Friday, November 30, 2012


We were all over the place last weekend but it was wonderful to spend so much time with so much family. On Wednesday night we spent the night at the cabin with my parents and 2 older siblings and their families. Thursday morning we came down to the valley for our 5K, went back to my in-laws for the afternoon and for our delicious feast, and then we drove back up to the cabin just before dark to spend another night up there. It felt a little rushed and crazy, especially now that there are 6 of us and one is a baby with more needs than any of us combined (bottles, diapers, change of clothes, blankies for nap time, a binkie, snacks, baby can get overwhelming!)

It was a lovely weekend though. My poor big sis got hit with something hard and basically hibernated in her room in the cabin ALL day Thursday. So sad for her to miss out entirely, and sad for us to have her "gone" too. We had a lot of fun with her kiddos and hubby though!
 hot tub on Wednesday night
 Caroline and Uncle Tommy prepping dinner on Thursday
 Three of Nanny's four 3 year-olds (did you follow that?)
 Caroline and Tillie
The table set and ready for Thanksgiving dinner
My hubby, his mama and our baby niece Adelaide
 decorating the tree at the cabin Friday morning
my big brother in town from Phoenix

For every day in November leading up to Thanksgiving I posted a pic on Instagram about something I am grateful for. It was such a fun challenge and really made me look at all around me with a renewed sense of gratitude and joy. I have so very much and my heart is filled with love for my Father in Heaven who has blessed me beyond measure. Truly. Especially with these 5 people who are my greatest gifts and the best thing about every day. I love them with all my heart.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

1st Annual Turkey Trot

Joseph is the king of health lately. Since the beginning of June he has been participating in 3 consecutive healthy living/weight loss challenges which focus on eating well (only 3 treats a week, 5 servings of fruits/veggies a day, no eating after 9:00 pm) and working out for at least 45 minutes 5 days a week. Each last for 8 weeks. It is seriously paying off—he's lost more than 30 pounds and is as strong as an Ironman. Seriously. He is killing it on his bike these days and has been able to run a few 8 minute miles—um, fast. He is loving it too which makes the crazier schedule worth it. Man, I miss the days of his 6 am bike rides and my 7 pm rides—I love summer. But we are figuring it out (aka spin class at the gym & family 5Ks!)

I am so proud of him, and he is a great motivator for me. Since July I have been pretty consistent with 4 days of working out each week and I am trying to limit treats too so there aren't hundreds of tempting things around making life hard for the hubby :) It took a while for me to notice any difference but once I quit nursing the baby in September I have felt more and more comfortable in my pre-baby clothes. Burning 700 calories in spin class or 1200 on a long bike ride has got to help somehow! I am becoming a big fan of killer cardio workouts and love how much stronger I feel because of them.

Anyway, Joseph and his family planned a LeBaron family Turkey Trot for Thanksgiving morning this year. It was arranged to meet a fitness goal set by the wellness challenge which many of them are participating in together, and it became a big family event. We ran a little 5K route along the Jordan River Parkway—flat and meandering and totally safe from traffic. The hubs designed cool shirts and family members brought bagels, bananas, and Gatorade to help replenish after the run.

As you can see a lot of us were pushing wee babes (and not so wee toddlers) in strollers. Slowed me  down some but once Joseph and Bentley had rounded the halfway point, and met me on their way back, we traded and he took the littles and the stroller. Meant that I ran almost 2 miles without any kids to worry about and it was a glorious part of my morning. It felt so good and even though my knees are not happy about running, my heart is stronger than ever and I just ran and ran (well, jogged and jogged :) in the crisp morning sunshine. I loved it.
 The whole group in our shirts (Joseph's uncle and cousin on the far left. And Jessica's family joined us too but did so last minute so we hadn't ordered them any shirts)
Classic LeBaron dirtiness. These boys love this kind of thing—ditched their shorts for a lovely "tight pants" moment. My hubby's those skinny things! And watch this if you need a good laugh (Jimmy Fallon and Will Ferrell goodness).
Here's the world's sweetest baby boy! 
He was just hanging in the stroller the whole time. What a champ.
Instagram collage from the day. Bentley pounded out that race! He had to stop and walk a few times but was faster than almost all the adults. I think that boy is a runner!

It was such a great event. We are thinking it should be become a regular thing but that a) we will run it on Friday or Saturday so Thanksgiving is not so hectic, and 2) we would like to make shirts again but charge just a few dollars more than cost so we can use the extra money for Christmas service (aka Sub 4 Santa/Angel Tree family). Let me know if you want to come trot with us next year! It was really very fun. And I need some friends/family to wear snazzy printed tights with me! I think they make you run faster...

Monday, November 26, 2012

Disney & Art

Just before Thanksgiving we won free tickets to see Disney on Ice! (Thanks Kristin! Yes we totally live across the street from her but won through her random drawing—wahoo!) It was such a fun event with our little family. Biggest highlights included the awesome shark trio from Nemo and their amazing costumes (ocean lover Bentley's fave) and the section of the show devoted solely to the princesses: Ariel, Belle, Cinderella, Snow White all skating with their princes together (the girls were giddy and singing along to all the theme cute!) Luke was a champ and just sat on my lap or Joe's lap the entire 2 hours. He did eat his whole cup full of snacks and then watched in a daze. I couldn't believe he was so still (and cuddly). And when we're downtown we can hardly resist eating at Settebello. Yummy.

 Princesses performing (not the best pic from a phone with no zoom)
Magical Light Parade

Just the other day I had to document my kids as they got into their art projects after school (a near daily ritual around here). Writing and illustrating books is a new obsession:
 And a picture of this cutie that day too. He is just so smiley!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

11 Months

Almost 1. I cannot believe it! This year has been the swiftest and the craziest ever. I wouldn't have it any other way, but how will I soak up this beautiful life if it is constantly flying by so quickly?
The baby boy is just as busy and bubbly as ever. He loves to mimic sounds and has such range! Maybe he will be a singer like his daddy :) Luke can now stand for a few seconds without holding onto anything and he loves to be up on his legs. I still think walking is several weeks away but he sure loves climbing to standing on couches and furniture and then transferring to a new thing with a step or two in between. I have to lock him in the bathroom with me when I shower so he won't crawl off anywhere risky and he loves to stand up right against the door and try to join me (makes it hard to get out when I'm done!)
Ever since daylight savings time started Luke has wanted to start the day at 5:00 am. I have been trying to get a binkie in him pronto and send him back to sleep for at least an hour or so but it's getting old. I was all set to let him cry it out but then we were going to the cabin for a few nights over Thanksgiving and I knew I couldn't make the whole cabin suffer. And he now has a lingering cough and gross nose. But last night I finally just made him cry come 5 am. He did for 90 minutes and then slept until about 7:15. Of course it meant he and I were awake that whole time he was fussing but I tried to hide my head under the pillow and block out the sad sounds.

Sweet Luke is a champion at going to sleep though—he is the easiest baby to put to bed and it has been a huge blessing when we have so many kids who need us in the evening hours. Luke also loves bath time and especially splashing and leaning forward for a little drink of bathwater (gross). He is officially on real milk now and he likes it so much more than formula—although he is kind of over bottles these days. He gets bored with them easily and hardly finishes them off unless he's really ready for bed. We keep trying sippy cups but he thinks they are just a funny toy. I'd love to just move to those entirely though—hopefully soon.
The darling babe fills my heart every day. He loves this mama so so much and I am equally smitten. His rushed little crawl over to me as soon as he sees me enter the room is so endearing and fun. What a chubby, silly, perfectly kissable mush he is!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

YW in Excellence

We held this early in November and it was a wonderful evening. All our young women spoke about one of the values and since we have 11 girls, a few spoke on experiences at the temple, with seminary, and personal progress. I was so proud of all the talks and the beautiful spirit of each girl. I really love each one so much. I was super excited about every single talk that night—like a proud mom of 11 young women :)
I also felt like I should be a speaker in the program that night, just to share some brief thoughts and tie everything together. For some reason I felt really calm about preparing my talk and I had almost a month to be thinking about it as I read my scriptures and reread conference talks. We held our meeting on a Sunday evening so I sent my sweet hubby off to his mom's house with all 4 kids for dinner and gave myself almost 2 hours to complete my talk and get ready before heading up to the church for early preparation. I really needed that completely quiet time to pray before our night, and to pray before I finished putting all my gathered thoughts together. Of course once I got to the church it was a crazy roller coaster of setting up and organizing and making sure everything was in place. But all of it turned out so well (minus the part when I realized I had sent Joseph with my car and therefore my keys to the building and YW closet...I borrowed some building keys from a neighbor but I totally made my hubby rush home from his mom's so we could get last minute supplies and decor out of the closet just minutes before the program started. Too stressful!)

We borrowed a darling idea we found here and then worked to make ours sweet but simple. I'm really happy with how it all turned out and that my new presidency and I can check off our 2nd big event together (after youth you sense that YW is kind of taking over my life? This is such a  huge calling. Awesome and I love it, but it's truly huge.)

Thursday, November 15, 2012

A Random Day

I took these shots last week while playing with the littles in the toy room. I am feeling like I document everything on my iPhone lately and want to pull out my real camera more often. It is a mantra I am trying to keep circulating in my brain.

The gorgeous baby boy. I can never have too many pictures of him. It's true. 
That big Diego car has basically become Luke's walker—kind of risky because the wheels move so easily but he loves to push it around and try to keep a grip on it.

The beloved and ever evolving Lego creations. The most special ones go on the very high toy shelves in the toy room. But just about 3 days ago, Luke was getting into all these pieces and we had to relocate all Legos to Bentley's bedroom. There they will stay until the babe is no longer wanting to eat everything in site.
How the little girls play Legos with their big bro. 
They build homes and ships for ponies and/or squinkies.
 Love this classic Luke face
I also love this boy's eyes. They are just so dark but not at all brown—more like a deep, dark gray but with hints of dark blue and green. I think they may still change as he grows, but I am obsessed.  Actually everything about him is my absolute favorite. He is happy and easy, so content, an amazing eater, goes to sleep like a pro and is just so sweet and fun and kissably chubby. He's so scrumptious and soft I can hardly stand it. Love him.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Last of October

 Last minute pumpkin picking on October 30th
And carving later that night. 
Bentley and Caroline carved their own this year and loved doing it. Such big kids!
On Halloween the men at Joe's office all decided to dress like Hunter.
Wasn't he surprised when he came to work that morning :)
Check out all the wannabe hipsters holding Hunter:
Cheesy pic from spin class the other night. Spinning Thursday evening=weekly date night (the gym child care is cheaper than a babysitter!) And by date I mean with my hubby AND my big sis :)

Friday, November 2, 2012


Such a great day!
9:00 am Spin class
12:00-1:30 Caroline's class party (my generous mom came over to babysit)
5:00 Pre trunk or treat dinner (toast and oranges)
6:00 Ward trunk-or treat
7:00 Trick-or-treating! 
(Joseph and the big kids with the Barnes. Livs had quite the stash after trunk-or-treat and felt happy to stay home and give out candy with me)

So much candy! We talked to our kids about donating most of their goodies to care packages for overseas military and they were more than happy to share. Now to finish what they have within the week and the candy rush will be over. All I ever want to steal from them are those silly Double Bubble gums—why do I love those so much?