Tuesday, December 15, 2015

November Little Things

My phone was lost which means I also lost the pictures for the month of November.  Bummer.  Here are the couple I took with our other camera:

James getting ready to bike to his 1st day of work at University of Arkansas.  Let's just ignore the busy background/terrible lighting.

James did the girls hair with the vacuum.  They thought it was pretty awesome!

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Thankful Turkey

Here's what was legible from our Thankful Turkey this year:

* family
* health
* baby #4
* food
* school
* opportunities at University of Arkansas
* busy days at the business
* wife & kids
* bike + trails to ride on
* God
* holidays
* cousins
* eternal perspective
* cereal
* sleep
* joy school
* TJ's naptime
* Sofia's quiet time
* past experiences
* gospel in our lives

Sunday, November 15, 2015

October Little Things

James built a triple bunk bed for the kids.  He had lots of helpers for the project.

The weekend after the business opened up James had the day off.  It was amazing to have a day together and not do any work.  We had lots of fun.  It was our first time biking as a family in months.

Caterpillar collecting...we stopped counting at 50.

Sofia learned to ride her bike without training wheels.  I thought it was going to be a slow and painful process but she picked it right up.  After 2 hours practicing I'd say she has it down!

 The girls were jamming to some music.  Sadly, I think dancing must be genetic.

 3 Little Monkeys at the park after school one afternoon.

Why anyone would choose to go down the slide this way - I have no idea?!

We made it to the Kansas City temple on a wet and chilly day - it was a long day.

Spending lots of time at the business!

Train rides down the slide....I love when they are happily playing together.

A very tired lunchtime.

I finished sewing costumes with a day (maybe even 2) to spare!!

Thursday, November 12, 2015

September Little Things

Aka phone pictures.

Tj's first nap in a big bed

These little guys (TJ and a friend) playing with a friend's baby.....TJ loves babies

Story time at the library.  There were a bunch of characters there to read their story and they hung around afterwards for pictures.  Yes we waited in line....for every single one of them!

Sofia was pretty intense about coloring a picture of herself for Joy School

We made it to the Oklahoma City temple

Hannah made this sign for their 'Kids Club.'  I couldn't help but laugh at her spelling.

Here's the actual clubhouse

I love to see the kids reading.  Especially when it's quiet and I'm suspecting a little one is getting into trouble but I find him 'reading' a good book.

Naturally, this is what we do with a booster seat.

And TJ is definitely the right size for this swing!

Monday, September 21, 2015

Summer Snippets

Yeah, we're alive.  Barely.  There are a lot of things I'm supposed to be doing right now, but I have quit for today.  I decided I'd rather organize some thoughts and pictures.  I didn't take to many photos with my phone, but here's a quick snapshot of a few things from this summer.

TJ finally fell asleep on our drive back to Utah (after 9 hours in the car)!!

Hannah really wanted to take her sunflower with us.  Somehow she managed to sneak it into the car and it made it all the way to Utah intact.

Washing the car.....and themselves.

She was pretty focused practicing.

The joy of having older cousins.....

Grandma and Grandpa got a new dishwasher....meaning the girls had a fun new box to play with.

What are the chances of these two having matching pajamas?

Some of the cousins outside of the Payson temple while McKenna (the oldest cousin) went through.

The gorgeous view outside of the 'cabin' over the 4th of July.

Why are dirt and water so fun to play with?!?

Waiting for the 24th of July parade to begin.....small towns definitely have the best parades.

Getting a little wet at the splash pad.

They actually slept for a little while on the drive back to Arkansas.  I suppose that's a perk of leaving at 4 am.

 TJ finally fell asleep in this position after a good tantrum.

Monday, July 20, 2015

A New Adventure

** A sequel to yesterdays very lengthy post.

I feel like we've had some crazy adventures in our 10 years of marriage.  Most of them have involved moving new, and often very foreign, places.  Well, it's time for an adventure of a different sort. We're starting a business with another family from our church back in Arkansas.  

Yep...us starting a business....back in Arkansas where we know almost no one.  You read that right. Think children's play museum....that's how I've described it to people.  Not an actual museum, but an imaginative, educating play environment for kids.

We were planning on moving back to Utah.  Remember how we just bought a truck for the sole purpose of moving?  The very same day we loaded up all of our stuff a couple from our ward invited us over for dinner and presented us with the idea of this business.  To make a long story short we thought the idea over (you know all night long when we couldn't sleep), talked with them some more the next day and decided not to move our stuff home.  We unloaded everything and left the truck there to drive back to Utah for an extended visit and lots more thinking about this business. From the beginning it felt like a great idea.  Maybe it didn't seem like the smartest move in my head, but it felt good.  The more we've thought, prayed, and researched the better we've felt.  So, we're planning on moving back to Arkansas in August to get things started and open the business with this family as soon as possible.

Life is so interesting the way it works out.  There's no way in a million years we would do this on our own.  I'm the business graduate who avoided entrepreneurship classes because I had zero interest. I'm boring. I like knowing what to expect (like a steady paycheck and a 9-5 type job).  But the way our life has gone the last year that just doesn't seem to be happening and we've been looking for something else.  We feel like this is a great idea and we're really hopeful for it.  We've been doing LOTS of research and realize it will be a lot of work and lots of stress, but we're excited about it.

So...on to the new adventure!!

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Moving On

** FYI - this post is a little lengthy and a little personal.  Feel free to skip if you're not interested. There have been several times I've wished our blog wasn't linked up to Facebook.  I've thought of 'un-linking' it but that requires figuring out how to do it and takes way more energy than I have at the moment.  

***FYI Again.  This post was written a week or two before we came back to Utah.  Our plans have totally changed, but this is how I was feeling and I want to document it for me to have so I'm posting it here.  I'll do an update and what's really happening soon.

We've moved a lot.  Utah, Germany, Thailand, LA, Turkey, and Arkansas have been our 'major' moves.  But there have been so many additional local moves and then all the 'pit stops' in Utah in between school/jobs trying to figure out what's next. I don't think I can accurately count the number of times we've loaded up all of our stuff into boxes (or suitcases) and headed off.  Let's just say the number of past addresses in our amazon account is slightly embarrassing.  It just isn't right when you're being asked about old addresses (for security purposes) and can't remember if you ever lived at that address or not....or occasionally forgetting where we are living right now.  Or being able to tell which kid it is in a baby picture based on the location....yikes!!

We've had some great adventures and I wouldn't trade them, and the lessons learned, for anything. But, I'm definitely ready to settle down.  This move to Arkansas was fully intended to be permanent. It was a legit job with benefits - we were actually going to have insurance!  Can I tell you how excited I was to be able to find doctors for our kids and never have to switch again!!!!!!!!! Not just another adventure.  We contacted a real estate agent and even looked at houses to buy.  This 'legit' job didn't pay very much, and we knew it would be very tight for a few years, but hey, we're frugal. We don't need a lot.  Our kids have never had much and are young enough they don't complain too much. We had done the math, evaluated our anticipated budget in every possible way.  We were ready to make it work and were excited about it.

And then we moved.  And then after a month and a half received our first full paycheck.  And we realized our budget was way off.  Our anticipated take home pay was lots less than what he had calculated (apparently you can't trust everything you read online)!  :D

To make a long story a tiny bit shorter we quickly realized there was no way we could make this work financially.  To top it off we had major issues with medical insurance - and haven't been insured.  There has been lots of stress.  So...we stopped looking at houses to buy and started looking at different jobs.  There were lots of jobs we discussed, so many applications filled out, and a few interviews.  Some were promising, some not so much.  The job search really isn't very much fun (and it's not even me doing the work). Anyway, James was offered a job here in NWA and we were really excited about it.  We thought we had things figured out and it made perfect sense.  But, the job offer was rescinded and we went back to square one.

After lots of thinking, praying, pleading, sleepless nights, frustrating days of trying to figure out how we could this work we realized we needed to move back to Utah.  I don't know why.  Logically it doesn't make much sense.  Not at all.  No job, no promise of a job, awful dry weather and freezing cold winters....but it feels right.  I think. As long as I don't think logically.

So, we've been packing up our stuff, yet again...and moving on.

As a major side note....I feel like we're pretty minimalistic but how in the heck do we have so much  junk stuff?!!!!
Major, major side note....we bought a truck.  Not a minivan, but a truck!

* An update on what our new plans are will be coming soon....this was getting too long!

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

2 Vehicles in 2 Weeks

We have been looking at vans for months.  We usually take a long time to take decisions (especially ones that involve spending money).  When we were able to move TJ to a bigger car seat and still fit all 3 kids in the back of the seat we decided to postpone buying a van.

Then we decided we were moving back to Utah.  Moving prices are insane! We were having a hard time deciding how to move (moving truck, pod, etc...).  About 5 days before we moved we bought a truck.  Why a truck?!  To move.  It was going to save us $1000 in moving costs and we figured we would be able to sell it in Utah after we got there.

Then plans kind of changed even more last minute and we unloaded our stuff and left the truck in Arkansas.

Fastforward 2 weeks.  We're in Utah and we knew we need to get a van.  The Corolla just wasn't going to fit us much longer and my sister and her family will be able to get a lot more use out of it than we can.  So we were keeping an eye open and found a van.

We liked it.  It doubled the amount of space we had.  It had sliding doors.  It had tons of miles....but that also means it fit into our meager budget! And did I mention those sliding doors?! And that it fit our budget?!

So far we like it.  I'm still terrified of backing up and parking it. And I feel like I need a microphone to talk to kids in the very backseat....but we like it.

Awful picture...but there it is all loaded up with our stuff in the back.

And here's the van.  She doesn't have a name.  We agree she's a she...just doesn't have a name.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Birthday Boy

This little guy had a birthday.  It's hard to believe he's 2 and we definitely don't have a baby anymore.

At 2 years TJ:
* still give snuggles in the morning, but not nearly as much as he used to
* favorite words are "MINE!!" and "NO!"
* bites when he's angry
* throws the biggest tantrums for about 2-10 minutes (full on kicking and screaming and banging his head on the floor).  Once he gets it out of his system he's usually good to go. Usually!
* has the cutest puppy dog eyes
* has developed a taste for grandpa's yucky juice (or anything other than water)
* doesn't let himself get pushed around too much
* is very good at saying 'thank you'
* is terrified of dogs (or any living creature for that matter)
* is great at pushing buttons (literally and figuratively)
* by far the best traveler EVER.  He hardly ever complains about car rides...even the 20 hour one here.

Hard to believe this little guy can melt my heart and drive me crazy all at the same time.  Can't imagine life without him.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

3 Little Munchkins

First time ever........all 3 of them are in matching outfits.  Pretty cute, huh?!

It never would have happened except my sister made the girls' outfits.  If she could do that I figure I could manage to come up with a bow tie for TJ, right?

Friday, June 26, 2015

She's 6!!

Hard to believe this little one is already 6. 

Here's an update on the birthday girl.  She:
* is the one we can count on to make a good choice
* usually listen to us
* is so imaginative....I love listening to her and Sofia play
* can be a little bossy from time to time (she is an oldest child, right?!)
* is very quick to report someone doing something bad
* is definitely very motherly to TJ
* so helpful to have around
* loves music.  She always wants the radio on - and she wants it loud.  She picks up in the lyrics to music after just 1 time listening to a song (which is a little scary).
* loves all things crafty.  From coloring to painting to making jewelry....she loves it.
* is VERY indecisive.  Must be a genetic thing.
* has such a hard time making a normal face for pictures

On her actual birthday we had cupcakes with some ice cream.  She got to open up her gift from us:

Pink Cowgirl Boots.  She asked for these months ago.  I said, 'No way." Not a necessity and soo expensive.  But she really wanted them.  So we created a chart full of squares.  Each square was worth $.50 and each time she did an extra job (you know...above and beyond the expected work at home) she got to fill in the square.  When the chart was full we would get the boots. I figured she'd either work hard if she really wanted them or give up. She spent about 2 months working on the chart and had it about 2/3 full when we came out to Utah for the summer.  She did her fair share of mopping the floorboards - it's a pretty good task for her that I hate doing.  Win-win! When I saw she was still working on it and wanted them 2 months later I figured we could get them for her for her birthday.  She was pretty excited about them.

She had her first birthday party.  Ever.  She was pretty excited.  We invited all the nearby family so there were a bunch of cousins....but didn't take a single picture.  I did manage to snap a picture of the cupcakes when we finished decorating.

Let's not look too closely at the frosting job.  Luckily Hannah was happy with it!!

It was fun to celebrate with her.  It was even fun to plan a little party.  But I am glad she knows she's not getting one for at least another 3-4 years.  We're kinda mean like that!!