visits, lunching with daddy, playing with cousins, and all sorts of errands. That is the lucky thing about an oldest child--you and I had so many fun times together as a pair. And I am so used to you being around to entertain your sisters, ask me a hundred and one questions about how the world works, and get me laughing with your bright, happy moon eyes and silly boy humor. The girls and I will miss you while you are gone each day--so know we are thinking about you and very eager to hear all about the things you learn.

You sweet daddy gave you a special father's blessing last night. He blessed you to make new friends, to be able to listen well and understand what your teacher asks of you, to learn many new things as you work hard, and to share your growing knowledge with your little sisters and be a good example to them throughout your life. You were very still and listened intently as your daddy blessed you. And you remembered well what he said--telling me you were very excited to make new friends just like in your blessing. I love you so very much my darling boy! I hope you have a wonderful year and enjoy this amazing new adventure. I will be waiting for you every day and can't wait to hear all about it--

Lots of love--


after our sweaty walk home from school this afternoon :)

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Two Dollar Tuesday

Thanksgiving Point offers this special during the month of August--where any venue is just 2 dollars for admission. My sis and I heard about it last year and decided we'd try it out this year when all the big kids would be back in school (wish I'd read this article before heading down south.)

Oh dear...I wish I could offer some words of warning but alas, the month is up and I cannot save anyone the hassle of dealing with about a million people in a rather small space. Seriously, there were way too many people with the same idea yesterday. I can deal with huge crowds when I am mentally prepared--somewhere like Disneyland or Nordstrom during the anniversary sale ;) But I was not expecting traffic jams, zero parking, and lines for the Dinosaur museum wrapped around the entire building. I am not that eager to see some old bones. We ended up at Farm Country and that was our only stop. Cares and Maddie had a great time feeding the animals--they have no fear. But my Bentley was not going to let those goats and horses anywhere near his hands--it was funny to see him dash away anytime they got close. He must be more of an animal observer...

Monday, August 24, 2009

Summer Weekend

Our last one. And 101 degrees to boot! Try setting up a tent (or taking one down) in that...we were quite sweaty :)

To test out Joseph's new birthday tent we had a backyard camp-out on Friday night. By the time the tent was up on Friday evening, Caroline was at her wits end and simply wanted to climb into her own bed and fall asleep. So we let her do just that. And then Joseph and I stayed up late with Bentley to watch Horton Hears a Who projected on to the backyard fence. Then the boys slept outside and the girls slept inside (worked out better that way when Olivia woke up at 5:30 the next morning :)

I love Utah summers. Triple digits at the end of the day but once the sun sets, dropping steadily and cooling right down. We loved being outside and seeing the stars and feeling the crisp air on our skin.

Saturday evening we headed up the canyon where, surprisingly, it wasn't all that much cooler. We met up with some friends for Cafe Rio ala Park City, and then hit the cabin for some games, a walk, and Jim Gaffigan's new DVD. That was a beautiful thing to watch at midnight--my tired hubby laughed uncontrollably, with tears and body shakes and everything. He made me laugh more than the comedy act--but I still enjoyed old Jim too.

Bentley and Caroline with their new friend Kate

smiley-pie "chub LeBub"

On Sunday we came back down to my in-laws house and they babysat the kids so we could attend the Oquirrh Mountain Temple dedication. It was such a lovely part of my day. I wept during each talk. I have never felt the power of eternal families more strongly. I heard of many who sacrificed so very much: a family who traveled with 2 small children to make it to the temple to be sealed together only to have their little ones die on the journey home--but feel so much peace that at least they had gained the sealing blessings beforehand; a family in Tonga who had only been sealed to 4 of 10 children because they couldn't yet afford to take the others to the far away temple in New Zealand. And what do I have to sacrifice? Nothing compared to those fine saints. They are incredible examples to me.

Elder W. Craig Zwick spoke specifically to the youth who were in attendance. He was very tender and heartfelt as he invited them to come to the temple as soon as they were 12 and to stay worthy to go there for baptisms in their youth and then receive their own endowment and other ordinances as adults. I hope it hit those young ones as much as it did me--and it made me excited to take my own kids to the temple when they are of age. It was a beautiful meeting and I am so glad I had the chance to participate in it.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

It's Coming

We can feel it. And we are ready...I think...Ready for the fall. Here's how we know it's coming:

MONDAY: Joseph and I had a date night with Krista to see The Scarlet Pimpernel at Hale Center Theatre. Krista didn't have a hubby to accompany her because he is already in Chicago setting up their new home and gearing up for grad school. I knew they were moving at the end of the summer but now I am fully realizing that Monday was the last time I'll see her for ages--I will miss her! (and her cheeky hubby :)

TUESDAY: I had faculty meeting up the U of U in preparation for classes starting next week.

WEDNESDAY: Jam day with my sisters and mom--storing up all the lovely produce from the summer to eat on our warm toast in the coming months. And Bentley's first soccer practice of the season. He arrived decked out in his shin and ankle guards, new cleats, and authentic Brazilian soccer jersey from his aunt Luci. He looked darling I tell you, but don't let him know he looked anything other than "cool."

THURSDAY: Back to School Night at Bentley's new school. Need I say more?

Am I really ready for the fall and the absolute craziness that will ensue? What will be so crazy, you may ask? As a mom of still very young children it won't really be that bad. Just ask my big sister who lives and breathes "busy" with her family of 4...

For us, fall will bring a lot of new additions to our schedule. Up until now we have kept things fairly free and easy--some preschool, some tee-ball and some teaching on my part. We have had time for play-dates, errands and outings basically whenever we wanted. But all too soon we will add Kindergarten 5 days a week, joy school for Caroline once a week as well as dance, and soccer for Bentley. And now that we have a newborn again we are back on a strict napping schedule. I wonder when we will find time to enjoy our favorites like Gardner Village and Discovery Gateway--but we will try!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

O is for...

...our Olivia

She is 6 months old today. I think I'd like to freeze time right this instant and keep her just the way she is forever--small and cuddly but chubby and solid, soft and fluffy as her new, light hair grows in, gurgling and cooing while she plays, and settling right in to a great schedule including 11 or 12 hours of sleep at night (not always uninterrupted sleep mind you...but we are getting there).

At 6 months:

--She has recently discovered her feet both as an edible treat and fascinating toy.
--She is quite enamored with bath time.
--Our Livs is a happy little soul, especially after getting a good rest--talking and squawking until we go in to get her. And when she sees us it's like she smiles with her whole body, kicking and wiggling, baring that huge, gummy smile and squealing with glee. It melts my heart--even at 6 in the morning.
--She loves Bentley's soft hair and silly tickling games, Caroline's cuddly animals and tender hugs, and her daddy's scratchy scruff and calming songs.

And she really loves her mommy (if I do say so myself...) She is a serious fan of breastmilk and snuggling close to me for feedings. But she also seems to have a distinct preference for me over anyone else which is kind of tricky. And kind of naughty. And oh so endearing--ties my heart right up to hers and makes me feel extra special. It is definitely a new thing for me since both of my older children have really, really loved their daddy from the very beginning (which has been a lovely thing for all of us). I wonder if our tight bond is the result of her being my 3rd child-- I assumed all baby duties from the very beginning (being the source of all her food) while Joseph took care of the big kids. I loved having him around to help with the more "verbal" children while I could sit down and nurse or rock Olivia in another room--tucked away in peace. I think that has pulled me close to my tiny one. Her needs have provided a sweet escape. Don't get me wrong--I love having big kids to take to the pool, the park, the library, to eat picnic lunches and have silly dance parties with. But I love that Olivia has allowed me to revisit the quiet world of lullabies, lotion massages, and a little body to hold and rock.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Joseph's Birthday

32 years old today. I still feel like we are both so very young. But the sneaky grays in Joseph's curly head of hair beg to differ. Maybe we don't look so young anymore--especially now that we're flanked by 3 kids everywhere we go--but we are always up for more adventures.

Last night we headed up Parley's Canyon and met my parents for dinner at Red Rock. We watched the drizzling rain turn into bursts of torrential downpour and then fade back to clear skies. After dinner, we sent the kids to the cabin with grandma and grandpa and we shopped at the outlets--helped my birthday boy choose out some new digs for his special day :)

We met up with everyone at the cabin (including Heidi and Max), got crazy kids to bed, and opened a birthday present from my parents a little early so we could help Joseph break it in. The game? Ticket to Ride: Europe. My little sis just blogged about playing that game all last weekend and now we have done the same--it's a good one.

This morning the kids and I woke up early to wrap presents for Joseph and then prepare him the traditional breakfast in bed. My parents jumped right in to help with all the preparation and clean-up (I may need to make sure we are with them for all of Joseph's birthdays from now on--so, so nice to have other adults around instead of doing it all solo!) Once breakfast was ready we all trudged upstairs to sing to Joseph and bring him his peach french toast.

We had a lazy morning up in the mountains--had to play Ticket to Ride again because it was freezing and very wet outside...Then we came back to the valley, grabbed lunch (Five Guys) and a movie with the kids (Ponyo), and Marble Slab ice cream before heading home. It was a busy, busy day but fun to have so much family time and enjoy the invitingly cool weather.

Hubby--I love the 32 year-old you. I could go on. But I might try a new thing this year and simply tell you face to face. And then I can kiss you right after which sounds pretty fun...Happiest day my love.

August 15th, 2009

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

My Darlings

I love them. Beyond description. That's all for today...

Grow up now
My darlin
Please don't you grow up too fast
And be sure, my darlin
To make all the good times last

Because we made you
My darlin
With the love in each of our hearts
We were a family, my darlin
Right from the start

--from My Darling (click here for a listen)

Thank you for the all new music today Cec!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Shower for Stacey

Lucky girl--you can't even tell she's pregnant in this picture!

Tye and Stacey are expecting their first child--such an exciting thing for them. But also a very new experience for them. At the shower on Saturday, guests furnished Stacey with such gifts as a foam bath support, Vaseline, layette nightgowns, big, muslin swaddling blankets, and several other items that needed some explaining for a first time mom. I thought about all the advice and instruction we were throwing out that day and realized it may have been totally overwhelming for my sweet sister-in-law (was it Stacey?) even though it was all meant to be helpful and save her from some of the stress a new mom can face.

I noted some of these tips as I drove home on Saturday and thought I'd share them again here (sprinkled with a few of my own):

Sleeping: 1) I put this at the very top because it is the #1 thing that has helped me with each of my new babies: infants should not be awake for more than 2 hours at a time (and sometimes this means they'll only be awake for an hour to 90 minutes before wanting to be asleep again--and awake time includes feeding time.) Now--at first, baby will sleep A LOT--like all the time. You won't even have to think about putting baby back to sleep because he will do it on his own--in any position, in any location, in anyone's arms, in the car, in the stroller, at the store...But after a few weeks have passed it won't be as easy and he'll fuss about it instead of just give in to it. It just helps to know that babies get sad about being tired and wanting to sleep just like they do about wanting to eat. I made the mistake of thinking baby Bentley must just be hungry (even though I'd just fed him) or have an upset tummy or gas when he was fussy but I think about 90% of the time he was just tired and needed to have a nap. Use the 90 minute to 2 hour rule to help gauge what baby needs.
2) Swaddle, swaddle, swaddle each time baby sleeps. Or lay him down on his tummy (but don't tell your doctor...:) Either way, it helps babies feel safe, secure and warm instead of overwhelmed by the vast space around them when they have been used to a snug, tight womb. I still swaddle miss Olivia every time she sleeps--it has become part of our sleeping routine from the very beginning and she knows to calm down and settle into sleep when she is all wrapped up with her binkie in.

: 1) Don't get baby's umbilical cord wet--just do sponge baths until the cord falls off.
2) Hold baby's arms against his chest while you bathe him--this will keep him warm but also keep him feeling safe and snug during bath time.
3) Wet and wash baby's hair as the very last thing so his head won't be wet and cold until you are almost done.
4) Wash baby's gums and tongue with a fresh washcloth during bath time.

Nursing: 1) Invest in at least 2 good nursing bras (meaning comfortable and supportive but not underwire which can cause clogged ducts--it's better to just stay away from them.)
2) Don't let the lactation nurses in the hospital freak you out. I know they mean well but they have a way of making their rules and ideas about nursing seem like the only things that will work. Take their advice with a grain of salt and see what works best for you and baby Mason. I had one lactation specialist tell me I had to nurse skin to skin so I should undress Bentley to his diaper and wear only my bra each time I was feeding him. Yeah right! Way too much work and not at all functional with my lifestyle. However, another nurse showed me how to rub Bentley's exposed ear if he fell asleep while eating and it would gently nudge him into sucking and drinking again. I still use this little gem of information as I nurse my 3rd child.
3) Use your new Boppy all the time. It's awesome for nursing and will save your back a lot of grief.

Asking for help: 1) Find a pediatrician that you like and can ask about anything--and do ask him/her anything and everything--that's what they are there for. Even better, try to find one in a practice where the doctors take turns being on-call so a doc can be reached at any time of day.
2) Call grandmas, sisters, sisters-in-law, or friends whenever you have parenting questions--we are happy to help or at least share our knowledge about car seats, diaper rash, temper tantrums, and so on :)

OK mommies out there--what am I forgetting? What would you add as advice?

My little sis wrote a similar entry last year about "new mommy must-haves"--she lists excellent items from sleep help books to clothing and even "mommy" needs like pads and nipple ointment. Hopefully we helped Stacey stock up on some of these things after Saturday's shower.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Copper Mine

8 billion years ago the earth's tectonic plates shifted during a catastrophic, magma fueled earthquake forcing rich mineral debris out of the earth's core and into the Oquirrh Mountains of northern Utah...

Or something like that. Maybe I am confusing things with the article on Yellowstone's super volcano from last month's National Geographic. (I wonder if I fooled anyone just now into thinking I am some sort of uber-cultured brainiac with that National Geographic comment. FYI--I read the 3 magazines I found on the houseboat while in Lake Powell last week: US Weekly, People, and National Geographic--a perfect mix of celebrity gossip and geological data.) But that's not really the point of this entry is it? I am simply trying to document Summer Adventure #11--visiting the Bingham Canyon Copper Mine. (And here's a link to actual information on the mine--which is mostly for my dad in case he sees this entry and then simply has to read something concrete and accurate about it. Believe me he was a truly dedicated fan of the encyclopedia before the internet was around...)

The mine is amazing. Seriously. And I am not even a fan of larger than life dump trucks and excavators as far as the eye can see. Just standing at the overlook and merely taking in its incredible size is pretty overwhelming. But, it's a good thing I just so happened to bring along my truck-loving boy. He was stunned and captivated during our whole visit. And he had his 2 favorite role models (Ethan and Will) at his side so he was pretty much in heaven. Inside the visitor's center, Cec and I took our kids to see the 15 minute movie all about the mine. At times it was a little over my head and so I leaned over to my sis and said "I sure hope Bentley is getting all of this!" And then when we got home he drew his interpretation of the mine and totally recreated a particularly scientific scene from the movie. How his little brain works...

Big boys surveying the scene

The crew in front of the gigantic tire

6 of which drive around this beast. Notice how dinky the F-150 looks in comparison?

Girls will be girls

Notice the copper sign?

Here it is in detail

And last but not least, the sweet babes who we continually tote along on our big summer adventures. They are so patient with us. Even when they are so very ready for naps and we suddenly spot the gift shop...I mean, you simply can't skip the gift shop right?
My mother trained me better than that :)

Friday, August 7, 2009

LeBarons at the Park

Liberty Park playdate:

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Mini Cougars

Our took our annual visit to BYU on Monday. We visited the Museum of Art for the Walter Wick exhibit (photographer for all the I Spy children's books) and then the bookstore for BYU gear: a hat for Bentley, a cheerleading dress for Cares (oh boy--why do I indulge her so?) a t-shirt for me and a prize we are saving for Joseph's birthday next week.

So much BYU offspring! My sisters and I married boys we met while going to school there. Results in lots of little cougar fans :)

For the record, I heart BYU. I spent 4 years of my life roaming that campus. I can't help but think of the days when Joseph and I were falling in love and then giddy little newlyweds when I walk those same halls and cross the same sidewalks. Many a day I left class down at the RB and trucked up the steep stairs and over to the Wilk to find Joseph (at his office up at Campus Life--did he ever go to class? I swear he was always there...) so we could eat lunch and work on the crossword puzzle in the newspaper together. We were/are such nerds :) Such a happy place, that campus. The first year of our marriage Joseph and I both worked 16 hours a week on campus, took at least 15 hours of class each semester, and he was in his first year of singing and performing with Vocal Point while I was dancing and performing with Dancensemble. We arrived on campus at 7:00 am every single morning and usually left for home around 9:00 pm--meaning we spent the whole day at school. It was wearing and so much work but we loved every minute of it. Except that 6:30 wake up call each day--I could've done without that...OK--enough of that journey down memory lane...

Monday, August 3, 2009

Lake Powell

I just finished another load of laundry from our trip. The 7th to be exact. Ahhh--the work that ensues after so much playing--but it is so worth it. And boy did we have a ball at the lake this summer! Bentley was a fish, Cares a tiny poser and Olivia an angel baby. There was endless swimming--honestly endless. My kids LOVE the water. There was also some tubing, water skiing on perfect morning glass, boating in the Malibu, sea-doo riding, exploring, game playing, of course "a little art" for the kids, a fire, s'mores, and professional fireworks from our neighbors every night. And all of this against the stunning backdrop of red rock, clear water and bright blue skies. 300 pictures later, here's our vaca in a nutshell: (think of a rather large nutshell...)

Playing off the back of the houseboat
(can you see my dad in the background on his power swim out to the rock?)

Livie's first year at the lake!
She just wanted to gnaw on something, anything really, and she was happy :)

Cares and Ben kicking it in the tube

One of Bentley's daily rides with Marshall

Cuddly cousins before bed

Pajama sandwich.
I think my kids really love each other.

Mini hikers. Joseph calls them our European tourists in this pic :)

My Bentley--always happy to go for a swim

LeBaron family tube ride

Happy boating baby

Super Dad wrangling all 3 kids

My little sis and me

Love this view

And this one of Captain Max...

Around the campfire once all the babes were asleep

My parents cooking up s'mores

My hubby spent some time playing with the Nikon in the night vision setting.
Not too shabby...

Here's another during our nightly fireworks show.

With my sweet little girls.

Bentley cuddling Olivia

Grandpa Sherm on the sea-doo...

...towing around these crazies!

Self-portrait off the back deck.
I love how Bentley posed in it with me :)

Our Lake Powell crew 2009
Tye and Stacey--are you in for 2010? We missed you.

One last LP sunset. I love it there.