Tuesday, September 27, 2011


Bentley began a session of swim lessons this evening (never mind that we were supposed to do those over the summer...) I am hoping to sign him up for swim team but he has to pass off certain skills before he can join this coming summer. Tonight--working on his dive...he may have some practicing ahead...

Kids are so cool and totally resilient. His "dive" didn't even phase him..phew!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Sundance FHE

 How we love the mountains this time of year! Tonight was the perfect night for a LeBaron gathering at the Sundance cabin. It was gorgeous and crisp and wonderful up there. Thank you fall.



Sunday, September 25, 2011

The Past Few

Life has seemed to run away from me the past few days. And when I settle down in the evening after all are in bed I am too tired to do much more than just sit on the couch with my feet up, and maybe catch a show or 2. Who knew such a simple thing could feel like such a luxury?

Joseph was filming his cousin's wedding both Thursday and Friday nights so I was on my own with the kids. We had fun, eating dinner super early, dropping by the library, reading all together before helping each kid find their way to bed. I did join Joseph at the wedding reception on Friday from about 4 until 7 and it was fun to steal a behind the scenes peek at everything. Catherine (the newlywed cousin) and Preston had the most gorgeous reception basically down the street from my parents' house--I never even knew the lovely yard and home existed there. I thought the whole event could have been straight out of an Anthropologie catalog with all the vintage details accompanied by both classic and quirky aspects. I would have taken some great pics but Joseph was filming with our Nikon and we only ended up with a few still shots:

A still shot from video at the temple--had to capture Catherine's gorgeous dress...

On Saturday Joseph took Beans and Cares to fulfill a cleaning assignment at the church and then we hit some stores looking for Halloween costumes and inspiration for the kids. Bentley's plan is the trickiest because he wants to be a bat--not Batman, just a straight-up bat with wings that attach from his arms to his waist (I know this because he has specifically described what the wings should look like to me many times). We ended up with a black hoodie from Wal-Mart and the idea to create his costume from an old umbrella. I am pretty sure I am leaving that job up to Joseph who has an incredible eye for making such things.

Today the big kids had their Primary Program at church and were thrilled to share their memorized parts and sing with gusto. They love those sweet songs and I do too. While the hubby and I were making lunch right after church today the kids were upstairs playing and cute Bentley, in his high little boy voice, was singing "and if I listen with my heart I hear the Savior's voice." Happy music in my home :)

 Livs allowed me to french braid her hair last night to match Caroline's...and she left the braids in for all of 10 minutes. She looked so grown-up with her hair all done (minus the binkie :)

 Cares thought this giant zucchini from the Horsley's was hilarious, and also quite cuddly.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011


Tonight we simply needed to play. Plus, the kids came home from school, found the basket of Halloween books I'd just gotten out of storage, and read together for a solid 20 minutes. No easier way to get reading minutes done for the day!

I just adore these two kiddos. They walk out of school holding hands every day and come find me in the carpool line so we can head home. One day Bentley will be too cool for that but I am not about to mention anything because I think it is just so sweet. They love each other. Makes me smile to see them hand in hand every single day. Simple pleasures for this mommy for sure.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Service Day

Our stake participated in a big day of service on Saturday working along the Jordan River Walkway. Joseph and Bentley headed out early in the morning to go weed and reseed in their designated area (right near Raging Waters). And they worked hard for nearly 3 hours. I was so proud of Bentley for being totally willing to go serve even though the stake requested volunteers ages 8 and up. He knew he was right on the cusp and could handle weeding with his dad since he's done it many times before in our own yard.

Joseph told me that a bunch of kids living in apartments overlooking the walkway saw all the volunteers working and ran out to see if they could come help and work too. I loved that--what cool kids! Luckily, Joseph just happened to have a package of a dozen extra sets of gloves and he gave those to the local kids so they could join in (a big part of the project was pulling up goat head weeds and they tend to be quite prickly).

My boys also happened to stop at the gas station on their way to the site to grab some treats and snacks. When Bentley needed a break from weeding Joseph sent him down the walkway with a big bag of Jolly Ranchers to share with all the other workers. Our neighbor told us that Bentley came up to him with his bag of candy and said "Russ, I have 2 questions for you. 1st, do you want a Jolly Rancher? And 2nd, have you ever been to Raging Waters? It is the coolest place!" Oh my social little boy, love him.

The girls and I stayed home and cleaned the toy room, washed bedding, and made peanut butter kiss cookies to share with neighbors who had been participating in the day of service. It was a busy morning but we were glad to get so much accomplished.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Thoughts Today and Last Year

--The air tonight is intoxicating. An incredible rainstorm brought along crispy cool temps and we are safely below 60 degrees. Love, love.

--Joseph is at a wedding shower for a darling young cousin of his and since we have wedding festivities for her next week, I opted to stay home with the kids and save ourselves a babysitter. But now that everyone is finally in bed I am worn right out. That bedtime gig with 3 kids who all need me at once is a killer. I am so lucky those kidlets have a great father who shares that task with me every night. Somedays I think that's all I ever needed in the man of my dreams...

--I picked up a few new things at Old Navy today for myself. I am determined not to invest in anymore maternity clothes but still needed some basics that will fit nicely over this belly of mine. I even needed a plain white t-shirt of all things because the lone maternity one I put on today just does not work anymore. It is 7 years old though--it's paid its due.

--I was honestly unprepared for how hard a 4th pregnancy would be (and maybe it's just me). The first 3 were awful in the beginning and then actually quite awesome right until the end. That is simply not the case this time around. I felt sick for waaaay longer, feel huge already, have so little energy, feel pains and throbbing where a girl should never hurt, and take on too much for my exhausted body. My state has mostly convinced me to never, ever do this to myself again. That and the fact that 3 kids already push my limits--I hope I am ready for 4!

Some pictures from September 2010. I love Caroline's short hair and the pics she took of me. I do miss the version of me I see sitting there, but take great satisfaction in the cycles of change and adjustment and growth that are happening and will continue to happen in my life--physically and in other areas too. A huge reason why I blog is to capture my life and my family in all our different modes and ages so that as we grow and change we have plenty of pieces to look back on and cherish.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


This week we opted for a lively game of Halloween memory during Family Home Evening:

I made the game from an idea I recently saw in a magazine (can't remember which one it was: Better Homes and Gardens? Redbook? Something like that.) The picture isn't great but there are 8 matching images all on 8x8 squares. It was a big hit and the kids have been playing it after school the past few days. I think we are all getting excited that fall is right on our heels.

A few weeks ago we used The Friend to help us learn about keeping our bodies clean and pure and then we followed a little maze/game to test what we had learned. Another FHE success.

 Last year I started planning out 4 weeks worth of FHEs and adding them to our family's Cozi calendar. It took about 10 minutes of planning each month to save us any worry about what we'd do on Monday night. During the summer I hardly calendared at all but now I am getting back in the groove and so enjoy the order it brings to our lives. I am kind of a scheduling nerd like that :)

Monday, September 12, 2011

Uniform 101

My little sis was wondering about Caroline's girl uniform options so we have been documenting a few of them. Even though the dress code at school is pretty basic, it has been fun to buy some dresses and skirts rather than just shorts and pants:

Cares has become the recent star of this blog! Where are my other kids? Here's a modeling shot of my sweet Olivia.

 She has gone just over a week now without any accidents in her undies. And she has even run into the bathroom all on her own a few times and gone potty all by herself. I think she must be an answer to this pregnant mama's prayers! Her pull-up has been wet in the morning about 3 times since we started training but I think she will figure out the whole night thing as a little more time passes.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Ballerina Girl

Caroline started ballet today! She is so cute in her full class uniform and we found a cool hair accessory to help us create a great bun.

  hanging out at Cec's house after dance today

She is dancing over at UDA and she really loved her first class. I have been so hesitant to sign her up for classes because I just haven't seemed to find a place that fits all my studio requirements (yeah I am one of those parents). I blame it all on my experiences both as a dancer and a teacher. I grew up dancing in a strict and intense ballet studio over in Sugarhouse which had a lovely pre-ballet program for young dancers and a hardcore regimen for ages 8 and up which I have a lot of respect for--I think I learned invaluable technique dancing in that studio. And I loved that it was a ballet studio. Not a "jack of all trades" or competition studio but a place to become a ballerina and a skilled dancer. Those are almost impossible to find these days (and if I could drive forever for classes each week I would have Cares in the Ballet West Conservatory program in a heartbeat).

I have also been teaching for the University of Utah's Virginia Tanner classes the past 6 years and truly value their deliciously creative and very welcoming, encouraging dance environment. Of course Cares has danced with Tanner Dance before but she has been eager to wear ballet shoes and become a ballerina so I had to look outside that studio for a solid fit. I hope this little Kindergarten class will be a good place for Cares and will invite creative exploration, teach her some key ballet vocabulary without forcing any serious technique/turn-out on such a young body, and give her a good foundation for dancing again next year and adding on to what she has already learned. Maybe these are high expectations but they seem simple enough to me :) I know I should just be happy to have my girl dancing and using her beautiful little body to do something fun and healthy. But deep down I would love for her to embrace ballet the way I did in my youth and experience all the beauty of pointe shoes and tutus, recitals and performing, and working hard in the studio for strength and grace.

 On another note, I made this ballet shoe bag for Caroline over the weekend:

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Kindergarten Cares

Does this darling girl look excited or what? She was awake and dressed by 9:00 am today and just counting down the hours until she could finally go to school.

Littlest sis truly loves these photo shoots (and copying Caroline's every move)

Livs loves her sister but she was all too happy to have me to herself this afternoon for stories and potty time. And then a completely quiet house during nap time. You better believe that I succumbed too and slept for almost an hour in my bed with no interruptions. Ahhh kindergarten, I knew I loved you.

And Caroline had an excellent day today, coming home with tons to share and friends to tell us about. She said kindergarten is the best and can't wait to go back tomorrow. Love my brave little lady and her enthusiasm--should be a great year.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

In Other News

While I seem to be focused solely on my babe and her toilet skills, life outside that bubble has really been so lovely this week.

On Monday, while Bentley was at school, the girls and I met up with Joseph for a little lunch date over in Draper. It felt so nice to just have two kids with us and the girlies thought it was so cool for Joseph to be out with all his girls at once.

Later in the week Joseph planned an evening outing at 7 Peaks. He took Cares and Bentley and cousins Maddie and Will shortly after school ended and they stayed until closing. The kids had a blast and loved the empty water park but more so the time they spent with cousins.

Cousin Tiago and his family met up with Joseph that night too. I love this little crew of kids finding their way to the next fun thing...

Today we decided to keep Livs home from church and perfect the potty thing for one more day (Joseph attended sacrament meeting with big kids and then he came home to take over while I went). Livs did so well today with no accidents and about 5 pees in the toilet. We decided to get out of the house all together for a bit after dinner and go for a family walk. We walked over to the church where Bentley could ride his bike far and free and the girls could explore all around. Joseph and I sat on the shady grass and watched the children play. I truly love times like that when all my kids are active and curious and can take great care of themselves and each other--it feels like such easy parenting :)