Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Being 1 is just s’more fun…and so are family pictures ;)

 SO…delayed (as usual) but better late than never: Bryar had her 1st birthday and we celebrated with a fun little party! We decided on a s’mores theme since it’s fall and that seemed like a fun activity. Of course on the day of her party it was about 70 degrees out, which doesn’t really lend itself to sitting around a firepit, but hey, who can complain about nice weather in November!? Not this girl! So we just went with it and it turned out really fun! We had an assortment of s’more making options (classic, mini, berries and cream, pb cup, and mint) and all in all it was delicious. Peanut butter cup seemed to be the most popular of the non-traditional options, but I wouldn’t know because by the time I went to make myself one the whole bag of Reese’s were gone! Bryar seemed to have a blast and got nice and messy with her melty chocolate and gooey marshmallow, just the way it should be (plus I got Grandma Ashby to clean her up which was a fantastic bonus!)

Our friends Dan and Courtney

The super cute mini S'mores...which I did in fact roast...bite size and delicious!

Grandma Ashby and Hayden

            Also, we got our family pictures done! A guy in our ward did them for us and we were really happy with them. The girls weren’t the most cooperative subjects (at least not at the same time…of course!) but there are still some awesome shots. We did some with baby girl and some without, that way I would have some to post! Here’s just a few of them:
The girls don't look too enthused but the concept was good!

Gorgeous Bryar Mckinley

My beautiful little "big girl" Hayden

HAHAHAHA look at Bryar's face...priceless!

Sweet sisters

Walking together

AWW :)

Sweet kisses

Me and Ben ;)

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Halloween (a slightly belated post...)

We had a lot of fun this Halloween! We had first, second and third Halloweens amongst our kids and there was some definite craziness trying to keep all the pieces and parts of costumes on long enough for pictures, but it WAS fun. We started a few days before Halloween with our 3rd annual pumpkin carving and caramel apple extravaganza with our friends Katie and Mark Barrera (and baby Cohen!) and our other friend Jenna. It was fantastic and we had lots of awesome pumpkins in the end (plus, who doesn’t love a caramel apple?! YUM!)

We made a quick round at our building’s trunk or treat and for some reason didn’t think to get the stroller out for Bryar and baby girl.bad decision! Ben and my arms were dying! Hayden had fun collecting candy though! Then we ran to the stake center and saw my family at their chili feed and then headed home. The surprise of the night was that Hayden threw a really big fit when we tried to put her to bed because she wanted her candy! I definitely turned into “that mom” because I told her I was going to throw it away and she wouldn’t get any if she didn’t cut it out! Luckily she got over it because there was obviously no way I was going to give her any candy after that! 2 years old and already candy obsessedshe really is a mini-me! Scary!

On Sunday our friends Courtney and Dan come over to see the girls in their costumes and we had lots of fun. They brought 2 hilarious wigs that ended up being very entertaining (see the pictures!) and it was fun getting the girls all dressed up again J They looked so cute in their costumes! Then we went “trick or treating”but only over to the Barrera’s so we could see Cohen in his costume! Then they came over and played games and relaxed. All in all an excellent Halloween! (Of course we won't be posting any pictures of baby girl but rest assured she looked adorable...she was a bee!)

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Being a mother of 3

I have long felt that the jump from 2 kids to 3 kids was going to be the most difficult for me. Personally, 1 kid was easy peasy... she could go anywhere we went with minimal extra effort. The hardest thing was probably remembering everything to keep in the diaper bag and that couldn’t really be considered hard.
When we (quickly) took the jump from 1 to 2 I wasn’t really concerned. 2 kids plus 2 arms equaled still totally doable. Hayden could walk well by the time Bryar was born so it just worked. 
       It was only when we thought about a baby #3 that my heart would stutter ever so slightly. We were going to wait a while, take a small baby break and let the girls grow a bit, but then we got the call about our new baby girl and we both instantly felt right about it. Never mind the fact Bryar isn’t even 1 and still isn’t walking, nevermind that would be 3 kids in 3 years (aka 3 kids 2 and under...) we just said yes and took the plunge. And I have to say that while I have my moments of going crazy, it isn’t nearly as difficult as I thought it could be! While I now wait to do some things until Ben is off work and can either go with me or watch the girls while I go, I have found that I am actually still able to do a lot of things with just the 3 girls and me. I go to Target and walmart or anywhere else that has a cart (Baby girl in her carseat in the main part of the cart, Bryar in the child seat of the cart and Hayden walking or holding on to the side and riding) and feel pretty good about what am I able to accomplish. Overall, 2 to 3 has been quite a bit better than I expected it to be.
       A few things though...
*If you see me in a store, feel free to NOT stare at me like I’m a freak or a baby factory or something. It is CRAZY how much people unabashedly stare at us! Even when I look at them and they can see that I see them, they continue to stare! I appreciate that we are somewhat of a spectacle and I would probably look at me too, but sheesh! I would even mind less if it looked like plain curiosity, but sometimes people just glare at bizarre!
*”Wow, you guys have been busy!” is a really awkward thing to say. Seriously.
* A do you get all 3 kids inside when they have all fallen asleep in the car? Does anyone know where one could purchase an extra arm? Because man that would be convenient...
* There is really no way to know what our future is with our sweet new addition, but if we did end up keeping her permanently we would be SO grateful! But can you imagine 10 to 15 years from now?! I mean really...13, 14 and 15?! 15, 16 and 17? 19, 20 and 21? I’m kind of panicking just thinking about all that estrogen. After giving it serious consideration I think we figured out that the only time it won’t be TOO insane around here would be when they are like 4, 5 and 6 up till 8, 9 and 10. Either way though we couldn’t be more excited about our family right now and while MANY people think we’re crazy (or at least stare at us like we are) we are as happy as can be :)

Monday, September 27, 2010

Our whirlwind!

Just a quick update on the newest member of our family! This weekend we were blessed with a brand new baby girl! We got the call from foster care workers Friday and Saturday evening she was here :) it is an amazing blessing for our family and while we are probably a little crazy (a two year old, an 11 month old and a newborn?!) we couldn’t be more excited for this new adventure and can’t wait to see where this all leads. Either way we are grateful to share our love with a beautiful girl who could use it.

 P.S. I wish I could post pics and more info, but sadly I can't :( foster care rules, have to protect the little angel! Sorry friends. Locals can come visit though!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Tonsillectomies and French braids :)

I thought I’d make a quick update (in hopes of avoiding yet another post that is novel length) to let everyone know how things are going. Hopefully with all the travel and craziness behind us I will do a better job of updating regularly, but I make no promises :)!

ANYWAY, Ben got his tonsils out!!! YAY! The doctor told me afterward that the surgery went very well and that Ben’s tonsils were huge and definitely needed out (as if the constant strep throat and tonsillitis weren’t hints to that fact) so we are very grateful we were able to get that taken care of. Hopefully now he won’t be sick constantly.or everor at least for a VERY long time!  His recovery has definitely been a bit of a struggle, but he has been such a trooper! Absolute minimal neediness or complaining, just a lot of sleep (thanks to his pain meds) and some popsicles. I can definitely handle that! I know he has had quite a bit of but of pain but he has actually seemed to turn a bit of a corner today so we are hoping the worst is over! 

Other than that it’s really just small things going on around here.

Hayden has been super entertaining for me lately! She has always been very girly and clothes obsessed, but she has really kicked it up a notch! She is constantly getting into her and Bryar’s clothes (current and grown out of) and puts on as many layers as she can squish into. It’s bad for the laundry but it balances out with how much it makes me laugh!
You can't see it here but she actually has a pair of jeans on under the white fleece pants and has two tank tops under the shirts that are visible (she had 5 shirts on!)
Matching is obviously something we need to work on!!!

Also, I did Hayden’s first French braid! Her hair has been driving me CrAzY lately because it’s getting long but is still super thin “baby hair.” Because of this I really can’t just leave it down (or else it is crazy and NOT cute) so I have decided to embrace this problem and really get into doing her hair cute. 

As for Bryar, she is getting so big! She will be one in a month (I can’t believe it!) so we are really pushing the table food and sippy cup situation because once the 1st birthday hits bottles go bye-bye in this house! This week Bry had her first go at eating spaghetti on her own, and while it was a big disaster she also ate a ton! Of course from looking at Hayden you would think it was HER first time eating spaghettiyikes!

I think that’s about it for now!


Sunday, September 12, 2010


So apparently I have been seriously neglecting my blog! It’s for good reason though, because to say it’s been a crazy few weeks for our family would be such an understatement! Before this Bryar had never even left the state and now she’s been to Wyoming, Colorado, Utah, Nevada and California!  
Our life in a nutshell

It all started in mid(ish) august when, very sadly, my uncle Ben passed away from an aggressive form of cancer that left us all pretty stunned. I can only be grateful that he is now in a better place and that I had the opportunity to go to his funeral.  Unfortunately Ben had school and work and there was no way he could make the trip, so the girls and I hitched a ride with my dad and little brother and drove from Lincoln to San Diego, California.  In case you weren’t sure, that is a LONG drive (made that much longer by a potty trained 2 year old and somewhat ill 10 month old!  Amongst other things that slowed us down) and we drove it straight through! Let’s just say I was VERY grateful when we finally got there.  The service was beautiful and fit my uncle’s style very wellcasual and lighthearted. I am so glad I was able to be there with many family members to celebrate the life of a kind and loving uncle.
While we were there for a pretty sad reason, we were also able to have some good family time.  We got to go to the beach twice, and it was awesome!!!  The first time it was the girls and I, my parents, and my younger brother David. The second trip also included an uncle, two aunts, 6 cousins and my grandma! It was great spending time with them! 

Because my uncle was buried in the family plot in Brigham City, Utah we decided to stop for the service on our way back and take a day break from the trip so it wouldn’t be quite so intense for everyone involved. It was an excellent decision! We were able to see even more family there as well as stay the night at my childhood best friend’s house and do some catching up, plus I was able to meet her fabulous fiancĂ© before we came back the next week for their wedding(told you we did a lot of traveling!)
Anyway, we were excited to be home for a little over a week before we turned around and went back to Utah for the aforementioned wedding! The drive was ok (we discovered on our California trip that while Hayden refuses to watch any tv at home, she WILL pay attention to movies in the car and we exploited that with an insane number of Disney classics!) but we were once again grateful to arrive in Utah!
We were excited to be able to attend our niece Sophie’s baptism while we were there! It was great to be there for one of their family events, as that NEVER happens with the distance between locations.  Then we rushed from the baptism in Springville to the wedding of my oldest friend Caitlin to her fiancĂ© Creighton in the Draper, Utah temple. It was a fantastic sealing (the sealer reminded us of Bob Barker) and we couldn’t be more excited for them! Then we headed back to Springville to spend some more time with Ben’s sister Emily and the rest of the fam, before heading back to Salem for the wedding reception. We were very on the move!!!
The reception was awesome! They had AMAZING food (chef prepared crepes and pasta dishes...YUM!) and the atmosphere was great. Backyard casual and fun but still VERY beautiful!  

THEN (oh yes, there’s more!) we left the next morning and headed back, but made a stop in McCook (we couldn’t just not see our Blomstedt’s!) and had an EXCELLENT extended labor day weekend extravaganza! We went to the Circus (kind of a big deal for me as clowns totally freak me out) and Hayden rode an elephant! She is such a daredevil, she just marched up the steps and climbed on, completely fearless! She also rode a camel with Staci and Jackson, and then we headed in to the actual circus tent. There were some awesome acts, but I have to say one of my faves was the super creepy contortionist who fit into a tiny box! Crazy stuff! 

The next day we headed out on the boat for a fantastic day on the water. Ben and Staci did some waterskiing and then we all went TUBING! Have I ever mentioned that I love tubing?! Because I do. A lot. Like it’s one of my favorite things. In the world. So needless to say I was excited to get out there! First I went with Ben and we had SO much fun, up until the end when we crashed HARD! We flew off in my direction and I’m pretty sure all of Ben’s limbs contacted me in a violent way on our way into the water! I got the wind knocked out of me for a second but after a quick breather I was back and better than ever.  However, while I was taking my break Ben and Jason decided to give it a go and they were doing amazing at withstanding Staci’s attempts to throw them off, all until a big jump resulted in Ben hitting his face on Jason’s fist, giving Ben a bloody nose! Oops! 

We had a few mild runs so the kids could get out on the tube for a bit before we went back to trying to throw people off, and then it was time for me and Staci to take a turn. Jason did his best to throw us, and he came close (a lot of times!) but we ended up just dropping off the back of the tube during a calm moment because we were tired and wanted to avoid a violent landing! The last tube ride of the day was me and Jason and I have to say we pretty much dominated :). Staci is pretty impressive at driving to throw off tubers but we lasted an amazingly long time. Needless to say we had an AWESOME time!  We love spending time with our Blomstedt’s, they are the best!
So THAT, my friends, was our past few weeks. Now can you see why I haven’t updated my blog?! I am making it a goal to update more regularly now though, don’t worry :D.
Oh and sorry for the inundation of collages, but I will be able to use them as scrapbook pages and it takes way less time than uploading 57 million individual pictures!
Oh, and for anyone who might be interested, Ben is getting his TONSILS REMOVED tomorrow morning!!! It’s a good thing because he has had constant tonsillitis and strep throat for months (literally) but it will be a tough procedure (or so “they” say) so any prayers sent our way would be appreciated!

Until next time,

Monday, August 16, 2010

A day to celebrate

I can’t believe the way time flies! Yesterday my “baby Hayden” turned 2 years old and I can hardly believe it! I wouldn’t quite say it feels like yesterday that she was born, but it definitely doesn’t feel like 2 years ago! She is such an amazing little girl and Ben and I are so blessed to have her in our lives.  I can’t believe how much I love her and how much joy she brings to me every day!  

And as if it couldn’t get any betterit was Ben’s birthday too! The love of my life turned a quarter of a century yesterday J And yes, I tease him about it like crazy. It’s not even old, it’s just a big milestone!!! Yay for Ben!

I love my family so much!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Digital Scrapbooking

I started another new kind of crafty, kind of domestic, lots of fun activity last week. I had never heard of digital scrapbooking before coming across it on a blog last week, but after looking into it I am definitely loving it. I like scrapbooking but it’s just too expensive...until now. Plus, I avoid gluey, glittery, sticky fingers and layout remorse (which happens when I finish a page and realize something would have looked much better if only I had put it two inches to the left...or something like that).  There are TONS of free downloads if you surf the sites, so I have spent a lot of time downloading and am just now starting to use all the things I have to makes pages.  But without further ado, here is the few pages I have put together so far (Click on them to make them bigger!):

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

A few of our favorite people

Have I ever mentioned that I love Target? Because I doa lot.  SO much so that my ONE criterion for moving is that I wont live somewhere that doesnt have one.  But then I have weekends like this past one and think maybe I could live in a small town without a Target if it meant being near some of our best friends in the world.  The jury is definitely still out on actually moving to McCook, but Im glad we at least get to visit every now and then so we can see Staci and Jason (and Jackson and Axel)!!!

This visit we were actually able to visit Friday-Monday, which gave us an extra day to play compared to normal and that was really nice! Somehow that ONE day really seemed to help us feel more like we were on a mini vacay and less like we had to cram things in before we turned around and drove home.

***Warning...a million pictures are coming...:)***

One of the great things about seeing the Blomstedts is that we had our bowling buddies back! We havent been bowling in what seems like forever (because we lost our bowling buddies) and we couldnt have been more excited to go. PLUS it was Haydens FIRST time bowling. She and Jackson had their lane (with a bumper) and then me and Ben and Staci and Jason had our lane. Now heres the lowdown on the bowling situation with us: Staci wins most of the time. Jason and I have a rivalry that ends up pretty even in the win/loss column (though we both pretend we win more often than we do).  Ben is the wild never know where he is going to end up.  If you take a look at the scores below you'll see that we pretty much stayed on track with that. It was pretty hectic between helping the kids bowl, feeding the younger babies, bathroom trips and our bowling game, but it was still a lot of fun!
P.s. usually our scores are higher than this, but its a girls win all around so Im ok with it!

Haydens first time ever bowling and she got a strike! 

Ben helping Hayden

Staci looking all professional like :)

Grossest thing ever! Staci went to use a ball and there was a bunch of ketchup in the thumb hole!
(although I think that ball is like 13 pounds!)

Cute bowling buddies!

Just hanging out :)

Question: What does the number 2 mean to you? Maybe its your kids age (Hayden WILL be 2 in a few weeks) or the number of years youve been married (I have been married for 2 years until Sep. 1st rolls around) but to ME the number has been a little more of a taunting number. As in, it has made me slightly bitter, because 2 represents the number of summers in a row I have been pregnant and rendered unable to tube. Obviously I have been slightly traumatized by this fact Not that I dont love my girls, because I do, its just that being pregnant 2 summers in a row was pretty rough for me.  But not this summer! THIS summer I am pregnancy free and I was NOT going to miss out on some serious summer fun! SO out on the boat we went, and it was a blast!

Bryars first time boating!

The view I had of Jason ;) cute huh?!
Adorable daddy/daughter moment!

Axel and Bryar

Ben skiing!

Staci slalomingif thats even a word

Me! However this is the only pic you will see of me trying to ski, because I never actually succeededOh well, maybe next time!

Cooling off!

Me and Hayden just relaxingalthough I think we were actually like that because I had issues NOT floating with that ridiculously powerful life jacket on!
Hayden driving while Jackson is on flag dutyman they grow up quick ;)

I think Breezy was just grateful to get the life jacket off for a while!

Haha Hayden looks so evil-eyed here! In actuality she just was refusing to smile for the cameraah the terrible twos

Haydens first tube ride!!! (and YES, I was terrified the WHOLE time)
Cute sister moment on the beach :)

Another Im not going to smile moment!

Hahaa little awkward!

And then my favorite picture of the tripI took the liberty of pointing out Ben, just in case you missed him :D

Other than that we just spent some good quality time with our friends, which would have been worth the trip by itself. I was heartbroken when we had to leave! Its ok though, you can bet well be back soon :) We love our  Blomstedts!

And last but not least, heres just a few cute shots of the kids throughout our visit:

Bryar, red eyed from a day of boating!


Playing ring around the rosy!

THE END!!! I told you there were going to be a million pictures! At least I warned you, right?!