February 5, 2014

Another Year Gone

And just like that - another year gone! Where does the time go? 

Here's my update of 2013 through pictures. :) One day I'll post regularly. I don't think that day is coming any time soon. . .but one day! 

My Lila Kate had her first taste of food.  She pretty much hated it! 
Malia started taking dance lessons. I do love that part of having girls.

Some of our good friends adopted a baby who was born five days before Lila. They were sealed to their sweet baby and we drove to the Columbia temple to be a part of their special day. It was absolutely amazing. I have never been in a sealing like that before. It felt like we were in heaven. My sweet babies played outside the temple with some of the older kids and loved every minute of it. Don't you love how this is at the beginning of February, the sun is shining and not one person needed a jacket?!? I love this weather! :)

 The other thing I just noticed about these pictures are the clothes. Lila wore that outfit yesterday. Like 2014 yesterday. Like a year later. I'm sure that it was a bit big on her when she wore it in 2013. . .but seriously? She's just a tiny little thing. Malia also still wears that dress to church. The boys and Mae Mae? Not so much. They are growing like weeds!
 Lila Kate found a new favorite pastime. She likes to hide in the clothes and playing peek-a-boo while I'm doing laundry. I love this little toad.
  For Valentine's day I did sort of a count down. Every night I would put a heart on the kids and Ben's doors (or two or three on some nights when I forgot about it and needed to play catch-up). Each heart said something that I love about them.  It was fun to see them run to their door in the morning to see what their heart said.
  We had our first snow this Winter. It only happens once or twice if the kids are lucky. They got their stuff on as fast as they could go. We also were watching some kids from our ward over the weekend so they got to enjoy it with us!
 Ben, Lila and I flew to Denver for Ben to interview for a job opening. We loved Denver, loved visiting with my brother and his family, loved having a few nights away, and hated the snow. Actually, I loved seeing the snow and feeling the dry crisp cold. Seeing it was enough though. I don't miss shoveling and such. On our way home we ended up getting stuck at the airport for a very long time because of snow and missing our connecting flight which required an extra night in Minneapolis. In the end we decided Denver wasn't a good fit for us at the time. We are quite happy in North Carolina. Sure was nice to get away! Even if there was a cute little peanut tagging along.

 This little one discovered the people behind us on the plane and played peek-a-boo for quite some time. I think the people were a little bugged. I say, how can you get bugged by that smile?!
My nephew Michael was in town for his job so he came to visit. Simon was just thrilled to death. He loved Michael before he went on his mission, then we moved to NC before Michael got back. So, this was the first time we were seeing him since he returned home and the first time Malia and Lila had met him at all. We went to Bad Daddy's Burgers and had a lovely time. So glad he took time to visit us!
 Simon earned his wolf badge in Cub Scouts.
 This one just kept getting cuter and cuter. . .
 After a lot of hard work and plenty of hours, Ben finished his Wood Badge.
I had a birthday (no pictures!) and Simon took second at the pinewood derby. He wasn't thrilled with that. Can't you just see his sad eyes. . .trying to smile for the camera. Poor kid. He was hoping for a repeat of the year before. He was thrilled with his car. And with good reason! Him and Ben (no, Ben didn't build it alone) spent lots of hours on that little car. Simon also turned 9. *sigh* He's such a sweet boy.
 Malia turned 3! Cute little stinker. This was at Chili's. Grandpa and Kai came to visit over Spring break and we went to dinner for a birthday celebration.

 I love this picture of Grandpa and Lila Kate.
 These pictures are a reminder for me to never make Ben take the pictures. He's now in charge of the video camera. Anyway, Grandpa and Kai wanted to do their Easter egg hunt. I hope I have pictures somewhere else. . .I have zero of Lila with her Easter basket!

 Grandpa and Mae Mae taking a little snooze before church.
 Simon wanted cupcakes for his birthday.
 Simon and Malia had the best birthdays this year. Between our family celebration on their actual birthday, opening presents when Grandpa and Kai got here, dinner at chili's with free dessert and cupcakes another night (Malia was asleep when we did Simon's so she got hers a different day) it was a very long birthday celebration for BOTH of them! I didn't hear any complaining either.
While Grandpa and Kai were here we took a little trip to Charleston, SC. It was quite cold, very windy and rainy at times, but we had a fun time!
We went on a horse driven carriage tour - windy and very rainy.
 Lunch at McDonald's - We're fancy like that. (We did go to a yummy seafood place for dinner one night. I can't remember the name. . .Bubba Gump's? Maybe?)
 Took a boat to Fort Sumter - SUPER cold and windy.
And a quick stop at the beach - windy windy windy! We didn't spend much time here. The wind was pretty miserable. It didn't stop the kids from getting in the water and playing with the sand. In Lila's case, she was eating the sand and then would get mad that she had eaten it. . .and then she'd go back for more and then she'd cry more. Kai found a nice sand dune to shield her (mostly) from the wind. Everyone ended up joining her there tucked away. It was a short beach trip, that's for sure, but still plenty of fun.

 Lila learned that she loves the pantry. She pulls everything out that she can reach. 
Here is my favorite 9 month picture of Lila Kate.
These are my babies. They really hate that I say that because "They aren't babies!" But I tell them they'll always be my babies, no matter what their age.
I found the pictures of Lila and her basket! I just took them a few weeks late. :) Story of my life. Seriously.
 This girl gets into everything!
This kid loves anything that has to do with music. He tried out for and made the school musical! I was so proud of him for trying.  Way to go Simon!!
We had a little visitor. Ben thought that he saw a bird stealing twigs from the wreath on our front door. We didn't think much of it until we saw that bird come back over and over. Come to find out she wasn't stealing twigs, she was making a nest IN our wreath! So fun! The kids were banned from going in or out the front door. It was sort of fun to hear the little birdies chirping. Then when they were gone all that was left was a nasty bird nest and a whole lot of bird poop on my wreath and my door. Gross.
Simon loves this Lila Kate. The feeling is mutual. He is such a good helper and loves to make her happy.
 Bella and Malia had their dance concert.
 Malia crashed after her dance was done. She fell asleep on Ben's lap. He moved her off of him right before she peed. Luckily it got on the chair instead of his pants! :)
 Ben and I also had our 11th anniversary! Yay for us!
Malia and I went to Nolan's class to be the Mystery Reader. It was cute how excited Nolan was to see us and to show off his sisters.
 Ben had a birthday! The kids wanted to throw him a surprise party. So we decorated and I made him a favorite things cake. The kids insisted that everyone needs to have a REAL cake on their birthday with candles. So we made one of those too. They all hid behind the half wall and jumped up when he walked in the house. They sure do love their daddy!
 One of the kids favorite thing to do is take the train to see dad at work.
 We went on our annual week long trip to Huntington beach. LOVE that trip!
 For the Fourth of July we were invited by our good friends to their lake house. We went boating, tubing, wake boarding, ate yummy food, watched fireworks and had an all around good time!
 Also, Lila and her little friend Pete both turned one that week. So, we had a little combined party with our ward family.
 The next day, Ben took off work so we could go camping with his boss, Randy and Randy's wife Deborah. It was near the Blue Ridge Parkway. It was a beautiful drive up there. I would love to go see it in the Fall.
 My Lila Kate turned ONE! On her actual birthday, we let her open presents from family and she got a little cupcake at her siblings request. Yes. . .that is her touching the flame. . .
 And this is her after she touched the flame. I think she was more angry that I took the candle away than upset about burning her little finger. I know, mother of the year, right?!
Bella Mae turned 6! 
We have told the kids that they get to have a party on their even birthdays. So Bella decided that she wanted a pool party. I would be okay with her having a pool party every year. It was so simple!

 We flew my mom in town so she could watch the kids while Ben and I took our 10 year anniversary trip - a year late. :) We went to Disney World and it was SO awesome! We hadn't taken a trip together, with no kids, since our honeymoon. I was nervous to leave my babies. I hadn't left them for more than one night before. And this was a week long trip! It ended up being very relaxing. . .and who wouldn't love being in Disney World? I do have to say, almost the whole time Ben and I would say things like "Nolan would love that ride" or "Bella would have loved to buy some suckers" and so on and so on. It is so much fun to be there with the kids and see their little faces light up at everything. However, it was kind of nice to not have anyone asking for a bite of your pretzel and being able to walk around in the store without someone asking you to buy them something every step they take. I would NEVER take my kids in August. It was very hot and humid. We were happy to walk through the stores to keep cool. I'm sure the kids would be begging to go on more rides. I'm so glad my mom could come watch the little gremlins. I need to get the pictures of their adventures from my mom, but from what I heard they had a grand time.
  Our friends Tammy and Jason joined us for the last few days of our trip.
 We had a fun time going bowling for FHE. Ben even bought pizza and nachos. . .so NOT like him.
 Simon started 4th grade. He is in the AIG (Academically and Intellectually Gifted) program, which starts in fourth grade. He takes after his dad. Nolan started 2nd grade and Bella started 1st! They are all getting too big way too fast.
Ben taught the boys to play chess. They keep asking me to let them teach me how to play. I just don't want to use my brain that much. :) They sure do enjoy it!
 Malia started Joy School
 We got a new kitty. Her name is Alexa.
This girl got some new boots and insisted on wearing them all. the. time. She threw a fit when I tried to take them off when it was bed time. . .so naturally, she got her way, and slept in them nightly. The benefits of being the last child, I guess. Spoiled rotten.
 She looks pretty cute in those boots, though. Don't you think?
 I was in charge of the Halloween party for Joy School. I probably went overboard. But I enjoy doing this sort of thing. We played games, decorated mummy cupcakes, and had a very Halloweeny kind of lunch.
  Did you know that there is an international talk like a pirate day? Well, there is and Krispy Kreme Doughnut shops celebrate it! (It's actually in September. . .not October) So, a while before Halloween came along, we gathered up all of our pirate costume stuff and borrowed everything else we needed from our friend. Then I loaded up the kids and headed to Krispy Kreme. Every person that dresses up like a pirate gets a dozen doughnuts - free! 
 After that the kids decided they wanted to be a pirate crew for Halloween with dad as the captain. Ben wasn't thrilled with the idea, but he went along because the kids were so excited and that's what good dads do!
 Malia was only willing to dress up as a pirate because her costume was pink.
 We took family pictures.
  We took the kids to dinner after they were so good for pictures. Simon and Nolan thought it was great that Lila wanted to drink from both of their straws at the same time.
 My Nolan Boy turned 8! He also chose to be baptized. I sure do love this crazy kid.
 My mom and dad flew in for the baptism. They stayed the whole week! We were so grateful that they could come!

  We did plenty of fun things with my mom and dad. . .but I have no pictures. Boo! We drove down to South Carolina to see my dad's old stomping grounds when he was in the military, we had a super yummy Thanksgiving dinner, we saw Frozen and I did some Christmas shopping with my mom. I know my dad took a bazillion pictures. I need to get those from them as well.
Aunt Kate and I did the twelve days of Christmas for each other's kids this year. I had some extras from what I sent them, so we had a few more than twelve days. :)

Dad and the kids made gingerbread houses.
This little stinker didn't get to make one because he did (and didn't do) enough that he wasn't allowed to participate. 
 We also made rice krispie wreaths. Nolan barely got to join in the fun this night.

 Simon ran his first 5k with Ben. He was in the Let Me Run program at school. He worked really hard and was thrilled to run with his dad. The rest of the kids and I cheered them on with gusto! Bella Mae even made a cute little sign for them.
 We made Santa cupcakes. Once again, Nolan didn't get to join in. Silly boy.
 We finally got to the presents Katie sent. . .and I never took any pictures! Well, I did take them for one activity. . .

She sent these fun folders with all sorts of coloring and activity pages. Simon was seriously in heaven. His was full of Christmas math problems and all sorts of pages that required thinking.
 She also sent other activities like a movie with popcorn, a Christmas book, Christmas Bingo, Science experiments, indoor snow balls and a bunch of other fun things. The kids loved to open a present every day. Thank you Aunt Cake!

We saw Santa at our ward Christmas breakfast. Malia hates Santa. She refused to sit on his lap and didn't care that she wasn't going to get a candy cane. She was freaking out that I was standing next to him to take this picture. Lila wouldn't sit on his lap either. She wanted to get away. Simon and Nolan are "too old" but my Bella Mae was happy as could be.
 On Christmas Eve we spent the evening with our ward family. All the kids dressed up and acted out the nativity. Bella was Mary, Simon was Joseph (He thought that was gross. Ha!), Nolan a wiseman, Lila a shepherd and Malia was an angel.  It was quite entertaining.
  Christmas morning was filled with presents and excited squeals. As usual, I was up before any of the kids. I'm pretty sure I get more excited then they do and I already know what goes under the tree!
 Lila was having the time of her life! She wanted to open every present she saw. She didn't care who it was to or what was inside. She'd open one and move to the next. Unless, of course, it was candy. Then she'd run over to Ben saying "Tany, tany!"

Ben wanted to get the boys pocket knives. So we did. Nolan decided to try and open his Skylanders figure with it and Simon tried taking the box out of Nolan's had to do it himself. At least that's the story Nolan told. If you ask Simon he'll tell it in a way that makes him look like the innocent bystander. Anyway, we were sitting downstairs when Simon came over to the banister, holding his hand, saying that Nolan cut him. He didn't seem too upset, so I just told him to come on down and we'd get a bandage on it. When he got down I saw that it was much more serious than that. When he got to the kitchen, that's when the blood came and that's when the flood gates opened. Ben took him to the ER. Six stitches later and he was just happy as a clam to be able to get back to his presents. Ben said that Simon watched the doctor put the stitches in and handled it like a champ. I'm sure I would have fainted had I been the one to take him. Simon didn't want pictures taken of it so there are none to show.

Well, that was our year!  Full of fun stuff and lots of memories. Perhaps this year I'll be better at keeping up on this blog. Of course, I say that every time I post something, so maybe not.