Friday, March 30, 2012


Tammy organized a surprise birthday party for Dad's 70th and Daniel's 28th birthdays.  They are lucky enough to share a birthday on March 22.

My assignment was to make cinnamon rolls, so after those were done we headed over to Grandma and Grandpa's house to wait for guests and the guest of honor.  Kyle and Greg had "kidnapped" Grandpa and taken him shopping all day, looking at TVs and trailers and who knows what else.

 My other assignment was to be the official photographer, but Lynnie would not let me put her down or go see anyone else, so Staci graciously stepped in the be the photographer.  Except for the first couple pictures of my girls, the rest are Photos By Stacilyn.
Kiera took Lynnie outside and was her favorite person for a few minutes.  After taking this picture, Lynnie was immediately back in my arms.

Ellie helped me make the cinnamon rolls, and even though she only licked the roll part, she ate off all of the frosting.
 Decorations and Party-Goers, waiting for Grandpa to arrive.

Kylene and Kiera

Grandma, ? and ?

Daniel, Jonette, and Tanya

Parker and Cassie

Tylan, Rachel, and Tanya

The backlight is distracting, but Grandpa was genuinely surprised!  Andrew and Ellie ran out and yelled "surprise" to him before he made it in the door.

We got you, Grandpa!

Emily, Grandpa, Jonette, and Kylene

Ellie is saying, "TA DA!"

Tanya and Denver

Ah, finally it is food time.  The big kids ate outside -- and Ellie now considers herself a big kid!

Andrew striking a pose.

Ellie only ate chips....

Paul: "Dad, when did you shrink?  You used to be taller than me!"

After Staci was done taking pictures, I tried to get one of her.  This is all I managed...

Tammy avoided the camera all night as well--here she is looking at a balloon that escaped to the ceiling.
 As a mom of one of the little ones, my heart was so full watching this scene.  The children were playing "Duck, Duck, Goose" and the big boys were careful to pick each of the little ones in turn.  They were all laughing and enjoying themselves, even while watching out for their cousins.  And each big boy has different parents, who are all doing a fabulous job raising strong young men. 
Ellie was glued to Kaysen, who "protected" her
The rest of the pictures from the night are available for your viewing pleasure here.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Sleeping & Playing

Why do I take so many pictures of sleeping children?  

I guess because they are so dang cute and fall asleep in the most interesting places and positions.  This is afternoon snack, at 3:45.
Lynnie loves this toy!  She stacks up the gears and makes them spin, the crashes them and starts all over.

Bottle Update:

Lynlee is now doing fine, bottle-free.  It took her til Wednesday to decide that life was going to be happy even though she drinks milk from a cup.  She now has to hold a blankie while drinking, but otherwise has the made the transition.

Ellie has not had milk since the bottles went away.  She did take a taste of milk three different times, but not after the first couple of days.  She definitely eats more food now, so we are continuing to try to get her to taste new things and branch out of her carbohydrate and chicken nugget diet.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Family = Love

Saturday was Festival for the Junior High and High School kids.  I registered Jace for Rachel and was able to hear him perform.  Jace did awesome and earned honors.
 Kaysen wanted to play hang out with Dallin and Parker, so we headed down to see Paul and Staci for a few minutes before heading to Texas Roadhouse for dinner with Kyle, Jonette, Kylene, Kiera, and Tammy.

Ellie, look at this cool bug!  Oh, don't touch it, let it crawl.
 While at Texas Roadhouse, we ran into Cliff and Amy Clint and Emily.  We have been friends with Cliff and Amy since we first moved to Lehi in 1999.  It all started when Greg was in the YM presidency and Amy was in YW, and they were chatting one night at Mutual.  We were newish in the ward, and Greg has always struggled to remember names.  He asked Amy how her husband Clint was doing, and Amy instantly bristled and said that maybe she should call him Craig if he couldn't remember names.  Ever since, they have been Clint and Emily and we have been Craig and Helen.  They invited us to be part of their "80's Club" with Najib & Angie and Rob & Lorie, and the rest (as they say) is history.
riding the sawhorse saddle
After dinner we headed back to our house for a little hot tubbing (for the 5-12 year old set), watching March Madness (for the adult male set), chatting (for the adult female set), and some ice cream sundaes all around.  We optimistically thought if we were at our house we could put the girls Lynnie to bed.  We all enjoyed the party until around 10:45.  Everyone left, we had family prayer, and Ellie was asleep before Greg said "Amen."

We enjoy spending time with all of our family members, but we have always had a special connection with Kyle and Jonette.  We have grown up with them and their kids, and in all of our years of childlessness, they let us "borrow" their kids whenever we wanted.  We moved--twice--to live next to them.  We realized that when we decided to start our own Christmas tradition and be our own little family this year, that it was the first Christmas during 15 year-old Kiera and 12 year-old Kaysen's lifetimes that we were not with them.
catching up on Mommy time

oh, the cheese!

brotherly love
 Ellie loves to tell me that she is organizing.  This morning, she took every pair of shoes that she could reach off of the shoe racks and organized them in the entryway.

Sure, Davis, you can fit.  Come ride with me!
 One of the best parenting ideas I found on Pinterest is Quiet Time Bins.  I created little shoebox bins for each day of the week, and Ellie spends 45 minutes in her bed while Lynnie is napping.  Ellie doesn't nap, but she plays and reads books, and I often hear her laughing.  (And I often hear her crying also, when she thinks she should be done, but that is another post.)  Today, she put Lambie, Barney, Other Lambie, Hello Kitty, and Elephant to sleep and gave them each a blankie and a toy.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

No More Bottles

Well, we have finally done it.  We have officially thrown away all of the bottles, because Ellie and Lynnie are big girls now and can drink milk from cups (at least, that is what we told them).

Last Monday, I started preparing Ellie by telling her that we were going to throw away her bottles on Friday.  We have (obviously unsuccessfully) tried to wean her for a bottle a few times over her life, and and decided the last time to do both girls together.  They both drink tons of water from cups, but we've always done milk in bottles.  Ellie has the extra hurdle of only drinking her milk warm, and we are going to straight-from-the-fridge cold in her cup.
...the last bottles...
 After the morning routine and breakfast, it was time for our throwing away ceremony.  Ellie knew it was coming, and really stalled before letting me do her hair.  She was playing in her room, and every time I would go to get her, she would tell me she was "not quite done."  As Bobi put it, she really milked it.

The girls took turns throwing the bottles away, and then Daddy took them outside, since it was garbage day.  Of course, he actually just stashed them in the garage and I washed them and packed them away after bedtime, but it was effective.

24 hours in, it has been interesting.  Ellie did take a few sips of  milk throughout the day, so that is better than I expected.  Lynnie had a harder transition than I expected, since she is so good at drinking from a cup.  At lunch, she drank about half a cup of milk, which is more than she normally drinks of water at lunchtime, so I thought it would be great.

But then it was naptime, which is when she usually drinks a bottle.  She signed "milk" and "nap" and we went and got a sippy with milk.  We snuggled up on the couch and I gave her the cup.  She put it to her lips, threw it down, and frantically signed "milk" while saying "bah bah."

She has never said "bah bah" before, and I didn't know she knew the word "bottle."

After a couple of minutes, she decided it was OK to drink a little milk from her cup, and then she napped just fine.

I know it will be the new normal in a week, and we all just have to get used to the new routine!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Ellie's Activities

One of Ellie's favorite things to do is to "pank."  She prefers to use brushes in her finger paint, and we have branched into water colors.  Especially fun is that the water color book we found is Dora.
 Hope came to play for a couple of hours.  We love friends!  The timing was interesting because I put Lynnie down for her nap and was walking out of her room when Traci brought Hope to the door.  Ellie and Hope played inside and then wanted to dig in the dirt outside.  It was windy so we lent Hope a jacket and I stood in the door and watched them.  They were cute together out there!  Then it was back in for a snack, and all too soon Paige was there to pick Hope up.  As they were leaving, Lynnie woke up from her nap. 


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