Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Hello San Antonio

My little sister has lived in Texas, Virginia, and now back in Texas for years now, and I have not had the chance to go and visit her sweet family once. Thankfully she has come back to Utah several times, and we get to see them then, but going to see her in her own home turf was something I have wanted to do for too long. So when she announced her third baby was on its way, and that her kind husband had to leave her for a week for his job, she was near tears. She was sick and miserable from her pregnancy, and tackling two darling little girls alone all week was enough excuse for me to put the bug out that I wanted to go and help.

Well "helping" turned out to be a darn good excuse for my cute mom to come and go with me, even arranging to fly to Vegas to pick up me and the two boys that I could take, and having a week of fun, good food, lots of needed cousin time for Kaylee and Max as well as Allie and Mitch, and seeing a little bit of Texas. And as an extra bonus, we even got my darling little brother Kyler to come and see us for a few of those days too!

We got to be there on Valentines Day, and the day was FULL of love. My nieces were so excited to give my boys "valentines" first thing in the morning, and for the first time ever that I know of, they were eating candy before the 8:00 hour. The kids got to make heart shaped pancakes for breakfast, graham cracker LOVE houses in the afternoon, and we ate a heart shaped pizza from Papa Murphy's for dinner. (why don't we have a Papa Murphy's here??!!) The day could not have been more fun. We took a walk to a little park nearby their house, and we thoroughly enjoyed being together. It was such a perfect day, and although I would have loved being with my honey on the day of love, it was special to get to celebrate it with my sister and mom, both of who I look up to and love dearly...and four darling children who were excited to celebrate as much as they could. (aka: eating as much candy as they could stuff in their bellies without their moms caring!)
I took pictures of Kaylee and Max's finished houses, because you would NOT believe how much love and time they both put into their creations! I thought Jackson was the only perfectionist in my little family, but Max proved to be a close second. He took his time, as did Kaylee, and they were very proud of them all week long. Max desperately wanted to bring his home, until my smart sister asked if they could keep them at her house because she liked them so much, and that Max was welcome to come back and visit his house any time. (we're in trouble if he actually remembers that one day Aub!)
We left chilly weather in Las Vegas, so when we arrived to 70's in San Antonio, it was heaven! We took full advantage of walks, parks, and even the zoo. The weather was absolutely beautiful.
The day we picked to visit the zoo started out a lot chillier than we thought it was going to be, even raining for the first hour we were there. But as promised from the weatherman in San Antonio, the sun came out and shined and gave us a great day visiting the animals. Mitchell LOVED the zoo, which was no surprise since he's such an animal lover, but all the kids had a great time too.

There were too many pictures to choose from, and they were all my favorite. The beauiful Japanese garden area was outside the zoo and was amazing to walk through.

My sister had mistakenly told Max about this awesome craft that Kaylee loves to do the first day, and it nearly killed him that it was a few days later that they actually did it. The painted white pieces of bread with food coloring, and then toasted it and ate it. It made me wanna throw up myself, but Max absolutely loved it.

By the time my cute brother arrived, I think the kids were a little tired of entertaining themselves, definitely bored of us moms, and a very fun and energetic uncle was exactly what they needed! My poor brother. He was sweating within minutes of being attacked from all four of them. Thank goodness he's such a good sport.
We had a great day in downtown San Antonio, first going to a play based off the infamous book, "If You Give a Pig a Pancake." It was entertaining and all the kids enjoyed it. Mitch liked it for the most part too, unless they screamed loudly (mostly from excitement) and then he bawled. We visited another park, took a boat ride down the Riverwalk, and even walked through the Alamo. We didn't have more than one day downtown, but what we saw was amazing! I was shocked that all the kids lasted through all that, but they were great troopers. Note for the entire trip though: Mitch was the ONLY child who was willing to walk as much as we would let him! The rest of them fought over the stroller constantly, which was a bit painful in all aspects. Walking with a one year old that wants to go where he wants to go and at his own pace can be very waring on the nerves after awhile! But what a fun city! Wish we could have spent more time there, but it gives us more to look forward to on another trip.

We of course, HAD to eat Blue Belle ice cream every night we could. If you're not an ice cream lover, I'm pretty sure Blue Belle might change your mind. There's only one place here in Vegas that I know of that carries a few flavors, but in Texas, you have dozens of choices to pick from! It's good we were only there a week, because the two different flavors we picked were delish, and I would have went and picked out two more if I had the time. Some of us enjoyed every lick of it...literally.

This is the last picture that I have to post about the trip. If anyone knows our Mitchell, this is a popular position for his arm. He sucks on his arm as much as he needs, wants, doesn't need, yes, a little too much. Allie apparently thought it was funny or looked good or something. Funny girl.

Shoe Fettish

Is it possible to have a shoe fettish when you're only 18 months? Because I'm pretty sure someone has one. This cute boy is often fishing everyones shoes out of our shoe basket downstairs, and seeing how far he can get in them before he falls on his face in his "clown looking" shoes. It continues to crack me up. You would think he would learn that it's not as fun wearing others shoes, because he really can't walk in them very well, but it doesn't seem to matter. When friends come over, they are not exempt to the shoe thief. In fact, they are probably more tempting because he hasn't had the opportunity to wear them yet. He loves, loves, loves shoes. His new found love for shoes would be "fip fops" as he calls them. He walks around in them, and points to them often, talking to his fip fops. The only problem with this little shoe fettish is we can't find our shoes half the time. And just because there is one in the basket doesn't mean the other one will be there to accompany it!

So inappropriate

Yes, that is what this is. But it's also one of the funniest things that Max has done that had me almost peeing my pants.

Most of the things this boy does that he thinks is funny is mostly inappropriate, and I feel like I'm constantly reminding him to stop using "potty talk" or that what he's doing is not funny. But not this time.

I had bought him new underwear. Over the summer, he and Jackson had found a new love for the cartoon "Phineas and Ferb." Whatever. There are lots of other things more disturbing than this silly and funny cartoon. So I thought he would like if I bought him some Phineas and Ferb underwear.

I washed it, didn't pay much attention to what the underwear actually looked like, until my son came down in one of the pair, pulled down his pants and full on mooned me:

Like father, like son. But this one struck me in the funny bone for sure. Thank you Max and Perry the Platypus.

You know it's a good day when...

Before I got caught up on all the blogging that I've been missing out on, I have to remember how lucky I am to have the boys (meaning ALL my boys!) that I do in my life. I have no pictures of this moment, which is probably more fitting. I didn't know we would be making a memory that I would want to remember so no camera was brought along. But you know when you just have a really great moment in life, and all of a sudden, it hits you how blessed and lucky you are to be a parent, and you wish you could freeze that "moment" for just a few seconds longer?

That's what I had last Saturday.

I know every mom is tired. Seriously, how we get through the days sometimes with so many things to remember and get done is award winning in my opinion. But for some reason, the last few months, I've been SOOOO tired. Tired to the point that I can fall asleep at any given moment in the afternoon, and go SO deep into sleep that I have NO idea what time of day it is, or even what day of the week we're on for that matter. It's not good. So when Russ had taken Jackson and Max to t-ball practice Saturday afternoon, and Mitch had gone down for a nap, I didn't hesitate in taking one of those naps myself. I briefly remember them coming home, getting Mitch up, and telling me they were going for a bike ride if I wanted to come. I was too delirious to actually get up, so off they went without me.

Awhile later, I was called to come to the school park, so I could be "another" person for their baseball game. I'll admit, that did not sound like fun to me. I was still groggy, lazy, and not interested. But my husband was being a good sport with my kids, and I was missing out. So I went.

I'm so glad I did. Although I played softball when I was younger, I'm definitely not that great at baseball. I love cheering for my boys at their games, and I feel like I know what to yell at them at times to "encourage them", (ha ha ha ha!) but actually getting dirty with them in their fun is not what I would have considered a good time. But it WAS. We had SO much fun being together as a family. Russ and I took turns pitching the ball to them, letting them hit, and run around the bases as far as they could get until we tagged them out. And then we took turns hitting to them, watching them play on defense, as they would try and catch the ball, stop the ball, or try and tag us out. It truly was a good time, and even better that it was just us having a good time together.

And what was Mitch doing during all this? He thought he was part of the game too, as he kept "decorating" third base with dirt by piling on as much as he could, or until Jackson or Max came over and swept it off. He was having a great time on his own, and had no clue that he almost was hit by the baseball several times.

I need to create more of these moments, and be there for my boys in all that is important to them, whether it seems silly to me or not.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Once upon a time...

There were three litle Walker boys who all dearly loved each other, and loved doing things that they could all do together. Even if it's doing something that only the youngest little Walker boy could do well, which is watching Baby Einstein before bedtime....

This has become the new favorite thing for my boys to do with Mitchell before he goes to bed, or anytime really that I need their help entertaining him. Mitchell's room was the toy room before he came, and Russ had hung up an older tv on the wall in there - along with his play station so they could just watch movies in there occasionally. Well, Mitch has never been much of a tv watcher...UNTIL his brothers introduced him to the Elmo couch that can be placed on the floor, propped with pillows galore, his blanket, where he can suck on his wrist to his hearts desire, and drift off to Baby Einstein heaven. In fact, the other night, Russ and Jackson and Max were out later because of Jackson's basketball practice, and I was putting Mitchell to bed before they got home. I walked into his room, turned on his music that we play for him all night, put him in his bed and kissed him good night. He immediately burst into tears, crying "Ein-tein! Ein-tein!" Sure enough, that smart little stinker (once I lifted him out of his bed) went and dragged the Elmo couch to the spot that his brothers always put it, cried and reached for his pillow that is in his crib, and pulled his blanket through the slats of the crib...plopped himself down on the couch, and looked at me, pointing to the tv and said "Ein-tein!" What's a mom supposed to do, besides giggle, go grab my own blanket and pillow, and cuddle up next to him? No way would I pass up the chance of cuddling up next to my baby, even if it's only to watch a few minutes of Baby Einstein.

Never again...

Is what my husband would say to this post. I on the other hand, would have labled it, "Pretty Pink Party!"

Let's back up a little bit. Our sweet friend, Ashley Reynolds quickly got pregnant after marrying our favorite single friend, Miles. And when they found out they were having a girl, I knew that we needed to throw her a fun shower. (selfishly, maybe I really wanted to actually see some PINK in my house - even for just a minute!) I'm not used to hosting parties, showers, or anything that includes more than a few people. I don't have the space for it in our little townhome, I don't have a bunch of fancy decorations or fun dishes that are excitig for me to pull out and use, and I tend to let things consume me more than is necessary...which is why my husband would say "never again." But I was excited to do it for Ash, and I was excited to host something at my own house, instead of being the one to always offer to help.

With only have a few mishaps during the shower, I tried to only focus on enjoying myself - which meant NOT being the stress case like I usually am, enjoying the women that came and supported her from my old ward that I don't get to see as often as I would like, getting to know her sweet mom and sisters that came from Utah to support her, and I was excited that she got some really fun things! I had TONS of support from the women that offered up help, and I have to give an extra big thank you to Lisa, Kelly, and Miranda, who all helped me enormously by donating their darling pink decor to make things looks just right for the shower and for all their help before. I am excited for Ash and Miles for their little princess to come soon!

Mouthy Mitch

I love, love, love the age that Mitch is right now. He's funny, he's clever, he's figuring things out for himself, he's a sponge - and learns everything quicker than I'm ready to have him learn. And because he's the third boy around here, there's not a moment to waste being the small guy in the group. He wants to be a big boy just like his brothers. However, with this new found independence comes a LOT of attitude too. So as much as I love this age, it can also be extremely frustating. He wants to run away from us - which is usually into danger, his new favorite word is NO, and he knows that all he has to do to get attention is scream at the top of his lungs...good or bad. He picks up on little words all the time, but really, that's all it is. One word here or there. Well, not the other night. We had gone to Jackson's game, and they had passed out crackers at the end of the game, which of course our munch mouth threw a fit about getting as well. Luckily they had an extra one for him to take, and he was thrilled. We loaded into the car to go home, Mitch clutching his crackers, and Jackson went to reach for a cracker out of his bag, when all of a sudden - clear as day - Mitch screams, "Don't touch it!!" Lesson learned. Don't mess with a one year old's food.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

And THIS is my life

This post could not be titled anything else really. As I've been downloading pictures from my camera to my computer, these are the only fitting words that keep coming to mind. Anyone with all boys can probably totally relate. Would I change it if I could? I doubt it. Do I wish there were occasional days that could be filled with playing dress up, barbies, or painting fingernails? Maybe sometimes.

We are starting the year off with a bang. Did I not write in my last post that I wanted to simplify my life? Yes. So why is one boy playing soccer and one boy playing basketball, with their practices on the same night, and probably their games on the same day? The answer to that question is THAT'S the difference between dads and moms. While moms don't NEED their boys to play these things, I will not deny the proud moments that may come while watching that "little boy" grow...seeing the determination and pride in his eyes from accomplishing something that he wasn't sure he could do. I realized a long time ago, from watching my own father with his many boys, and my mom totally frazzled from trying to keep up with her nights, being filled with who was going to which practice at what time and where...that there was no changing the boy inside the father. And so I will be thankful that I also have a husband who is proud of his sons, who is encouraging them to be active and to just TRY, and who is 100% supportive of what (he!) thinks they will love eventually and be good at!

Max has been SO excited to play soccer since Russ mentioned it weeks ago, telling him he was going to be on (Jackson's friend) Courtney's team, which made him feel older. He was BEAMING when he got his soccer jersey, with WALKER across the back of it, and he was thrilled when Russ took him shopping for brand new cleats, shin guards, and soccer shorts because we have no idea where all of those items went that we did have from Jackson years ago. So why my sweet little five year old cries every time he has to go to practice, or play in his first game is beyond my desire to keep making him do so. But whatever. He actually really is coordinated enough to be good at it, and I hope that "encouraging" him to keep trying will not backfire on us.
I don't have many pictures yet, since he's only played in one game, but this is him playing goalie. He later told Russ and I that he did NOT want to play goalie anymore because it was "too boring. His team is too good and they were always at the other end of the field, so there was nothing to do..." Yes, that was unfortunately true.

Better to ask for forgiveness than permission, is the rule that Mitch lives by right now. What would life be without our very busy one year old? This was what happens when you think you're on top of your game in the morning! Jackson and Mitchell were both dressed and ready for the day by 7:30, I had told Max he could hop in the bath for a minute, and I was heading downstairs to make their breakfast. And then I hear, "Mom! Help! Oh no, Mitch!" And I run into the bathroom, just in time to see Mitch diving head first into the bath with his brother. I remember Max doing this when he was probably about this age, but the difference was I had told him he could take a bath, and had started up the water for him. I left to go grab something, came back, and there he was, fully clothed, taking the bath that I had promised. Mitch well understands "bath time," so this was no accident. He wanted to take a bath, and he didn't want to hear the words NO come out of his mom's mouth. So he took matters into his own hands.
And last, but certainly not least...a child after my own heart, probably a little more sad for him than he even knows at this point. Jackson is such a perfectionist, a pleaser, determined to succeed in everything that he can. He loves school and everything about school. Even his homework. He's smart. He has great teachers, and he does everything he can to make those teachers proud of him. So it comes as no surprise to Russ or me that he was one out of two children in his class to get straight A's thus far. They did a small awards ceremony with two of the first grade classes, and both of the teachers said such sweet things about him. I just hope and pray he can be easier on himself than I was/am on myself.
And this was the final touch this week to realizing that all THIS really is my life...the joke that every little boy will laugh at over and over again, no matter how many times it is told: Why did the pirates pee their pants?......Because they wanted to name their ship "Pirates of the Cari-peein!" Ahhh, yes. This is MY life. And I wouldn't want it any other way.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

New Year, New Look, New Dedication

Yes, it's that time again. As I've been blog hopping, (something I RARELY do) I've noticed that I'm not the only one that hasn't kept up with good intentions, such as blogging. I'll be honest. Blogging is for me, for my journal upkeep, since journal writing does not come naturally to me, and it's for my children to look back on and laugh at, and maybe realize why their mother was as crazy as she was while they were growing up. So I'm not offended if no one else reads what I have to write! I wish I was a great writer, an uplifting writer like a few of my friends that I look up to are...but bottom line is my blog is what it is, and I'm okay with that.

I decided to "give" Russ the only surprise for Christmas that I could, (if you know Russ at all, surprising him does NOT work, since whatever I would buy for this man, he would later inform me that he could have gotten the same thing for a MUCH cheaper price!) and update my blog from when I fell off the blogging world, and bite the bullet and print out the blurb books that I only have heard about from others who have done them. Only since it was a surprise, I couldn't do it online. So I worked for hours on end...the second Russ would walk out the door until the minute he would walk back in the door, there I was. On the computer, working so hard on catching up on all the things I had missed writing about. It wasn't a pretty few weeks. My poor children wondered why the computer had all of a sudden replaced the game time with them that I try to make during the day or reading them stories, why I wasn't out running our normal errands, why the house was a disaster and it wasn't bothering me, or why even fixing their food was such a distraction! Luckily they survived, and so did I. And even though the books that I printed for the last few years don't necessarily mean much to anyone else, I'm proud of them. Russ was sweet, shocked and so appreciative of my efforts, and probably a little relieved to find a reason for my ongoing lack of motherhood responsibilities. And my sweet Max finally was able to see that he really is a part of our family because he was in a REAL book, not just living here in our home. (Sad but true story: I was dedicated to scrap booking when Jackson was an only child, and I have his first year and a half well documented. So when his book is pulled out, and Max is going through it, the questions always remain the same, though he's been given the same response every time: "is this me? Is this one me? Am I in this picture? Where am I then? How come I'm not in here?") It's very sad, and when this happens, Russ gives me "the look." The one that says "hey, this is your job, not mine. You're responsible for him feeling left out of this family! Maybe you should do something about it!"

So here we go. A much better way to publish your writing...if it's done on a semi-regular basis, NOT months and years later. An effort that will hopefully not be left in vain again.

As a side note, if anyone does happen to glance at my blog and realize that I may actually post something once in awhile, and your blog is no longer linked to mine, please know that this is because you went private, and I no longer have access to your blog! So for all of you "private" people, link us back up again! Add my email address to your "approved viewers!"

Our New Years this year was actually not much different from any other night, which was okay with me. We have such a whirlwind December month, with not only Christmas - but getting to celebrate two birthdays as well, so a low-key New Years was perfect. We went to dinner with some of our friends, who helped us laugh over the past year a little bit, toasted this year OUT and welcomed in higher hopes for most of us in the upcoming new year, and then stopped in at a party thrown at the fantastic Jones' home for a bit. We were home in bed before midnight, with me watching the amazing fireweork show on the strip from my own bed, and my sweet husband snoring beside me. As uneventful as it may have seemed, it also helped me do my own reflecting on what is really important in my life RIGHT now, and what I need to focus on more, and what I need to do to simplify my life even more. And that's my New Years resolution in a nut shell. Simplify, simplify, simplify. Make life more meaningful with the ones I love. Show my children how much I love them, instead of just telling them. Make the most out of each day, and be more fogiving of myself when the most isn't what I wish it was sometimes. To do the things that I need to do everyday with a smile, and remember that I would pick this craziness over leaving my children in someone else's care if the choice had to be made. Silly, and maybe a little redundant, but that's okay. I've learned more about myself and who I am and what I want to become as a mother, a wife, and a friend in the past few years than I probably have in my whole life, and though not all lessons are the ones I would have chosen to have, I know that they have helped shape me and mold me into who I'm still becoming and hope to become. Oh, and one more resolution that's on my top of priorities? To kiss my husband more! To welcome him home, instead of anxiously looking at the clock, counting down the seconds until he comes home to help me out with all the craziness. I'm a lucky woman to have the men in my life that I do, (starting with my own father) that work hard to provide for their families, but who are also so involved in what is going on at home, who don't look at coming home and helping out as a chore. I don't take these dear men for granted! They are such good examples to me.

Anyway, here's the few pictures of New Years that I actually remembered to capture, as well as my cute boys waking up to the first and probably only snowfall that Las Vegas will have this year. Since we had just gone up to Utah, seeing the snow wasn't such a novelty to them, but you would have thought it was, by the way they were glued to the window, watching it come down. Too bad it melted quicker than they could go play in it, but it was still a beautiful white wonderland for a minute.

And's our ever-growing "baby", if you could call him that. He honestly keeps us laughing every minute of every day...except for when he doesn't because he's throwing those fun "2 year old" tantrums. (How is it that those happen at one again?!) But he really is so much fun, and we could snap pictures of his faces everyday, or video every little thing that he says right now, because he understands everything you tell him, and he tries repeating everything you say. His latest one right now is clenching his fists and his jaw and shaking when anyone says "cold." We had DeEtte and Alan Young here the other night, and I asked Mitch if he could say "baby Cole's name," and instead of trying to say it, he shook his fists and thought I was saying COLD again. What a nut!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Park City

In July, Russ and I got to go up to Park City with a group of friends to the Whitings cabin WITHOUT kids. My parents were were so nice to take them for the few days we were up there and it worked out so nice for us! We've been there before, and it's one of the most beautiful "cabins" I've ever seen...there are so many things to do without even leaving! Even though I'm from that area, I couldn't believe how many things we did that I've never done or seen before!
The first day, we went to the Park City Olympian park, which was so cool to see. It was so fun to watch the different flips and things people could do on skis into the water! Everyone else went down the alpine slide and the zip line, but since I was so pregnant, I got to take pictures and laugh at everyone else doing it.

The boys of course had to "race" down the mountain. I think Russ was ahead for awhile, but Kenny rolled into a "ball" and killed everyone else at the end!

We also went to Salt Lake for a day. Our plan was to go to a session in the Salt Lake City temple because some of them had not been, and after getting all ready, making sure we were making the session we wanted, everyone with their recommends, this is what we find:
I'm pretty sure no one was prepared for such a blow, and we couldn't agree on what to do. (and when I say we couldn't agree, we REALLY couldn't agree!) Half of us wanted to go to another temple and still do a session, and the other half of us wanted to just go and enjoy the rest of our time in Salt Lake. After everyone had said their peace, and Spencer encouraged everyone to "hug it out," we decided to go walk around the temple grounds and go watch the Joseph Smith movie there, which was a decision not to be regretted. I'm pretty sure I've seen this movie before, but I don't think it matters how many times you've seen it. I still bawled through most of it, and my testimony of what a powerful man and prophet Joseph really was - was renewed and refreshed all over again. The temple grounds were beautiful as usual, and then we went and walked around the conference center. It was such a relaxing and perfect day!

We also spent an afternoon in my stomping grounds and went to the Homestead to swim in the "volcano." I haven't been there for years, and we had a good time swimming for about an hour and a half, playing games and laughing and hanging out.

We also went to Dairy Keen afterwards to eat, where Elder Holland happened to be eating as well with some of his grandkids. Russ and Jared went up and talked to him, and you could feel what a powerful and spiritual man he is just from his presence!
On the way back to Park City, a truck hauling a bunch of hay started losing some of his bails on the freeway. Luckily no one was right behind him and didn't get hurt, and even more lucky for him, we had a few carloads of very willing and kind men (and women!) to help him out with loading them back on his truck for him. I don't know why it was so funny but we couldn't help but take pictures of the event!

The rest of the week, much time was spent at the sand volleyball courts, where the competition of our cruise two years ago was remembered and felt all over again! The men played a lot of three-on-three in the same teams, and let us women join in their fun for a few games as well. Kenny was injured in one of the games and cut his knee open super bad and was bleeding everywhere, but he was a trooper, got bandaged up and kept going. My favorite memory of playing was when Spencer turned to me in the middle of one of the games and said, "I sweat Denett, if you are crowning right now, you are going to be in so much trouble." It was just too much fun not to participate and play with everyone!

Besides what I mentioned, my favorite memories of this week were making meals all together, (Bryan and Kendra rocked the house with their infamous CPK pizzas and their crepes! I'm pretty sure I gained 5 lbs just from eating those two things alone!) watching horrible movies all together, playing ping pong (around the world was too much fun!) and talking about our "favorite moments of the day." Our Joseph Smith discussion will always hold a special place in my heart...